Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to note that the Glendale Association of Realtors has signed an agreement with the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS) to resell its services to Glendale members, but the association itself is not a member of CRMLS. This story was updated on Nov. 30 to include comments from Discover Software CFO and CTO Isaac Abecassis on the compatibility of the company’s MLS solutions with Apple computers and mobile devices, and again on Dec. 14 to clarify a comment made by CRMLS CEO Art Carter about the compatibility issue.
A local Realtor association in the Los Angeles area has struck a unique deal to resell the services of the largest multiple listing service in the nation to its members.
The Glendale Association of Realtors has signed a multiyear agreement to provide California Regional MLS’ (CRMLS) MLS platform and a myriad of other products and services from CRMLS to its members. Those products and services include comparative market analysis (CMA) tools, electronic faxing, marketing tools, and an international global listing exchange, among others. CRMLS’s primary MLS platform is Matrix, provided by real estate information and technology firm CoreLogic.
"All told, I believe there’s a total of 18 additional products and services that they’ll have access to above and beyond just the (MLS) platform," CRMLS CEO Art Carter told Inman News.
San Dimas-based CRMLS is the product of a 2010 merger of Pomona-based Multi-Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc. (MRMLS) with the California Association of Realtors’ calREDD MLS system. CalREDD, which was originally envisioned as a statewide MLS, mostly served small Realtor associations in Northern California. CAR retains an ownership stake in CRMLS, which doubled in size last year in a merger with Anaheim-based SoCalMLS.
Since then, two more associations have joined up — Grover Beach, Calif.-based Pismo Coast Association of Realtors and Yucca Valley, Calif.-based Desert Communities Association of Realtors — bringing the total number of associations that belong to CRMLS to 35. Overall, CRMLS now has more than 71,000 agent and broker members.
Those membership numbers do not include the Glendale AOR, which has about 1,400 members and is technically not a member of CRMLS.
"We made an agreement with CRMLS to resell the product (Matrix), so any new member coming in would have an opportunity to continue with their MLS software of choice. But we didn’t join CRMLS. We are not members," Dan Lanning, Glendale’s executive vice president, told Inman News.
Individual Glendale members who choose to subscribe to Matrix, however, will become CRMLS members by virtue of their subscription, Carter said.
"From a legal standpoint, Glendale members would become a part of CRMLS by purchasing the Matrix platform," he said, though Glendale as an association would not be a CRMLS member.
Glendale has its own MLS system from Rapattoni Corp., i-Tech MLS, co-founded with the Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors.
Unlike CRMLS member associations, Glendale members will have the choice to either use Matrix or the Rapattoni Corp. MLS system the association currently uses, Carter said — CRMLS has not made similar arrangements with any other associations. No Glendale members have yet joined the Matrix system.
Both Glendale and CRMLS belong to California Real Estate Technology Services (CARETS), a joint venture that allows more than 50 Realtor associations around the state to share listings. Through CARETS, CRMLS’ database already includes all of Glendale’s listings, Carter said. Now, Glendale’s members will have the choice of which system to input their listings, Matrix or i-Tech MLS.
"Offering multiple MLS platforms is just one way to move forward in the current real estate services environment," said Dan Lanning, Glendale’s executive vice president, in a statement.
Carter agreed. "Given the state of technology as it is, the one-size-fits-all approach probably doesn’t make sense over the long term and is one of the main reasons why we’ve taken the position of providing choice," he said.
CRMLS currently gives its members access to two MLS platforms, Matrix and Tempo, another CoreLogic system. The MLS is in the process of converting roughly 30,000 of its members from the Tempo platform to the Matrix platform — a process that will be complete in January, Carter said.
"Especially in the markets where the Tempo platform is used right now, there seems to be a greater call for more mobile access," he said.
About 20 to 25 percent of CRMLS members are using browsers outside of Windows platform, including Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms, and Carter said the Matrix system "is more friendly to that than some of the other products that are out there. It’s always a challenge in the MLS industry to provide a common experience no matter what operating system you’re using."
Carter said compatibility issues with some Apple products was also a factor in CRMLS discontinuing the use of an Adobe Flash-based MLS platform from Discover Software Inc., Discover MLS.
Discover Software Inc. was launched in 2010 by executives who’d been with CAR’s calREDD MLS vendor, Concentric. Discover announced that it had signed a multiyear contract with MRMLS in September 2010.
Carter said that the last Realtor association using Discover MLS made the decision to move over to the Matrix platform in mid-summer.
"We put it out to the local associations which platform they wanted to use and over time that is what occurred," he said. "I think it was for a wide variety of reasons. Primarily the Matrix platform was out in the marketplace a little bit longer and had some of the features that they were looking for. The Matrix platform being a little bit more Mac friendly and iOS 6 friendly."
"Typically those that use the Mac are really fanatical about their ability to utilize it in their real estate business," Carter said.
In 2010, Apple stopped bundling Flash with Macintosh laptop and desktops running OS X, but users can still download Flash themselves. Apple does not support Flash on devices running the company’s iOS mobile operating system.
Discover Software CFO and CTO Isaac Abecassis said that the Adobe Flash-based version of the Discover MLS platform is fully compatible with any device that supports Flash, including Macintosh desktops and laptops.
Abecassis said Discover Software released an HTML5-based mobile version of its MLS platform in March, 2011 that’s accessible on any smartphone or tablet, including those running Apple’s iOS mobile operating system.
Now that CRMLS is phasing out Tempo, the MLS is working with CoreLogic to provide CRMLS members access to CoreLogic’s newest MLS platform, Fusion.
"Fusion is a very map-centric approach, probably a little bit closer to the consumer experience, and we’re just really from a policy standpoint wanting to provide choice to the membership," Carter said.
Currently, Fusion is available in beta, Carter said, and between 500 and 600 of its members are using it. Ultimately, the MLS wants to provide members with a single point of entry to access either Fusion or Matrix, he said.
Earlier this month, CRMLS signed a multiyear agreement with CoreLogic to expand access to Matrix to all of CRMLS’ members, including members of the former SoCalMLS. The agreement also gave all CRMLS members access to CoreLogic’s MLS Data Co-op tool, which allows MLSs to share listings with some 75 other participating MLSs, and Document Manager, a document management and storage tool.