NorthstarMLS is joining forces with Southeast Minnesota Realtors (SEMR) to offer lower combined fees to 88 percent of the state’s real estate pros.

The two largest multiple listing services in Minnesota are joining forces, saving their agent subscribers money and serving up a more comprehensive listing database.

NorthstarMLS, which has more than 18,000 agent and broker subscribers, and Southeast Minnesota Realtors (SEMR), which has more than 1,000 agent and broker subscribers, will merge their MLSs and go “live” to subscribers in mid-November, NorthstarMLS CEO John Mosey told Inman via email.

John Mosey

“There are more than 500 agents between the two services paying [twice],” Mosey said “At an estimated $45 per month each, that’s over $270,000 per year paying too much.”

MLS mergers and other forms of MLS collaboration are rising in the real estate industry and the reasons often hinge on solving pain points for agents and brokers trying to do their jobs. This combined MLS will offer cost savings and better efficiency to more than 88 percent of the real estate professionals in the state, some 19,000, according to a press release.

“Too many of our members were paying to belong to two or more MLSs to get all the listings inventory they needed to do business. They had to double-input their own listings to get them into both systems,” said SEMR CEO Karen Becker in a statement.

“All our members will now have the most comprehensive and accurate property information for their sellers, and the most complete and up-to-date inventory for their homebuyers. We are also excited for the additional technology tools that will improve how members serve their clients.”

Southeast Minnesota Realtors, which covers 11 counties in the North Star State, has become a shareholder in NorthstarMLS, which covers Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Last year, NorthstarMLS facilitated more than 87,000 real estate transactions valued over $24 billion while more than 6,000 homes were sold through SEMR’s MLS.

In a statement, Mosey indicated his hope that this move will lead to further MLS cooperation in the future.

“NorthstarMLS is implementing changes to better accommodate SEMR members’ needs and we expect these will make our service even better for our current customers,” he said.

“We hope that other associations in our multi-state market region can see how committed we are about collaborating to create a more efficient marketplace for our brokers and agents and continue to be open to further dialog on MLS cooperation in any form.”

Industry consultant Matt Cohen of Clareity Consulting helped shepherd SEMR through merger talks with NorthstarMLS, according to the release.

“The drivers for MLS consolidation center around providing a common service for a real estate market area — a single subscription, data feed, set of rules, compliance process, and MLS and other information systems,” Cohen has previously told Inman.

“Sometimes consolidation allows for greater economy of scale — providing a better value to subscribers. A larger organization can also manage risk better than many smaller ones. ”

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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