Legal Blog - Compensation and Commission


Can I Enter a Listing in The MRIS that offers zero compensation to cooperating brokers?

Aug 23, 2016


Question: Can I enter a listing in the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MRIS) that offers zero compensation to cooperating brokers?

MRIS is a regional multiple listing system. The distinguishing characteristic of a multiple listing system is that it serves as a marketplace for competing real estate brokers to offer cooperative compensation to their competitors if those brokers are able to procure a buyer for the listing. Without the offer of cooperative compensation between competing brokers you lose the distinguishing feature that differentiates an advertising mechanism like a postcard mailing, classified advertisement in a newspaper, or a FSBO Web site from a multiple listing system.
MRIS will only accept three types of listings as eligible for inclusion in their system. All three types involve listings in which the seller has authorized the listing broker to offer cooperation and compensation to other competing brokers. While the seller must authorize the offer of compensation, it is the broker entering the listing in MRIS who ultimately is held responsible for paying the cooperating broker who procures the buyer. When a listing agent enters zero compensation in the listing, he or she is using the MLS in a way that defeats its purpose. In other words, if you offer zero you are really offering nothing.

The language in “Listings Accepted” and “Definitions” presumes that the listing company is offering something of value in order to be eligible for inclusion in MRIS.

There is nothing wrong with taking a listing that offers zero compensation to cooperative brokers. A seller is under no obligation to authorize a listing broker to pay cooperative compensation to other brokers. Such listings are often referred to as private exclusives or office exclusives.

However, MRIS does not accept such listings because they are in the business of helping brokers extend offers of cooperation and compensation to competing brokers. This is reflected in Article XI, Section 4 Exempted and Office Exclusive Listings B where it states “Office Exclusive Listing - Listing where the offer of cooperation and compensation is not made to other brokers. These listings may not be entered into MRIS.”

If a specific listing is not offering compensation, it can be advertised through other means (newspaper advertisements, flyers, Web sites, etc.) but does not fulfill the criteria for listings that MRIS agrees to accept.
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