Editor’s note: this story has been edited to clarify that there is overlap in the membership of CALMLS and CARETS.

California Realtors are moving closer to creating a single database of property listings, with backers of an initiative to create a statewide multiple listing service announcing today that they will join a database comprised of six MLSs in Southern California.

CALMLS, a statewide MLS initiative backed by the California Association of Realtors, will become a member of California Real Estate Technology Services (CARETS), a data aggregation service currently serving 30 Realtor associations and 100,000-plus members in Southern California, the groups said.

CALMLS — a nonprofit subsidiary of CAR, the statewide Realtor trade group — has signed letters of intent with 69 local Realtor associations and three regional MLSs, representing more than 120,000 real estate professionals across the state, many of whom are also CARETS members.

CALMLS has branded the MLS products and services it will offer statewide as calREDD, for California Real Estate Dynamic Data. The calREDD MLS services aren’t scheduled to launch until August, CALMLS chairman Mike Silvas said. But calREDD and CARETS decided to announce their agreement for calREDD to participate in the Southern California-based database now in order to squelch rumors, Silvas and CARETS chairwoman Donna O’Donnell said.

"We’ve been talking to CARETS off and on since last fall," Silvas said. "We put out the release because a bunch of people out there were putting out inaccurate information about CARETS and calREDD."

Some had speculated that CARETS would never allow calREDD to join, and that calREDD would acquire CARETS, Silvas and O’Donnell said. But the plan is for calREDD to become a member of CARETS, just like any other MLS.

"That’s basically what CARETS is — an association of MLSs that have agreed to put all their data into one database, so members don’t have to join multiple MLSs to get the data," Silvas said.

While the ultimate goal for calREDD remains "getting everybody into one MLS," Silvas said, joining CARETS "means we can accelerate the process of getting as many agents in the state under one database." …CONTINUED

In a statement, O’Donnell said CARETS looked forward to working with calREDD "as we continue to expand the CARETS footprint and to offer greater levels of listing data to all of our existing participants and subscribers."

There are more than 60 MLSs in California, which creates unnecessary redundancies and expense, Silvas said. He expects a statewide database will serve as a catalyst for MLS consolidation.

"We (calREDD) will bring more and more of Northern California into (the CARETS database), and as they (CARETS) grow in Southern California, we’ll eventually have some kind of statewide database," Silvas said. As that occurs, Silvas expects to see MLSs merging to take in larger geographical regions.

CALMLS will likely play a role in the process — it recently obtained a $3 million line of credit from CAR to pursue the acquisition of one or more MLSs (see story).

Silvas, co-owner of Morgan Lane Real Estate, a luxury market brokerage based in Napa, said the main obstacle to an agreement between calREDD and CARETS was that calREDD was not an MLS.

"They had to be convinced we had an MLS," Silvas said. "There was some uncertainty until we had actual subscribers and were converting them into a live MLS."

With calREDD ready to "turn the switch" on its MLS in August, that uncertainty has been resolved, he said, paving the way for an agreement.


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