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Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain!

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Riviera Realty

I read a headline on Inman News today titled: "It's time for MLS consolidation" and I smiled.  I couldn't agree with that sentiment more. And in thinking about writing this blog it made me think of the Wizard of Oz quote that I used in the title...the MLS system is a lot of smoke and mirrors hiding some real inefficiencies and head-in-the-sand mentalities 

The real truth that most Multiple Listing Service groups (and even most REALTORS) don't want buyers and seller to know is that the clients have greater access to listing information than REALTORS do in some situations. 

How could that happen, you ask? Because of bureaucracy, fiefdoms, an inability to see the big picture or at the very least an unwillingness to acknowledge the cold hard fact that time and technology has passed these REALTOR boards and their antiquated systems by.  

It used to be that REALTORS held the holy grail of property search.  They had, in their offices, a binder with all of the available properties in one easy to find place.  So if you were a buyer--or a seller that wanted to have their house seen--you had to go to those offices and seek theircounsel.  

Then along came the internet...now virtually every house listed for sale (whether it is listed with a real estate agent or for sale by owner) is listed somewhere on the internet.  So buyers don't need to come to our offices and prostrate themselves and beg for our assistance; they simply have to do a search on google or go to one or two reliable property search sites likeREALTOR.com or Active Rain

The point I want to make, though, is that even though that fact has been shown to the REALTOR associations that run the various MLS systems time and again it hasn't changed the fact that they still believe that they own their listings and don't need any help from anyone and don't need to partner with other MLS's to share information.  

That is particularly true here in NJ where just about each county has its own Association and its own MLS.  New Jersey is densely populated, but it isn't that large geographically.  So it isn't unreasonable to think that an agent in Atlantic City would take a listing here in Jackson. But what happens when that agent does that is, in most cases, they go back to Atlantic City and put that listing in their MLS not the MLS we use here in Jackson.  When that happens buyers see the listing on REALTOR.com in their search for Jackson.  If they are my clients they call me and ask me for more information...guess what?  I don't have any more information than they do, because that agent wasn't thinking and s/he didn't put that information into my local MLS...so all I know about the property is what is on REALTOR.com.  Doesn't give my clients much faith that I am a the professional that can assist them does it?  

If the MLS's were consolidated (or at a minimum shared their listing information freely among the other associations), no matter where that information was inputted I would be able to see it and assist my clients better.  But unfortunately that isn't what happens because the MLS's are afraid to understand the realities and move forward!  But PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!  I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL WIZARD OF OZ! 

Paul Carpenter
Well spoken well said. Now we need a Lion with courage like NJAR and NAR to step to plate.
Jun 29, 2009 07:51 AM