In this episode, I provide an update on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) rule changes related to Days on Market, Open Houses, and other rules. 


There's been quite a few questions and honestly a little bit of confusion about what the local multiple listing service has done in response to the shelter in place order. For those of you not super familiar with the role of the MLS or multiple listing service it's the database in which we put all of the information about our property that's listed for sale, beds baths, square footage, photos etcetera And, it's one of the first places we go to when representing a buyer in search of a home that might fit their needs. Importantly it's also the source of the data that is fed into, Zillow and other websites. So, what the MLS does has a downstream impact on how your property is represented across the internet.

As with many organizations at the moment, it took a bit of time for the MLS to decide on a response and a bit longer to modify their programming. The good news is that they have taken a number of important steps.

One big concern on the part of Sellers, and those of us who represent them, is accruing of days on market while properties can't be shown. In response to that concern, the multiple listing service froze the days on market counter retroactive to March 17th, the day the shelter in place went into effect. What this means is that although properties are listed for sale and active, the days on market counter is not increasing day by day.

The freeze applies to active properties as well as those in what is called withdrawn status.

Let's say you have a listing that's been on the market for seventy days when the shelter in place order was issued. Because of the rule change, the days on market has not gone up and it still shows seventy days even though it's been active on the market for well over a hundred days.

Unfortunately, Zillow and some of the real estate websites don't always pull the days on market information from the MLS. Rather they have their own calculated number, which in the case of Zillow they show as days on Zillow. So, the listing frozen at seventy days on the MLS is showing over a Hundred Days on the Zillow website.

I don't believe Days on Market is going to be nearly as important a metric as it is in a normal market. When we begin the recovery everyone knows these properties haven't been shown for weeks or even months.

As a quick side note, the MLS also froze the Withdrawn Days on Market so when withdrawn properties come back on the market their Days on Market will not include any of the days of the Shelter in Place period either.

There's another subtle change they made with Withdrawn properties. Typically when a Withdrawn property comes back on the market it shows as Returned to Market, under the new rules after the Shelter in Place those Withdrawn properties will appear with a New listing tag. Their days won't reset to zero, but by being in the new category the hope is that at least some of the third-party websites will send them to subscribers as a new listing.

There's one more change that is important to note. The MLS is now allowing us to put property specific websites in the public remarks area of a property's description. This is an important change because not all third-party sites grab links to property specific websites or virtual tours from the MLS feed. By changing this rule were able to put those links right in front of a viewer on those third party websites so they can get to the virtual tour at photos and additional information that the third-party website may not be picking up from the feed. 

The MLS has also turned off the ability for anyone to schedule brokers tours, those are the weekly tours that allow brokers to visit each other's new listings, and they've also turned off the open house feature.

I hope this is answered your questions about what the MLS is done if you have more questions or would like to discuss it please give me a call on my cell phone I mean email or we can set up a meeting.

Thanks, Malone.