Have you heard about the MLS in CT that presented "The MLS Bill of Rights" stating that they think every Realtor in the state should have access to all Connecticut real estate MLS listings regardless of which MLS they are in? Well, it is the latest in the debate over a National MLS. There are discussions going on all over the country about this topic.
How will it affect real estate brokers and agents? Agents are still working under brokers so they can only influence their own broker. Some brokers are looking down the road and saying they want a National MLS because it will help them sell real estate in their own town. But I though real estate was local? How many brokers work in more than the five towns that surround them? I have seen web sites for agents and companies all over the United states in the last 8 years as I link to them, and the average towns one agent works in is five.
So what makes an MLS useful to an agent or broker today? 1) Members can be assured of being able to cooperate in the commission due at the sale of a property. 2) the database of the MLS makes it easier to stay up with the listings and sales going on in the local market, 3) It is more convenient for brokers and agents to use the data in MLS than it is to gather the data another way, 4) Customers looking for property can go to one office and utilize one MLS member's access to listings rather than visiting every office, 5) Sellers can hire one office to market their property and utilize that member's access to the MLS.
What makes MLS useful to consumers today? They can view more listings in one place.
Some of those who want a national MLS seem to think that there have large numbers of buyers in many far away communities who are trying to find real estate in distant places. Will the consumers of Cape Cod real estate have a huge impact on the Utah real estate market? Are there real estate surfers who live in New York that want to buy real estate in Sacramento? Or real estate investors in San Antonio that want to own property in Columbus?
And, if a broker has access to a national MLS, let alone a an agent, how does one show property in Hawaii from their home in Vermont? Or in Virginia from Vermont? Does showing real estate take on a new definition?
Lots and lots of questions. I foresee local companies using sources for sale data that are not related to an MLS. Then using their own web sites to provide the listing information to both the public and other agents and brokers.
Right now there are companies who are members of MLSs that do not have all the listings on their web sites in an MLS. Whether by agreement with the seller or some other method, not all listings are in an MLS database. An certainly not all sales are in any MLS, although the majority of them are. There are also whole areas of the country that have no MLS. How do they currently do a CMA? How do they price a property correctly for a sale? They have another source for their data.
And what about the large franchisees that are developing their own "internal" MLSs? The last point is this: Less than ½ of all real estate licensees in the United States are in any MLS. So if we get a National MLS, do we make/force membership on licensees? Lots and lots of questions.