The National Association of Realtors is facing a quandry. They are the main link for multiple listing services across the country. An agent must join their local association in order to have access to the multiple listing service. The listings are owned by the brokers that have an agreement with the sellers. It used to be that this information was found in large binders in real estate offices. The internet age has changed that and now most multiple listing services offer online search capabilities.
This was a good thing………for awhile.
Of course, it used to be that each town had a locally owned grocery store, bank, record store, general merchandise store, automotive dealership, credit bureau, gas station, hospital,barber shop and …well, you get the picture.
Times have changed.
The locally owned grocery store has been absorbed by one of the national chains. The locally owned bank has been bought out by one of the large regional or national banks. The record store owner could not compete with Best Buy. The general merchandise store has gone out of business because Wal-Mart or Target came to town. The automotive dealership has been taken over by the manufacture or a large comglomerate that owns several brands. The credit bureau gave way to one of the three national reporting agencies. The gas station fell prey to the long arm of the oil companies. The hospital gave way to one of the national health systems. The barber shop took down the spiral pole and was replaced by one of the national hair stylist chains. There are exceptions…..but this has been the rule.
Although I miss the personality of many of these places, I accept that this is the price of progress. I now rely on the people in the various places and attempt to develop a relationship with them. All of these institutions had to adept to a changing market. The economy of scale created a disproportionate profit picture for small independent firms.
The current system of multiple listing services will have to change to meet the changing market.
It is time for serious consideration to be given to a national mls. The accessibility issues will remain the same. Having one multiple listing service with one set of rules and regulations will have a better chance of passing muster in any pending or future lawsuit regarding restraint of trade.
Searches could be performed by the general public, with any inquiries going to the listing agent. Agents could search all listings in areas where they are licensed. I don’t have all the details, but they are not impossible to sort out.
In my many faceted career, I have worked for several of these institutions and I have seen the change occur first hand. It was always sudden. It was always unexpected. It was always irreversible.
Agents have seen the market they work in change from one model to another. We have seen our customers move from on method of search to another. The backbone of our service to sellers is the ability to market their homes to the largest potential customer base. One system, available to all, may be a step in the right direction.