By Debbie Wey
Vice President, Canopy MLS Administration
Showing agents should never video record a tour of another broker’s listing and post it on social media without express permission from the Listing Brokerage.
Also, agents who click the “share” link, to share listings posted by other people on social media comes with the risk of running afoul of the Realtor® Code of Ethics, Canopy MLS rules, and real estate commission regulations. Does the original poster have a listing agreement, or is it a FSBO that would require permission from the seller? What if the post is a fake seller listing or that of a “title pirate” (a term referring to a person/entity who creates the appearance that the person/entity has legal title to real property when they do not)? Are there copyright issues? Before “sharing” a listing on social media, always ask the listing agent or the original poster for permission. Follow up with an email for your records.
What is allowed? IDX allows Canopy MLS subscribers to post other brokers’ listings on social media that display minimum information (e.g. a one-line or “thumbnail,” text messages, “tweets,” etc. of 200 characters or less) but only when linked to a display that complies with IDX display rules, such as a link to the listing on your brokerage’s website.
The IDX rules state that displays of minimum information (e.g. a one-line or “thumbnail,” text messages, “tweets,” etc. of 200 characters or less) are exempt from complying with IDX display rules, but only when linked directly to a display that does comply with IDX display rules.
When posting other brokers’ listings on social media, avoid these common mistakes:
- Be careful to not exceed 200 characters with your post.
- Remove your post if the direct link to the IDX compliant display no longer works.
- Withdrawn and Expired listings are not included in IDX, and closed listings are included in IDX.
- A Facebook Live video of another brokerage’s listing is okay if it’s for a specific customer or client, but if it’s for an agent’s whole audience on Facebook, it would be considered advertising, and specific written authority from the listing brokerage would be required.
- If a social media platform does not allow for a direct link to an IDX compliant display (TikTok and Instagram are two examples), it cannot be used to post another broker’s listing without specific, written permission from the listing brokerage. This rule applies even if you are not mentioning the property’s address. Unless you’re “InstaFamous” with a ton of followers, Instagram does not provide the ability to include a direct link to a display that complies with the IDX rules. Do not post other brokers’ listings on Instagram or TikTok unless you have specific, written permission from the listing brokerage.
- Avoid adding additional text about the listing that might be subject to change, such as the price, MLS status, and open houses. If you do include text that is subject to change, it is your responsibility to update the social media post every 12 hours to ensure accuracy.
Follow the Code of Ethics and real estate commission regulations, too!
The Realtor® Code of Ethics and South Carolina General Statues both require real estate advertisements (including social media posts) to disclose the name of your firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner either in the advertisement or via a link to a display with all required disclosures. Standard of Practice 12-5 says, “REALTORS® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that REALTOR®’s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner either in the advertisement or in electronic advertising via a link to a display with all required disclosures. (Adopted 11/86, Amended 1/16)
The North Carolina Real Estate Commission Rule A.0105(a) requires advertisements to “conspicuously indicate that it is the advertisement of a broker or brokerage firm,” and the name of a provisional broker is insufficient. To be safe, always include your firm’s name on the social media page where the post appears.
Questions? Reach out to email@example.com or at 704-940-3159, Opt. 4.
Note: Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is a cooperative program where brokerages grant permission to display their listings on the websites, mobile apps and audio devices of other brokerages. A Virtual Office Website (VOW) is a Member Participant’s Internet website, or a feature of a Participant’s website, through which the Participant is capable of providing real estate brokerage services to consumers with whom the Participant has first established a broker-consumer relationship (as defined by state law) where the consumer has the opportunity to search MLS data, subject to the Participant’s oversight, supervision, and accountability.