On WPAR Merger Talks

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY License # 49FA1074963

The September edition of Real Estate In Depth, the official publication of the Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors, has an announcement that WPAR is in discussions with neighboring organizations on the possibility of a merger. The other associations are the Rockland County Board of Realtors and the Orange County Association of Realtors, and the idea also includes the WPAR-owned Empire Access MLS and the OCAR-owned Greater Hudson Valley MLS. A work group of the five entities has met a number of times to discuss how the possible merger might be achieved, what the advantages would be, and what potential issues might have to be addressed. As Vice President of the EAMLS, I am in that work group.

Given the economy and the recent trend of mergers of other associations around the country, there are some considerable advantages to a merger. For me, the eventual consolidation of the MLS systems is a big one, and one that I made a call for in the past. I have always worked both sides of the Hudson and belong to both MLS systems, and I have long wished that there would be just one MLS serving the region instead of the current fragmented (and expensive) arrangement. The MLS consolidation would not be instantaneous and would likely take effect a year or two after the merger of the Realtor associations, but the light at the end of the tunnel is encouraging. 

There are other advantages. smaller associations have fixed overhead and fewer resources to support their members. The idea of a strong 9000+ member association with a streamlined infrastructure and single set of overhead considerations is an attactive one. 

Of course, like any "marriage," there are also questions that need answers. Three sets of governance, a new name, lockbox systems, the eventual MLS mergers and other necessary changes mean growing pains and possibly tough decisions. No binding decision has been made yet.

Is it a good idea? I think so- a great idea as a matter of fact. Membership will have to decide, but I can say with some confidence that with what I have seen thus far, this is a very good idea whose time has come. 

Realtor associations often say that they are the "voice of real estate" for their areas. This consolidation and pooling of strengths and resources will give our trade organization a voice that is stronger and more unified. That is good for members, and ultimately good for the public we serve. 

Stay tuned. 

Comments (3)

Dagny Eason
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo

Phil-  I wish we could have talks here in CT resume again.   We have 5 separate boards in a very small area.   Unnecessary in today's world of the web.

Oct 01, 2011 01:38 AM
Anonymous
Larry Jensen ~ St. Lawrence Properties

 

I too am in favor of this Phil. I hope its just the first step toward a statewide or semi-statewide MLS. Like you, I too belong to many MLS systems. It is very expensive, but more than that it is time consuming as it takes about 30-45 minutes to enter a listing and upload photos and documents, times that by 6 and WOW, one listing kills an entire day.

 

The other thing we need to remember is that there are "private" corporations trying to do just this and if they succeed and end up with the rights to OUR proprietary information, it will be a real mess.

 

REALTORS don’t want to hoard the data, but we do want to have control over who gets to see it, use it and profit from it.

 

 

Lawrence "Larry" Jensen, Principal Broker ~ NY & CT
St. Lawrence Properties, LLC
888-757-6928 Ext 501
www.SLPNYCT.com
A Silver Award Recipient for Excellence in Sales: 2008, 2009, 2010

Oct 03, 2011 04:14 AM
#2
Anonymous
Bob Percesepe
Hi Phil, I too, have been a long time supporter of merging both REALTOR Associations and MLS's. I think the Orange/Rockland/ West-Put merger is terrifific for agents, Associations, and Broker/Owners. The simple concept of shared resources and efficiencies of scale alone are valuable to the industry. The concept is nothing new and has been embraced very aggressively in CA, Virginia, NC and Texas in recent years and has been quite successful. As President of The Dutchess County Association of REALTORS, my hope is that the Merger will eventually find it's way to surrounding Counties in NY. Reciprocity with MLS data is even better! Thanks for the post! Bob Percesepe 2011 President - Dutchess County Association of REALTORS
Oct 03, 2011 06:17 AM
#3