Directors for the Connecticut Association of Realtors have approved the creation of a statewide multiple listing service.

In a 78-32 vote on July 18, association directors approved the creation of a not-for-profit corporation, Connecticut Multiple Listing Service Inc., that will operate a statewide MLS. The corporation will be governed largely by brokerage company representatives.

Jerry Alaimo, broker-owner for Century 21 Alaimo & Corrado in Enfield, Conn., and president of the board for the new corporation, said the involvement of the state Realtor association in establishing the statewide MLS was a “win-win” for supporters.

There are several examples of other statewide and regional MLSs in the Northeast — Rhode Island has State-Wide MLS and Massachusetts has the MLS Property Information Network, for example. The California Association of Realtors has also investigated whether to create a statewide MLS.

Supporters have said that MLS regionalization efforts can reduce the cost and complication in joining several MLSs in a given market area. Regional and statewide MLSs can share property data, rules and forms among members. Meanwhile, opponents have cited worries that MLS regionalization efforts will allow agents to compete in market areas where they may have little or no experience, and that local MLSs and associations will lose revenue and staff through consolidation.

There are more than 800 MLSs across the country, and most of these are affiliated with local Realtor associations.

The Connecticut association last year formed a working group, and that working group established a board of directors to create a statewide MLS independent of the state Realtor group. Alaimo, as board president, sought to gather support for the effort in talks with local MLSs and Realtor associations.

“As we moved around the state, we visited MLSs and associations multiple times. The biggest issue on most of their minds was Realtor involvement in a multiple listing system,” he said, and supporters of the statewide MLS effort decided to approach the state Realtor association.

“We really are going to be moving ahead the same way we have. The board of directors structure did not change. The (organization) will still be run by the participants.”

Robert J. Kennedy, executive officer for the Connecticut Association of Realtors, said 10 MLSs have been operating in Connecticut. Five of those MLSs have belonged to a cooperative, COOP MLS, in which the MLSs essentially share a common database, he said. There is also Eastern Connecticut Realtors Information Service, Consolidated MLS (or CMLS) based in Norwalk, and three MLSs in Fairfield County. The Fairfield County MLSs and CMLS have not committed to the statewide MLS plan.

“They basically said they will wait and see,” Kennedy said. The statewide initiative “will hopefully bring some uniformity to the industry,” he said. There are about 2,000 real estate companies and 18,000 Realtors in the state of Connecticut, Kennedy said. Members of the statewide MLS must also be Realtor members or affiliated with a Realtor participant in the MLS.

The statewide MLS will be phased in beginning with members of the Eastern Connecticut MLS.

Alaimo said the Eastern MLS should be online by about Nov. 1, with members of the COOP MLS phased into the new system after that.

“The current board members are serving in the capacity of the incorporators of the new organization. Until such time as we have an election they will serve in that capacity,” Alaimo said. There are 17 board members, including five who represent large brokerage companies, five who represent mid-sized companies, five who represent small brokerage companies, one member who is a local association executive and one member who is a sales associate and/or subscriber of the statewide MLS.

According to the bylaws for the new organization, the corporation will establish service centers with a number of local Realtor associations, including the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors Inc., Greater New Haven Association of Realtors Inc., Middlesex Shoreline Association of Realtors Inc., Greater Waterbury Board of Realtors Inc., Litchfield County Board of Realtors Inc., Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors Inc., Northern Fairfield Association of Realtors Inc., Mid-Fairfield Association of Realtors Inc., Greater Fairfield Association of Realtors Inc., Ridgefield Association of Realtors Inc., Greater Bridgeport Board of Realtors Inc., Greater New Milford Board of Realtors Inc. and Stamford Board of Realtors Inc.

“The corporation may also establish service centers with other Realtor associations in Connecticut as may be in the best interests of serving the participants,” the bylaws state.

The headquarters for the corporation will likely be in the New Haven area, Alaimo said, and the monthly fee to join the MLS will be $26 per member.

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