MLS Rules and Regulations
REcolorado is proud to be the partner nearly 28,000 Colorado real estate pros choose to enhance their businesses. The MLS system is more than a place for you to enter and share listings. That’s an important aspect of a multiple listing service (it’s in the name!), but what makes the MLS different from any other online database for sharing information? We’ll give you a hint: it’s all about you!
The MLS is designed especially for real estate pros, guided by rules and regulations that all MLS participants agree to follow. Why does that matter? Accuracy and reliability!!
Why does the MLS need rules?
Rules provide a consistent structure and framework that you rely on to serve your clients, pull stats, facilitate transactions, create CMAs, and make the market work!
When you say “Yes” to the MLS by choosing REcolorado as your partner and entering your listings into the MLS system, you’re agreeing to follow the same rules all other brokers also follow in exchange for all the benefits the MLS provides. That’s a pretty good deal, right? Not only will you have access to a complete set of listing data, but you can also confidently interpret the data you see because you know it was entered in a consistent way.
How can I learn the rules?
Lots of different ways! We’ve created several options for you to learn the rules at your own pace and on your own terms. You can review the complete MLS Rules & Regulations here, or from your REcolorado CONNECT dashboard. Because there’s a lot to cover, we recommend reviewing our Getting Started Learning Path and helpful articles on the REcolorado Professionals Blog. For a deeper dive into key MLS rules, check out these training courses:
Who makes the MLS rules?
REcolorado subscribers! Our Rules and Regulations Committee is made up of your peers -- brokers and appraisers from throughout the state. The committee serves as an objective body to address compliance concerns and create policies that support cooperation and ensure you continue to receive the reliable, accurate data you need to do your job.
When a compliance issue comes up or when a policy change is recommended by the National Association of REALTORS®, the issue is reviewed by the MLS Rules and Regulations Committee at their meetings. The committee will make a recommendation if a rule needs to be added, changed, or removed, then submit a motion to the REcolorado Board of Directors for approval. As a NAR-chartered organization, MLS Rules and Regulations are also submitted to the National Association of REALTORS® and some rules are required by NAR.
When a rule is changed or added, we’ll let you know! Keep an eye on your inbox (and the channels mentioned above) for important updates.
Who must follow the rules? I'm not a REALTOR®, do the rules still apply to me?
You’ll be glad to know everyone using REcolorado tools are working together to make our data the best it can be. That means all customers agree to follow the MLS Rules and Regulations. Your REALTOR status does not affect your participation in the MLS.
How will I know if a rule is added or changed?
Look to all your REcolorado communication channels for updates! REcolorado spreads the word about new or changed rules and regulations through several mediums, including: email blasts to customers, articles on the REcolorado Professionals Blog, and more. REcolorado’s Education and Development team includes updates on new and amended rules and regulations in training classes, which are FREE to customers.
What is the REcolorado Data Accuracy and MLS Policy team?
The REcolorado Data Accuracy and MLS Policy team is on the front line making sure you have the most reliable data through your REcolorado tools. With an education-first approach, they make sure REcolorado customers understand the rules and help correct inaccurate data.
They are the link between REcolorado customers and the MLS Rules and Regulations Committee, working to ensure the rules are applied consistently and fairly.
How can I make sure I'm following the Rules?
An easy way for you to make sure you’re following MLS Rules and Regulations is to ask yourself, “Is my listing accurate right now?” For example, if your listing moves from Active to Pending, the MLS information won’t be accurate until you change the listing. (Tip: MLS rules are designed to help, giving you three business days to update listing status in the MLS system.)
You can also familiarize yourself with the MLS Rules and Regulations, read the education pieces sent by email and on the REcolorado Professionals Blog, or contact the Data Accuracy and MLS Policy department at (303) 850-9576 if you have questions. Finally, REcolorado offers FREE classes so you can learn about compliance when it’s convenient for you.
Remember, we’re all in this together! When you understand and follow the rules, we all benefit by having accurate data.
What do I do if I think someone is violating the rules? How can I report a violation?
