Cape Fear Realtors and the Brunswick County Association of Realtors have submitted letters of intent to withdraw from the N.C. Regional Multiple Listing Service, according to a CFR newsletter Dec. 10.
The announcement in the email newsletter stated, "In recent months, a number of technical and business issues with the NCRMLS have been discovered. Consequently, both BCAR and Cape Fear Realtors have submitted letters of intent to withdraw from the NCRMLS, effective June 1, 2019. This step was not taken lightly and the letter of withdrawal was issued to protect our members, ensure that MLS DATA is secure, safeguard the association's interests, and force resolution of the technical and business concerns that were discovered."
In an emailed update to CFR members Wednesday afternoon, officials said, "It has become clear to us that the direction of the NCRMLS is not focused on the security and accuracy of the data, product enhancements, or cost savings. We are moving forward to protect your data and ensure that fees are utilized to provide the tools and services needed to support your success.
"This work is happening behind the scenes and the MLS and all the products you use each day will remain the same. Flex MLS will continue to be the MLS, and Realist, ShowingTime, and Supra will remain the same.
"The target date for the new MLS to be up and running is June 2019, but we hope to be operational earlier. CFR and BCAR staff are working diligently on this project and we will continue to provide updates as we move forward."
Officials with the associations said the move won't interfere with the MLS or local housing market.
According to a National Association of Realtors article
on the subject, a multiple listing service "is a tool to help listing brokers find cooperative brokers working with buyers to help sell their clients' homes. Without the collaborative incentive of the existing MLS, brokers would create their own separate systems of cooperation, fragmenting rather than consolidating property information."
Earlier Wednesday, the CEO of CFR, Taylor Oldroyd, said in an email, "Contracts with vendors are all in place, and the MLS will continue to perform its important functions. The MLS does not impact the market but allows it to operate as it should with supply and demand and willing buyers and sellers negotiating. It will continue to perform its effective role in the marketplace."
Cynthia Walsh, CEO of BCAR, agreed with Oldroyd's statements, saying Wednesday, "Buyers and sellers, they won't notice any change. It won't affect Realtors' daily work experience at all. The most important thing this change is going to ensure is that our data is accurate and secure and all of our members' fees are invested wisely."
Asked to be more specific about the issues the associations have had with the regional MLS, Oldroyd said, "These are personnel and operations issues that will be handled internally."
Current members aside from CFR and BCAR are the Carteret County Association of Realtors, Greenville-Pitt Association of Realtors, Jacksonville Board of Realtors, Neuse River Region Association of Realtors, Rocky Mount Area Association of Realtors, Topsail Island Association of Realtors, Washington Beaufort County Board of Realtors and the Wilson Board of Realtors. The 10 participating associations own the MLS, Oldyroyd said, and the N.C. Regional MLS includes about 6,800 Realtors.
Oldroyd had no other comment to make about the MLS situation Wednesday morning.
In 2013, area Realtors had called
for a more regional approach to home sales data. As a result, the N.C. Regional MLS was formed in 2015.
When BCAR decided to join with CFR and other associations in the regional MLS, announcing their intent to participate in July 2015
, then president of CFR (formerly the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors, or WRAR), Sherri Pickard, stated, “We feel like this will make BCAR and WRAR agents better able to serve their clients because they can do a much better job of getting information."