The largest Multiple Listing Service system, MRIS, covers real estate listings from 60,000 professionals in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. (Maryland, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania). Like their sister MLS organizations, they hate services like Zillow, Redfin and Trulia which give everday consumers access to real estate information.
But they don’t hate it so much that they won’t compete.
MRIS is launching a beta version of a service called HomesDatabase that shows MLS listings. For now only homes covered in their region are shown, but they hope to partner with the other MLS systems to create a complete database covering the U.S.
They say they’ll compete with better and more up to date information. They can ensure this by simply restricting the data they release to third parties. Since they’re a geographic monopoly, that’s trivial.
MRIS CEO David Charron says “if you listen to the consumer, everybody wins.” But one thing they’ve left off the site are for-sale-by-owner listings, which cannot be mixed with MLS listings. Until that rule is abandoned, brokers and agents still have a ridiculous advantage over people who sell their homes directly.