“I see the fine for violating Clear Cooperation is $5,000. How do I avoid that?”

    While sharing publicly marketed listings equitably is the heart of SFARMLS, we understand some sellers want to explore their options off the market via brokerage exclusives. Start by having your seller complete the [deep breath] Seller Instruction to Exclude Listing From The Multiple Listing Service And Days On Market (or SELM) form. Then file an Exemption Certification with SFARMLS via the webform at https://my.sfrealtors.com/mls-forms-and-information-menu at the time the listing contract and SELM is signed. The next thing we strongly recommend you do is create the listing in SFAMLS and save it to your Incomplete Listings folder, leaving the Status, Listing Price, and On Market Date fields all blank.

    So long as the knowledge of your excluded listing contract remains within the four walls of the brokerage, you are in good shape. Once your seller decides to make the listing visible to all comers, you want to have your listing live in the MLS either as a Coming Soon or Active listing before launching your marketing campaign via email, directed mail, yard signs, or even discussing it over drinks with your colleagues at other brokerages. No problem! At this point simply go into your Incomplete Listings folder select the correct status (Coming Soon or Active), the On Market Date (the current date if your listing will be Active; a future date if Coming Soon), and the listing price you and your seller have agreed upon; then submit the listing to SFARMLS.

    In the unfortunate event you, your co-lister, your assistant, your transaction coordinator, your broker, gremlins, a stray breeze, or your cat accidentally sends out a blast email, or the sign company goofs up the installation date and puts the For Sale sign up on your heretofore off-market brokerage exclusive listing too soon, are you out of pocket $5,000? No, you still have one calendar day to make your listing visible within SFARMLS. And this is where having your listing saved to your Incomplete Listings folder really pays off. Literally. Update your listing’s status, on-market date, and listing price before the 24-hour window closes to beat the Clear Cooperation clock!

    And what if your off-market, brokerage exclusive listing sells while it is off the market? Be sure to take credit it for it by launching your incomplete listing with the status of Sold Off MLS within three days of escrow closing. Remember: today’s sale (off-market or on) is tomorrow’s comp!

First published in the Office Liaison Report 2022/11/29.