Arizona forms largest statewide MLS in the Nation

by Victor Lund on August 8, 2011

By a margin of 3 to 1, the Arizona Association of REALTORS voted to acquire the assets of ARMLS today forming the largest statewide MLS in the nation and possibly one of the top 5 largest MLSs in the nation. By our accounting, only MRED in Chicago, MRIS in the Mid-Atlantic would be larger. CRMLS in Los Angles, SoCAL MLS in Los Angles, MFRMLS in Central Florida are all smaller, but possibly in reach. Not that the numbers matter all that much. The difficult next step will be to encourage other Arizona MLSs to join the party.

Bob Bemis, current CEO of ARMLS will remain the CEO of the new entity, the Arizona Multiple MLS. The Arizona State Association of REALTORS paid just under $5M to acquire the assets of the Phoenix based ARMLS. Interesting to note, the MLS Vendor for ARMLS is FBS Data Systems, offering the FlexMLS product. Earlier this year ARMLS, Tucson AOR, and Santa Cruz AOR initiated a data share that covered more than 80% of the properties in the state. In essence, the data share among MLSs led the initiative to form one MLS for the state. It will be interesting to see how these other MLSs react to the opportunity.

ARMLS is among the most progressive MLSs in the nation, leading the way to delivering MLS services along with an extensive variety of technology services to members. Not only will the statewide mls assure the State Association of gaining adoption of their transaction management platform, but many of the companies that partner with the MLS to offer IDX, Mobile Search, Virtual Tours, CMA, will see increased market opportunities.

Here is the full press release

 

Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Goes Statewide

August 8, 2011
Tempe, Arizona – The Directors of the Arizona Association of REALTORS® (AAR) today voted to purchase
the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (ARMLS®), making it the largest statewide MLS in the country.

Today’s historic vote follows years of discussion which turned serious in March 2010 when the AAR Directors approved a full investigation and the formation of a workgroup to study the merits of a statewide MLS. A complete written report of the findings and comparisons was released in July 2010. Additional research included two membership-wide surveys and feedback from local association/MLS executives to understand their services and costs. A preliminary business plan was presented to AAR Directors in March 2011. Parallel discussions were held among ARMLS’s four local shareholder associations, Scottsdale Area, Phoenix, West Maricopa and Southeast Valley Regional, who individually voted in July to approve the negotiated terms of the sale and sell 100% of their shares in ARMLS to AAR.

AAR’s CEO Tom Farley, seen as one of the driving forces behind the purchase, claims that “once other stakeholders recognized the advantages for Arizona Realtors, the project took on a life of its own, overcoming significant financial and political hurdles along the way. In the end it became clear it was the right thing to do.” The new entity, Arizona Multiple Listing Service, will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of AAR and will employ ARMLS CEO, Bob Bemis, to lead the new organization. “It is an honor and a privilege to serve the MLS needs of Arizona Realtors and to bring enhanced services to all of Arizona Realtor associations.” The new entity will experience a change in governance, preserving larger associations’ representation by virtue of size, but also giving smaller associations a meaningful voice.

The new governance model seeks to preserve both interests while maintaining the over-arching goal that this new system is for the benefit of the statewide membership. Duane Fouts, the current AAR Chair, sees the new structure as a win-win for all Arizona Realtors. “While the current members of ARMLS will see no dues increase, they will now be able to service their clients anywhere in the state. Smaller local associations who join will be able to increase services as well as take advantage of the cost efficiencies and buying power of the larger organization.” Current ARMLS President Bill Ashker sees the move as an opportunity that respects the autonomy of each of the 21 local state associations. “The decision to join the statewide effort is an individual one that the Board of Directors of each association will make when its current MLS contract comes up for renewal. Their decision will be based on their own value assessment for its members.” Each local association will be offered two options of participation, either a wholesale or a full service approach.

Statewide MLS paves the road for another AAR initiative, the Arizona Realtor Business Interface (ARBI), a platform which integrates a Statewide MLS with AAR’s current zipForm®, transaction management and digital signature benefits. ARBI’s dashboard would make it possible for Arizona Realtors to access many possible two-way channels, including MLS and public records, digital maps, electronic forms, digital signatures, Realtors Property Resource™ (RPR™), transaction management, iMapp, broker back-office support, third party applications and more.ARMLS Press Release re: AAR vote
FBS, Inc., owner of flexmls® Web, the current MLS system used by ARMLS, will remain as the MLS software vendor for the new entity, with the added advantage that Tucson and Santa Cruz MLS are already using the flexmls® system. Complete integration is projected to take until the end of 2012. Full details of the statewide MLS proposal can be found at www.aaronline.com.

About ARMLS: Since 1982, Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (ARMLS) has provided property data compilation services to its 30,000 real estate Agents, Brokers and Appraisers, called Subscribers, who
account for over 80% of the Realtors® in Arizona. It serves real estate professionals in Maricopa and Pinal counties, and provides its Subscribers with data sharing capability with Tucson and Rocky Point,
Mexico. ARMLS also enables its Subscribers to utilize state-of-the-art real estate applications by licensing its data to real estate technology vendors. In addition to property data compilation, ARMLS, as the “Voice of Real Estate for Arizona,” prepares market reports and analysis to assist its Subscribers in
their businesses and the media in its real estate reporting. Learn more about ARMLS at www.armls.com or www.armlsbog.com.
About AAR:
The Arizona Association of REALTORS® (AAR) is the largest trade association in Arizona, representing approximately 42,000 Arizona REALTORS® belonging to 21 local associations. It is governed by a 126 member Board of Directors and a fifteen member Executive Committee. Eighty-six percent of AAR’s
membership belongs to the five largest local Realtor associations (Phoenix, Tucson, Scottsdale Area, West Maricopa and SouthEast Valley Regional). Members are active real estate licensees from all areas of real estate, including residential, commercial, property management, land, appraisal, and relocation.
Learn more about www.aaronline.com.

 

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