A few weeks ago, posts on social media popped up about the National Association of Realtors® MLS Consolidation Grant Program. The grant program came about through NAR’s President’s Advisory Group (PAG) and offered three types of grants. The design of the grants is to start discussions on the possibility of a data-sharing or consolidation partnership, providing education to the membership on the benefits, or start the planning process for a data-sharing/consolidation partnership. Unfortunately, this program is due to expire at the end of 2020.
Sam DeBord defines the need for an MLS consolidation program in the March 2019 Realtor Magazine. He says;
“From our research and experiences, we know that many MLSs struggle to keep their budgets above water and maintain technology minimums…Our consensus was that many more MLSs would engage in a conversation about consolidation if they had the information and funding to ensure success.”
News of MLS consolidation has slowed considerably since the launch of the grants program at the beginning of the year. Maybe this year wasn’t the best time to have discussions about consolidation. Between the pandemic and social discourse occurring, it has been challenging to have these types of conversations. Consolidation and data-sharing discussions take time and require people to come together to find a compromise and to ensure both parties are winners. Unfortunately, our environment has not been as conducive to those types of discussions.
It has been a tough year.
With the difficulties of this year, maybe membership could benefit from an update on the current status of the program. It would be nice to know how many grants were requested and approved. Has the program stayed on track and living up to the expectations set forth by PAG and NAR?
A little information could lead to members and NAR to discuss the possible continuance of the grant program. Maybe extend it into 2021, especially if the program hasn’t received many requests.
Consolidation or data-sharing must continue. The idea of Brokers or Agents joining multiple MLSs or Associations to access a full compilation of listings in their market is crazy. The PropTech firms benefit as well. The reduction of data feeds and cost savings realized by those who use MLS information tends to be a cost savings past onto the brokerages. Additionally, imagine having market data that is accurate, complete, and of high quality – paradise.
According to the RESO Unique Organization Identifier (OUID), there are still 596 active MLSs on the books. Since Sam’s statement in Realtor Magazine last March, MLS contraction is less than 5% over the last 18 months.
There are still almost five months remaining to take advantage of the MLS Consolidation Grant Program. If NAR is willing to augment the cost of discussions or starting a consolidation roadmap, take advantage of the program.
Take the Next Step
When egos are set aside, consolidation and data-sharing, directly and indirectly, benefits brokers and agents. WAV Group helps in guiding MLSs and Associations to explore potential partnerships, educating leadership on the paybacks of consolidation and data-sharing, and strategically guiding roadmaps for those partnerships and consolidation. Give Marilyn a call to share your thoughts and explore the possibilities.
At the end of the day, even if a partnership doesn’t come to fruition, knowledge is gained from having the experience. Knowledge, which allows you to craft a better future for the organization.