The California Regional Multiple Listing Service, or CRMLS, announced Tuesday that it will act as a technology and services vendor for a broker-owned multiple listing service (MLS) in Louisiana — the first such deal for CRMLS outside of its home state.
The deal means that CRMLS will be providing services to Greater Southern MLS, a relatively new company that aspires to build Louisiana’s first statewide MLS. As a result, CRMLS will provide Greater Southern with MLS software such as Matrix, Paragon, Cloud CMA and Realist Tax, among other things, according to a statement.
CRMLS had a banner 2019, with several new partnerships coming in the final months of the year. By December 31, the organization said that it was serving more than 100,000 agents.
The new deal with Greater Southern, however, marks the first time CRMLS has expanded beyond California. CEO Art Carter said in a statement that his organization is consequently “putting all hands-on deck to ensure the transition is smooth and successful.”
“We’re looking forward to welcoming the Louisiana Realtors served by Greater Southern MLS to CRMLS and sharing with them what our organization is capable of,” Carter also said.
The new deal, however, is not a merger. Greater Southern will continue to operate as an independent organization, merely getting its technology services from CRMLS. Greater Southern and CRMLS also do not anticipate any disruption in user experience. In other words agents who use CoreLogic’s Matrix software, for example, should be able to log in normally and can still use that system — it will simply now be provided by CRMLS.
The financial details of the new arrangement were not publicly disclosed.
The new deal also marks an early potential step in building a unified MLS in Louisiana. Up until now, the state had nine different Realtor associations with corresponding multiple listing services. Those different associations in some cases had overlapping jurisdictions, varying rules and independent data feeds.
Lacey Conway, the New Orleans-based president and principle broker at Latter & Blum Companies, told Inman that the resulting situation was — and still is — a complicated system in which agents had to pay for multiple data feeds and memberships.
To solve that problem, brokers got together last year to form Greater Southern. The MLS’s sponsoring brokers represent nearly one third of all Louisiana Realtors, according to a press release.
“This group has gotten together to deliver better services and better data at a better price,” Conway explained of the broker-owned company.
The hope is that Greater Southern will build a single multiple listing service that all Louisiana Realtor associations can use, even as those associations remain independent of each other. In that way, Greater Southern is itself a vendor of technology services, serving as a link between CRMLS technology and the local Realtor associations.
Right now, Greater Southern only has a deal with one association: Southwest Louisiana Association of Realtors (SWLAR), which has more than 700 members and is based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. But Conway — who is one of the broker-owners of Greater Southern — said that she hopes the other associations in the state opt to get their multiple listing services from Greater Southern as well, thus creating a single system that is accessible to everyone.
“The hope is for other associations to say, ‘This is a great service, we’d like to provide it as well,'” Conway added.
Such a system would ultimately be similar to what exists in Southern California, where different Realtor associations all use CRMLS’s multiple listing service. The new deal between CRMLS and Greater Southern is just the first step in building something similar in Louisiana, and only time will tell how things will ultimately play out. But Conway expressed optimism.
“We would like to see other associations join it,” she added.
Webb Jay, president of both Greater Southern and Webb Jay and Associates, also praised SWLAR for being the first Realtor association to join Greater Southern.
“The progressive leaders of SWLAR are partnering with Greater Southern MLS to provide their members a comprehensive suite of more than 15 technologies and free data feeds for agents and brokers,” he said in a statement.
Jay also framed the choice of CRMLS as a vendor as advantageous for real estate professionals.
“We believe that working with CRMLS, the largest MLS in the country,” Webb said, “will allow us to provide customer-centric services, training, and support to help Louisiana Realtors generate more business while saving money.”