Hybrid Regionalization – Right For Your MLS?

by Mike Audet on February 10, 2014

We all know there are too many MLSs in the US and over the years the real market areas have expanded forcing agents to belong to multiple MLSs in many areas.  This means more costs, data inefficiencies and often the need to learn and operate multiple MLS systems.  It isn’t good for brokers, agents or consumers so why hasn’t their been more consolidation of MLSs more quickly? The answer, of course, is protectionism.   Even though consolidation would be in everyone’s best interest there is still a local desire to maintain control and identity at the MLS level.  Brokers also worry that outsiders will come in and steal their business.  Whether this is true or not isn’t important because perception is everything and controls the day. Did you know there are really good options available today in MLS systems that would allow you to provide most of the member benefits of regional MLS without having to lose your local identify and control?  If you knew this would it allow you in your local market to consider regionalization at a faster pace?  Read on to learn what can now be done with Hybrid regional approach, it might be right for your market area.   The Hybrid Regional A Hybrid Regional is one in which multiple MLSs decide they want to work together to share the same MLS technology but they don’t want to dissolve their local MLSs.  They want the benefits of a broader database and the economies that come with a larger MLS.  They don’t want to have to learn and operate multiple MLS systems.  For these MLSs the Hyrbrid Regional makes a lot of sense.  In addition, thanks to enhanced regional features in MLS systems today, there is still the ability to control many elements of the system at the local MLS level.   The Structure Most Hybrid regionals we work with are managed by a regional task force made up of members of each MLS.  This group works together, as needed, to make those decisions impacting all of the members of the regional such as property sheet layouts, report designs and when to install upgrades, etc.  In some cases, actual approval for some decisions may have to go back to the individual boards of each member MLS but, the process works.  It works because the participating MLSs have placed a high value on being part of a broader regional […]


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?