The highly anticipated 10-day deadline is here. But those expecting the launch of an industry bombshell today out of The Realty Alliance’s fall meeting shouldn’t hold their breath.
On Oct. 4, Craig Cheatham, The Realty Alliance’s president and CEO, issued a stern warning to multiple listing services and Realtor associations attending the Council of MLSs (CMLS) conference, putting them on notice that brokers had lost faith in the way the industry is set up and were prepared to do something about it.
Cheatham warned MLS execs “(they’ve) got 10 days” to reach out to their largest broker members to address their concerns, but later made clear that that cutoff merely referred to the start of The Realty Alliance’s annual fall meeting.
The Realty Alliance, which represents dozens of large brokerages across the country, does have a “big initiative” in the works. But it will not be announced at the end of the 10 days, Cheatham said.
Today, Cheatham told Inman News that “decisions at this phase will not be final until Wednesday,” when The Realty Alliance’s fall meeting concludes.
“My sense from the discussions thus far is that brokers will take another step forward this week on the plans they have been working on for many months now,” he said.
“Brokers remain hopeful that associations, MLSs and vendors can work with real estate practitioners to address and mitigate the sources of friction and inefficiency.”
Cheatham added that he had gotten word from many brokers that MLS representatives reached out last week to “begin constructive conversations” and work on a list of grievances he’s compiled from discussions with The Realty Alliance’s members. The list includes
- “Tying MLS participation with products/services that should be optional and go beyond the founding MLS principles (data, cooperation/compensation).”
- “Creating and promoting public-facing listings advertising websites that compete with broker websites.”
- “Forcing brokers to participating in and/or pay for the creation, maintenance and promotion of MLS public-facing websites.”
- “Operating a public-facing listings website not in compliance with the “Fair Display” guidelines.”
- “Subsidizing associations by overcharging for MLS services and passing extra revenue to associations.”
The Realty Alliance’s Facebook page today reiterated the message that there would be no big announcement today.
“If you are expecting to hear word of a huge initiative today, you listened to the (incorrect) message of the online speculators, not the actual message we delivered to CMLS conference participants,” the group said on its Facebook page.
In a post last week, The Realty Alliance stressed that despite the industry chatter about the 10-day countdown, “no deadline was set” and that brokers “will continue to try to work with MLSs” even after Oct. 14.
Moreover, the group said it was “not acting alone” and “(s)olutions being considered have been vetted and are not self-destructive to brokers.”
Those solutions include options that were unrealistic a short time ago but are now feasible, The Realty Alliance said.
“If local and national policy/practices don’t change in support of the industry they are to serve, brokers will have no choice but to exercise those options,” the group said. “That’s not a threat, it’s a business reality. Decisions this fall will be about launching ‘phase one.’ There still is time to work together to solve these issues and shift MLSs to being resources for brokerages instead of being competitors to brokerages.”