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Two neighboring MLSs in Georgia and Alabama are teaming up to share listings and offer subscribers of the latter tools from real estate tech firm Remine through a unique partnership program.
Atlanta-based First MLS (FMLS), with nearly 57,000 agent and broker subscribers, and Greater Alabama MLS (GALMLS), with more than 6,000 subscribers, have inked a deal to both share data and offer GALMLS subscribers Remine’s full suite of products through FMLS.
The deal is happening through a partnership program from FMLS in which other MLSs agree to enter into a data share with FMLS and in exchange, FMLS offers tech products at prices that leverage FMLS’s buying power.
FMLS, which is broker-owned, has enterprise licensing agreements with exclusivity clauses with certain vendors — Remine, CoreLogic, Down Payment Resource, and ShowingTime — that give FMLS the right of first refusal if an MLS in Georgia or Alabama wants to sign up for their products. So, if an MLS wants to buy products directly from these companies, they would have to get permission from FMLS, the organization’s CEO Jeremy Crawford told Inman in a phone interview.
The exclusivity clause generally does not apply if the MLS is already a customer of the company, or if the company already has the MLS in its sales pipeline, according to Crawford.
The idea behind the partnership program is to offer brokers that work across markets a consistent level of service across MLSs and to give agents access to more listing data. While other mega MLSs have decided the way to do those things is to “gobble up” little MLSs, Crawford said that tack is “complicated” and “problematic” and fraught with politics. FMLS’s partnership program delivers some of the benefits of consolidation, while allowing smaller MLSs to remain independent, according to Crawford.
FMLS has similar partnerships with MGMLS in Macon, Georgia, and GCMLS in Mobile, Alabama.
“Not only do we provide the Remine platform in the partnership relationship, we expand that to include our staff as needed to help with product management, data mapping, data integration, user/roster integration, product training (CE and all underlying materials), and our customer support is also included and available to everyone,” Crawford told Inman via email.
“We help any of the MLSs in our partnership program make sure any product enhancements, changes, or issues are escalated and implemented as quickly as possible when we provide these services to our partnership MLSs.”
He said he’s not aware of any other MLSs that offer similar programs. He stressed that FMLS does not make money on the program, but rather passes the cost of the vendor’s products on through to the partner MLS.
The deal with GALMLS will give its subscribers, at no additional cost, full access to Remine’s MLS platform, whose components the company sells to MLSs as individual modules including a front-end public records and search tool called Remine Pro, an Add/Edit listing creation tool, its Docs+ transaction management platform, a single sign-on dashboard, MLS websites, a back-end database, a mobile app and an application programming interface (API) for data management.
“We are thrilled to partner with our friends in Birmingham to make it easy for all our members and their clients to list and sell homes,” Crawford said in a statement.
“This has the potential to dramatically increase sales velocity and listing exposure throughout the southeastern region. Besides making Remine’s products available to GALMLS subscribers, FMLS will also provide technical support and training on the Remine product suite, which includes Alabama Real Estate Commission-accredited continuing education classes.”
GALMLS is a subsidiary of the Greater Birmingham Association of Realtors. FMLS is one of four MLSs that acquired Remine in October.
The data share between the MLSs is currently slated to go live in mid-July, though GALMLS CEO Amanda Creel told Inman the MLS is still working with Black Knight, which provides GALMLS with its Paragon platform, to finalize a timeline.
In a statement, Tina Tyus, GALMLS’s president added, “Subscribers to both MLS systems will now be able to see listings throughout the region right inside the MLS software they are already accustomed to using. Plus, it will create a large referral network for both of our subscribers, which is a huge benefit to make the market work efficiently.”
Remine Pro, Docs+, and SSO will also go live for GALMLS subscribers in mid-July. The MLSs haven’t yet heard from Black Knight regarding when the Paragon platform will be able to accept listings from GALMLS through Remine’s add/edit tool, so the launch date for that tool hasn’t been set, according to Crawford.
“Our volunteer and staff leadership believe Remine products are the solutions our subscribers need to thrive in today’s present market, and we are excited to add these services through this partnership with FMLS,” Creel said.
When asked whether GALMLS plans to use Remine’s MLS website, back-end database, and API, which are part of the deal with FMLS, Creel did not respond.