The nation’s largest multiple listing service, California Regional MLS, has re-integrated a “Submit Offer” tool inside its MLS systems after disabling it earlier this year due to broker pushback following the acquisition of the tool by real estate brokerage Compass.
CRMLS, which serves more than 110,000 agent, broker and appraiser subscribers, debuted Glide‘s offers tool on March 16, touting the launch as a “never-before-seen integration between the multiple listing service and offer management.” As part of the integration, CRMLS users saw a “Submit offer using Glide” button or link on listing detail pages.
The tool allows users to preload forms with MLS information, efficiently prepare offers, securely deliver them, highlight important signature lines and key dates, organize incoming offers from any source, and easily compare and present offers to clients through a dashboard, according to CRMLS. The tool is available on any device and through Glide’s iOS app.
Shortly thereafter, on April 26, Compass announced its acquisition of Glide. While the offer feature had prompted “enthusiastic feedback” from CRMLS users, an informal CRMLS survey fielded after the acquisition that received more than 4,000 user responses found that some brokers objected to the feature’s integration with MLS systems, CRMLS said in a press release this week.
According to CRMLS CEO Art Carter, while most respondents supported the integration, a “vocal minority”of brokers expressed disapproval with their most frequent complaint being a perceived conflict of interest.
“While most with this complaint did not detail the nature of the conflict, those who did pointed to the fact that Compass acquiring Glide meant that a brokerage participating in CRMLS would now also control one of CRMLS’s site-licensed tech offerings,” Carter told Inman via email.
He detailed some of the specific potential conflicts that respondents named:
- Financial conflict – brokerages other than Compass that participate in CRMLS would now indirectly fund one of their competitors
- Data security conflict – since Glide processes sensitive broker, agent, and consumer data, some expressed concern that outside control of Glide would give Compass access to this data
- Agency representation conflict – relatedly, some speculated that (whether by lawful or unlawful means) Compass’s control of Glide would allow Compass to contact consumers directly through Glide’s data, thus violating existing agency relationships between consumers and brokerages
- Fiduciary conflict – because Compass is a brokerage, some respondents presented concern that Compass acquiring Glide could lead to violations of another brokerage’s fiduciary duty to its clients – whether it be by exposing confidential client information to a competitor (i.e., Compass) or by outsourcing a portion of a real estate licensee’s essential duties to a third party (i.e., Glide). In the latter case, if the third party is ever found negligent, the licensee is ultimately responsible for any fiduciary breach.
- Agent competition conflict – some brokers expressed concern that Compass would use its new control of Glide, and the fact that Glide is a core CRMLS tech provider, as a competitive edge in recruiting agents to Compass
- Ethical conflict – some considered Compass’s acquisition of Glide a violation of REALTOR® or more general business ethics
- Regulatory conflict – a few respondents expressed the view that, by contracting with a brokerage-owned tech provider, CRMLS could expose itself to regulatory action involving accusations of anti-competitive practices
“These bullet points serve only to paraphrase the feedback brokers sent to CRMLS,” Carter said. “The views outlined above are the brokers’ own, and CRMLS does not necessarily agree with these brokers’ legal or ethical analyses. Additionally, while some respondents presented concerns unrelated to potential conflicts of interest, almost all critical responses dealt directly with the acquisition in some way.”
Following the survey, CRMLS decided to disable the Glide offers button and link, though the product remained a CRMLS user benefit that subscribers could use outside of their MLS system.
“In the months since, users have sent in a steady stream of requests to re-enable this MLS system integration,” CRMLS said in its release. “CRMLS, recognizing the demand, directed its internal Engineering department to develop a way for brokers to choose to opt in or out of the feature.”
A week before relaunching the integration, on Oct. 5, CRMLS launched a Glide toggle control that allows brokers to opt their offices out of using Glide. Brokers are opted into allowing the tool by default, but CRMLS said opting out only takes a few seconds.
On Oct. 12, CRMLS re-enabled the offers feature. Users can now see a “Submit Offer” button or link in CRMLS’s Matrix and Flexmls systems or a “Submit offer using Glide” button or link in CRMLS’s Paragon system on the MLS’s listing detail pages. Agents can use the feature at no additional cost to them.
If a broker opts out, his or her agents who click on the button or link will get a message telling them that their brokerage has opted out of using the feature.
Glide may not be the only offer management tool available through that button or link in the future. CRMLS said it may “someday” offer users more options through that link.
“We also added multiple data privacy safeguards to our contract with Glide, as many of the most vigorous objections to Glide Offers came from a perception that Compass would gain access to confidential data,” Carter said. “We are committed to fulfilling our legal contracts while their terms are met, especially with improvements like these in place.”
“If the net effect our users feel from the CRMLS/Glide relationship somehow becomes a negative one, even with the newly implemented changes, we will act in accordance with our users’ feedback – or pushback – on this matter,” he added.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from CRMLS CEO Art Carter.