On Friday, the Board of Directors of the California Association of Realtors approved a motion clearing the way for a statewide MLS. Currently, there are numerous local MLSs throughout the state. For a Realtor to gain access to a particular MLS, their Broker needs to first be a member of that local MLS and then the Realtor needs to join. Both the Broker and Realtor are charged quarterly fees to access that MLS.
Each MLS has it’s own set of rules too. Here on the Central Coast, we have 6 MLS Associations (North Coast, SLO, Paso, Atascadero, Pismo Coast, and Santa Maria). The 6 MLSs have agreed to use a common MLS system but they all have their own set of rules. Worse yet, one MLS may interpret a rule differently than another MLS, even though the rule is written the same (I’ve experienced this first hand). Also, if a Realtor that belongs to one MLS (say the SLO MLS) lists a home in Atascadero, they need to follow that local MLS’s rules. Unfortunately, some of the local MLSs don’t make it easy for others to find their current rules. This only adds fuel to the fire for those who say the current MLSs need to change (or go away).
Here is one of the reasons why a statewide MLS is being pursued (from the MLS Working Group Statement of Principles):
California REALTORS® should have universal access to all MLS data.
C.A.R. members are licensed by the state Department of Real Estate and as such are able to sell property throughout California. Consumers have access to statewide and even nationwide listings through a variety of data aggregation sites on the Internet. In order for REALTORS® to provide their clients with the information they want, California REALTORS® should have access to all listing data in the state. Shared databases and reciprocal agreements should be strongly encouraged.