Today’s timely discussion is on how agents get paid for adding listings to the MLS.
We’re on this topic because of the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) — an organization supported and funded by the NAR. Their initiative is to make data standardized across the country and to use one common language. So, the Council of MLS (CMLS) has come out with LEAP (Listing Exchange and Access Policy).
LEAP is a movement, in a world of MLS’s, to advance the language and push all of the people not keeping up with the standards. The people pushing LEAP to standardize the language have not considered adding a license to use the data. They compare MLS’s across the country to a town. They’re saying there should be a fee for using the “town” – just like a toll. This conversation of getting paid and how it would occur would come from a license.
Because LEAP and RESO are voting on standardizing the data, if you’re going to put something in front of NAR for a vote, Michael Wurzer with MLS says to not just standardize the data, but to also include licensing contracts for how the data is going to be used. If your business provides back-end tools for lead generation (think Realtor.com) then your fees should be “X”. But are those licensing fees enough? Those fees should make it all the way down to the REALTOR® “in the living room” who’s taking the listing. If our data is so valuable that it goes into the MLS and people are paying for the license, how is it not fair that the REALTOR® in the living room that gets the listing doesn’t see a portion of this?
Think of it another way, you’re probably familiar with a potluck where you bring a dish to an event. The ReMax General Counsel said there are two kinds of people. Those that bring the “dish” – the ones using the data to help their existing clients. But now we’re letting people who are not bringing dishes, bring a fork. The people with the fork are using it for client acquisition and not client servicing. The agreement didn’t distinguish who’s bringing the food vs. the fork. They’re taking the data without agreement and sending it out.
Michael Wurzer’s argument is that the data alone (such as your listings) is not valuable. It’s the aggregation of the data that leads to the multiple of the value. Right now all the 600 different MLS’s all have data they send out with different quirks about them. You need programmers who monitor how the data works to make sure it’s all in alignment. The value of standardized national data across the country, that ALL listens to the same rules, explodes. The whole push forward is to advance technological tools. It’s too expensive to be in all the MLS’s. It makes it cheaper for the vendors.
This is why we want to throw our hat in the ring because we see there’s someone not being recognized in this fight… teams and elite agents. WE are in the living rooms competing with value and bring that value to our clients. WE are in the trenches having conversations about value. Not the brokers. So WE should be the ones contributing.
The reason why we have announced LEOPARD (National Association of Real Estate Teams) is that we see the agents that are in the living rooms are ahead of the $17 trillion dollar industry. WE are having meetings with homeowners and WE are putting the data into the system. We believe the elite performers should have a voice on what happens with that data.
Collectively we could control 50% of the listing as long as we band together for a voice. We’re being ignored because we allow ourselves to be spread out. The brokers are in silos and they make the decisions. We see the MLS data being aggregated together. If the elite agents work together then we have more voice and more change.
The point is to rally the base because we need to band together collectively, otherwise, we’re not part of the conversation. We’re trying to raise the standards so that there’s an ACTUAL standard in real estate. Then we won’t have to worry as much because people will see us as the experts, providing value for our clients.
The government is in the business of licensing because they’ll make more money. It’s like printing money. The government doesn’t care about the 80% failure rate in the industry because they’re still making money. So when there are more real estate licensees, this funds more projects the state needs. The government is set up to have more licenses to make more money, just as NAR is.
So, are we going to be able to get paid for adding listings to MLS? ONLY if we band together! If you’re ready to take action so your voice is heard, I invite you to join LEOPARD.
Want to Learn More?
Jeff Sibbach and Phil Sexton discussed the topic in their weekly podcast. Listen to the replay below and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!