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Dec 14, 2015
In 2014, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) passed a requirement that all MLS’s must start standardizing the MLS fields. The first deadline is the end of this year, 2015, and in order to meet this requirement, a few fields in the ECAR MLS have been changed.

The company responsible for creating these standards is called RESO, Real Estate Standards Organization. It’s comprised of brokers, MLS vendors, IDX vendors, and more, from across the country. You’ll hear more about RESO in the future.

The goal of the MLS mandate is to make the basic fields in all MLS’s the same, so that the public, regardless of what website they visit, will all see the same thing. It also helps IDX and real estate website vendors create better search functions for Realtors, especially if a broker or agent is an MLS participant of more than one MLS.

In our own area, many of you are MLS participants with ECAR and Pensacola (PAR) or Bay County (BCAR). ECAR and BCAR uses flexmls for MLS services and PAR uses Paragon. With this standardization, we will all end up with the same basic fields.

Every MLS will still have the ability to create and use custom fields, specific for their particular market. Those fields will be registered and become part of the standardized fields.

So what was changed here in the ECAR MLS?

The first change was to the compensation fields. Previously the compensation fields were made up of one text field for each type of compensation (non-rep, transaction broker, etc) and in those fields you entered the amount and if the compensation is a flat dollar amount by typing a dollar sign $, or percentage of the sold price by typing a percent sign %. Now the field has been split in two. There is now one field for the amount, and a drop-down list to choose the dollar or percent sign. The fields were also moved from the Main Fields tab to the Details tab.

Nothing was changed regarding what amount you should use, or which compensation fields you should use. That’s up to you, your broker, and your seller. The MLS does not interfere with that at all. The only thing changed was the way you enter the compensation.

This change impacts all properties that include a compensation field.

The second field changed was the Number of Stories. In the past, the field was also set up as a basic text field. As with the previous compensation fields, you could enter any combination of letters, numbers, or punctuation. If the property was split level, you could enter 1.5 as the number of stories.

This field is now set as an Integer, or whole number, field. What was previously called 1.5 stories is now 2 stories. The rationale behind this change is that split level is not defined the same way in all areas of the country. So standardizing the field will bring all of the MLS’s into a common thread.

This change also impacts all properties that include a compensation field.

The last field to get standardized in this round was the Subtype field in the Residential property type. The previous selection of Mobile/Manufactured has been separated into two independent options; each with it’s own design field. The choices now in that field are Detached Single Family, Attached Single Unit, Condo, Fractional Ownership, Farms/Ranch, Mobile, and Manufactured.

As you may have guessed from the beginning of the last paragraph, this “round” of changes is not the end of the process. This is step 1. Each year, more fields will be standardized.

We’ll see what next year brings.

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Questions? Call us at 850-244-2411, or email

Susan Beck, MLS Director
Emerald Coast Association of Realtors®
Fort Walton Beach, FL