Is a Statewide MLS Good for California Real Estate Agents?

On the surface a statewide MLS seems like a great idea, but skeptics argue that a statewide MLS would result in increased fees and costs. It could also have a negative impact on third-party sites like Zillow, Trulia and as service providers like based Combined Los Angeles/Westside Multiple Listing Service (CLAW) delay their listing feeds to them with the stated goal of boosting consumer traffic to brokerage websites.
Even as the number of multiple listing services that share listing data continues to grow, members of two of California’s biggest MLSs are on the verge of losing access to information about each other’s listings in a spat that highlights tensions over efforts to build a statewide MLS.

With the blessing of the California Association of Realtors, San Dimas-based California Regional MLS is building a statewide MLS that currently provides services to about 73,000 agents and brokers, making CRMLS the largest MLS in the nation.

In January, CRMLS announced that it intends to pull out of California Real Estate Technology Services Inc. (CARETS), a joint venture of six California MLSs that aggregates some 108,000 active listings in 18 counties to one common database.

CRMLS CEO Art Carter said that before pulling out of CARETS, CRMLS hopes to enter into separate data-sharing agreements with all of the other MLSs belonging to CARETS, including Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Combined Los Angeles/Westside Multiple Listing Service (CLAW), an MLS that serves about 15,000 agents and brokers.

But a recent decision by CLAW to delay its syndication feeds to third-party websites by 48 hours sparked an exchange of rhetoric that’s exposed tensions that could prevent CRMLS and CLAW from reaching an agreement to share listing data.

Do you think a state-wide MLS service is good for agents and their clients? What are your thoughts?

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