Reticence of luxury and second home market to join regional MLSs

by Marilyn Wilson on March 23, 2012

We are lucky enough to work with brokers and MLSs around the country.  It provides us with a unique perspective to notice trends that may not be readily apparent any other way.

Here’s just one of the trends I have noticed in our work over the years.  While many parts of the country have been successful in joining together to create highly successful and productive regional MLSs, there is one weakness I have observed again and again.  Many times a luxury or second home market close to a larger metropolitan region will join the regional effort.

I’m not going to pick on any specific area, but we see this phenomenon in Nevada, Massachusetts, Florida, New Mexico, California, and many, many other states.  The MLSs are sometimes stuck in the middle. Many MLS executives see the advantages of joining forces with a regional MLS because it will provide more exposure for their member’s listings as well as encourage referral activity.  Unfortunately, many of these same MLSs in luxury and second home markets are met with resistance from their members who do not want to provide access to agents outside of their immediate area. They believe the “big city” guys may come in and steal away the listings and of course, the commissions.

While I certainly understand a certain level of protectionist behavior, especially in this economy, it does baffle me at some level.  Doesn’t every deal have two sides?   Don’t agents want as many potential buyers as possible to be able to see their listings?  Aren’t agents looking for more referral business?

There are also great examples where luxury markets have merged with regional MLSs and have experienced great success. Coronado Island, for example, is part of San Diego’s Regional MLS, Sandicor and they have seen no downsides because of it.  Beverly Hills belongs to The MLS and they love the listing exposure provided by not only their MLS, as well as the Southern California data-sharing relationship with CARETS.  Luxury markets like Sarasota, Florida joined forces with MFRMLS, one of the largest regionals in the country. Their business has not slowed down at all. The Association still has a strong voice to influence MLS policy and technology decisions and can not promote their listings to agents through Western and Central Florida. Their listings are now also featured on MFRMLS’s highly successful consumer-facing website, MyFloridaHomesMLS.com.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I would love to see many of the luxury and second home markets take a serious look at the reasons why they have been reticent to join forces with their neighboring regional MLSs.  Maybe it’s time to revisit the issue with your members discussing the potential advantages of mergers or even data sharing.  In the discussions you can highlight success stories from around the country.  In this economy it seems to me that the more agents that are aware of your listing, the higher likelihood you have of selling it.

I would love to hear from those of you who operate in luxury and second home markets sharing your perspective on this important topic.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin McQueen March 23, 2012 at 6:10 am

Marilyn, I experience this in many markets as well. Maybe we can have a constructive conversation about this seeded by your post. I don’t get it (so please educate me and others). Brokers and MLSs syndicate listings to hundreds of websites, yet they are reluctant to post their listings (seller’s properties for sale or lease) in the metro MLS. We know that many of the buyers and tenants come from the metro areas.

I understand that some luxury / second home market listing agents don’t want to pay another MLS fee, but in the big scheme of things, is that really the obstacle? Why does a BOD resist data sharing of at least the active listings with other MLSs for increased exposure of the listings AND the broker’s brand? They syndicate with sites that drive little or no traffic or phone calls, but are reluctant to advertise in the neighboring MLS where there are a lot of potential leads and professionals to represent the buyers or tenants. Maybe that’s the problem — other professionals …

Let’s have a constructive and informative conversation here to truly understand. Thanks for tee-ing this up Marilyn. Kevin McQueen – Focus Forward

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Karen Brewer March 23, 2012 at 7:04 am

Here on the Gold Coast of CT there are a few nonsensical reasons for this. The first one is complacency.Many people are invested heavily in the status quo and inspite of the world changing around them,still cling to outmoded standards. For years we were able to hold onto our data and control who came into this market. Its all changed but still an old guard insists nothing should change. What they dont seem to get is that it HAS changed….too late,,you were looking the other way.

The other issue is a lack of understanding about what an MLS isand what CONTROL would be lost.Forget that these MLS have exerted any real control in years,except to charge dues for redundent systems and overhead. I could go on and on. In another world or if it were a corporation,this would be a no brainer decision.

Thirdly some of these markets have a superiority complex….”We do business differently here”is a familiar refrain….Gross.

There are no logical business reasons to maintain tiny MLS,unless you still have proprietarty data,can make money and are serving your membership in a meaningful way. Just sayin…..any more questions?

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