California Regionals Breaking Ranks

February is the month of love, but in the case of California Regional MLSs, it may be the month of divorce. There are regional MLSs in California that are in the midst of breaking up. On the surface, this looks like an asymmetrical strategy relative to the regionalization monster that is devouring MLSs across the nation. wall-arrowPerhaps below the surface, collapsing an existing regional may be the first step to creating a New World Order.

When most regional MLSs were created, Associations of REALTORS® funded the companies. They are for-profit companies on paper, but typically build reserves then run the corporation at a financial break even. There are a few that pay dividends, but not many. More likely, the regional MLS has service center agreements (training, support, rules enforcement) with the Associations or will wholesale services to the Association. Either path provides a vehicle for Associations within a regional to financially benefit from the MLS with the services they offer.

In the two counties in San Francisco’s East Bay, there are three MLS operations that share a contract with Black Knight Financial Services for a shared Paragon system. East Bay Regional Data, Inc. is owned by Oakland/Berkeley Association of REALTORS®, The Delta Association of REALTORS®, and the Alameda Association of REALTORS®.

The three shareholders have reached a tentative agreement to restructure the corporation’s ownership. Oakland/Berkeley will remain the owner of EBRD solely. Alameda and Delta will be free to continue purchasing services from EBRD, to obtain MLS from the other two East Bay MLSs, or Continue reading