The National Association of Realtors (NAR) board of directors voted last week to ban off-market listings—ones that agents promote outside of their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The policy will take effect on January 1, 2020 and will be fully implemented starting May 1, 2020 to give the hundreds of MLS’s time to make tech changes and educate users.

I agree, in general, that buyers and sellers benefit from full MLS exposure. However, there are situations in which it may not be beneficial for sellers to go the full marketing distance. Privacy concerns, tenant-occupied properties and trial list price runs are reasons why some sellers would prefer to wade into the marketing waters in a lower-key manner. Many ultra high-end properties also have a limited pool of buyers that doesn’t lend itself to an MLS.

Quite a number of agents promote their listings through private groups such as Compass, or solely within their own brokerages. The real estate community’s concern is that the practice of routinely holding back listings from the MLS and marketing them exclusively among a closed group of agents further exacerbates our limited Boston condo for sale inventory issue.

It will be interesting to see how NAR’s off-market listing ban on the Boston real estate market next Spring. .