MLS Compliance

Avoiding the Fine Notice

Fine notices can be alarming, especially if you thought you had already corrected an issue, but a fine notice doesn’t always mean you’ll have an invoice to pay. In order to better understand how to avoid getting these notices, it’s helpful to know how penalties are processed. 
Though there are some exceptions we will mention later, most violations can be corrected in order to avoid a fine. For these types of violations, you will receive a “1st Notice” asking you to address an issue with the listing.
In most cases, the notice will ask you to reply in order to allow staff to note this correction. There are a few violations that the system notes on its own (Past Projected Closing Date, for example), but many other types of corrections will need to be manually marked as corrected in order to prevent the Fine Notice from generating 3 business days after the first. 
Replying to note your correction can help prevent this notice from being generated, but even if you get one, remember the fine notice is just a flag. No invoice yet exists. Before that happens, a member of staff will double check the “fined” listings to see if the corrections were made but not properly notated. This can happen if staff is unaware that the issue was corrected or if it simply doesn’t get marked as such prior to the generation of the notice. If you do get a fine notice for an issue you corrected, please reply at that time so the flag can be removed. 
Typically, you will not receive an invoice for a violation you corrected. The exceptions are if your violation remained uncorrected too long before the issue was addressed, or in some cases, the penalty is immediate. 
The latter will usually be apparent upon your initial notice which will read “Immediate Fine Notice.” Correction is required but does not remove the penalty in these cases. If you are unfamiliar with the immediate fine violations, we encourage you to visit the Immediate Fine List
If you do receive a penalty invoice email, please be sure to read it thoroughly as it will note the violation, the date of the infraction, and the amount due. It will also note if you have a waiver available, which could be used to remove a base level listing penalty of $100 but only if requested (and after the correction is made). 
The most important thing to remember is we are here to help, and anytime you get a compliance notice, you can simply hit reply in order to reach a member of staff. Thank you for your help ensuring ValleyMLS is as complete and accurate as possible.

Temporarily Off Market (TOM)

A current listing contract exists between a property owner and a broker. This status is to be used when the property cannot be shown. Property can remain in this status for up to 30 days maximum. TOM will not appear on the Hot sheet.       
NOTE:  If the listing remains in this status for the full 30 days allowable, the system will maintain the listing to Active automatically. Re-entering TOM after using this status for 30 days would result in a violation.                                   
MARKETING: Temporary Off Market suspends the marketing of the property. The marketing prohibition applies to ALL promotion of the property during the period in TOM status. If a property continues to be advertised, the TOM status may not be applied to the listing.       
NOTE: This includes removing the For Sale sign.  
SHOWINGS: No showings are allowed while in TOM status. If a showing is scheduled, the TOM status may not be applied to the listing.
DOCUMENTATION: The SELLER is the only individual that can initiate a listing being classified as TOM. As such, any TOM listing will require certification, signed by the seller, indicating their initiation of the TOM status which must accompany any TOM listing in the MLS. 
Please be sure to use the most up-to-date version of the listing change notice and attach it to the listing as an associated document.

Coming Soon Status​

A Coming Soon status is a temporary status and is limited to 5 Calendar days.
  • An executed MLS listing agreement is on file. (Upload the completed addendum as an associated document.)
  • Seller requests and authorizes Broker to utilize the “Coming Soon” status in the MLS system while the Property is being prepared for sale and marketing.
  • Seller understands that the Property will be entered into the MLS in Coming Soon status and in accordance with the MLS rules.
  • If seller elects not to sign the Coming Soon addendum, then no Coming Soon sign, rider or advertising on the property, representing Coming Soon, or any variation thereof, can take place until the home is Active in the Multiple Listing Service.
  • Seller understands that a property in Coming Soon status is not eligible to be shown by any licensee, (including the listing agent, or a buyer’s agent) until the listing status is changed to “Active” in the MLS. A $1000 fine will be charged to the listing and buyer’s agent if the home is shown prior to being made active
  • The “Coming Soon” status is a temporary status and requires an “Expected On-Market Date” no more than 6 days in the future which will be shown on all displays of the listing by the MLS. If the listing is not changed to an Active status prior to reaching this date, it will automatically roll to an Active status on the morning of your Expected On-Market date OR the 6th day it has been in the MLS, whichever is sooner. (Day 1 is the ENTRY DATE regardless of time.)
  • The “Expected On-Market Date” of a listing in Coming Soon status will be published on all subscriber and agent displays of MLS data by MLS (e.g., listing reports,, etc.).
  • If the property is ready and available prior to the expected on-market date, the status of the listing can be updated to “Active” in the MLS.
  • Coming Soon listings do not calculate Days on Market (DOM) while in this status. Once the status is Active, DOM count will begin.
  • The Coming Soon listing must contain a minimum of one photo upon submission and must be a CURRENT front exterior photo or rendering, aerial photo, or water view of the property before a listing will be active. Front exterior photos must show a majority of the total home/building and the broker’s yard signage may not be visible in the photo/image.
A listing broker may not re-list a property in COMING SOON status unless:
  • The listing has been in EXPIRED or CANCELLED status for over 60 days, or
  • The property is listed with a new brokerage firm, or
  • The property has been sold or rented.
  • Note: Listings may not be transferred from any other status, to COMING SOON
MARKETING: Coming Soon listings can be promoted (as coming soon) on MLS Public Website only. Agents may also display a yard sign and may advertise coming soon listings on social media once the property is listed in the MLS. Coming soon listings will be excluded from distribution to third-party sites.
SHOWINGS: No showings are allowed during the time the property is listed in Coming Soon Status. A penalty will be assessed to the Listing and Buyers Agent for any showings that occur during the time in this status.
DOCUMENTATION: The COMING SOON ADDENDUM MUST be attached to the listing (or otherwise provided to within 3 working days of a entering the property into the MLS.

