• The nation's largest MLS, California Regional MLS, continues to promote its statewide MLS initiative, most recently through a video featuring real estate leaders across the state.
  • The MLS has hired a copywriter to assist in the effort.
  • Proponents of a statewide MLS say agents and brokers want to be able to help clients looking for homes outside their current MLS boundaries.

“I think that the public still has better access to information than I do as a Realtor,” said Silicon Valley broker Jim Hamilton.

Hamilton, who is also a past president of the California Association of Realtors, was one of several real estate leaders who spoke in a video promoting a statewide MLS for the Golden State released last week.

The video is part of the “It’s My Business” marketing campaign from California Regional Multiple Listing Service launched a year ago. San Dimas-based CRMLS is the largest MLS in the nation with more than 80,000 members, but it hopes to be bigger — a lot bigger.

The latest video encourages agents and brokers to go to the “It’s My Business” website and sign up to receive email updates on important campaign developments.

“We have not started sending any email updates to that list yet. We are working on a distribution strategy at this point,” CRMLS spokeswoman Nicole Aguilar told Inman via email.

CRMLS’s ideal: one, statewide MLS

In 2005, there were 71 multiple listing services in California, according to CRMLS.

Now there are 44, but that’s still far short of CRMLS’s ideal: one, statewide MLS.

“If we were to start this from Day One and build a system — let’s assume there were no MLSs out there at all and we had a bunch of information we needed to put together — would we create 71 different entities in the state of California?” Hamilton said.

“It’s about information. Put it all together, make it easy for me to access, make it easy for my brokers to access it, and put it into their systems as well as opposed to learning a whole bunch of different systems.

“Quite frankly, the way to do that is with one MLS.”

CRMLS coverage map

CRMLS coverage map as of June 2016

Marketing chops behind the campaign

CRMLS has put some marketing chops behind the campaign, including hiring a copywriter, Alex Cantatore.

Videos for “It’s My Business” are relatively high in quality, though didn’t set out to raise the bar, according to CRMLS CEO Art Carter.

Art Carter

Art Carter

“But one of the benefits in being in this market area that we’re in is that I have ready access to a lot of people who have worked within the film industry and we’ve been lucky to find some pretty talented people out of that industry to help us out with content creation,” he told Inman.

CRMLS is promoting its initiative via press releases, social media channels, and association- or -technology-related events, Carter said.

In some cases, “It’s My Business” has even gone from office to office spreading the word, he said.

The statewide initiative suffered a setback last week when a neighboring MLS pulled out of a data-sharing agreement between the two MLSs — a move CRMLS said could cost agents millions.

But CRMLS continues its — admittedly slow and not always welcome — march toward a day when California agents can see all of the state’s MLS listing data in one place.

“[Agents’] chief complaint is that their clients, the consumer, have more access to data than they do,” said broker Nick Solis, president of One80 Realty in Brentwood, in the video.

“The buyers are coming back to them and saying, ‘I found this house and I don’t understand why you didn’t send it to me through your MLS.’ The agents are perplexed.”

What would a statewide MLS do for brokers and agents?

A statewide MLS would allow brokers and agents to help buyers looking to relocate to another part of the state — not by encouraging them to work beyond their areas of expertise, but by referring them to more knowledgeable agents in the same MLS, according to Solis.

“I don’t want to go down there and open doors for [relocating buyers]. However, it would be great to be able to offer them access and information and to be able to put them with a great agent down south,” he said.

“It’s My Business” is currently working on a series of videos about the importance of the multiple listing service, Carter said.

“[It will include] voices of real agents, real association executives, up and down the state who believe what CRMLS believes in and believe in the added value of an aggregated database for real estate professionals,” he said.

“We are proud of the work that we’ve put together and hopefully we can continue to change the tide,” he added.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to change Alex Cantatore’s title.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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