SEVRAR has posted a press release detailing their decision on Statewide MLS. By popular demand, the press release has been posted below or can be downloaded here: http://www.sevrar.com/pdfs/pressrelease_AZMLS.pdf. Please direct all questions to SEVRAR regarding this release.
SEVRAR’S STATUS UPDATE ON STATEWIDE MLS
Mesa, AZ – (September 22, 2011) – On behalf of the SouthEast Valley Regional Association of REALTORS® (SEVRAR), I would like to thank everyone at the Arizona Association of REALTORS® (AAR), the additional ARMLS Shareholders (Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® (SAAR), Phoenix Association of REALTORS® (PAR) and West Maricopa Association of REALTORS®
(WeMAR), the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) and members of the SEVRAR Board of Directors. These organizations have spent months in meetings and discussions regarding statewide MLS. SEVRAR realizes a lot of time, money and energy has been invested by all in the statewide MLS initiative. After months of meetings and endless debates, the SEVRAR Board of Directors decided not to sell their 25% ownership interest in ARMLS.
When it came time to vote, there were just too many questions and to many “what if’s” that needed to be answered regarding who would be the best choice to lead statewide MLS.
This discussion is not just about statewide MLS. If it were, negotiations to sell our shares of ARMLS stock would have ended a long time ago. One school of thought is that there is no need to sell ARMLS to have statewide MLS. Currently the ARMLS shareholders make up about 70+% of the REALTOR® population in the state. When you add Casa Grande (ARMLS participant) and data sharing with Tucson, ARMLS has data from 85 to 90 percent of the REALTORS® in the state. Keep in mind, datasharing doesn’t contain offers of compensation and cooperation.
When working in conjunction with one another, we do not question the benefits of a statewide MLS or the Arizona REALTOR® Business Interface (ARBI) project that is currently being created by AAR. Having a single sign-on integrated platform with the business tools in one place and information flowing from one program to another, (without double entry) would be a tremendous benefit to membership. In turn, information from all over the state in one location would be a tremendous benefit to our member’s -moreclients. That is the goal of the ARBI project. It would incorporate all the tools that our membership uses in one location. We look forward to the launch of ARBI.
Where statewide MLS and ARBI go from here is yet to be seen. Statewide MLS can still happen, but it will be a challenge. Several of the outlying associations are concerned about joining ARMLS just because it is owned and controlled by the 4 largest Associations in the state. The outlying associations and members may feel more comfortable if AAR were to own a statewide MLS.
AAR owns and controls the contract forms and, at this time, is not in favor of letting ARMLS have access to the forms for several reasons. If AAR were to have ARMLS as a vendor, a large financial investment would need to be made on the part of AAR, to allow the flow-through of MLS information from one program to another. Then, if ARMLS were to stop being the vendor of choice, the money invested by AAR would be for naught. That wouldn’t be a good investment of members’ dues dollars. There is also discussion about trying to move statewide MLS forward, without SEVRAR. If the additional 3 shareholders were to sell to AAR, SEVRAR would have 25% ownership and AAR would have 75% ownership and control. The additional 3 shareholders would receive $1.2 million each in selling their shares. Since SEVRAR elected not to sell their shares, our association would not receive any compensation from AAR.
There are several options available and only time will tell which direction, if any this, initiative takes. Please be assured, the SEVRAR Board of Directors investigated all the information, consulted with legal counsel and our CPA, before making the decision – a decision they did not take lightly. I commend AAR President Duane Fouts, AAR CEO Tom Farley and the AAR leadership for their vision and effort. In addition, we have immense gratitude towards the leadership of the additional 3 shareholders for their valuable input and involvement.
When all is said and done, all everyone wants is what is best for their respective membership. SEVRAR is always open to discussing any idea or initiative that best serves its membership. We believe AAR and the additional ARMLS shareholders share in this belief.