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Home > Rules and Policies > Reminders about Compensation
Reminders about Compensation
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Cooperation and Compensation in Canopy MLS. On Thurs., Sept. 28, 2023, Canopy MLS made modifications to the listing entry fields in Matrix for offers of compensation. Please click the link below to review the information on this important change and to watch our two-minute video, clarifying why this modification was made. Watch the video 


There is no "set commission" real estate agents charge consumers. The market decides commission rates, and commissions are always negotiable.  Visit  

In 2022, Canopy MLS implemented policy changes required by the National Association of Realtors® to reinforce transparency for clients and consumers working with Member Participants and Subscribers in real estate transactions.  We are frequently asked about these two:

  • MLS listings provided to consumers cannot be filtered out based on cooperative compensation, listing firm, or listing agent. Matrix does not permit users to omit listings based on agent or office, and compensation fields are not searchable or provided in single-line displays.
  • MLSs must provide cooperative compensation in MLS data feeds, which we do.  In addition, we added a field to Matrix named Compensation Comments.  Any necessary comments regarding compensation must be provided in the Compensation Comments. 

Offers of compensation to other MLS Participants that are entered into the Canopy MLS system, are at the discretion of the seller. The compensation specified on listings submitted to the MLS by the Member Participants must appear in one of two forms: (1) by showing a percentage of the gross-selling price, or (2) by showing a specific amount. The rules regarding compensation are found in Section 5 of the Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations. Below are selected interpretations of the rules.


Compensation offered in Canopy MLS is only for Member Participants of the MLS where the listing is filed and to Member Participants of an MLS subject to a data-access agreement with Canopy MLS. Possession of a real estate license does not entitle the buyer agent to compensation. Article 3 of the Realtor® Code of Ethics says:

Realtors® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client's best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees or otherwise to compensate another broker.


Offers of Cooperative Compensation Related to Listings of REO. Sometimes sellers (usually banks) refuse to pay a commission to buyer agents if the buyer agent is the buyer. To submit a listing to the MLS, the seller may agree to give listing brokers the authority to offer cooperation and compensation to other MLS participants. In the case of MLS, compensation is offered by listing brokerages to cooperating brokerages that procure a ready, willing and able buyer. While compensation remains negotiable between the parties, the initial offering of compensation in the MLS is considered blanket (offered to everyone), unilateral (offered by the listing brokerage) and should be without conditions (unconditional). Click here for more information from NAR.


Negotiating compensation. The rules and regulations say the cooperative compensation is unconditionally offered.  Parties are free to negotiate and agree upon a commission amount or split other than the amount originally proposed in the MLS.  Article 16, Standard of Practice 16-16 says Realtors® are prohibited from using the terms of an offer to attempt to modify the listing broker’s offer of compensation to cooperating brokers, and from making the submission of an offer contingent upon the listing broker modify the offer of compensation. 


“Sliding Scale” Compensation Offers OK’d. Statements such as, “commission to buyer agent X percent up to $300,000, any amount over $300k commission to be Y percent,” have been okayed by NAR.


Submitting offers online OK’d. The listing brokerage, with the seller’s concurrence, might require cooperating brokerages to submit offers online, even if the online service requires a registration fee. The registration fee is not considered a condition on the offer of compensation. Rather, any cooperating broker who accepts the compensation offer by his or her performance as the procuring cause of the resulting successful transaction (defined as a sale that closes or a lease that is executed), can expect to receive the compensation offered through the MLS.


Be careful when offering bonuses in Canopy MLS. We have had numerous complaints and requests for mediation and arbitration about bonuses. Be extremely careful when making an offer of a bonus. Indicate whether the bonus is negotiable, who is offering the bonus and whether the bonus is contingent upon a full-price offer. It is recommended that the listing brokerage NOT use language that indicates a bonus is earned with an "acceptable" offer. Hopefully this will cut down on the confusion and disputes about this issue.


Gross-sales price determined by contract. The Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations state that the compensation specified on listings published by MLS must be shown in one of the following forms.

  • By showing a percentage of the gross-selling price, or
  • By showing a definite dollar amount


Potential short sales must be disclosed in Canopy MLS listings. “Short Sale” is defined as a transaction where title transfers; where the sales price is insufficient to pay the total of all liens and costs of sale; and where the seller does not bring sufficient liquid assets to the closing to cure all deficiencies.

Potential short sales must be disclosed when reasonably known to the Listing Brokerage. Such disclosures must occur at the time of MLS input, if known, or within one (1) business day upon receipt of such knowledge.  Canopy MLS requires this disclosure to be made in the Special Conditions field. 

To avoid disputes with a cooperating broker, it’s also a good idea to include a disclosure in the MLS listing regarding whether and how any reduction in the gross commission established in the listing contract, required by the lender as a condition of approving the sale, will be apportioned between listing and cooperating brokerages. This will alleviate any problems with commission disputes and allegations of a violation of the Realtor® Code of Ethics Article 3, Standard of Practice 3-2 which states:

Any change in compensation offered for cooperative services must be communicated to the other REALTOR® prior to the time that REALTOR® submits an offer to purchase/lease the property. After a REALTOR® has submitted an offer to purchase or lease property, the listing broker may not attempt to unilaterally modify the offered compensation with respect to that cooperative transaction. (Amended 1/14)

All confidential disclosures and confidential information related to short sales must be communicated through dedicated fields or confidential “remarks” available only to Member Participants and Subscribers, i.e., the “Compensation Comments” field.

The following disclosure or any similar language must be entered at the time of input if known, or within one (1) business day upon receipt of knowledge: “List price may not be sufficient to cover all encumbrances, closing costs, or other seller charges, and sale of property may be conditioned upon approval of third parties.” (See Section 6.2.1 Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations.)


More information, tips and resources on short sale listings.


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