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The Growing Legacy of Off MLS Marketing

reconis legacy off mlsIt arrived in the spring 2012, to the collective relief of an entire industry. After five years of unstable and conflicted market conditions, the market seemed to finally have "returned," and with it came the promise of new opportunity and prosperity for all within the industry. A palatable sense of relief flooded across markets as hundreds of thousands of Boomer generation real estate agents realized that they would have one more opportunity to make the big time.

It quickly became obvious that the market that had returned was nothing like the market that had crashed in the late fall of 2005. Across the country, sales figures dramatically increased while inventories remained extremely low and prices began to precipitously increase. We now know that this activity was being driven by pent up consumer demand, the reticence of homeowners to enter the market, artificially low mortgage rates, and ridiculously low prices.

Accompanying these symptoms, and appearing amazingly early on in the new market, were observations that suggested that real estate professionals at both the brokerage and agent levels were demonstrating behaviors that were inconsistent with both their own and the industry's long-term interests.

The most alarming of these behaviors were the "Off MLS" marketing activities that, by early 2013, had rapidly spread--in some markets, impacting over 30% of transactions, a level that threatened the stability and function of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Major markets began to experience brokerage commercials that promoted the availability of "coming soon" properties not yet on the market. There was a growing sense that a rapidly increasing number of real estate professionals were so focused on making up for the lost time and income created by the events of 2005 through 2011 that they are willing to risk destabilizing critical institutions and relationships to meet their objectives.