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Let’s review one of our duties as Realtors in the NAR Code of Ethics, Article 16:

Realtors shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other Realtors have with clients.

Following this is the Standard of Practice 16-1:
Article 16 is not intended to prohibit aggressive or innovative business practices which are otherwise ethical and does not prohibit disagreements with other Realtors involving commission, fees, compensation or other forms of payment or expenses.

The bottom line is that you can solicit listings within the bounds of the Code of Ethics, Bright MLS Rules and the local standards of practice. Please refer to the flowchart by clicking here for a summary of what actions can be taken depending on the status of the listing in Bright MLS.

An “expired” status means there is no longer a contract between that listing agent/broker and the seller. It does not necessarily mean the property is available. You must search for the address in Bright MLS to confirm the property has not been relisted with a new MLS number before contacting the seller.

Both “withdrawn” and “temporarily off the market” indicate there is still a contract between the listing agent/broker and the seller. You cannot contact these sellers.

A “cancelled” status means that the contract between the listing agent/broker and seller has been terminated. You must search for the address in Bright MLS to confirm the property has not been relisted with a new MLS number before contacting the seller.

For any listing, regardless of status and including “active”, “active under contract” and “pending”, the NAR Code of Ethics offers very specific parameters when it is acceptable to contact a seller directly.

Lisa Naples, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices HomeSale Realty

Facts, opinions and information expressed in the Closing Comments Blog represent the work of the author and are believed to be accurate, but are not guaranteed. The Lancaster County Association of Realtors® is not liable for any potential errors, omissions or outdated information. If errors are noted within a post, please notify the Association. Posts represent the author’s opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association.

Lancaster County Association of Realtors®

Lancaster County Association of Realtors®