Paul Cowhig’s Listing Reminders for 2019

By Paul Cowhig, Professional Standards Advisor

Happy New Year Fraser Valley REALTORS®!

I’m sure I’m not alone in anticipating big things from 2019, what with shifts in the market, changes in the rules, and in the expectations of the public and your clients.

One thing that won’t change, however, is the importance of maintaining the high standard of our MLS® and its listings.

Our MLS® department used the December market “lull” to perform some random checks on our active listings to assess their compliance with our rules related to photos, contact info, and documents. They were checking for photos with prohibited information like additional text, promotional info, branding, images of children, etc. and for listings with zero associated documents (meaning no title search has been attached). Based on their findings it seems many members either aren’t aware of the rules or are not following them correctly.

With that said, I thought I’d kick the year off by going over a few of these rules to help you ensure that your listings are in compliance with the Rules of Cooperation and your clients are receiving the best service from you that they can.

If you want to follow along and review the full text of each rule here is a link to the Rules of Cooperation.

3.11 Listing Documentation

‘Documentation required by the Board for listings for data entry by the MLS® Department shall include the standard form MLS® Listing Contract, including Schedule “A” describing the real estate services to be provided, any Direction Regarding Presentation of Offers form and the data input form…’

Paul says: New to this rule is the requirement to submit a copy of the Direction Regarding Presentation of Offers (DRPO) with your listing documents, in those cases where you are either delaying the offer presentation or have instructions from your client that the Buyer’s Agent may not be present at the offer presentation.

3.12 Consent to Post Documents to the MLS® System

‘All Members are responsible for ensuring that prior to posting any documents to the MLS® System, they have secured all the necessary consents to that information being posted.

Unless otherwise instructed by the seller in writing, a copy of the basic title search must be posted by the Member to the MLS® System as an associated document within 24 hours of the listing becoming active on the MLS® System.’

Paul says: Although the Multiple Listing Contract provides some permissions, you need to understand who has the authority to give permission for which documents. It is critical that this is determined and taken care of during the listing process. For example, some strata property documents may require permissions from more than just the property owners. And in some cases, you may need permission from the Strata Council itself. It is up to you to ask the questions and get the answers. If your seller doesn’t know, which may be the case, then it’s up to you to find out.

The above also requires you to post the title search to the associated documents on Paragon within 24 hours of the listing becoming active, unless otherwise instructed by the seller in writing.

3.25 Photographs, Pictures, and Sketches

Paul says: There are a few things to unpack here.

  • You must post a minimum of one photo that relates to the property within 5 days.
  • For Sale or Sold signs are no longer permitted in listing pictures. This puts us onside with the other 2 boards in the lower mainland who always considered signage in photos as the promotion of a member.
  • Other than a front exterior picture of the listing, no other pictures can be used by anyone else without the consent of the originating brokerage – period! Those pictures belong to someone, and they are not public property.
  • The pictures you use must not have comments or additional information on them (that means no branding!). Remember, these photos will be displayed on REALTOR®.ca and a zillion other member websites. On your own websites, you can do whatever you want with the pictures. We try not to be excessive in restricting you, but the rules for what goes on MLS® are there for a reason.
  • Floor plans are usually added as associated documents, but some members are adding them as photos. This is okay, provided there is no member branding on those being used as a photo. We’ve spoken to a couple of the floor plan companies who advise that it is no problem for them to provide you with 2 copies, one branded for your website and to use as a document, and a second copy with no branding on it which is suitable for use as one of the photos on Paragon. Be sure to ask for them for both!
  • No children should be featured in your photos, period.

We rely primarily on members to bring deficiencies to our attention so that we can be as effective as possible in maintaining the MLS®. If you see listings that are not complying with the rules, we count on you to let us know. This is professionalism in practice. It helps raise our brand and our client’s ability to be successful.

So, if you’re looking to make a resolution for 2019, I hope you consider making a stronger effort (or continuing the great work you do) to prioritize good listing habits.  It’s good for all of us.

Source: FVREB Professional Standards & Communications