OpinionBrokerage

Let’s get rid of the MLS

It's time to move on
  • Face it. The MLS industry is a monopoly operating in a brokerage industry that has no alternative.
  • Brokers don't have the best opinion of NAR, the state association, the local boards or the local MLS.
  • The brokerage industry has long awaited a viable alternative to the MLS.

The MLS must go.

What the industry needs now is a viable alternative to the industry’s historic set of data services. What the industry needs now is essentially a cure for MLS. So let’s cut the cord.

I am proposing something new, fresh and unique.

But first, with regard to the MLS, we must throw the baby, the bath water and the bassinet out. The alternative is a broker-centric reset of the data management system — restoring the competitive sales environment back in hands of the brokerage industry.

It must include rethinking the mandated cooperation and compensation policy, providing brokers with the ability to manage, share and license their own listing and sales data and liberating from the stifling politics and conflicts of membership-driven objectives imposed by organized real estate.

Face it. The MLS industry is a monopoly operating in a brokerage industry that has no alternative. The brokers deserve a viable alternative.

This goes way beyond the Band-Aid solutions proposed by Upstream that is backed by the National Association of Realtors/RPR or the far-fetched dream of creating a Broker Public Portal supported by the current MLS industry.

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These ventures do nothing more than mask the real issues the brokerage industry faces — and has loudly voiced — with the failed MLS industry.

Be clear: This is not in any way about sour grapes. This is about leading a ground-zero build of a new, innovative platform to replace an antiquated, over-regulated MLS system that is incapable of change.

This new platform is designed to restore the broker’s management of their own data and would reinstate the competitive sales environment the brokers so desperately want and need now. It is about deregulating data management and empowering the brokers with full choice.

So here is the offer. Let me lay out the essentials of my new data management strategy.

The new solution is, by design, not an MLS — it is a single, nationwide comprehensive data platform. It provides full choice to the brokers for the management, distribution and licensing of their data — and only to the listing broker.

It is free of the mandated rules and policies of the National Association of Realtors and the MLS (because, again, it is not an MLS). It also provides the ability for brokers to choose which brokers they wish to cooperate with, share data with and invite to cooperate in the sales process with as well as how much they wish to compensate those brokers.

It creates an environment where getting your data back to use it in your business is no problem — and free of fees. It is a system that has no geographic boundaries for freely sharing data with other brokers.

And all brokerage sales activities are governed only by state licensing laws, not by the limitations of 750-plus geographic board and MLS jurisdictions. All this at a fraction of the cost the brokerage industry is paying for the current MLS industry.

If you have any doubt about the need for this change, I challenge you to ask any broker what he or she honestly thinks of NAR, the state association, the local boards or the local MLS. Then stand back.

Time is of the essence. Reach out. Be brave. I need your support. Connect with me at Inman Connect.

The brokerage industry has long awaited a viable alternative to the MLS, so let’s give it what it really wants — a viable alternative. And don’t listen to those doubt-casting gatekeepers.

Kenneth Jenny is an expert in the residential real estate brokerage industry and real estate marketing.

Email Kenneth Jenny.