Though we’ve been fighting for a better MLS solution in California for more than a decade, it’s time to take action — once and for all.
The It’s My Business campaign is sponsored by the California Regional MLS (CRMLS). We’re working to eliminate the political and historical hurdles that prevent more than half of the MLSs in California today from sharing data with each other.
Whether you’re a broker or an agent, you can help us create the statewide MLS we need and want, and break through the artificial barriers that get in the way of growing your business and thriving in today’s business climate. We’re on your side.
By 2005, virtually everyone was unhappy with the MLS landscape. It was both highly fragmented and inefficient. Brokers had to join and pay for multiple MLSs that ran incompatible systems with different sets of rules, and this hobbled their ability to efficiently run their businesses in nearby and contiguous geographic MLS areas.
That’s when C.A.R. adopted its Six Guiding Principles for the MLS — and formally announced the statewide MLS initiative. The first result of the initiative was the formation of calREDD®, the state’s inaugural statewide MLS structure.
Although calREDD was primarily a Northern California initiative, it had a positive statewide impact. Many existing MLSs began to aggregate their data more aggressively, and vendors in the MLS technology space started to make their software platform-neutral. This led to greater consolidation, regionalization, and new levels of data sharing.
However, people, politics and history resisted, and calREDD met with enormous resistance from the existing MLS structure. It did not become the statewide MLS vehicle C.A.R. had designed. To this day, the industry is rife with artificial barriers and disputes about who can and should share data or consolidate for the betterment of brokers and agents.
In 2010, it became clear that merging calREDD with the Multi-Regional Multiple Listing Service (MRMLS) in Southern California would be the best way to carry on with the statewide MLS initiative. When calREDD and MRMLS merged, the new entity became known as CRMLS.
It’s important to note that while CRMLS inherited the vision for a statewide MLS, CRMLS was created as, and continues to operate as, a separate and independent entity from C.A.R.
CRMLS expanded its footprint through another merger with SoCal MLS in 2011, and now serves more than 75,000 real estate professionals in California. It is the largest MLS in the United States.
Whether we can form a true, statewide MLS, or begin to share data consistently between MLSs throughout the state, it will be a win for brokers, consumers and agents.
So what’s in the way?
History and politics. The industry is changing rapidly, yet the existing infrastructure of organized real estate has resisted the need to evolve to meet the needs of today’s consumer.
CRMLS’ vision is to form a statewide MLS, eliminate duplication of effort and resources, and provide seamless, consistent access to letter-perfect real estate data throughout California. Given the high political hurdles in achieving this goal, it’s mission critical to begin with MLSs sharing data with each other.
Data sharing allows MLSs to preserve their leadership, rules and infrastructure, while facilitating the businesses of brokers and agents everywhere. It will help the California real estate industry move forward and stay competitive.
CRMLS’ immediate objective is to facilitate data sharing between MLSs so that every broker and agent can see all MLS listing data throughout the state without having to join multiple associations and/or MLSs.
CRMLS also understands that brokers own their listing data, and MLSs should not make decisions about broker access to, or syndication of, data. The It’s My Business campaign focuses on data sharing between MLSs, not data syndication.
Though it’s difficult to discern the motives of some associations and MLSs that will choose to share or not share data in California, it is fair to say that the decision will not be made on economics alone.
CRMLS has developed technology internally to provide data shares with other MLSs throughout the state of California at a fraction of the cost of other data sharing techniques. In addition, CRMLS’ data sharing technology ensures a seamless technology experience for all that will view and use the shared data.
CRMLS’ development of these data sharing tools, and the It’s My Business Campaign, aligns with the purpose of an MLS — to foster and facilitate cooperation and compensation.
If you’re tired of the politics and expense of belonging to multiple MLSs, raise your voice. If you’re tired of learning multiple systems just to do your job, join the campaign.
Tell your association that you want your MLS to share data, starting now. Let your MLS executive team and your volunteer leadership know that it’s no longer acceptable to operate as if the Internet didn’t exist — and consumers aren’t empowered.
After all, it’s YOUR business. Check out our resources section for talking points, FAQs and even letters you can send to your leadership. Working together, we can put our industry back on track.
In 2005, the California Association of Realtors adopted these official principals for the statewide MLS initiative.
MLS data needs to be fully standardized with local options for data field variation
California REALTORS should have universal access to all MLS data
Use of MLS data and its distribution to third parties should be controlled by the brokers who provide the data
MLS entities should exist for the benefit of participants and subscribers
MLS rules should be uniform and enforced consistently
The MLS board of directors should include brokers owners with appropriate regional representation