How do I list my home For Sale By Owner in Rockland County? What is the Rockland County MLS and how can I list my property on the MLS for a flat fee?
The Rockland County MLS is the OneKey MLS, which is the result of the 2020 merger between the Hudson Gateway MLS which used to cover the Hudson Valley, and the Long Island MLS. The OneKey MLS is now the primary Multiple Listing Service in the Hudson Valley and is operated and wholly owned by both the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and the Long Island Board of Realtors.
Almost every listing in these four counties will be listed on the OneKey MLS. In fact, the MLS requires participants to upload every listing located in their core jurisdiction of Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester Counties.
As a result, it’s important to understand that there is not a separate, independent Rockland County MLS in existence.*
*Going forward, when we mention the Rockland County MLS, please understand that it is synonymous with the OneKey MLS.
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What kind of listings does the Rockland County MLS accept?
The Rockland County MLS only accepts Exclusive Right to Sell or Exclusive Agency Listing Agreements. Open listings or listings without a written agreement are definitely not allowed. Although the MLS offers a template Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement, Realtors are free to use an agreement of their own choosing.
The staff at the MLS simply want to ensure that Realtors actually have a right to list a property and that they are offering some form of compensation to fellow Realtors.
What kind of fines can the Rockland County MLS impose on Realtors?
The Rockland County MLS imposes some hefty fines on its participants if certain rules are not followed.
These fines are automatic in some cases. For example, listing agreements must be uploaded within 24 hours of “all necessary signatures being obtained,” or subject to an automatic fine. Weekends and holidays do not matter, Realtors literally have 24 hours to upload the listing agreement after they’ve posted an exclusive sale listing!
Furthermore, at least one photograph must be uploaded onto a listing within 72 hours. You can upload up to 30 photographs onto a OneKey MLS listing, but they require at least one photo or the listing Realtor will be fined.
Violation fines begin at $25 for missing photos, and up to $5,000 for other violations.
The Rockland County MLS actually has a system that scans all listings automatically and daily to see if any information doesn’t look right and for inappropriate language. Furthermore, it’s very easy for Realtors to police themselves and report each other to the MLS staff.
The Board of Directors of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors voted on and created the following fine chart for HGMLS violations, which has been carried over to the OneKey MLS:
Failure to input a listing: $50 per day up to $5,000
Failure to submit photo: $25, $50 (after 7 days), $100 after 30 days
Failure to make a price or status change: $500
Failure to submit listing agreement: $15, $50 (7 days), $100 (30 days)
Failure to submit listing extension agreement: $15, $50 (7 days), $100 (30 days)
Use of another participant’s photos without authorization: $50 per day
Note: This chart is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather it is presented for illustrative purposes. OneKey MLS members have access to the comprehensive Rules and Regulations through their member portal.
Listing agents must be available to show a listing that’s in the MLS
If a listing is marked as active in the Rockland County MLS, then the listing agent must oblige showing requests within reason.
It’s understandable if the owner only wants showings to occur at certain hours, or if there are tenants there that make showings difficult, but listing brokers can be fined if they give the impression that they are not showing a property on purpose so they can find a direct buyer.
Essentially, if a listing is marked as active and the listing Realtor keeps refusing to show it after multiple requests by a buyer’s agent, the buyer’s agent can go ahead and report the listing broker to be fined!
If a listing broker is having trouble getting access to the property they’ve advertised, they can either fill out an Owner’s Instruction to Discontinue Showings form or just list the property as Temporarily Off Market.
If a listing broker legitimately can’t get access to their own listing for a day or two, that’s acceptable. However, if the seller will be going on vacation for a week, then the listing’s Realtor should set the listing to Temporarily Off Market.
What’s not allowed on the Rockland County MLS
Self-promotional material or branding of any type is prohibited on Rockland County MLS listings. That means the listing description, photos or virtual tours cannot have any phone numbers, email addresses, names, websites or logos of any type. Even open house information is not allowed in the property description of OneKey MLS listings.
The fine for putting self-promotional material or branding on a MLS listing is $500 for the first violation, and up to $5,000.
Fines for copyright violations in the MLS
When listing photographs are uploaded into the Rockland County MLS, the copyright for the photographs automatically go to the listing Realtor’s brokerage. The brokerage owns any photographs that have been listed by its agents.
Therefore, owners must be very careful about giving property photographs to their listing broker to use. Have you ever given these same photos to another agent to use? If so, then it’s very likely that you can’t use them if they’ve already been uploaded before into the MLS!
Realtors can be fined $50 a day for the use of another MLS participant’s photographs without express written consent.
If you’ve purchased a flat fee MLS listing that means this and any other fines levied by the Rockland County MLS will be passed directly onto you! Please take this lesson to heart and do not give our partner brokers photographs which you do not solely have ownership rights to.
Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided. Hauseit LLC is a Licensed Real Estate Broker, licensed to do business in New York under license number 10991232340. Principal Office: 244 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2950, New York, NY 10001.