Consolidation of Associations of Realtors® and Multiple Listing Organizations has been the chapter and verse of our industry over the past few years. If we all learned anything during the recession it is that the organizations that support Realtors® need to deliver a higher bar of services. WAV Group is excited to share the announcement of collaboration between two of Americas great Association Boards who have come together to form a more perfect union.
The State of Florida is one of America’s great Realtor® chapters. Along with New York, Texas, and California they boast one of the highest member counts. The Miami Association of Realtors® is the largest Association in America, followed by the Houston Association. This merger appears to bump the Long Island board down a notch by a narrow margin (around 2000 if my count is right). This merger combines the MLS and the Associations of Ft. Lauderdale and the Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches and covers a four county region along the east coast of Florida stretching north from Miami.
The cornerstone of this consolidation is a result of the hard work of the staff and the volunteer leadership. The forward thinking leadership of the board presidents along with the capable and progressive attitudes of CEOs Dionna Hall and Rick Barkett pulled this merger together. Mr. Barkett will be retiring at the end of the year, culminating the career of one of our industry’s greatest CEOs. Hall will helm the new organization.
The new company will be named Realtors® of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale.
The new company will be offering an MLS service that covers the four county area with a front end website of choice using either FBS Flex MLS (current vendor for Palm Beaches) or CoreLogic Matrix (current vendor for Fort Lauderdale).
In re-imagining how they will operate the Association of this size over such a large geography, they have established 5 regional boards, each of which has 10 regional volunteer leaders. It will keep policy-making local, training local, government affairs local, etc. On top of that local dedication will be the wider, all encompassing service delivery that a membership and subscriber base of more than 30,000 Realtors®. According to David Charron, Chief Strategist for the Bright MLS consolidation says “services get better and less expensive when you scale over 30,000. Importantly I admire their decision to create both the local service centers and primary points of contact for the markets. This is leadership! Bob Hale of the Houston Association of Realtors® says that “When you have a large membership you can do so much more for the members and the support for home ownership through government affairs is far superior.” Like the Miami, Houston, and Long Island, these firms combine the activities of the Realtor® Association and the Multiple Listing Service.
Press Release To Follow:
One of the largest Realtor® Association Mergers in History Creating the Third Largest Association In America
West Palm Beach, FL – May 11, 2017 Two of the nation’s largest Realtor® associations announced today that they are planning to merge to form the third largest local Realtor® association in the nation. The Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches (RAPB) and Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors® (GFLR) will become the Realtors® of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale, serving more than 30,000 real estate professionals.
This anticipated merger creates a rare opportunity for the Realtors® in Palm Beach, Broward and St. Lucie Counties to have the best in class representing over 25,000 Association members and 30,000 MLS subscribers. The merged association’s multiple listing services will carry more than 40,000 on-market listings, totaling over $21 billion in inventory. This creates both a single source for homebuyers and greater exposure for sellers throughout the Southeast coast of Florida. The company will become one of the 10 largest MLSs in the United States.
For brokers and agents, the merger creates a new, much larger territory for expansion and growth without the need for joining multiple MLSs. The merged Association and combined MLS expect to create economies of scale, opportunities to invest in new, user-friendly technologies and increase services to members. The merged associations will synchronize their technologies and create a seamless experience for brokers and consumers. Members may choose between FlexMLS and Matrix for their MLS system of choice. In addition, the merger will produce an even more powerful effort at the local, state and national level when advocating for homeownership and private property rights.
“Our reimagined association will bring localized service to our members while harnessing our strength and size to provide cutting edge technology and influential advocacy. The organization will place even more emphasis on integrating key technologies,” said Dionna Hall, current CEO of RAPB. Hall will be installed as the CEO of the merged Association and MLS.
“In today’s hyper-connected consumer world, Realtors® need every advantage possible. By combining our Associations, increasing our size, creating regional boards that understand the unique needs of localized markets, offering greater resources, and investing in the newest technology – we are quite literally giving our members every advantage possible.” said current GFLR CEO Rick Barkett. Last year, Mr. Barkett, announced his plans to retire. He plans to move forward with his retirement once the merger process is complete.
“The partnership will create significant opportunities for our members. First, by expanding the geographic territory of our association as well as the number of members, to dramatically amplify the amount of listing exposure and targeted leads they can generate. Second, we can save hundreds of dollars for our members that currently belong to both associations. Ideally, they can redeploy this money for marketing programs and other methods to grow their business”, said current RAPB President John Slivon who will be the President of the merged entity.
“With the combined strengths of RAPB and GFLR, we will be able to help our members better leverage the tools we offer and ensure that we are helping them learn how to best serve the needs of their clients with our technologies and industry and consumer trend education”, stated GFLR President Ron Lennen. Lennen will be the President Elect of the merged Realtors® of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale.
Realtors® of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale will maintain all six of the local service centers run by the two predecessor associations.