Are There MLSs that Require Their Members to Be NAR Members?

November 19th, 2018

David in California asks:

Are there MLSs that require subscribers to be members of the NAR or local or state real estate associations? That does not seem to be the case in large parts of California. If it is a requirement in other parts of the US, do you have any idea how widespread this is?

I have never heard of MLSs requiring its members to join the NAR.

The first-hand experience that I’ve had with being a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) was from 1999 to 2010 in the Seattle market working with my wife. The broker that we worked for (John L Scott) encouraged (but did not require) all its agents to be NAR members. The reasoning was that the NAR had a lot of great professional Realtor training and ethics standards for agents that the brokers supported.

As described in the video above, the goal of the NAR is to increase the professionalism of Realtors and that is also the general goal of brokers too.

Does anyone know of an MLS that requires its members to join the NAR?

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4 Responses to “Are There MLSs that Require Their Members to Be NAR Members?”

  • I am not sure they can make that a requirement as it would have to be arequirement of all vendors as well. With that said, I think it’s a good idea to be members of local boards, especially those that will give you access to an ekey. Plus there is an added benefit of networking with active Realtors.

  • Now this is a can of worms. The short answer, non-realtor vendors, such as photographers, appraisers, inspectors, etc don’t have to be member of other Realtor groups, local or national. They also have limited access of viewing content – not creating content. Even Realtor agents have limited access on the content creating side limited to themselves (or team if part of a team). That is why I can’t load photos for other Realtors (thankfully). Brokers and the clerical office assistants have broader access but even that is limited the office(s) of the broker.

    Now the can of worms. First, State law in order to represent/practice real estate and receive compensation as an authorized party to the transaction, must be licensed. It also establishes the Broker system that agents must work under the ‘broker’s umbrella’ and not independently. Next, NAR – they own the trademark to the word REALTOR, and in order to call oneself a REALTOR, one must be a member of NAR which entails several things, such as the Code of Ethics and the all important member ID known as NRDS #. That NAR membership number is interwoven into local associations and MLS and is the number used for me to sign into both the local association (dues payments, classes, etc) and MLS which are two separate organizations. Part of the local association requirement is passing (attending might be a better word) the NAR Code of Ethic – initial and 2 year refreshers – which they offer. Actual interaction with NAR is minimal as the local association does the heavy lifting, in the dues breakdown including a portion going to NAR which is a mandatory charge (legislative advocacy group is optional and can be unchecked when paying dues). Moving on to MLS, remember the ‘broker umbrella’, looking at the membership requirements in the by-laws, the only Realtor members are the Brokers. Agents gain access through the Broker who then have their own agent dues payment separate from the Broker’s dues.

    Now hardball…Locally, not certain if MLS or the local association (or both) which each have their separate dues is the issue of dues payment. To assure payment, you can’t elect out as 100% of the agents under a Broker must pay. If an agent doesn’t pay within the late fee time, it is not as simple as deleting access to the agent. Rather, access is denied to the Broker impacting the entire office. Needless to say, that won’t happen as the Broker takes action removing them from the office. Technically can’t fire a W2 employee which agents are but can terminate their contract, removing them from the ‘broker umbrella’ which has other ramifications.

  • In Oregon for the RMLS (we have a couple of mls boards, Larry would be dealing primarily with the WVMLS), to have access to the rmls as a broker you have to be a member of the NAR, If you hang your shingle at a principle brokers office the RMLS requires all in house brokers to be REALTORS (NAR) if the principle belongs to the RMLS. To be a broker in Oregon you only have to hold an Oregon Real Estate license.

  • In Corpus Christi, the MLS is operated by the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors – being a member is prerequisite to have access (and only licensed agents, brokers, and appraisers have access) and to be a member means you’re also paying dues for TAR (Texas Association of Realtors) and NAR.

    As a vendor affiliate member (like I am) of CCAR, I don’t receive access to the MLS, nor ability to upload for agents, nor ability to lease a Supra e-Key. Essentially it’s a step toward getting access to agent contact lists and marketing towards agents.

    So I guess you could say that technically agents are required to be NAR members for access to the MLS here.

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