photo source: Mike Hippie
No, not those debates between donkeys and elephants in red and blue states. The great debate in the Phoenix real estate market, and likely in others, is whether our MLS – the Arizona Regional MLS – should have a public home search available.
The Houston association has become the standard for such things and in time has become the category killer for Houston Real Estate. Other cities’ MLS systems also offer a site where the general public can search for homes.Not so in Phoenix. And according to Bob Bemis, the CEO of ARMLS who on Friday spoke at the monthly luncheon for the Arizona Real Estate Educators Association, there’s an even split on the subject within the MLS.
Those in favor of a public search site see the opportunity for ARMLS to become the category killer for Phoenix real estate, supplanting some of the third-party sites that take brokers’ listings, generate leads and then sell the leads back to the brokers. If successful, ARMLS can generate the leads and send them back to the brokers without the charges from the middle man.
Those against a public search site see ARMLS as attempting to compete against agent sites that already carry an IDX feed, as well as those individual agent sites that already are at the top of the search engines for Phoenix real estate.
Personally, I’d prefer to see the public site if only because ARMLS theoretically has the resources to push the Zillows, Trulias and Roosts to the sidelines. Could it impact my own site’s search? Possibly. But I’m realistic enough to know where my site ranks and what the actual impact might be. I can’t compete with the third-party vendors; if ARMLS wants to step in on my (and everyone else’s) behalf, go for it.
Besides, as we move forward the idea of protecting listing data is becoming increasingly obsolete. Every week brings another real estate search sits relying on data with varying degrees of completeness. The trend is for an increase propagation of the data, not a decline. If ARMLS doesn’t enter the fray, 37 other third-party firms will.
Since “none of the above” (or even Bill the Cat) isn’t an option on this ballot, I’d have to vote with ARMLS.