Thursday, January 19, 2006

Power to the People

This blogger supports the Open MLS Initiative. It's about time we put the power back into the hands of We The People. It would make more transparent the selling history of any address and thereby help reduce realtor shenanigans and general misuse of the MLS. Thanks to the reader who sent me this article.
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A ballot initiative filed with the California Attorney General seeks to establish a California-wide residential multiple listing service open to the public and realty agents alike.

If established, the open MLS would likely serve over 170,000 users, making it America's largest, three times the size of the nation's second largest MLS.

The initiative's proponent, David Barry, also announced the sponsorship of a competition for open MLS operator. Bidding opened immediately on Dec. 21, 2005, and closes 21 days later at noon, Jan. 11, 2006, Pacific Time. The competition seeks a firm to own and operate the open MLS on a paid basis.

To qualify for the ballot, initiative supporters need 373,700 signatures, usually obtained through signature firms at $1.50 to $2 per signature, putting the qualifying cost close to $1 million.

Wealthy bidders might find the expense worthwhile. Since MLS system costs run $7 per user per month or less, even a low-bid offer of $20 could achieve gross profits of over $25 million per year in California. If the open MLS expanded to the nation, as planned, gross profits could exceed $100 million per year.

The initiative guarantees the public free access to all sale and rental listings, along with the right to freely download the entire MLS with no copyright restrictions.

The initiative cites the low productivity of the real estate industry (averaging only five homes sold per agent yearly) and high, uncompetitive commission rates, themes described in Nine Pillars of the Citadel, authored by David Barry, posted at
Read the article to get the contact information.

And if you are as mad as me (and other bloggers) about this housing bubble, how it came to be, the distortions it has wrought, and how it is affecting our communities, then write a letter to your representatives and tell them what you think; it's your Constitutional right and as such a very rare and precious thing on this Earth, so exercise it. Here are some addresses:

109th Congress
And here


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knowledge is power and right now the knowledge is jealously guarded by the realtor community. Much of a realtor's "value" is their ability to provide guidance on how to structure offers, how much to sell for, etc. The information they use to come up with this advice is based on MLS research. To open it to the public means realtors would be relegated to handling the mechanics of the transaction (and hopefully paid accordingly) rather than overpaid shills advising clients to pay 20% over asking with a straight face. This is long overdue. Many homeowners do not FSBO ("For Sale By Owner") not because they can't or don't know how to, but because their home will not show up on the MLS.

Jan 19, 2006, 9:24:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

realtor community

Try realtor cartel.

Jan 20, 2006, 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

Here's another variation on the "open mls" idea, as described by a RE-industry blogger in Washington

"Never heard of strongly believe that they could completely change the real estate landscape by incorporating the entire purchase process under one roof per se, while not alienating a particular allied real estate practitioner. Could they bring everyone together and eliminate the "listing", thus, in effect, dropping the overall price point of traditional transaction from 6% ("negotiable") to a fraction of that? If it costs less to sell a home one would have to think that there would be a much greater number of sales that could and would take place. By eliminating the need for a traditional listing model controlled by a board-run MLS, the MLS will go away. It's going to happen, just a matter of time."

Jan 20, 2006, 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Nice template that blogger is using ;)

Jan 20, 2006, 5:33:00 PM  

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