Our broker-cooperation model of sharing listings though the MLS has been the lifeblood of selling homes since the early 1960s. But it is breaking down right before our eyes.
It’s not going to happen all at once, or even happen out in the open. Instead, the sharing of listings through the MLS will just quietly go away.
Whether it is the emergence of the PLS, or brokerages developing their own Coming Soon program, or individual agents doing off-market sales out of sight, the sharing of listings is doomed – even though it is what’s best for consumers and agents alike.
Can we just admit it, and carry on like the commercial brokers do?
Everybody for themselves!
The first thing to do is to stop the automatic listing feeds to Zillow/Trulia, and make it broker-optional, which is what’s happening in Las Vegas.
Agents may choose to upload their MLS listings to Zillow and other portals, or maybe not. But what about Redfin and other brokerages who get their listings directly from the MLS? Once agents see the benefits of eliminating portals, why would they bother with the MLS at all?
Maybe agents with a hot new listing will just wait a few days or weeks to see if they can find their own buyer first. Or maybe another agent in the office might have someone? We already see this happening every day.
The MLS will be the marketplace of last resort.
We should embrace this change, and tell consumers that they have to go to each company’s website – or even each individual agent’s website – to find the hot new buys. At least they would know the honest truth!
I’m convinced that industry players don’t see this coming. They don’t see what happens (or they look the other way) when listing distribution is left in the hands of the listing agents themselves.
Yes, thank you for giving us the ability to choose which platforms to use to market our listings – I appreciate having choices. But when you take the automation away, and make it a manual choice for each listing, agents will find it hard to resist the temptation to limit with whom they share their listings.