Clear Cooperation Policy

At the Fall 2019 NAR Convention, the Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a new policy call the Clear Cooperation Policy.

In this video I will explain exactly what the Clear Cooperation Policy is, how it will impact how listing agents, and how much you’ll get fined for breaking the rules

Ok, before I explain what the new Clear Cooperation Policy, I think it’s important to understand current MLS policy and processes AND a little history of how we got here.

Most MLS rules require an agent, once they’ve secured a listing, to input the listing data into the MLS within 2 or 3 days of the list date.

But simply inputting the listing into the MLS didn’t necessarily mean it was in an active show status. For example, a listing agent could make the listing active in the MLS but allow no showings to give the sellers time to ready the home for market. It allowed the agent time to market the property during the maintenance period but not show it

Another scenario might be that the listing was taken by the agent BUT the seller waived the benefit of MLS exposure. So, it’s an active listing from a legal point of view and the listing agent is allowed to show the property but it’s not put into the MLS.  Putting cooperating agent and their clients at a substantial disadvantage to compete for the sale

Then came the Coming Soon Marketplace!  Where non-MLS listed property became a business model for listing agents instead of the occasional request from a seller who may be concerned about a privacy issue or a need to delay for maintenance

Now, for those of you who don’t know what a Coming Soon Listing is…

A listing agent would take a listing, place a sign in the yard, but wouldn’t input any of the listing data into the MLS. A property could remain on the market in a coming soon status for weeks and cooperating agents’ buyers had no ability to compete for the sale of the listing because the cooperating agent found it difficult or sometimes impossible to obtain any information about the coming soon listing.

Then magically, the coming soon listing would appear as SOLD in the MLS.

So, for the past few years, MLS boards, and even state regulatory bodies have struggled to regulate the Coming Soon marketplace. In fact, the Great Plains MLS which at the time was Omaha’s MLS required a Waiver of Benefits form be sign by the seller ensure they understood potential ramifications of these types of transactions.

In the end, these types of business models violated the spirit of cooperation between members, as required under Article 3 of the REALTOR code of ethics.

Now, fast forward to today

The new MLS Clear Cooperation Policy requires all Residential listings be put into the MLS system within 1 business day, IF any details about the listing is made publicly or the listing is publicly marketed. This new policy ensures MLS cooperation with other MLS members.

Now, I know most MLS’s already have a policy requiring Listing Submissions be entered into the MLS typically within 2 or 3 days of the listing date.  This allows the listing agent to secure the listing and get everything ready for marketing the property. But, under the new policy, that time frame is shorten to 1 business day if any details about the listing is made public or the property is publicly marketed.

For clarification purposes-business days don’t include Saturdays, Sundays and holidays that are recognized by the state and federal government


All local MLS’s must be in compliance with the new policy no later than May 1st, 2020. So, make sure you find out from your local MLS when their compliance date is AND any behavior modification process commonly known as fines for breaking the rules

If you’re a member of the Great Plains Regional MLS which basically services Omaha and Lincoln Area Realtors, the new policy goes into effective March 1st, 2020, and the board has implements stiff penalties for breaking the rules. I will discuss that a bit later in the video….

Now Remember, the Clear Cooperation Policy has 2 triggers: if any details about the listing is made public OR the listing is publicly marketed then the listing broker is required to input the listing into the MLS.

I want to be clear here, inputting the listing into the MLS doesn’t mean it has to be in an active show status. It simply means that cooperating MLS members must have access to the listing details.  What specific status the listing will fall into will vary by local MLS’s  


Now I want to define the “triggers.”  What does the term “PUBLIC MARKETING” mean or making details about the listing public?

Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, yard signs, marketing on public websites, brokerage website displays – including IDX and VOW feeds, digital communications marketing such as email blasts, multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, posting it to social media platforms.  Handing out flyer at the county fair, holding an open house, holding a digital open house, faxing it to another broker down the street.  The policy is meant to be interpreted very broadly

For example, let’s say you have a coming soon listing. If you put a for sale sign in the yard, that’s considered public marketing and you would be required to input the listing into the MLS within 1 business day of dropping the sign in the front lawn.

