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5 Common HMLS Violations and How to Avoid Them

August 23, 2019 in Guest Columns

Hi, I’m Elaina Lueker, and I’m the compliance manager here
at Heartland MLS. That means that if you’ve received a violation for anything, you’ve probably heard from me. Giving out violations and penalties is not fun, and it’s definitely not my favorite part of my job. I’d much rather answer questions and educate up front so you don’t have to receive a violation at all. That’s why I’ve put together this list of common violations that you can use as a reference so you know how to avoid them.

Late Contract Status Reporting

What’s important to HMLS when it comes to changing your
listings to pending, show for backup or contingent is that you have a valid,
signed contract. If that is that case, you must change the status on your
listing within one calendar day. Sometimes people get confused about this rule,
thinking they should wait until they have earnest money, inspection resolution
proof of financing before they change the status to pending, show for backup or
contingent. That’s not the case. In order to keep our data as timely as
possibly for all agents, be sure to change that status at most one calendar
day after the contract is signed.

Entering a Listing without a Valid Exclusive Right to

This one isn’t even a HMLS thing as much as a license law thing.
The rule we have in place is to protect you from possible legal ramifications
from advertising without an effective Exclusive Right to Sell contract. If we see
it, we are obligated to pull the listing down to prevent you from getting in
trouble with the real estate commission. License law forbids advertising a
property in any way before you have a valid Exclusive Right to Sell. I’ve
noticed people confusing this with their Temporary Waivers. Regardless of
whether you have a waiver, you must have that valid Exclusive Right to Sell
contract before the listing can be entered. That means that on the Exclusive
Right to Sell contract, the effective list date (the beginning date or the seller’s signature
date on the contract, whichever is later) has passed. That makes the contract valid.

Not Entering a Pre MLS Listing in Two Calendar Days

If you have a temporary waiver on a property, that listing
should be entered into HMLS within two calendar days of the effective list date
on your Exclusive Right to Sell contract. If your property is under a temporary
waiver, it must still be entered into the system, and it must be entered under the
Pre MLS status. The reason for this is so we can keep our data as up to date as
possible. When a customer ask their agent about a property they found online,
and the agent knows nothing about it, because it’s not on the MLS, it can look
unprofessional. Prompt entry of Pre MLS listings is not only a HMLS rule, but
it’s also a professional courtesy to your peers.

Non-Compliant Data

When you’re entering a listing into HMLS, turn-by-turn
directions to the property from a major road are required. Saying “use your
GPS” or “look it up” in that directions field may come off as disrespectful to
fellow agents and those online directions may not be accurate, especially in
newer developments. Another one that is not optional is adding at least one
relevant photo of the property within 48 hours of entry of the listing. We all
know it’s a fast-paced market right now. People are going to see your listing,
and they’re going to want to know what it looks like.

Not Properly Updating the Off Market Date

When you’re going from one off market status to another, the
off market date needs to be changed accordingly. For example, if you have a
listing and you change the status to Temporarily Off Market, you add the date
of that status change in the Off Market Date field. But then if that seller
later decides to cancel, many agents forget to update the off market date when
they change the status to Canceled.

When the Matrix system compares the date the status was
changed to Canceled and the date entered in the Off Market Date field and
notices a discrepancy it thinks the agent didn’t update their status within two
calendar days of the cancelation date and sends out an automated violation. Of
course, if it’s just that you forgot to change the date, you can work that out
with me and you wouldn’t be fined, but to avoid that step and to keep our data
accurate, just remember to change that date when you change the status from one
off market date to another.

My goal is to help agents better understand the rules to
avoid violations and fines, so if you’re not quite positive what the rule is on
an issue you could potentially receive a violation for, please feel free to call. HMLS has an amazing customer support team at
your disposal. It’s a free benefit that comes with your subscription to HMLS,
so please take advantage of it when you have a question. Just call 913-661-1600
and ask for HMLS customer support.

Ric Alessio • November 14, 2023 at 7:59 am

How many months does your listing need to be off the mls in order to be able to restart DOM?


    Elaina Lueker • November 14, 2023 at 10:07 am

    Hello Rick! CDOM is purged when the listing status is changed to Sold, 90 days after the expiration date for the status
    X, & 90 days after off market date for status N (Cancelled) & W (Withdrawn). Please note a new MLS# is required to see these changes after obtaining a Cancellation Agreement (if needed) and a new Exclusive Right to Sell Contract. Feel free to contact me at 913-266-5940 if you have further questions or concerns. Elaina Lueker, HMLS and Compliance Manager


Rhonda Adams • February 20, 2022 at 10:56 am

If an agent lists a home as Pre MLS is there a lime limit for how long before it goes active? I have seen it for several months more than once. Then these homes are miraculously sold “sight unseen” and go active for minutes and then pending. This seems to be to work around for showing Pre MLS to select agents or in one case used by the Seller/Agent, which especially seems suspicious. It was listed Pre MLS to go active in 2 months and within days it went active, and in 3 minutes pending. When I called to inquire I was told the Broker said that if they had a contract in hand all they had to do was list as active and then immediately to pending. Of course with the caveat of sight unseen.


    Amber Vandegrift • February 21, 2022 at 9:58 am

    Hello Rhonda, the future MLS Active Date for a ‘Pre MLS’ status listing can be a date of at least two weeks before the expiration date of the Exclusive Right to Sell agreement. Some sellers prefer this as they are looking for a home and don’t want to sell theirs until they do.

    A ‘Pre MLS’ status listing may not be shown before being modified to ‘Active’ status; however, with the inventory being so low, sight unseen contracts are being written and accepted more often than usual. This is not a violation of Heartland MLS Rules and Regulations. This status is required to be modified to ‘Active’ and then to a contract status within one calendar day of the effective date of the Sales Contract.

    Please feel free to contact HMLS Customer Support at 913-661-1600 for any further assistance.


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