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.