A Secret That Should Not Be Kept

For most of my career Real Estate Professionals have been locked out of certain market areas. My first experience with this was when a neighboring association left our local MLS to join another MLS provider. Agents in our association no longer had access to the data from the community on our Eastern Borders. Likewise, their agents could not access ours.

To be perfectly blunt it was a catastrophe. And, it had nothing to do with the technology. It simply was a matter of politics. It soon became apparent that for the good of the membership we had to change MLS providers and do so quickly.

Today we are at a similar crossroad. Many local MLS providers have elected to prevent access to their data to anyone who is not a subscriber to their services. Set aside for a moment that this might just walk, talk and smell like a violation of our Code of Ethics ("Cooperate With Other Brokers"). This also does a disservice to the general public. Let me explain. Say that I am a seller in the community of Chatsworth California. In order to assure that I get the absolute best price the market will bare for my home, I want the information on my home available to every agent who might potentially have a buyer for me.

Restricting access to the MLS Data, achieves exactly the opposite result. When fewer buyers agents can access the data, fewer buyers have the opportunity to view the home. Which lessens competition for the home. And, potentially reduces my chances of getting the absolute best value.

Those MLS providers (and their Associations) who restrict data access, do so under the misguided theory that they are protecting their agents. My first thought is are we in this business for our clients? Or, do our clients buy and sell homes solely for our benefit? I think the answer is obvious.

We had a glimpse of how impactful open data sharing could be a few years back when several MLS providers formed a company know as CARETS. They provided a data aggregation service where all relevant MLS Data was compiled under the umbrella of CARETS and redistributed back to the  the individual agent in a format consistent with how they currently receive and view local data.

The experiment was a success by any measure. And, it should have taught us that open sharing of our data is beneficial to the consumers and practitioners of our industry. And that it should be expanded not restricted.

I write all of this for a reason. There is a new movement on the horizon that everyone who is concerned about real estate should be involved in. Please visit http://itsmybusiness.me/ and uses their form letter to communicate your concern to your local association and MLS Provider. Tell them that you want to see this industry share their data uniformly with each other without geographic and political restrictions.

See You In Escrow!