Broader Mid-Atlantic home-sales list set to launch

Local Realtor associations are part of new entity, Bright MLS

The market area and membership for the Bright MLS, a new regional home listing service covering much of the Mid-Atlantic region, is now in place.

Bright MLS aims to replace a fragmented system in which most Realtor associations operate their own multiple listing services, or MLS. Brokers use the services to share information about properties they are selling with other brokers and agents. 

Bright will include 43 groups from parts of six states and Washington, D.C., with membership of about 85,000 real estate professionals.

That includes the four Realtor associations based in Central Pennsylvania.

They voted this fall to join the consolidation effort, which is expected to create greater economies of scale and eliminate duplication of services among neighboring associations.

“The benefit to Realtors is that it will give us more technology than what we currently have,” said Deborah Goodling, president of the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties.

The move should make it easier for agents who work across multiple counties and need quick access to information for clients, she said.

Bright MLS will be one of the largest listing services in the country with 10 million property records and a market area spanning 40,000 square miles. Participating associations are expected to begin using the new MLS service by the latter half of 2017 as they shift away from their current systems, officials said.

“We anticipate the combined MLS platform service will be ready toward the end of summer and we will begin converting markets in the fall,” said Tom Phillips, who will lead the new entity. “All Central Pennsylvania markets will be converted before the end of the year.”

Phillips was president and CEO of the Delaware Valley Real Estate Information Network Inc., more commonly known as TREND, based in King of Prussia.

Joining him on the senior leadership team are David Charron and Brian Donnellan. Charron, the former president and CEO of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., or MRIS, will serve as chief strategy officer at Bright. Donnellan, the former COO at MRIS, will serve in the same capacity at Bright.

TREND and MRIS had already pledged to work together on a new MLS entity prior to engaging other associations across the Mid-Atlantic. Discussions have been occurring since 2015.

“Today’s real estate market moves fast and is driven by a consumer with data, technology and high expectations,” Charron said. “Bright MLS was created to align with this new reality and break down outdated geographic barriers of access.”

Ultimately, the new MLS should provide a more consistent set of tools and real estate data for brokers and agents, Donnellan said. 

That should attract other associations to join the new MLS over time, Phillips added. “We view this as a starting point for expansion.”

He said he was disappointed that some groups involved in the early discussions opted not to join in the effort. “I think some are rooted in where they are. That will change for them as they see what we’ve done.”

Also from Pennsylvania

Joining the four local associations from Pennsylvania are the following groups:

  • Bucks County Association of Realtors
  • Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors
  • Montgomery County Association of Realtors
  • Pen-Mar Regional Association of Realtors
  • Reading-Berks Association of Realtors
  • Schuylkill County Board of Realtors
  • Suburban West Realtors Association

The Bright MLS also covers associations from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Jason Scott
Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com.

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