The power balance in the real estate world is shifting faster than ever. Travel titans, search engines, investment oracles and government entities all want to change the way we do business. Most just want to control a larger piece of the pie.
Real estate brokerages are often too focused on their day-to-day business of attracting and retaining agents to give an appropriate share of their attention to the greater direction of real estate. The reasons are fairly simple. Brokerages are deemed successful by their ranking vs. local competitors as opposed to the greater health of all brokers in their region. The ability of a broker or agent to increase sales production and income often comes at the expense of competing agents and brokers, especially in a down market. This is not necessarily a negative, but the reality of competitive business and our natural motivations in these roles.
Then, there is the MLS. The multiple listing service could be called the referee for our regional activities. Some practitioners love the MLS for its standardization of practices. Some hate it for its plethora of rules impeding their business. Some brokers appreciate the MLS’s creation of a level playing field vs. other companies. Many brokers feel disdain for any organization that seeks to override its regulatory authority.
The nature of these differing opinions exemplifies the strength and value of the MLS to our industry. Whether it’s a parent, teacher, CEO or government regulator, any authoritative entity should wield enough clout to create useful standards. If it lacks the strength to create regulations that benefit its constituents as a whole, it is useless. At the same time, if its decisions lack the support necessary to regulate member policies, it is impotent.
An uncommon position of power
MLS organizations are in a uniquely powerful position in our industry today. The MLS is supported in some way by Realtor organizations, diverse brokerages, volunteer agents, and MLS staff. Their overwhelming strength is the nearly ubiquitous control of our most precious asset in the new media age: the real estate listing
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