Though there will be a period of adjustment, Chris Kelly, CEO of Ebby Halliday Companies, thinks ending off-MLS listings is for the better. That was his reaction to the National Association of Realtors’ new MLS Statement 8.0, the Clear Cooperation policy. The policy prohibits the use of off-market (or hip-pocket) listings except when marketing within a brokerage.
The practice of off-market listings, “is a terrible thing for consumers, and an even worse thing for the industry,” Kelly said. But this has been a decision that’s been in the wings for months, with the only two options being what Kelly likened to “mutually assured destruction.” Either all agents pull their listings and put an end to the MLS as we know it, or rules to eliminate all off-MLS listings are set firm.
“Why would you knowingly withhold a property like that?” Kelly asked. “You’re only going to frustrate consumers. Plus, it’s just not a good business practice.”
But not all Texas brokerages agree. In contrast, Erik Bahr, Regional President of Compass Real Estate Texas, believes this rule is only going to hurt agents who are just trying to serve their client’s best interest.
“Texas homeowners choose to pre-market their properties for a variety of reasons: to gauge interest while making home improvements, to drive demand for the first open house, or to protect their privacy while they test the market,” he said. “Hindering an individual’s ability to pre-market their home is not only against the best interest of the consumer, but also negatively impacts agents, brokerages, and the industry as a whole.”