The debate over the future of the MLS....

Real Estate Agent with Carol Babington Associates

      This is an old debate. It is a legal debate. It is an interesting debate. What is the Multiple Listing Service?

Is it copyrighted? For a discussion of the case law , you may read Peter G. Miller, "Who owns Broker Data?",

 04/25/2000. *

     So, what are the arguments for and against unlocking the data? For some, this is moot since some MLSs

are "open" now. The Multiple Listing Service is an agreement that when I show your listings and  you show

mine,  we both agree to compensate one another if  all the terms are met. The arrangement we have is

 designed to  drive transactions thru the MLS where  the  the property is advertised. The accuracy of this

 data is critical since it is in our best interest to be the most credible source of information for the

 consumer.  We also feel certain data fields are confidential and therefore, are not meant for public

  consumption. To this end,we have established rules on the display of information.

       One argument for distributing MLS information to free sources such as Zillow, Trulia, and Yahoo

is that  the consumer is is searching these real estate websites now, and discovering some

inaccuracies. The old and inaccuracte information would be replaced with more accurate  MLS data.

 Both the agent and the  consumer benefit since their information would match.

    It is also important to note that some MLS systems are run by real estate companies, local realtor

 associations, and some by the broker members. Many of these MLS are run as for-profit enterprises.

 In the event, the information becomes free, a revenue source may be lost.

      If the MLS were to go away, what would replace it? Some suggest regional MLSs as viable

 alternatives  that are big enough to attract large numbers of consumers.  Data accuracy may

still be an issue,whether controlled by realtors or non-realtors. 

      The biggest argument for protecting the data is that realtors are in the best position to facilitate

 the real estate transaction. Maintaining control over the  data keeps the agent in the middle.

     Where do you think we're headed?  I realize there are other arguments...





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Donna Malone
Waterfront, Luxury, Family, Affordable, Cottage, Deals - Bridgewater, NS
Homes and Property for Sale Nova Scotia

Carol, There is much speculation about how much the real estate industry will change in the future. The mls is certainly part of that debate.

Oct 19, 2011 04:56 AM #1
Carol Babington
Carol Babington Associates - Las Cruces, NM

I agree. It is at the heart of the change since gathering information is the beginning of the transaction.

Oct 19, 2011 05:01 AM #2
Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

Our local MLS has argued that keeping "sold" data in the hands of agents helps keep us in business.  However, Redfin makes it available anyway so our jobs become much more about market knowledge and dynamics than holding onto data.

Oct 19, 2011 05:04 AM #3
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