It’s easy - if you see something, say something! Here are a few different ways you can let us know when you come across something that doesn’t look right:
- Click the ReportIt buttons on your REcolorado CONNECT dashboard or in the MLS system
- Send an email to: DataAccuracy@REcolorado.com
What happens when someone violates the rules?
We get it – everyone makes mistakes. When violations occur, we take an education-first approach by researching the issue and working with the listing broker to correct it. If the issue still exists after that, a notice is sent to the listing broker requesting the violation be corrected within three days. A copy of the notification is also sent to the managing broker.
If a listing is still not corrected, a progressive fee schedule may be assessed and added to the next monthly MLS bill. The Rules and Regulations Committee may also recommend suspension in the event of continued non-compliance or repeat violations. If there are three or more compliance notifications, you and your participant may be asked to appear before the Rules and REgulations committee.
Can I dispute a violation?
Absolutely - listing brokers can file a grievance with the Rules and Regulations Committee for consideration and final determination. All grievances must be submitted in writing using the Fine Waiver Request Form within 30 days stating the reason for dispute and request for review.
REcolorado Rules & Regulations Committee
REcolorado subscribers help shape our Rules and Regulations through the representatives on our Rules & Regulations Committee. Both brokers and appraisers are represented from associations throughout the state. These representatives gather subscriber feedback to add to discussions at meetings held every other month. Any association with a significant portion of its members who are REcolorado subscribers is invited to have representation on the committee. Fort Collins Board of REALTORS® recently accepted our invitation to join the committee. Boulder Area REALTOR® Association, Loveland-Berthoud Association of REALTORS®, and Longmont Association of REALTORS® also meet these criteria to have participation on the REcolorado Rules & Regulations Committee.
Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®
Mountain Metro Association of REALTORS®
South Metro Denver REALTOR® Association
Big Broker Representative
REALTORS® of Central Colorado, Inc.
Steamboat Springs Board of REALTORS®
Clear Cooperation Policy
Picture yourself doing the important tasks of your job – helping your buyers find their dream home, or helping your sellers Set a list price for their property, or running a market stats report for your area of business. You need a full view of listings to do all of these tasks and more.
That’s why you count on REcolorado to be the most complete source of listings, and you trust it because it’s powered by over 28,000 real estate professionals across the state - you and your peers! And that's what the Clear Cooperation Policy is all about: helping you and your peers work together to exchange accurate, up-to-date, and complete listing data through the multiple listing service.
The policy itself is pretty simple – if you market a property, it has to be entered in the MLS within one day.
What counts as marketing according to the Clear Cooperation Policy?
Marketing covers everything from distributing flyers, displaying flyers in windows, putting up yard signs, brokerage sharing, sending digital communications such as email blasts or social media, sharing with multi-brokerage listing networks, sharing through any application available to the public, and placing digital marketing on public-facing websites including IDX, VOW, and syndication portals. If any of these actions have taken place, you've got one day to put the property in the MLS.
Your listing can be marketed as Coming Soon if it is in the Coming Soon status in REcolorado Matrix. If there is a For Sale sign in the yard and the listing is in the Coming Soon status, a “coming soon” rider or some indication of coming soon must be placed on the sign.
How do I report a violation?
It’s easy - if you see something, say something! If you believe a listing is being marketed and it’s not in the MLS, you can submit a report to our Data Accuracy & MLS Policy team using the ReportIt: Clear Cooperation Policy button on your CONNECT dashboard. We’ll ask you for key details, including the listing address, broker name or office, description, and date of the violation. If you have a timestamped photo or screenshot, include that as well.
What is one business day?
The Clear Cooperation Policy defines a Business Day as Monday through Sunday (7 days a week), including federal/state holidays, between the hours of 8:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m. (Mountain Time).
What do I do if I'm in violation?
Clear Cooperation violations are subject to immediate notice and fines. If you receive a notice that you are in violation of the Clear Cooperation Policy, enter your listing in the MLS as quickly as possible to avoid any additional fines. Violations of the Clear Cooperation Policy will result in hefty fines as determined by the REcolorado Board of Directors. Remember, we’re here to help you! If you have any questions about a violation notice, contact dataintegrity@REcolorado.com.
What do I do if the listing isn't ready but has already been marketed?