Compliance With TOM / CS

Compliance Update: July 25th, 2023

ValleyMLS rules do not allow a listing to be entered with a non-member as a co-lister. However, what if you want to co-list with another member from a different office? What if it’s a member of Greater Alabama MLS? What does it even mean to co-list?

Compliance Update: July 19, 2023

🏠 Did you know, in most cases, the person who takes a photo owns the copyright unless they specifically release it? That means even if you pay a photographer to take the photos, unless you also pay for the copyright in an explicit agreement, you may see those same photos appear on someone else’s listing. 
This is NOT a violation of MLS rules, as long as the copyright holder gave their permission.

Compliance Update: March 7th, 2023

🏠 House built prior to 1978? You are now required to attach a seller-signed Lead Paint Disclosure to the listing as an associated document.
🏠 Virtual Tour linked from your MLS listing? Absolutely! But remember: no promotional information, contact information, or branding in the video itself OR on the page hosting the video.
🏠 Motivated Seller? MLS rules do NOT allow this phrase or any other wording that implies the full terms of the listing have not been disclosed.
🏠 Listing an online auction? Only licensed auctioneers may list auction properties in ValleyMLS, no exceptions.
🏠 Seller not the legal owner of the property? Only the legal owner of the property can give permission to list property in ValleyMLS.

Compliance Update: February 14th, 2023

Listing Properties That Have No Address
The address of the property is a required piece of listing information, but not all properties have a legal address. It has been a common practice to list such properties as “0” or “00” or in some cases, just a blank in the street number field. While Paragon is able to display these as unique listings, it does cause issues with property histories, and perhaps more importantly, when the listings travel to syndicated and IDX-driven websites, the “0” or blank addresses can cause display issues. ValleyMLS would like to offer you some guidance on a better way to identify properties with no legal address.
I’m listing a property without a legal address. What now?
Should I just make up an address or use a neighboring address?
No. Using an incorrect or made-up address will interfere with the property history and could cause confusion with the offer/contract.
Should I use a 0 as the street number or leave the field blank?
ValleyMLS will soon no longer allow listings to be saved with a blank or only zeros in the street number field.
So, how do I get around this?
As an example, if you were listing property on Chapel Road, instead of “0 Chapel Road,” we recommend using one of the following in the street number field:
               Lot #, if you have one (Ex. “Lot 1 Chapel Road”) or
               Number of Acres (Ex. “1.5 acres Chapel Road”)
What if it’s a Proposed Construction listing (which means there isn’t yet a lot assigned to it)?
In this case, we recommend using the floorplan name. (Ex. “The Delano Chapel Road) This way, you are clearly advertising the floorplan without a specific lot. This virtual listing can remain active for as long as this floorplan is available. When a lot is put under contract, the selected floorplan (Proposed Construction) listing can be cloned into an Under Construction listing with an address and Lot #.
In each case, you are actually offering more information about the listing while allowing for a unique identifier that will promote listing visibility.
If you have any questions about listing properties without addresses, please contact the MLS dept. at 256-489-0553 or

Compliance Update: November 14th, 2022

ValleyMLS Rules and Regs have been updated to reflect the following changes:
  • For any dwelling built prior to 1978, the listing agent will now be required to upload a seller-signed Lead Based Paint Disclosure to the listing as an associated document. Failing to do so will be considered a Category 1 violation.
  • ValleyMLS no longer allows listings of “Equitable Interest.” In other words, only the legal owner of the property can list it for sale in ValleyMLS. Equitable owners may not list property in the MLS.
  • The rules for Public Remarks have been expanded! See the changes in bolded & underlined:
    • Information in the Public Remarks field in the Listing shall be limited to information describing or marketing the listed property, to include any offers of seller-paid closing costs, repair allowances, or home warranties. Such field shall not include information about individuals or co-brokerage arrangements or any alarm codes or other information about how to gain access to the property. Public Remarks shall not direct the user in any way to contact information or other information about a real estate agent or broker or any other individual or entity with a connection to the business of real estate. Any other use of a photo, floor plan, electronic file, rendering, virtual tour, website url, or other media to advertise or promote an agent, broker or real estate brokerage, or any other individual or entity, is strictly prohibited.
EXCEPTION: Properties entered in the RENTAL class may display a URL link to the rental application.

