Industry News

MLS ballot initiative is ‘ill-conceived,’ says Realtor lawyer

Ballot measure seeks to open up real estate data to consumers

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The proponent of an effort to establish a statewide database for property listings in California said today that the planned system could be modeled after the successful privatization of a Web site registration service. David Barry, a San Francisco lawyer who has aggravated real estate industry groups for filing a steady stream of antitrust lawsuits that span several decades, is behind this effort to establish a comprehensive property listings database that consumers can access free of charge. According to the text of the proposed ballot initiative, "Visitors to the open MLS Web site may access non-confidential MLS data and utilize search functions for free. All search reports are downloadable and printable for free." While MLS data in California is divided amongst dozens of local MLSs -- most of them owned by local Realtor trade groups -- the new proposal would require that all real estate professionals in the state place their listings in the statewide MLS, unless home sellers specif...