In an attempt to create exposure for their listings and to avoid accruing days on market, a number of SFARMLS listing agents have been churning their listings. The practice of churning, however, violates SFARMLS rules (sec. 8.2) as well as the Code of Ethics. Fines for this practice start at $1,000 (See: Citable Infractions 3.4.7).
A listing is "churned" when a listing agent cancels a listing with the intention of relisting it after a short time so that it appears to be a new listing. Some agents churn listings because they believe that properties for sale with a low number of days on market will be more appealing to buyers. When the listing is new, it can draw more attention to the listing through the 24-Hour Market Watch, Hotsheets and Auto-Prospecting.
SFARMLS users are required to enter accurate and true information into the MLS. Churning a listing presents inaccurate information and skews SFARMLS statistics. Inappropriately relisting a property can also be very misleading to both agents and buyers.
The only time an agent can cancel or withdraw a listing is if the sellers have truly cancelled the listing agreement with the agent. In this case, the sellers will no longer be working with that real estate company. This is the only instance when the cancellation of a listing is allowed.
In cases when a seller wants to temporarily take the property off the market (e.g. for the holiday season) then the listing agent can mark the listing as "Temp Off Market." This means that the listing contract is still valid, but the property is not being actively marketed. In the "Temp Off Market" status, the days on market counter is paused and the days do not accumulate until the listing is brought back to Active status.
If you are listing a property for a client, please be advised that engaging in the practice of churning is a violation of SFARMLS rules and subject to fines starting at $1,000.
Takeaway: Agents cannot cancel a listing with the intention of relisting it so that it appears to be a new listing. The only time a listing can be cancelled is if the sellers have truly cancelled the listing agreement.