On Monday, the Puerto Rico Association of Realtors (PRAR), which was founded in the early 1950s and has about 500 agent and broker members across four local associations, joined My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS), which has about 57,000 subscribers in 17 central and southwest Florida counties.
PRAR is the first association outside of Florida to join My Florida Regional. The deal will give My Florida Regional members access to all of PRAR’s listings across the island nation, meaning they will be able to search for Puerto Rican properties on behalf of Florida buyers, and present Puerto Rican properties for sale and rent across their Florida-based brokerage and agent websites.
Despite last year’s devastating Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is becoming “a sought-after locale for corporate relocation and growth,” according to a press release announcing the deal.
“We strongly believe [joining My Florida Regional] will help strengthen and grow our organization,” said PRAR President Eddie Lopez in a statement. “Our country has been through a hard season, but we are committed to evolving with the times and becoming a better, more agile association to the benefit of our members.”
Joining My Florida Regional means PRAR’s members will have more products and services available to them than they have in the past, according to the MLS. These include showing management service ShowingTime, comparative market analysis tool Cloud CMA, virtual tour product Property Panorama, client-specific portals, expanded statistical reporting tools, flood mapping, mobile access to the MLS, public national MLS website Homesnap, agent webpages and access to My Florida Regional’s customer support center, the MLS said.
My Florida Regional debuted the first Spanish language version of its MLS system, CoreLogic’s Matrix, to all of its subscribers on August 21. Like all subscribers, PRAR members will have access to Matrix in both English and Spanish. A My Florida Regional spokesperson said that the two projects came about independently, but the timing “worked out.”
My Florida Regional is owned by 15 shareholder Realtor boards, but PRAR is joining as a customer — the MLS’s third customer association.
The deal is not a merger or acquisition, My Florida Regional CEO Merri Jo Cowen told Inman via email. She declined to discuss PRAR’s current MLS vendor or what would happen to PRAR’s current and historical MLS data, other than to say it would not be contributed to My Florida Regional.
“The Puerto Rico association is launching what could be compared to a statewide MLS. They are building their database from the ground up, with participants and subscribers manually entering their current and pending inventory directly into MFRs Matrix system,” Cowen said.
She added that PRAR’s members will be able to see the entire My Florida Regional database, but “cannot sell where they are not licensed of course.”
PRAR did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.
Asked how Puerto Rico’s real estate market is different from Florida’s, Cowen said,”We can’t really comment on the difference in the markets as we don’t have any experience with the Puerto Rico market yet. We know there is a lot of rebuilding being done as a result of the hurricane last year, so even trying to compare the two markets at this time is impossible.”
In terms of different regulations in the two jurisdictions, Cowen said, “PRAR will follow MFRMLS’s existing rules unless we run into a situation where the legalities or license law in Puerto Rico differ. Our rules are aligned with the model rules of [the National Association of Realtors], as were Puerto Rico’s.”
My Florida Regional plans to continue to expand its service area outside of Central and Southwest Florida “in an effort to create a larger, national presence,” the company said in the press release.
“As an industry leader, MFRMLS supports consolidation within the multiple listing service industry as we believe it provides simplicity, efficiency and cost economies for brokers who operate in multiple markets served by different MLSs. With that in mind, we seek to expand wherever our services can benefit associations and their members,” Cowen said.