As Wednesday’s deadline approaches for groups to become founding members of a regional Multiple Listing Service, the Brunswick County Association of Realtors will not be among them.
Nine other groups, including the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors and Topsail Island Association of Realtors, have signed on as founders, but the BCAR’s board of directors voted against joining the North Carolina Regional MLS, members said this week.
Officials with the BCAR had called for a more regional approach for data access in 2013, according to a June 2013 Greater Wilmington Business Journal article
Efforts to reach BCAR CEO Steve Candler in recent weeks to ask about the decision were unsuccessful. Candler submitted his resignation as BCAR CEO and governmental affairs director April 8, and his last official day is June 6, according to a copy of an email from Candler to BCAR members.
Anne Arnold, a Holden Beach-based broker with Century 21 Sweyer & Associates and a member of the BCAR’s MLS committee, said she was saddened by the BCAR board’s decision not to join the regional effort.
“It’s a catastrophe as far as I’m concerned,” Arnold said Tuesday. “We shouldn’t be segregated and separated from the rest of the world, and that is what’s happening with us now since we have decided we don’t want to incorporate other boards and other areas into our listings.”
Arnold said she did not know the board’s vote count because the votes are confidential, and not even shared with BCAR members.
Chris Bryan, general sales manager for Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty and Sloane Commercial Real Estate and a BCAR member, had a different view.
“I think it’s a good thing that we did not participate in the regional MLS. I think if we were indeed to join we would lose our identity somewhat, and in addition to that, we would have agents from outside of our market area, with no expertise in our market area, trying to list properties possibly and represent buyers in our market,” Bryan said Tuesday.
For another group, it came down to deciding what was best for the association as a business, said Christina Asbury, president of the Topsail Island Association of Realtors, which joined the regional MLS as a founding member on March 17.
“It took us a little longer to investigate the impact on our association and its members and how this could affect us moving forward, but ultimately, we decided that was the best decision for our members and for the public because buyers and sellers should be able to work with one Realtor that can access all of the listings in one area,” Asbury said.
Also, there is strength in numbers, she said.
“The more associations that join will give us greater buying and negotiating power with whatever MLS provider or vendor that we decide to use,” Asbury said.
Choosing a vendor is the next step for the regional MLS, which is expected to launch next year.
“We’re disappointed that Brunswick County won’t be joining,” Sherri Pickard, WRAR president said recently. “But we’re looking forward to working with the other [groups] at this time to form a strong regional database.”
Although the deadline is Wednesday to join as a founding member, groups can still join as general members after that date, according to WRAR. In addition to the Wilmington and Topsail Island groups, the founding members of the regional MLS as of April 9 were Carteret County Association of Realtors; Duplin-Sampson Association of Realtors; Greenville-Pitt Association of Realtors; Jacksonville Board of Realtors; Kinston Board of Realtors; Neuse River Region Association of Realtors; and Washington-Beaufort Association of Realtors.