• The National Association of Realtors is in search of an individual with MLS operations experience to manage its partnership with the Council of MLSs.
  • The new position will expand NAR's MLS resources beyond the traditional policy role, including assisting MLSs that want to explore mergers, consolidation, data shares or other cooperative ventures, NAR said.
  • NAR’s recent partnership with CMLS signifies a change in NAR’s relationship with MLSs, NAR said.
  • NAR anticipates the manager of MLS will work from its Chicago office and plans to hire the individual ASAP.

Realtor associations created multiple listing services decades ago as marketplaces to help brokers representing sellers and brokers representing buyers cooperate.

The vast majority of home sales in this country occur through MLSs.

As marketplaces made up of cooperating competitors, MLSs are responsible for ensuring everybody follows the same rules, complies with the law and pays what they say they’re going to pay.

In that vein, the National Association of Realtors imposes policies on Realtor-affiliated MLSs, which comprise the vast majority of the nation’s 800 or so MLSs.

But MLSs aren’t just compliance cops. When real estate agents and brokers want to help clients buy or sell a home, their most important technology tool is generally the MLS.

In May, NAR announced a partnership with the Council of MLSs (CMLS) to work together and spur innovation in the industry, in part by establishing programs for “game changer” initiatives and MLS mergers.

Now, NAR is in search of a “tech-savvy” individual with MLS operations experience to manage that relationship under the title “Manager, MLS,” according to a job posting.

What will the new hire do?

“Candidates should have experience working for an MLS and strong knowledge of the technical and administrative MLS operations” as well as “[e]ffective and persuasive relationship building skills,” the posting said.

According to the posting, the manager’s major duties will include:

  • Actively connect with MLSs and Realtor associations, the Council of Multiple Listing Services, and the Real Estate Standards Organization [RESO] by attending relevant meetings and cultivating relationships with the organizations’ leadership and executives. Track and issue reports on progress.
  • Participate in strategic creation of educational and operational resources supporting Realtor association MLSs.
  • Assist NAR MLS Committee Staff Executive in preparation of committee and advisory board meetings.
  • Implement projects arising from NAR’s MLS committee and NAR’s collaboration with CMLS.
  • Research, identify, analyze and keep current on developments and events effecting MLS operations.
  • Make presentations and help prepare other informational material as necessary.

Going beyond policy

The manager of MLS will report to Kevin Milligan, NAR’s vice president of Board Policy and Programs, a division that works with associations and MLSs on implementing policies adopted by NAR’s board of directors.

Kevin Milligan

Kevin Milligan

But NAR’s manager of MLS will expand the trade group’s MLS resources beyond the traditional policy role, Milligan told Inman via email.

“NAR’s Board Policy and Programs team has worked with MLSs for many years in implementing key MLS policy initiatives adopted by the NAR board of directors,” he said.

“This is a new position that will focus on providing more resources to Realtor-association owned MLSs as well as helping facilitate NAR’s partnership with CMLS and promote productive relationships with other similar industry groups.”

When asked what important tasks the new hire will be assigned first, Milligan said, “The partnership with CMLS is committed to developing resources to assist MLSs that want to explore mergers, consolidation, data shares or other cooperative ventures.”

But that doesn’t mean the new hire won’t work on MLS rules. The manager of MLS will also be a resource to the committee and advisory board that develop MLS policy, Milligan said.

‘A change in NAR’s relationship with MLSs’

MLSs have been under NAR’s umbrella for decades. Why create this position now?

“NAR’s recent partnership with CMLS signifies a change in NAR’s relationship with MLSs,” Milligan said.

“We are committed to ensuring we fulfill the expectations created in that partnership and enhance our services to association-owned MLSs.”

When announcing the partnership earlier this year, both NAR and CMLS acknowledged an uneasiness in the relationship between NAR and the MLSs its associations birthed.

But both also expressed a desire to work together on shaping the future of the real estate industry.

As of May, CMLS had 178 MLS members representing more than 1 million agents, brokers and other real estate professionals across the country. Of those 1 million-plus real estate pros, most are likely to be members of NAR, which itself has 1.2 million members.

Preserving the ‘voice, perspective and expertise’ of members

Denee Evans

Denee Evans, CMLS CEO

CMLS CEO Denee Evans told Inman she was glad to see NAR will hire a manager of MLS.

“It has the potential to really be a positive thing for MLSs, my members,” she said.

“Having the right person in this position who has the knowledge of how an MLS runs [will ensure] that voice, that perspective, that expertise that my members have is part of the policy discussion from the very beginning.”

The NAR-CMLS partnership will help make sure that MLSs’ voice “is strong and part of the design of the future of our industry,” she added.

CMLS is not part of the selection team that will choose the new manager of MLS, she said.

When asked what message NAR would like to send to MLSs in creating this new role, Milligan said, “This position is nothing more than what it is — a person dedicated to providing support to NAR members, Realtor association-owned MLSs, and the MLS industry.”

NAR anticipates the manager of MLS will work from its Chicago office and plans to hire the individual “[a]s soon as we find the right candidate for the job. The sooner, the better from our perspective,” he added.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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