What is a VOW?
VOW = Virtual Office Website – This is a website, or feature of a website in which a Participant (as defined in the SWMLS Bylaws) provides real estate brokerages services to a consumer. An established broker-consumer relationship must exist with the Participant and the client using the VOW service. After this relationship is established (as defined by state law) the consumer will have the opportunity to search MLS listing information that is subject to the Participant’s oversight, supervision, and accountability.
How is a VOW website different from an IDX website?
An IDX website is a website that is setup to display SWMLS information to any member of the public who visits that website. To use a Virtual Office Website, an individual must first agree to a client-broker relationship.
How can I setup a VOW on my website?
Complete the VOW Agreement form and submit to SWMLS staff for approval. Engage a web design company, if needed. Once approved by SWMLS staff for VOW your web developer will be contacted and registered as an Affiliated VOW Partner (AVP). The SWMLS VOW feed is available as RETS or API.
What rules do I need to know about operating a VOW?
VOW rules are found in Section 19 of the SWMLS Rules and Regulations. These rules were adopted from the National Association of REALTORS® rules. You are strongly encouraged to read this section thoroughly before establishing your VOW. You should become familiar with the specific rules that pertain to operating a broker-client relationship through a website. Also, the AVP must adhere to defined rules to ensure that you remain in compliance.
For your consideration:
- Obtain the person’s name and a valid e-mail address from them for each new registrant to the VOW.
- Each registrant to the VOW must be assigned a user name and password.
- Each registrant must enter into a lawful consumer-broker relationship with the Participant and agree to use the VOW for personal, non-commercial use only.
- The Participant must be willing and able to respond knowledgeably to inquiries from registrants about properties within the market area served by that Participant and displayed on the VOW.
- A Participant’s VOW must employ reasonable efforts to monitor for and prevent misappropriation, scraping, and other unauthorized uses of MLS listing information.
- A Participant’s VOW shall not display the listings or property addresses of any seller who has affirmatively directed the listing broker to withhold the seller’s listing or property address from display on the Internet.