[Published Oct. 15, 2015, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers]
The I-25 corridor from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs is home to three MLS’s, and those MLS’s have a decade-old arrangement by which the members of one MLS can search and find — and sell — listings on the other two MLS’s. The three front range MLS’s are:
1) IRES, based in Loveland, which serves Northern Colorado. Their consumer-facing website is www.ColoProperty.com, which carries only IRES listings.
2) REcoloroado, formerly known by its corporate name, Metrolist, is based in the Denver Tech Center, and serves the Denver metro area, including Jeffco. The consumer-facing website is www.REcolorado.com, which doubles as the agent website once an agent logs in.
3) PPAR, serving the Colorado Springs market, is owned by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors. Its consumer-facing website is www.PPAR.com, which displays only PPAR listings. I have limited familiarity with this MLS, since it serves El Paso and Teller Counties and the Pikes Peak Region.
Multiple Listing Services, or MLS’s, exist for the purpose of “cooperation and compensation,” meaning that each member agrees to publish all his or her listings on the MLS, allowing any other member of the same MLS to sell that listing and earn a published “co-op” commission for doing so. A non-MLS member is not promised that commission. The agreement between the three Front Range MLS’s listed above works the same way — any member of one MLS can sell any listing on all three MLS’s and earn the advertised commission.
Because of this arrangement, some agents are under the impression that they can list a home on any one of the three MLS’s, regardless of its location, and achieve the same result for their seller. Let me tell you why it is essential that your home be listed on the MLS which primarily serves where the house is located — in our case, REcolorado.com.
As I write this column (Monday, Oct. 12) there are 30 Jefferson County homes listed on IRES, but not listed on REcolorado.com. See the box below for their addresses. Another 37 IRES listings of Jeffco homes were also entered on RE-colorado.com and therefore do appear on our consumer-facing website — either because the listing agent belongs to both MLS’s or has co-listed the property with an REcolorado member.
I myself am a member of both MLS’s so that I can list my north metro listings on IRES. That way, my listings not only appear more readily to IRES members, but they also appear on IRES’s consumer website.
How much does this matter? For starters, we all know by now that over 90% of buyers do their own online home searches and tell their agents which houses they want to see. And www.REcolorado.com is, I’m told, second only to Zillow in the number of visitors per month and other important metrics. That’s more visitors than realtor.com, more than Trulia, and more than any brokerage website such as redfin.com. If you list your home with an agent who is not a member of the Denver MLS, you’re giving up a sizable audience of prospective buyers.
But it gets worse, because when agents search for listings on REcolorado, they can default to REcolorado listings only. Members must not do that for them to see any of the 30 listings in the box below. Also, many of us REcolorado members still utilize a vendor solution called Virtual Office from Hillside Software for finding active listings and analyzing comparable sales, and that software is unable to include IRES listings.
The proof can be found in the days each listing spends on the MLS. There are currently 67 IRES listings under contract in Jefferson County. The median days on market for them is 8 days. The three listings with the longest days on market — 77, 90 and 95 days — were never listed on www.REcolorado.com. They were Arvada homes listed only on IRES.