Another example, if you put out an email blast or social media post to your SOI or fellow real estate agents not affiliated with your agency, regarding a pocket listing you have,

you have made details about the listing public now you’re required to ensure that listing gets into the MLS within 1 business day of sending your email or post.


There is an exception to this policy that is important to and it’s called an Office Exclusive Listing.

This is where the listing is kept SOLEY within the listing company and not marketed to ANY INDIVIDUAL outside the listing Firm.  This exception was designed to meet the concerns of sellers who are concerned about privacy.

Under an Office Exclusive Listing exception, the listing broker or listing agent can directly promote the listing to other agents within the listing company.  Then the agents within the listing company can market the Office Exclusive Listing by ONE TO ONE promotion between the listing company’s agents and the agent’s direct clients.

The key here is “ONE TO ONE PROMOTION. An individual agent would be permitted to notify a buyer he or she is working with about the Office Exclusive Listing; HOWEVER, the agents would not be permitted to mass email the listing information to his or her SOI or make a Facebook post.

REMEMBER …  If the listing company or any agent within that company knowingly or unknowingly markets or provides listing details to ANY INDIVIDUAL outside the listing firm, then the listing broker MUST submit the listing to the MLS within 1 business day.


What are the fines for failure to comply with the new policy?

Any behavior modification process or Fines will be determined by each individual MLS. However, ALL local MLS’s must be in compliance with the new policy no later than May 1st, 2020,

As I stated earlier in the video, the Great Plains Regional MLS, which Omaha and Lincoln area, the deadline for compliance is March 1st, 2020 and the fines are pretty steep so I thought I would warn in advance…

  • 1st offense: $100, plus a fine of $100 for each additional day once notified by the MLS.
  • 2nd offense: $500, plus a fine of $100 for each additional day once notified by the MLS.
  • 3rd offense: $1,000, plus a fine of $100 for each additional day once notified by the MLS.
  • 4th offense: Fine to be determined by the GPRMLS Board of Directors up to the maximum allowable by the MLS, currently $15,000.

It’s important to remember, for Great Plains Regional MLS members, there will be no warning first. The first notification will be a fine!


Remember, this new policy does not limit your ability to market listings as “Coming Soon” it simply changes the rules of engagement.  The intent of this new policy was not to kill the coming soon marketplace. It was to ensure and enhance member cooperation which is required under Article 3 of the Realtors Code of Ethics.

Here are the links to the policies I referenced in the video.

NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy:

Great Plains Regional MLS Policy:

Great Plains MLS “Coming Soon” and the “No Show” MLS Status:


Great Plains MLS Fine Structure:


Paul Vojchehoske

Paul Vojchehoske

Paul Vojchehoske

Paul Vojchehoske stands as a distinguished figure in the real estate industry, boasting over 27 years of extensive experience. He currently holds the position of Director at the Randall School of Real Estate, where he plays a pivotal role in shaping future real estate professionals. His expertise spans across a variety of domains including real estate law, licensing, accreditation, and continuing education. Paul's commitment to the field extends beyond education and into the realm of content creation and media. He is a well-recognized real estate author, known for his insightful and informative writings that cater to both industry professionals and enthusiasts. Further enhancing his outreach, Paul has established a strong presence on YouTube, focusing on real estate topics, thereby educating and engaging a broader audience. Additionally, his voice resonates in the world of podcasts and radio, where he hosts shows that delve into various facets of real estate, offering valuable insights and guidance. His proficiency and thought leadership in the industry have made him a sought-after figure for interviews by real estate trade magazines and publications. Through his diverse roles and contributions, Paul Vojchehoske has become a vital source of knowledge and inspiration in the real estate community, continually aiding in the success and development of real estate professionals.