State-Licensed RE agent/broker must subscribe to Realtor® brand to access Multiple Listing Service?

4 Replies

If so, in which states?

And if so, how does that not violate anti-trust laws clearly against monopolization?

Can't help but notice that like 99% of MLS providers' initials end in 'AR' for Association (of) Realtors®

i understand ethics requirements and good for the community and such, but arent even those intrinsic to state license issuer, not commercial brand?

Any reputable brokerage is going to require that their agents be a member of a local association of Realtors. Every time I deal with an agent who is not a Realtor, it is a nightmare. (That does not mean every Realtor is good, just that all Ive encountered that are not Realtors are bad).

I will leave it up to the lawyers to explain whether it is an antitrust violation. Whether it is really does not matter it is just a fact of life that you have to deal with. I do not believe in Maryland, DC nor Virginia are you required to be a Realtor to get MLS access, just an agent. However to get access to things like the Sentrilock system you do have to be a Realtor.

Agents in VA are not required to be members of the local, state or national associations. Membership allows one the use of the name Realtor and the Realtor trademark. Membership has nothing to do with the competency of the agent. It's their desire (or not) to pay an exorbitant annual fee for very few services.

I'm a Broker of Record, my office is located in Northern NJ, and the rules vary by MLS. I have the option to not be a Realtor, and still join the MLS, but I'd have to pay a very expensive bond fee/deposit. Alternatively, I can pay 6-$800 and join the local/state/nation board of Realtors, and my MLS fee's go down to a couple hundred dollars per MLS per year. The rules do state that if I'm a Realtor as a broker of record all of my agents must be Realtors as well (technically Realtor-associates).

I do know a few commercial agents who refuse to join the NAR because they feel like the regulations are binding on their business, and they can do business without it.

Some MLS systems are owned by one or more boards. Others are independent. They are privately owned either way and a license doesn't entitle you to membership in an MLS.

I belong to Massachusetts and New Hampshire MLS. The Massachusetts MLS (MLSPIN) doesn't require that you be a realtor to join, but you pay more for MLS dues if you're a non-realtor. The NH MLS (NNEREN), is also the VT MLS, also doesn't require you to be a realtor, but if you're not a Realtor, they charge everyone in your office the non-realtor rate, so brokers make all agents become Realtors. NNEREN doesn't care what board you belong to, so long as you're a Realtor somewhere. Other MLS systems are owned by a board and are more rigid about membership. The Rhode Island Statewide MLS is wholly owned by the RIAR and they require you be a Realtor to join. I personally would like to see a single national MLS.

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.

By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions.