The End of The National Association of Realtors’ MLS Monopoly?

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Apparently, a New real estate marketing system was proposed in Maine. This system would be a statewide multiple listing system (MLS), and would compete with that of the Maine Association of Realtors’ database.

Two former Republican lawmakers — Stavros Mendros of Lewiston and Adam Mack of Standish — said they are preparing a petition drive this fall to collect the 51,519 signatures needed to place the idea before Maine voters in November 2007. Details are still being developed.

“The goal is to help the little guy save money and make the marketplace more efficient,” Mack, who develops apartment projects, told the Portland Press Herald. He said brokers “control a monopoly.”


It is about time someone in government did something about the MLS monopoly held by the National Association of Realtors – NAR. I’ve been proposing something be done for sime time now. Although I agree with many of the ideals of the NAR, I don’t believe that real estate agents should have to join different boards and associations to be able to list properties in a MLS. In addition, there is no reason why someone selling their house can’t play on the same field as someone listing with a NAR member. There should be a system where anyone, real estate agents, FSBOs, etc., can list or search for properties. As former lawmaker, Mack said, the marketplace needs to be leveled.

Who would benefit from such a system? Consumers.
Who stands to lose out? The NAR

I hope that this bill brings a change in Maine, and that the rest of the country follows in kind. It is a great idea that has been a long time coming.

Let us know what you think about it . . .

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 850,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.


  1. It surprised me, or I guess it should surprise but no longer does, that two republicans would propose “nationalizing” what is essentially private property. I guess I’m idealistic, but it seems to me that if someone has a problem with the current system, then they should create their own and compete, as many are doing. How did people sell homes before the local MLS came along? It’s like a kid that sees a friend buy a new bike after working to do so. Does the other kid follow suit and get a job, or does he just steal the bike..?

  2. It’s laughable to think a Government run “MLS” will be more efficient — or cheaper — than a private, for-profit business. I personally like the MLS- the stock market for real-estate. When I want to buy or sell Microsoft shares, I go to the stock market. When I want real-estate, I check the MLS.

    While everyone is happy to say that there “should be an open system”, I’m still waiting for the first group to jump-in and pay for it.

    And I think the Kentucky-fried-fool who didn’t check the credentials of his mould inspector got what he deserved. Or at least what he paid for. Caveat Emptor, cheapo.

  3. Linda Hutchins on

    The reason I didn’t check his credentials is that the REALTOR® recommended him to me as a qualified inspector – right after I requested the mold inspection.

    I’m NOT a cheapo. I was willing to pay a lot more. (I really had no idea how much these things cost. But I had braodband, a cellphone, and a laptop in my hotel.) And if the REALTOR® had not been a crook and had not recommended his crooked buddy, I would be OK today.

    But I was just stupid enough to trust a crooked REALTOR®.

  4. Eric in Silicon Valley on

    Okay, I know that by now this original post is quite dated, however I feel it was definitely on track at the time. With Google’s recent moves into the world of real estate, I’m starting to think that we will have a free, national listing service sooner or later – which would deprive the NAR of their biggest competitive advantage.

  5. Melodee Lucido on

    I just found this post and am wondering how this has progressed. Joshua, thank you, as always, for the the 411. How is this mls thing working now.

    I’ve noticed that there are flat rate mls services available; has anyone used these? If you have, were your results “better”?

    Thanks to all for contributing to this!!

  6. It is not just the mls, it is access to properties in many areas. Now they have the electronic lockboxes and keys. They literally hold the access to properties and if you want access to the listings you need to be a member.

    Local membership is nearly $900 per year now. This is a barrier of entry to many talented agents, who have other start up costs to consider.

    How about a call to action? If Obama can use social media to change a nation and get elected… , it seems s though anything is possible. New agent or now, I believe many agents are not happy with the high dues A $200 hike in price since 2012.

    I read a statement that said that the increase is a result of adding additional services. I’m not sure why some of the services are not ala carte. I understand that they can pay less if more people are purchasing the services, but I don’t believe the additional services should be thrust upon new agents.

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