Scenic Coast – America’s First Hybrid MLS

by Victor Lund on March 8, 2012

Established in 1969 in slumbering Morro Bay, California, Scenic Coast Association of REALTORS (SCAOR) has established an amazing MLS Offering – Two MLS memberships for the price of one. This new solution is called the MLS Hybrid, and may be the first of it’s kind in the nation.

SCAOR participates in the Central Coast MLS (CCRMLS). I have not reviewed their governance, but CCRMLS behaves like a data share among 7 Associations serving 2500 agents offering Rapattoni MLS, Realist Tax, Listhub, and REALTORS Property Resource (RPR is offered in some but not all AORs in CCRMLS).

On February 10th, 2012, the SCAOR launched a secondary MLS services delivered by the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS), the nations largest MLS. It seems like a very tidy arrangement whereby all CCRMLS data is now displayed in CRMLS, but only visible to SCAOR Members. CRMLS members can see SCAOR data, but not the listings of any of the other CCRMLS participants. So today, SCAOR agents may use Rapattoni from CRMLS, Tempo, Matrix, and Fusion from CRMLS. Multiple systems for the price of one – pick your system of choice. This is not a data share agreement, their members are literally members of two MLSs.

As a result of the Hybrid launch, SCAOR members also get access to a wide array of products including HomeSeekers.com; Realist 2; Realist ValueMap; rDesk; DocCentral; SmartFax; MongoFax; Mobile MLS; WyldFyre7; Global Listing Exchange; CloudCMA; Homes Connect; Fannie Mae Short Sale Assistance Desk; Immobel; ListingBook; Point2; Goomzee; CARETS; and RE Technology. I suspect that they may also enjoy reciprocal log in to MLSListings, Sandicor and other reciprocal MLS conduits that are in place.

The Hybrid MLS concept was born under the leadership of calREDD, the California Association of REALTORS MLS offering that merged with Los Angeles based MRMLS to form the new company called California Regional MLS. In concept, the Hybrid solution allows the Association of REALTORS to maintain their current MLS and offer the CRMLS as an alternative full MLS of choice. Adding and editing listings is only performed in the primary MLS system, which is a bit of a limitation, but overcomes the burden of rules and regulations reform; and perfect data schema alignment.

Typically these types of arrangements between MLS providers is driven by Overlapping Market Disorder (OMD), a term coined by David Charron of MRIS. It becomes more efficient for professionals to maintain one MLS subscription and share data vs. subscribing to multiple MLS. There is no overlap in this case, only a desire to provide subscribers with more business tools to power their real estate business.

THE CCRMLS CASE STUDY

This will make an interesting case study for California MLSs and beyond. SCAOR is making an investment whose outcome is uncertain. Today, SCAOR offers many more services at a lower price than the other 6 CCRMLS Associations of REALTORS. Today, they have a competitive advantage by comparison with neighboring Associations.

Today, there is a different Association of REALTORS located about every 15 miles in San Luis Obispo County. Each of these Associations has more staff members and infrastructure costs per agent than most REALTOR Associations with 2500 members, and fewer benefits. In other words, it costs more to be small than it does to be big. You may think that this is a perfect scenario for board consolidation. But each board offers excellent, personalized services and support. So members are not dissatisfied with the price or service. They really don’t know any better.

By contrast, the nation’s Mega Boards (more than 5000 members) are typically able to execute maximum service, maximum member benefits, and lower costs. Even with consolidation on the Central Coast, they may not have enough members to become a Mega Board, but this move by SCAOR certainly provides members with a flush level of MLS services.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin McQueen March 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

Victor, this is an interesting model. Scenic Coast AOR may be on to something here. What are the core characteristics that make this viable? I wonder if it will it scale in other states? Hats off to the leadership on all sides for making this happen.

What are the trade-offs (what’s not to love here)?
Kevin McQueen

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Victor Lund March 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I do not know the financial situation, but it is hard to understand how they can afford to offer membership in two Regional MLSs. Clearly CRMLS offers far more services than CCRMLS, so the members benefit from having access to more tools.

What is weird is that only 1 of the 7 CCRMLS Associations is doing the Hybrid with CRMLS.

Adoption will be interesting to watch.

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Pete September 8, 2015 at 10:47 pm

Great to hear someone is using their head…. because, well, down here in thousand oaks we have rapattoni mls and it totally sucks!!! It’s old, clunky, bloated, ugly, slow, and their IDX solution is almost unusable!! Wish we could get a system like yours!

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