President's Update: Accurate + Complete + Timely = Reliable

Over the past several months, ACTRIS MLS has diligently worked to bring a renewed focus to compliance and an orderly marketplace. Back in August, the ACTRIS MLS Board of Directors approved a new ruleset that is both is easier to understand and follow. While most of the changes were relatively minor, there were three important changes worth noting.

The first major change to the MLS rules impacts IDX/VOW feeds. To protect client’s privacy, VOW (Virtual Office Websites) and IDX (Internet Data Exchange) feeds will now only display one photo of a sold listing and will no longer be allowed to display sold price.

The second major change affects the availability for showings. Previously, Active listings must have been available to show once entered into the MLS. Under the new rule set, Active listings must be available to schedule or hold showings within four (4) business days of being entered into the MLS.

The last major change, and particularly the most important, addresses compliance. The renewed compliance effort is about getting back to the basics of a reliable marketplace - focusing on the education of our Rules and correction of MLS data. With the ruleset changes, escalation pathways are in place to hold repeat disrupters accountable. If the same rule is repeatedly broken, both the agent and responsible broker could be subject to required education courses, disciplinary hearings, and/or monetary penalties. If all parties take the time and energy to understand why initial violations occurred and how to correct them, escalations should be few and far between.

Under the revised ruleset, violations can fall under four different categories, each with its own escalation pathway. Moving forward, each of the rules will fall into one of four compliance categories and respective escalation process:

  • Category 1: Relating to any listing information provided by a participant or subscriber
  • Category 2: Relating to mandatory submissions of listings to the service
  • Category 3: Relating to any IDX and VOW display rules
  • Category 4: Relating to listing copyright violations, misuse of MLS data/tools, unauthorized MLS access, and offers of cooperative compensation


With the implementation of the new ruleset and compliance escalations, an education period has gone into effect for ACTRIS MLS subscribers from September 1 to September 30. While the rules will be in place and subscribers will receive notices and warnings about violations, the escalation process won’t officially begin until October 1.

To help members understand the changes, an MLS Compliance Resources Kit was launched at the beginning of September to kick off the education period. The kit contains downloadable resources, MLS Quick Tips videos, conversation guides, and more to get subscribers and participants comfortable with compliance.

Not only does the MLS Compliance Resources Kit help familiarize Participants and Subscribers with the new rules, but the messaging and materials emphasize the core data competencies of ACTRIS MLS. Accurate, complete, and timely data equals a reliable MLS. In the fast-paced marketplace we’re experiencing, these data priorities are more important than ever. If the data is accurate, complete, and timely, then it’s data you and your clients can rely on.

Be sure to bookmark the MLS Compliance Resources Kit, where we will continue to dig into the core data priorities, along with the categories and their escalation paths. In mid-October, be on the lookout for a new Compliance Education Course that will launch for new agents, new Subscribers, and all our members dedicated to keeping the data clean.

  • This article previously ran in RealtyLine Austin's September edition.