Cheapest Way to Maintain MLS Access in PA?

3 Replies

I am a licensed PA real estate agent and linked to a broker. I got my license so that I had MLS access and could have flexibility setting up my own showings for my own investments. I work with only a couple clients per year (friends/family) since I have a full time job outside of real estate.

I was reviewing all of my fees involved with being an agent and currently a REALTOR which are:

1. State license fee - obviously mandatory

2. Bright MLS fee - obviously mandatory if I want MLS access

3. Supra fee - mandatory if I want to control my own showings and fairly nominal

4. GHAR (Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors) Membership fee

I contacted my current broker to see if I could cut out the Realtor association fee but the response I got was that if a broker is "REALTOR associated" (most franchised brokers are), then you are required to be a member of a Realtor association.  

I don't believe PA requires Realtor membership for MLS access so how does a non-Realtor yet licensed agent get MLS access in PA?

You need to join a brokerage that is not a member of the board. In reality, you will be very very hard pressed to find one. You would realsitically to do that need to become a solo broker to do so....however, then you need to sign up for your own e&o insurance policy and your Bright MLS dues would rise (you get a discount for being a Realtor), so in reality you would not actually save any money.

Thanks Russell. So PA being a state that doesn't require Realtor membership for MLS access is basically a moot point if that's a requirement of the brokerage/board relationship in order to get the access in the first place. That's what I was afraid of.

@Justin Stryker. 1st: Contact your MLS customer service and just ask what the differences [with them] are to switch to non-Board Member/Non-Realtor. If they allow, the fee may go up slightly, but no big deal I suspect. If your state is similar to Colorado in terms of numbers of Realtors vs. Non, it will be around 60/40, so if your MLS allows Non-Realtors, there will be a lot of brokerages who do one or the other, or both. Both means they have one managing broker who is a Realtor and one who isn't.

2nd:  The "nons" are not hard to find, but will most certainly not be any of the "big box" brokerages.  Just run search on Residential to create a fairly good-sized list of active listings, then look for the Realtor designation, or lack there-of, then note the brokerage name and contact info and contact them directly.

If you are not concerned about discount CE credits, using certain features like RPR, or becoming a GRI, etc., then my guess is you will save a fair amount of money (my annual board fees were $620). This change should not impact items like your E & O, etc.

You mentioned "Supra" in your post. If your MLS requires use of Supra, with no alternative plan for combo boxes, etc., then they may have you on that item. Colorado Springs, for example, does both, but if you show another agent's listing(s), who are required to use Supra, then it will be a total pain in the arse to show get into these properties unless combo boxes are allowed.

Good luck with it.

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