Mandatory Disclosures –
These disclosures outlined below are required, but the examples that appear here are merely suggestions. If you use these suggestions, you will be assured of compliance with applicable provisions of State-Wide MLS’s rules. However, you may use language of your own choosing so long as it achieves the same objectives.
Explanation of data source:
Under State-Wide MLS’s Rules and Regulations, your web site must display a disclosure indicating the source of the IDX Database data on your site. The following disclosure, appearing alongside the State-Wide MLS-approved logo for IDX will satisfy this requirement:
“The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the IDX Program of the State-Wide Multiple Listing Service, Inc. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than [insert your firm’s name here] are marked with the MLS logo and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers.”
Accuracy disclaimer on other IDX Participant’s listings:
Under State-Wide MLS’s Rules and Regulations, your web site must display a disclosure indicating that data from other IDX Participants is “deemed reliable but not guaranteed.” Any similar language indicating both that the listing broker believes the data provided to be accurate but that it does not guarantee the data will be acceptable as an alternative. Use of the State-Wide MLS Copyright is sufficient in meeting this requirement.
Recommended Disclosures –
The use of the disclosures outlined below are suggested.
Less than all the IDX Database:
If you choose to display less than the entire IDX Database, it is probably wise to disclose this on the web site. For example, an IDX Participant may choose to display only those listings from a particular geographic area, in a particular price range, in a particular property type, etc. An IDX Participant may even choose to exclude listings of some of its competitors. A disclosure is advisable because: 1) The IDX Participant may be advertising the web site as “the most complete compilation of houses for sale on the Internet”; if the IDX Participant is intentionally excluding listings from this “most complete” of compilations, it should disclose that to consumers to avoid claims that its advertising is not giving a true picture. 2) If the IDX Participant excludes listings without disclosing to consumers, savvy consumers will note discrepancies between IDX Participant web sites and may begin to distrust your site. A disclosure might look like either of these:
“[Your firm’s name here] participates in State-Wide MLS’s IDX program, allowing us to display other broker’s listings on our site. However, [firm name] displays only [listings in Providence County]|[only condominium listings]|[exceptional properties (with list prices above $500,000)].
“[Your firm name] does not display the entire State-Wide MLS IDX database on this web site. The listings of some real estate brokerage firms have been excluded.”
If you choose to update data on your site less frequently than daily, State-Wide MLS advises that the site include a disclaimer indicating the frequency and days of update. Alternatively, a “Data last updated: xx/xx/xx” on the search page would be effective. This may be wise even if you do update daily. If you download a listing record on Monday, the property sells on Tuesday, and you don’t update the data until the next Monday, the property will show as available on your site for five days during which it is not available. It is unclear whether this would be a violation of the Code of Ethics and/or Rhode Island State law. In order to be safe, however, State-Wide MLS recommends that you disclose to consumers the frequency of data updates. For example:
On the data search page:
“This data is updated weekly on Saturday nights. Some properties which appear for sale on this web site may subsequently have sold and may no longer be available.”
On the results page:
“This data up-to-date as of [fill in update date here]. For the most current information, contact [your firm name, phone number, and e-mail address].”