MLS Consolidation Is On the Way & What it Means to Consumers & Agents

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Real Estate Broker/Owner with Madeline Island Realty 50317-90
https://activerain.com/droplet/4ZhV

 

MLS Consolidation On the Way & What it Means to Consumers & Agents

 

To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, "the only constant (in real estate) is change". And if national real estate experts have anything to say about it, we are looking at another incoming wave of change in the way we deliver real estate listing data to the public.

 

A panel discussion at the recent Inman Connect event in New York revealed what's in store for our industry. The big revelation was the prediction that we will see perhaps a dozen large regional MLSs across America within the next decade or so, in place of the approximately 750 MLS entities now in existence.

 

At the present time, industry experts view today's MLS organizations as a mess, described as monopolistic, anticompetitive and slow-moving. Most MLSs are owned by local Realtor associations. And therein lies a big part of the problem.

 

Navigating our way towards a dozen or so large regional MLSs will take time. It won't happen overnight and there will be local MLSs (and local Realtor Associations) that will fight to slow down the inevitable change.

 

The problem with small local MLS entities is more than Association politics. Small MLSs overlap territories with larger, more efficient MLSs. There is duplication in MLS numbering, which adds confusion for buyers and sellers. Tiny MLSs typically represent a small property inventory (which becomes glaringly apparent when sellers are on the sidelines) and they lack the financial resources to keep up with the latest technology, which results in poorly-served buyers and sellers.

 

In our Apostle Islands area (Ashland and Bayfield counties in northwest Wisconsin), we have three different MLSs serving roughly the same territory. Some listings appear on SAAR (the Superior Area Association of Realtors), others on NorthstarMLS (RMLS of Minnesota & Wisconsin) and still others on the Northwest Wisconsin MLS (RANWW or Realtor Association of Northwest Wisconsin). 

 

The largest membership among these MLS entities in the Apostle Islands is NorthstarMLS, with over 17,000 agents and brokers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. RANWW, headquartered in Eau Claire, has probably the second largest agent membership roster. And SAAR is the smallest of the three, with perhaps fewer than 150 paid members.

 

Small MLSs under 150 - 200 members are being targeted for extinction, according to industry experts. These will likely be the first to be consolidated into larger regional MLS entities. [That prediction is essentially a quote from a speaker at Inman Connect, not my personal opinion.]

 

Along with the consolidation of MLSs, we will probably see some immediate improvements in professionalism and service to the public. There will likely be fewer pocket listings, fewer agents practicing dual agency and more peer pressure to observe ethical guidelines. The new industry model may not be as quaint or folksy as some would like, but real estate consumers should definitely benefit.

 

 

 

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Rainmaker
706,154
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Good Morning Eric Kodner 

I like our MLS here in Massachusetts and am not so sure being in a larger system would be all that advantageous for us

Feb 01, 2017 03:28 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,368,232
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I would like to be able to see similar rules in terms of reporting on things like square footage or property taxes for example. Right now different MLS do things differently, even those right next to each other.

Feb 01, 2017 03:33 AM #2
Rainmaker
210,918
Dennis Swartz
Full Circle Property Management - Columbus, OH
MBA, GRI...experience counts!

I think it would be better for all, agents and consumers!

Feb 01, 2017 03:37 AM #3
Rainmaker
3,096,315
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Eric. Sometimes we must be careful what we wish for! Enjoy your day!

Feb 01, 2017 05:13 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,502,808
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
Realty National & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

This ove, if it ever passes, could cause many agents to drop out of MLS services and adopt a European approach where the listing agent is always the sales agent.

Feb 01, 2017 05:40 AM #5
Ambassador
1,484,604
Jim Crawford
Crye-Leike REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR

Thanks for compiling and sharing this information.  This is perfect for buyers and sellers trying to get a better insight on the real estate market.  Most informative!

Feb 01, 2017 06:43 AM #6
Rainmaker
561,261
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Doug - I imagine there will be a lot of resistance to the idea of consolidation. But the prevailing wisdom in our industry seems to be that consolidation and data sharing are inevitable.

Feb 05, 2017 11:28 AM #7
Rainmaker
561,261
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Kat Palmiotti - Picture the 700 or so MLS systems in the United States as little kingdoms, each with their own rules (and internal politics). Few of these "kingdoms" want to be absorbed or consolidated. In the meantime, a growing number of licensees see their local Board/MLS as supporting their organizations financially by dunning agents with various fines and penalties, in addition to the monthly/annual costs of membership. And the inconsistencies between neighboring MLS systems often appear arbitrary and pointless.

Feb 05, 2017 11:32 AM #8
Rainmaker
561,261
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Dennis - I happen to agree. After all, we're here to serve the public, right?

Feb 05, 2017 11:37 AM #9
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Rainmaker
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Eric Kodner

CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
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