As a real estate agent, it's crucial to understand the most common listing violations that can occur when adding a property to the MLS. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to legal issues, fines, and a damaged reputation. Therefore, it's important to be aware of the top 6 listing violations and how to avoid them.
One of the most common listing violations is not properly defining a bedroom. A bedroom is a room that must be designed for sleeping, has a closet, has a door or entrance where a door could be reasonably installed, and has an emergency means of escape to the exterior. This usually is a window or door that leads to outside. The window must have a minimum height of 24 inches and minimum width of 20 inches — to be large enough to use as a method of egress.
Miscategorizing a property as a waterfront property is a common violation of MLS rules. For a property to be classified as waterfront, it must meet the following requirements: the body of water must exist year-round and must exist either just beyond the property line, on the property line, or inside the property line. The body of water must also be clearly visible to the naked eye from some position within the property line that a person would normally occupy, such as a rooftop patio, yard, or deck. Land may exist between the property and the water, but it must have no permanent improvements and must offer the property owner authorized and unimpeded access to the water.
Photos violations are also common MLS violations. Every listing must have at least one exterior front-facing photo, except for land, commercial, and business listings. This photo does not need to be the main photo, but it is a requirement to have at least one front-facing exterior photo. Avoid including any contact information or branding in photos or videos. Virtual staging is permitted, but no formatting is allowed, such as collages, text, watermarks, branding, identifiable enhancements, or frames.
When adding an address to the MLS, incorrectly entering the city or zip code is considered an MLS violation. To ensure accuracy, it's important to be consistent with property appraisers or tax records. This consistency helps potential buyers find the property and ensures the address is correctly listed in relevant documents. Inaccurate addresses can lead to confusion and delays in the selling process, frustrating both buyers and sellers.
Driving directions are often overlooked in MLS listings, which can result in MLS violations. In this field, you cannot write any of the following: "Use GPS," "See a map," or "Use MapQuest." In fact, leaving this field blank is also considered a violation. Instead, provide turn-by-turn directions from the nearest intersection or expressway to the property.
Finally, one of the most common MLS violations is misclassifying a property’s property type. Here’s a refresher of the common property types:
Freestanding residential buildings not sharing a wall with another building. Single-family homeowners typically own both the building and the land it sits on.
Single-level structures that share at least one common wall with a neighboring villa in a multi-unit building.
Multifloor homes that share two walls with neighbors unless located at the end of a building.
Condominiums, or condos for short, are buildings composed of individual units owned by their occupants. Unlike apartments, condo owners actually own the interior space of their units. Condos typically share walls, floors, and ceilings with other units.
A residential property consisting of more than one housing unit. Each unit will likely have its own main entrance, kitchen space, and bathroom. Residential income property types include duplex, triplex, and fourplex. Beyond four units, the property becomes commercial.
In conclusion, understanding the most common listing violations can help agents avoid legal issues, fines, and a damaged reputation. Keep these six common violations in mind when entering your next listing or when auditing your current active ones.
If you have ever received an MLS violation notice, please share it in the comments to help other realtors avoid making the same mistake!