The Strength of the MLS: Cooperation and Compensation Among Brokers

An Update on NAR® Policy 8.0 from Stellar MLS CEO Merri Jo Cowen

NAR® Policy 8.0: Clear Cooperation has been approved by the National Association of Realtors®, and some changes will be coming our way in the next few months.

The policy solidifies that the MLS exists for cooperation (and compensation) among brokerages and that if participants are in the MLS, cooperation is the first, not the last, option to promote a listing.

Stellar MLS policy allows five business days to enter a listing into Matrix or file a temporary exclusion/office exclusion form. The new 8.0 policy clarifies that once public marketing occurs the listing must be entered into the MLS system within one business day. The Clear Cooperation policy does not permit public marketing of a listing during the 5-business day window or during an exclusion time period filed through an exclusion form.

Watch my video for more information about  8.0 and how Stellar MLS plans to move forward to adhere to NAR®'s guidelines.

-Merri Jo Cowen



  • November 2019: NAR approves new rule
  • January & February 2020:
    • Stellar Board of Directors reviews 8.0 policy impact
    • Educational campaign on the impact of Policy 8.0 for Stellar customers will be ongoing
    • Stellar MLS prepares to integrate policy into operations


  • March 2020: Stellar MLS officially adopts Policy 8.0 and updated exclusion forms will be released, exempt listing rule will be updated

The Future

  • May 2020: NAR policy 8.0 takes effect nationwide for all MLSs

MLS Policy Statement 8.0

The new Policy 8.0: Clear Cooperation will go into effect for Stellar MLS subscribers in Spring of 2020. The policy as written and published by NAR® is below.

Within one business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

The NAR MLS Clear Cooperation Policy

New Policy


What Counts as Public Marketing?

Policy 8.0 states that a property must be listed in the MLS within one business day of marketing a property to the public.
Public marketing includes, but is not limited to:

Marketing Examples

How Does This Impact Stellar's Exclusion Policy?

The Owners Authorization to Exclude Listing form and Stellar MLS rule will be updated to comply with the Clear Cooperation 8.0 policy. Updated exclusion forms will be provided for use in Spring of 2020.

In the meantime, continue to use the current exclusion form if you need a listing out of the MLS. As a reminder, the exclusion form applies if a seller does not want their listing in the MLS. The Owners Authorization to Exclude Listing From the MLS Form should be used to keep you in compliance.


Form Download

Triggers for Policy 8.0

Triggers[2] Copy



Information on Stellar MLS training for Policy 8.0 coming soon!

Frequently Asked Questions


Brokers and MLSs from across the country asked NAR to consider policy that will reinforce the consumer benefits of cooperation. The MLS creates an efficient marketplace and reinforces the pro-competitive, pro-consumer benefits that REALTORS® have long sought to support. After months of discussion and consideration within NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board, this proposal was brought forth for the industry to discuss and consider, then approved by NAR's Board of Directors.

NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board is made up of brokers and MLS executives from across the country. Two dozen volunteers review industry concerns from a wide range of business and regional viewpoints. Potential policy changes are discussed within the group to create a positive impact on the industry and to address broker needs within the marketplace. The policy was strongly supported by the NAR MLS Committee and the NAR Board of Directors.

Yes. By establishing a national policy, it is mandatory that all REALTOR® Association MLSs adopt the policy and have the same consistent standard.

The obligations of Statement 8.0 were specifically adopted to address concerns with residential “for sale” exclusive listing contracts required to be filed with the service. Based on the Advisory Board’s discussions that did not include commercial properties, rental properties, and new construction developments with multiple properties (single family homes, condos, etc.) Those property types, and other exclusive listings that require mandatory submission, can be included in the application of Statement 8.0 at local discretion.

No. The new policy does not include an “opt out.” Any listing that is “publicly marketed” must be filed with the service and provided to other MLS Participants for cooperation within (1) one business day.

No. "Office exclusive" listings are an important option for sellers concerned about privacy and wide exposure of their property being for sale. In an office exclusive listing, direct promotion of the listing between the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage, and one-to-one promotion between these licensees and their clients, is not considered public advertising.

Common examples include divorce situations and celebrity clients. It allows the listing broker to market a property among the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage. If office exclusive listings are displayed or advertised to the general public, however, those listings must also be submitted to the MLS for cooperation.

Yes. "Private listing networks" that include more brokers or licensees than those affiliated with the listing brokerage constitute public advertising or display pursuant to Policy Statement 8.0. Listings shared in multi-brokerage networks by participants must be submitted to the MLS for cooperation.

Yes. Policy Statement 8.0 applies to any listing that is or will be available for cooperation. Pursuant to Policy Statement 8.0, "coming soon" listings displayed or advertised to the public by a listing broker must be submitted to the MLS for cooperation with other participants.

No. Stellar MLS requires that a broker submit a listing within 5 business days of a signed listing agreement. If a listing is taken and is not yet ready to be marketed/shown, an Owners Exclusion Form must be filed. If a listing is marketed to the public, however, Policy Statement 8.0’s 24 hour turn-in timeline goes into effect.

Business days exclude Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. For consistency among all REALTOR® Association MLSs, the approved timeframe is 1 business day.; “holidays” include all recognized federal and state holidays.

Yes. By joining the MLS, Participants agree to be bound by the MLS Rules and Regulations. Per the policy’s rationale, the public marketing of a listing indicates that the MLS participant has concluded that cooperation with other MLS participants is in their client’s best interests.

The MLS does not accept FSBO properties. Only listings that are required to be input per Stellar MLS Rules and Regulations Article 5.1.