It’s time.

Time for the MLSs of California to look ourselves in the mirror and ask a tough question:

Are we achieving the purpose we were created for?

To answer that question of course, we need to first answer another fundamental question: What were we created for?

Here’s how I see it.

The core purpose of a Multiple Listing Service is to serve real estate brokers and agents, and to make it as easy as possible for them to serve their consumers.

For a quick explanation of HOW we serve brokers, agents, and consumers, watch this video.

In short, the MLS exists to facilitate two basic practices between brokerages:

cooperation & compensation

When you join an MLS, you implicitly agree to cooperation with other brokerages to make sales, and to compensate them for their work if they provide a buyer. This is the entire purpose for sharing data through the MLS, to increase sales efficiency through working with other brokers and agents.

QUICK REVIEW: The MLS distributes data. We check its accuracy. We facilitate cooperation and transparent practices for compensation. We strive to make it as easy as possible to have a successful business as a real estate professional.

But… if you’re a real estate agent or broker in California, you know there are still some things holding you back. Namely, the inability to access listing data throughout the entire state.

Now, if you fancy paying dues to every MLS in California then sure, you can see every listing out there. And no one is going to stop you from writing those checks. But why? Why should you be forced to put even more pressure on your business just to access listings that are already widely available to consumers in any area? The answer is simple: you should not.

We live in the Information Age. Data is everything and sharing is instantaneous. This is what our consumers expect today. They expect that they can go online, find a home in whatever area they choose, bring it to their agent and their agent will have enough information on that home to start brokering a deal.

Unfortunately, this is not always the reality. Though we have more than ample technology to make listing data available to anyone throughout the state…

…more than half of the over 50 MLSs in California keep their data entirely to themselves.

What are the practical consequences of this?

Say you have a client who wants to buy a home just a mile outside of your MLS area. What do you do? You are helpless to attain data on that listing without joining and paying fees to another MLS. It’s a difficult situation to be in. But let me assure you of one thing:

Your client doesn’t care.

They won’t understand the complicated political reasons you can’t access that data, and they shouldn’t have to. As their agent, you are there to make the absolutely daunting process of buying a home as smooth and as easy as possible for them.

There is no reason that brokers and agents should have limited access to listing data. It strips you of your power as an expert and a professional in this industry.


CRMLS is extremely proud of newly reached agreements with the Marin and North Bay Associations of REALTORS® which give their brokers the choice to utilize CRMLS for their MLS access. As Participating Associations with CRMLS, Marin and North Bay brokers will have full access to CRMLS’ database of over 100,000 active listings. These agreements, as well as deals with Sandicor and MLS Listings, Inc have brought the CRMLS subscriber base to well over 80,000 real estate professionals, expanding data access for agents across California.

This type of open access simply makes it easier for brokers and agents to do their jobs, whether by allowing them to work with local properties that just happen to be outside their MLS, or by providing them the information they need to make an educated referral for clients who are relocating within the state. The mission is not to open the door for agents to sell outside their areas of expertise, but to make sure we, as MLSs, provide our subscribers with the information necessary to remain vital experts in their field.

So, let’s get back to looking in the mirror. All of us. Are we really doing our best to serve our agents and brokers? Are our policies motivated by potential consumer benefit, or are they motivated by internal politics and fear of change?

You understand that data unification in the state of California is critical. So do something about it. It’s in the best interest of agents and brokers. Bottom line.

THIS is what It’s My Business is all about.

It was founded on the very idea of SERVING THE BEST INTERESTS OF REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. We are educating California real estate professionals about just how paramount data sharing is to the survival of our trade, and why it just makes sense.

We are garnering more support every day. In fact, we have signatures on record backing It’s My Business from members of 37 Associations all over the state. But we still need every single one of you to drive this movement home and achieve statewide MLS listing access for all.

HOW DO YOU HELP? Easy. Start by clicking below.

Join the Movement BUTTON
Together, we can move past fear and politics, and create a business environment in which we can all thrive.

It’s time.


Art Carter

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