It came as a total surprise when I logged on the the MLS today. I had no hint, no inkling that it was coming. In fact if I had taken bets, I would have bet against the very thing that was announced by the Multiple Listing Service this week.
Here's the good news! Any licensed agent in the state of Minnesota can now search listings from all across the state through a new co-op data exchange. The exchange has been arranged through a joint effort among the various REALTOR associations in Minnesota. Formerly each association allowed only their own members to search their MLS. If a member of the Rochester association wanted to search the Twin Cities' MLS, it was impossible. In like manner the Twin Cities' agent could not search for a property in Rochester. That has all changed as of this week.
A change of this proportion takes a long time to generate and it did indeed take 5 years. Each association hires its own company to create the MLS. Each one also has different criteria for their MLS. Each one has different labels for the data. To make a common data exchange would require fancy enough programming to find the data from all the different associations and plug it into the right data box. That's a feat that probably cost a pretty penny, but also caused a programmer or two to pull out their hair.
I'm not sure how this will benefit me as an agent, but IF I ever want to show properties up north or hunt for a cabin for myself, I now have the ability to do so. I can't help but wonder as well if this is step one in creating a national listing service through the REALTOR associations. Only time will tell.