California Regional MLS now serving more than 71,000

Inman News

A local Realtor association in the Los Angeles area has joined the largest multiple listing service in the nation, bringing the MLS's membership to more than 71,000 agents and brokers.

The addition of the Glendale Association of Realtors, which has about 1,400 members, brings the total number of associations that belong to California Regional MLS (CRMLS) to 35.

Glendale has signed a multiyear agreement to provide CRMLS's MLS platform and a myriad of other products and services from CRMLS to its members. Those products and services include comparative market analysis (CMA) tools, electronic faxing, marketing tools, and an international global listing exchange, among others.

"All told, I believe there's a total of 18 additional products and services that they'll have access to above and beyond just the (MLS) platform," CRMLS CEO Art Carter told Inman News.

San Dimas-based CRMLS is the product of a 2010 merger of Pomona-based Multi-Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc. (MRMLS) with the California Association of Realtors' calREDD MLS system. CalREDD, which was originally envisioned as a statewide MLS, mostly served small Realtor associations in Northern California. CAR retains an ownership stake in CRMLS, which doubled in size last year in a merger with Anaheim-based SoCalMLS.

CRMLS's primary MLS platform is Matrix, provided by real estate information and technology firm CoreLogic. Unlike other CRMLS member associations, Glendale members will have the choice to either use Matrix or the Rapattoni Corp. MLS system the association currently uses, Carter said.

Both Glendale and CRMLS belong to California Real Estate Technology Services (CARETS), a joint venture that allows more than 50 Realtor associations around the state to share listings. Through CARETS, CRMLS' database already includes all of Glendale's listings, Carter said. Now, Glendale's members will have the choice of which system to input their listings, Matrix or Rapattoni.

"Offering multiple MLS platforms is just one way to move forward in the current real estate services environment," said Dan Lanning, Glendale's executive vice president, in a statement.

Carter agreed. "Given the state of technology as it is, the one-size-fits-all approach probably doesn't make sense over the long term and is one of the main reasons why we've taken the position of providing choice," he said.

CRMLS currently gives its members access to two MLS platforms, Matrix and Tempo, another CoreLogic system. The MLS is in the process of converting roughly 30,000 of its members from the Tempo platform to the Matrix platform -- a process that will be complete in January, Carter said.

"Especially in the markets where the Tempo platform is used right now, there seems to be a greater call for more mobile access," he said.

About 20 to 25 percent of CRMLS members are using browsers outside of Windows platform, including Google's Android and Apple's iOS platforms, and Carter said the Matrix system "is more friendly to that than some of the other products that are out there. It's always a challenge in the MLS industry to provide a common experience no matter what operating system you're using."

Carter saod compatibility with Apple products in particular was also a factor in CRMLS discontinuing the use of an MLS platform from Discover Software Inc., Discover MLS.

Discover Software Inc. was launched in 2010 by executives who'd been with CAR's calREDD MLS vendor, Concentric. Discover announced that it had signed a multiyear contract with MRMLS in September, 2010.

Carter said that the last Realtor association using Discover MLS made the decision to move over to the Matrix platform in mid-summer.

"We put it out to the local associations which platform they wanted to use and over time that is what occurred," he said. "I think it was for a wide variety of reasons. Primarily the Matrix platform was out in the marketplace a little bit longer and had some of the features that they were looking for. The Matrix platform being a little bit more Mac friendly and iOS 6 friendly."

"Typically those that use the Mac are really fanatical about their ability to utilize it in their real estate business," Carter said.

Now that CRMLS is phasing out Tempo, the MLS is working with CoreLogic to provide CRMLS members access to CoreLogic's newest MLS platform, Fusion.

"Fusion is a very map-centric approach, probably a little bit closer to the consumer experience, and we're just really from a policy standpoint wanting to provide choice to the membership," Carter said.

Currently, Fusion is available in beta, Carter said, and between 500 and 600 of its members are using it. Ultimately, the MLS wants to provide members with a single point of entry to access either Fusion or Matrix, he said.

Earlier this month, CRMLS signed a multiyear agreement with CoreLogic to expand access to Matrix to all of CRMLS' members, including members of the former SoCalMLS. The agreement also gave all CRMLS members access to CoreLogic's MLS Data Co-op tool, which allows MLSs to share listings with some 75 other participating MLSs, and Document Manager, a document management and storage tool.

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