There are times when you want to start promoting your listing before it’s ready to drum up attention with potential buyers. With Clear Cooperation, the timer starts when you first market the property – whether or not it’s ready to be made Active – and you have one day to enter the listing in the MLS. There’s good news! You have the option to enter your listing in Coming Soon status for up to seven days. If the Coming Soon period has ended, but you’re still not quite ready to make the listing Active, you have a couple options:
1) Let the clock run out! After the Coming Soon period ends, REcolorado Matrix will automatically move the listing to Active. To let other brokers know when the property will be ready for showings, add details using the No Showings Until field. The listing with display as a “New” listing and will accrue Days in MLS.
2) Temporarily withdraw it! You can change the listing’s status to Withdrawn, which means there is still a valid listing agreement in place and marketing can continue, but there will be no showings until the listing is moved to Active status. DIM will pause until the listing is moved to Active status, and then it will appear as “Back on Market.”
Can I do an office exclusive for a short period of time then put it in the MLS?
No, marketing as an office exclusive for a short period of time before putting a listing in the MLS is not an acceptable marketing strategy per MLS rules. Brokerage Exclusive listings may only be marketed within your brokerage office – no public marketing may take place.
If your seller directs you not to include the listing in the MLS, you must submit the Brokerage Exclusive Listing form to REcolorado, which confirms that your seller understands the marketing limitations of a Brokerage Exclusive Listing. Brokerage Exclusive Listings that are advertised outside the brokerage will be in violation of the Clear Cooperation Policy and subject to fines.
Can I "cure" my Clear Cooperation Policy violation by removing the marketing?
No, once a listing has been marketed it must be listed in the MLS. Removing the marketing does not resolve the Clear Cooperation Policy violation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Timely Status Changes
One of the most important things REcolorado does for real estate professionals like you is to provide timely, accurate listing data across Colorado. Not only does that help you better serve your clients, but it also makes the housing market work! Status changes are an important part of the equation, and the REcolorado Data Accuracy & MLS Policy team takes violations very seriously.
When do I change to Pending?
You must change a listing to Pending status within three business days of a mutually executed contract. You only need the signatures – there’s no need to wait for earnest money! In fact, waiting on earnest money might put you at risk of a violation and fine. The status change should happen when the contract is executed, not when earnest money is deposited.
When do I change to Closed?
You must change your listing to Closed status within three business days of – wait for it – closing! Don’t worry about waiting for Title paperwork or closing documents to be completed, just go ahead and change the status to Closed. Use the Closing Checklist as a guide to help you gather the information you need at closing so you can complete the status change in a timely manner.
What is a business day?
When it comes to status changes, a business day is considered Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. This is a little different from the Clear Cooperation Policy definition of a business day, so don’t be surprised.
What can I do if I'm unable to make changes myself?
No problem - if you can’t make status changes yourself, we’re here to help! Just reach out to REcolorado Customer Success at support@REcolorado.com or 303.850.9576, option 1. They will gather the information needed to make the change for your listing. If an office admin can make changes on your behalf, use the Listing Input form, Closing Checklist, and additional resources to provide the information they need to make changes for you.
Real estate brokers and appraisers rely on MLS data for accurate square footage used in CMAs, appraisals, and more. To get started, review the REcolorado Square Footage Companion.
How do I enter square footage that is not part of the main residence?
Livable Structures. Some properties have additional structures that may be considered livable. Livable structures have walls, floors, and ceilings, and a separate heat source, and would be considered suitable for a person to occupy year-round. Indicate square footage for these structures in the Structure SqFt field. You can also enter number of beds/baths for these structures.
Outbuildings. Outbuildings are non-livable structures that may be used for animals or other purposes, such as a barn, stable, or workshop. Square footage for these structures should be included in the Outbuilding SqFt field.
What if public records are incorrect?
You always want to make sure your listing details reflect the property as accurately as possible. If the current square footage of the home doesn’t match what’s in public records, you should input the accurate square footage so it reflects the current condition of the home. Be sure to use the Area Source field to indicate the source of your measurements.
Do REcolorado Square Footage calculations follow ANSI Standards?
