I’ve got a headache

Oct 2, 2007  |  Michael Wurzer

Seriously.  Long flight, short layover, rushing here and there, all the while thinking about MLS regionalization.   Michael Seguin from Tales from the Techside writes today about the benefits of MLS mergers.  Michael makes some great points and draws an interesting analogy between the issues facing local and regional MLSs and the seemingly ever-present computer science debate between distributed and networked computing.  Regarding MLS regionalization, I completely agree that in dense urban areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, etc., mergers may very well make sense and produce excellent economies of scale.

But what about Minnesota?  Do the same reasons exist there on a statewide basis?  How does a statewide system solve the problem when the markets cross state lines?  Once a statewide system is in place, where is the incentive to innovate without competition?  I ask these questions with sincerity.  I can see the short-term benefits of a state-wide system for brokers caught in the middle and having to enter their listings many times.  But isn’t that one of the problems RETS is designed to solve?  Doesn’t a focus on standards allow for competitive solutions to be developed as opposed to anointing one system that will inevitably atrophy from monopolistic malaise?  Isn’t the fact that the NAR is spending money on developing a national gateway relevant to the local regionalization discussions?

Of course, FBS has a vested interest in these questions and we are fully aware that our position is biased.  But that bias is towards competition, because we’re confident we can provide a compelling solution to our customers.  We believe more competition is better than less.  We believe standards enable competition and have the potential to solve broker pain with multiple entry without consolidating on a single system.  Is our position wrong?  Or is my headache for nothing?

5 Responses to “I’ve got a headache”

  1. In theory, the merger idea sounds great. It would be interesting to see what’s really available in Tucson or Northern Arizona for example. Or even to see Prescott (which is closer to me than Queen Creek.)

    Practically, though, I don’t have much use for any of those listings. I’m not going to drive to Tucson to show homes. I’m not going to Prescott to show homes.

    It sounds cool but doesn’t have much practical usage in a place like Arizona.

  2. Karen Rice says:

    I think a state wide merger – except in small states like Connecticut – would be impractical. I do however think that a regional merger would be helpful. There are two other MLS systems in place very near me – Scranton MLS & Pocono Mountain. While the furthest corners of their areas are a bit out of range for me to show homes, the majority of their regions are accessible to me. While I have “access” to their MLS for searches, it’s rather inconvenient to have to go into each system separately to find properties for my clients.

    In a state like PA, have a few large “regions” as opposed to many smaller regions may very well be a good idea. I see no real value in a statewide MLS though – as nobody is going to drive from Scranton to Erie to show houses…but I’ll happily drive from Hawley to Scranton or to Tobyhanna.

  3. Karen, try the Map Search option in your system, which allows you to search all three MLSs simultaneously. The cross-MLS search limits you to the common fields between the MLSs but you can search them all simultaneously. In the case of Pocono and Pike Wayne, there are actually quite a few common fields. Also searching Scranton at the same time makes the common fields fewer, but we’d be happy to work with the MLSs to define more common fields.

  4. Also, I think you’re going to really like the upgrade on November 1, because it’s going to make cross-MLS searching much easier.

  5. Karen Rice says:

    Michael – I had no idea you could do such a thing. I have not had much “full training” on the MLS, just been stumbling my way around in the dark and finding things out here and there.

    For instance, I only just discovered that I could edit reports of listings I send to my clients – I had been pining for a way to add my own comments to the listings I send to people.

    Duh! It was there all along – and I wonder how many other agents have no clue about it. I admit, I don’t read the manuals as often as I should… (shhh.)