On September 1st, 2021, California Regional MLS (CRMLS) will officially update its rules regarding Internet Data Exchange (IDX) websites to benefit agents and consumers on both sides of the residential real estate transaction.
IDX is the term the real estate industry uses for the portions of agent and broker websites devoted to searching MLS data. IDX sites using CRMLS data will soon give consumers a much clearer picture of agents’ relationship with the listings consumers find online.
The newly updated rule, number 12.16.5 in the CRMLS Rules and Regulations, will read as follows:
“12.16.5 Listing Credit. All Listing Brokers grant permission for any Advertising Broker to display any listings submitted to the service by the Listing Broker only if the listing display or advertisement is clear so that a reasonable real estate consumer understands:
a) Who is the Listing Agent & Broker,
b) Who is the Advertising Broker and
c) How to contact that Listing Agent or Broker.”
In describing the updated rule, CRMLS CEO Art Carter said, “It shouldn’t take a consumer more than a few seconds of looking at a listing to determine who the Listing Agent, Listing Broker, and Advertising Broker are.”
The CRMLS Rules Committee, composed of active real estate professional CRMLS users, devised the rule based on feedback from members of CRMLS’s participating Associations, Boards, and MLSs. The CRMLS Board of Directors, also working real estate professionals, approved the rule.
“CRMLS leadership has been discussing this subject, and this proposed solution, for years now,” said Carter. “Now that we have approval to update the rule, we’re beyond excited to help increase transparency and reduce friction for consumers, brokers, and agents.”
The rule change only affects IDX websites, not any other form of marketing. It is unrelated to communications between real estate professionals and their clients.
CRMLS aims to improve communication between consumers and real estate professionals with this rule update. CRMLS Vice President and General Counsel Edward Zorn laid out consumer use cases, and how the updated rule will benefit both the consumer real estate professionals, like this:
“Under the old rules, a consumer with a question on a listing they see on an IDX website would contact the advertising agent, the most prominently displayed agent. Too often, they’d find that the agent had no relationship with the listing and didn’t know the answer to certain questions. The frustrated consumer would break off their contact, including any potential future contact, with the advertising agent. Then they would leave the website that the agent paid to advertise on, look up the listing agent online, and contact the listing agent directly – or give up on that listing completely.”
“However, under the new rules, when a consumer sees a listing on an IDX website, they’ll know within a matter of seconds who the advertising agent and the listing agent are. If they have a question about the property, they can contact the listing agent directly without needing to leave the advertising agent’s site. If they’re interested in exploring a relationship with the advertising agent, they can go into the relationship with a full understanding of the advertising agent’s role.”
Zorn also explained that the rule may also increase the level of lead quality of the consumers that contact the advertising broker, since those consumers specifically decided they wanted to speak with the advertising agent, not the listing agent.
CRMLS is supporting the rollout of the updated rule with a new, internally developed platform allowing brokers to control the contact information that appears on their listings. Brokers can also decide to leave the decision on which contact information to display up to their individual agents.
This launch also includes a targeted awareness campaign for CRMLS users, featuring videos, written guides and FAQs, emails, MLS system pop-up notices, social media, blog posts, and training sessions.
“Equipping consumers with more information and added transparency will benefit all of us,” said Carter. “We look forward to continuing our work on behalf of our community of real estate professionals.”
About California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS)
California Regional MLS is the nation’s largest and most recognized subscriber-based MLS, dedicated to servicing more than 108,000 real estate professionals from 40 Associations, Boards, and MLS organizations. CRMLS is the industry powerhouse and thrives on providing the most relevant products and services to its subscribers. For more information on CRMLS, visit www.crmls.org.
Contact: Art Carter, email@example.com