Square footage calculations in REcolorado’s MLS system follow the REcolorado MLS Rules and Regulations and RESO Data Dictionary. These may differ from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and other systems.
Tips and Tricks
Ensure that Room Location corresponds with your style of home. For example, rooms in the basement should be “Basement” and not “Lower” level.
If you need help as you enter your square footage, reference the Square Footage Companion.
Property Types and Subtypes
The labels we give properties make a big difference in conducting accurate CMAs, appraisals, and even searches. Consistency is key! Make sure you're selecting the options consistent with MLS definitions by referencing the Dictionary of Property Types.
What is the difference between Condos, Townhomes, and Multi-Family Homes?
This is easy when you think about Property Type and Subtype in terms of the ownership of the properties first, and how they appear or how you want to market them second. Property type must match the legal description, even if it looks different. Condominium should only be selected if “condominium” is in the legal description. Likewise, Townhome should only be used when “townhome” is in the legal description. Both condominium and townhome are ownership types. For all other attached properties, including those with Lot/Block in the legal description, select Multi-Family as the Property Subtype. Next, you can describe the structure of the home, or how it looks, including the option to select townhouse style, using the Structure Type field. Learn more in this blog post >>
What is the difference between Modular, Mobile, and Manufactured homes?
Mobile and Manufactured homes are distinct Property Types. A Manufactured Home is a structure on a steel chassis built after June 15, 1976, and not legally attached to the land where it sits. The home will have an installed HUD plate and tags, and there should be documents proving the VIN was purged from county records. Modular Homes fall under the Residential/Home Property Type/Subtype; select Modular under Architectural Style. A Mobile Home is a structure built on a steel chassis prior to June 15, 1976, which has a Vehicle Identification Number, and is without HUD plates and tags. Mobile Homes are only available options for Manufactured in Park listings. Land that contains a Mobile Home with a VIN would be entered as a land listing only, specifying that the mobile home is included with the sale.
A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to selling a home. Understand the rules related to listing photos to attract buyers and accurately represent the property by saying "Yes" to the MLS!
When are photos required?
Get the camera out! Once you have a valid listing agreement, you have three business days to enter your listing into the MLS and your listing must include at least one photo unless the seller instructs you otherwise. The photo must be specific to the property.
Can signs be in listing photos?
Many homes have a for sale sign in the yard, which may leave you wondering if your listing photograph can include the yard sign. The answer is yes, a yard sign is acceptable as long as it’s not the main focus of the photo. However, outside of the yard sign, personal or brokerage adverting in listing photographs is not permitted.
Can people be in listing photos?
Say cheese! It is recommended that property photos be specific to the property, but if you want to include “lifestyle photos” in your listing photos, that’s ok too. We suggest you consider the longevity of the photos and any potential privacy concerns before uploading photos with people in them. It is best practice to have permission from any people in the photo before uploading it. Photos for the purpose of advertising, including promoting a broker, is strictly prohibited.
Is virtual staging allowed?
Put your best foot forward! According to REcolorado Rules and Regulations, photos with virtual staging are acceptable. Virtual staging is not considered manipulating photos or the appearance of the property. Rather, it is showing the home in its best light, similar to physical staging.
What about doctored/photoshopped images?
Yes, you can edit your photos, but make sure any enhancements do not manipulate the true appearance of the property. Permanent objects cannot be removed, the appearance of the landscape cannot be modified, and visual improvements cannot be made if they do not already exist.
Can renderings be included?
When you are listing a new home, plan, or community, you may only have access to artist renderings and drawings or builder models. The good news is you can use these assets. Be sure to disclose that photos include renderings or builder models in the Private or Public Remarks field or through the ‘Enter description’ section by clicking on each photo. Avoid any company logos, as these photos will be removed.
Fair Housing Policy
The goal of Fair Housing is to ensure all potential buyers have access to all homes for sale. All listings entered into REcolorado's MLS system, Matrix, and displayed on REcolorado.com or the REcolorado App must comply with Fair Housing guidelines. When you and your clients search for listings through REcolorado, you'll find the most complete, accurate, and up-to-date listing data available!
Fair Housing Policy
- Read the Fair Housing Policy