In a perfect world, California’s brokers and agents would be served by a consolidated MLS that offers access to every listing in the state. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, it’s important to understand how data can and ought to be shared between MLSs.
Below is a list of the different ways that MLSs and AORs share data with CRMLS:
Direct Membership (or full participation)
An MLS, Association, or Board can participate fully in CRMLS. This means they have complete access to CRMLS listing data, products, services, training, support, and more.
A data share is an agreement between MLSs wherein two MLS systems exchange listing data between them. If you’re a member of MLS A, and MLS A has a data share with MLS B, you can see listings from MLS B and vice versa. Your searches in MLS A will return listings in MLS A and MLS B, and your listings in MLS A will be visible to professionals who use MLS B – even if they don’t use MLS A.
Depending on technical details, the two MLSs may send listings back and forth very quickly. In CRMLS’s case, our data shares generally update several times an hour. This means you, as an MLS A user, can see changes or new listings in MLS B almost as quickly as professionals in MLS B.
You can think of reciprocal access as “guest access” into another MLS system. In general, reciprocal access is limited – though the limitations vary depending on the systems and the agreements in place.
Reciprocal access is better than providing no access at all. Sometimes, MLSs that plan to share data may start with reciprocal access first as a stopgap measure.
However, reciprocal access requires login to a separate system – one you may not be as familiar with as your usual MLS system. Finally, depending on the MLS, reciprocal access often means everyone in one MLS sharing a single login for another MLS. This means your capabilities in the other MLS are necessarily restricted.
There are dozens of other types of data share agreements between MLSs — but if they’re not designed as a full reciprocal share, each agreement can require users to jump through hoops like joining several MLSs or using different systems.
That’s why CRMLS believes that consolidation of MLSs makes sense for brokers and agents alike. There’s no reason to put artificial barriers and extra expense in the way of doing business and serving customers.