Social Media Rules vs. Branded Tours on ValleyMLS

What do the ValleyMLS rules say?
Section 2.7: Advertising of Listing Filed with the MLS
A listing shall not be advertised by any other Participant without the prior written consent of the Listing Participant.


Section 16.24
MLS Participants shall present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public, including internet
content, images, and the URLs and domain names they use, and Participants may not:
  1. a) Engage in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
  2. b) Manipulate (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result;
  3. c) Deceptively use metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic,
  4. d) Present content developed by others without either attribution or without permission; or
  5. e) Otherwise mislead consumers, including use of misleading images.
What does this mean?
It means you have to be truthful and transparent in your advertisements, and one of the things you have to make perfectly clear is if you are advertising someone else’s listing. Even if you have the buyer, and you want to make an “Under Contract” post, you would have to a) get the listing agent/broker’s permission and b) give attribution to the listing agent/company in your post. (You may have seen this written as “listing courtesy of” or “listing presented by.”) To use another agent’s listing in your own marketing without permission and proper attribution is an MLS violation.
What does AREC say?
(From Briefly Legal, March 8, 2019) Your company name must be on every post and none of your advertisements can be false, fraudulent, or misleading. EVERY SINGLE POST or PICTURE must contain the qualifying broker or company name as licensed.
What does all this mean?
It means that anytime you are advertising yourself as a real estate licensee or any products or services related to real estate, the state expects to see your COMPANY NAME or QUALIFYING BROKER NAME on every social media post AND photo. Failing to do so, even if advertising property not listed in the MLS, you would be violating state license law.


Which brings us to Virtual Tours:
We know from what we just read that any virtual tours or videos posted to social media would need to be branded in order to meet state requirements. And this is where people get mixed up because…
Virtual tours and other media linked to your listing in ValleyMLS should NEVER be branded or contain promotional information.
These links should not direct the viewer to a company website or branded channel on any platform. (An unbranded YouTube or Vimeo channel, for example, would be acceptable.) This confuses people because it flies in the face of everything they think they understand about digital marketing. But MLS rules are clear that NO public field in the MLS may contain branded or promotional information.
For many listings agents, this means having both a branded and unbranded tour produced to satisfy both requirements (many videographers are already aware of the necessity for this), and posting each to the appropriate place.
We hope this helps to clear the confusion, but as always, please reach out to MLS staff if you have any questions about this or any ValleyMLS rule or policy.

Verifying Data

Don’t forget! Listing agents are responsible to verify data entered into the listing, including school zones and HOA information. While it is understood that buyers need to verify anything that is important to them, providing complete and accurate data is a basic tenant of the MLS listing requirements.
An effective way to verify data is to take the time to contact the appropriate school district, HOA, or other organization relevant to the information with which you’re working. This type of information can change and vary even within the same subdivision, so the only way to know is to do this legwork and verify. thanks our subscribers for making our market work by ensuring reliable data is entered into their MLS. Don’t hesitate to contact support with questions!

Listing Documents

An important reminder regarding association documents and MLS addendums:
ValleyMLS policies require subscribers to upload and attach certain documents/addenda to listings in the MLS.
Today’s technology has afforded us many opportunities to streamline our work efforts. This measure allows other agents to view disclosures easily, while viewing a listing, rather than needing to call the office to obtain these documents.
Click here to access our tip sheet on how to upload documents to your listings.
All required documents and/or addenda must be uploaded to listings in the MLS at the time of submission. If required documents are not uploaded, an automated fine would apply.  Please contact MLS Staff with any questions or concerns.

Updated Forms

Did you know ValleyMLS updates documents and forms to be in line with rule changes and revisions?
If you are using an outdated form, you may inadvertently find yourself out of compliance. It’s very common for agents to download a form and just continue to use it even after a newer version is available. It also happens when templated loops created by agents or their office are used and not refreshed when newer versions of the documents become available. To be certain you have the most up-to-date version of a form or document, please be sure to access MLS Documents through Paragon or the Dotloop template folders provided by ValleyMLS.
If you have any questions about forms or compliance in general, contact the MLS department at or by calling the main line and asking for MLS.