ABOR Cease and Desist Letter regarding CenTex MLS

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Engage PortalCategory: ACTRIS Strategic PlanABOR Cease and Desist Letter regarding CenTex MLS
Alan asked 7 months ago

The CenTex MLS is in the process of building a regional MLS for the Central Tx area.  The CenTex MLS asked ABOR if they would like to join approx. 1 year.  The ABOR Leadership declined the CenTex offer.
I recently found out about this and sent an email to the ABOR Leadership asking who made the decision to decline the CenTex offer and what was the basis for the decision.  The ABOR response was a cease and desist letter from the ABOR attorney.
The ABOR MLS future is a significant concern for the ABOR Members.
Why weren't the ABOR Members consulted about the possible merger with CenTex MLS ?
Who made the decision to decline the CenTex MLS merge offer ?
What is the basis for the decision ?

14 Answers
Stanley Martin answered 7 months ago

Hi Alan, currently the ABoR Board of Directors serves as the governing body for the MLS, but the new strategic plan calls for the creation of a separate ACTRIS (MLS) Board of Directors. This change was approved to enhance the focus on important MLS industry initiatives like consolidation. In regards to CTXMLS, ABoR decided to pursue discussions with the San Antonio Board of Realtors. According to a leading real estate research firm--T3 Sixty, CTXMLS has 97% listing duplication in Texas, primarily in the Austin and San Antonio metro areas. While our discussions with San Antonio did not lead to consolidation, we learned valuable lessons that will help serve us going forward.
Stan Martin - MLS Director

Alan answered 7 months ago

Stan, I’m surprised by your response. I’ve been asking about consolidating the ABOR MLS db with other Boards for 6 months and nobody mentioned the T3 Sixty research til now.  I request ABOR send me a copy of the T3 Sixty report and also make this available online for the other ABOR Members.  I also request ABOR send me a copy of their SABOR consolidation findings and also make this available online for the other ABOR Members.
The MLS consolidation problem has already been solved by other Association of Realtors. This includes the Central Texas MLS (includes 5 local Association of Realtors) and the North Texas REIS (DFW/FT Worth area which includes 15 local Association of Realtors).  All ABOR has to do is follow the MLS consolidation business model which is already in use by other organizations.
The MLS consolidation business model summary is:

  • Keep each local Association of Realtors organization separate and intact.
  • Each local Association of Realtors defines the policies for their members.
  • Each local Association of Realtors mls data is stored in a centralized mls db. Each local Association of Realtors is a shareholder in the entity managing the MLS data. Each Association has a voice in the entity and how the MLS data is managed.
  • The Realtors can join any Association of Realtors they want. The Realtors only need to join one Association.
  • The Realtors join the consolidated MLS with a membership fee comparable to what they currently pay for a single MLS membership. There is no fee increase for the additional MLS coverage areas.
  • The members use the single consolidated MLS to access all the property listings in the area. This prevents the members from dealing with multiple/overlapping MLS’s on a daily basis.
  • This would save the members millions of dollars annually in direct MLS membership costs.
  • This would save the members much more money annually in indirect costs (time) due to using a single MLS vs multiple/overlapping MLS’s on a daily basis.

The Central Tx MLS already has this business model in place. The Central Tx MLS includes the Ft Hood, Four Rivers, Temple-Belton, Williamson County and Victoria Association of Realtors.  The Central Tx MLS is also encouraging other Association of Realtors to join the consolidation, including the Waco, Highland Lakes and San Antonio Associations.
ABOR is behind the industry in the MLS consolidation. While ABOR drags their feet, this is costing the ABOR Members millions of dollars annually.
The solution is available today (actually was available a year ago when CenTex MLS asked ABOR if they would like to join).
The reason ABOR is not supporting the CenTex MLS consolidation is it will reduce the ABOR profit margin.
The question comes down to: Which comes first ?  The ABOR Members or the ABOR profit margin ?

Alan answered 6 months ago

ABOR Staff stated they would not provide the T3 Sixty research or the SABOR consolidation findings.  ABOR would not even provide this to the ABOR Members.
The T3 Sixty claim of 97% listing duplication is questionable and cannot be relied upon.  If the T3 research was provided, I expect it includes qualifiers such as "this only covers a small area" or "this is from several years ago". 
The ABOR / SABOR consolidation findings are clear without receiving ABOR's response.  The ABOR members are interested in consolidating with the adjacent, overlapping MLS's first.  This includes the CenTex MLS and the Highland Lakes MLS.  Once this is completed, the ABOR Members would like to consolidate with additional MLS's such as SABOR.  Ideally, the consolidation with CenTex MLS, Highland Lakes MLS and SABOR MLS could take place concurrently. 
The CenTex MLS business model is already setup, in use by multiple Associations and CenTex has already asked ABOR if they would like to join.  ABOR has declined to join CenTex MLS.
ABOR refuses to identify why they will not join the CenTex MLS. 
ABOR's refusal to join the CenTex MLS is costing the ABOR Members $5m-$10m annually in direct (mls membership fees) and indirect costs (time spent with multiple mls systems).

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