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43 MLS groups unite; Valley not one of them

A new real estate multiple listing service, Bright MLS, unites 43 mid-Atlantic organizations comprising nearly 85,000 real estate professionals from nine Realtor-owned MLS systems.

A new real estate multiple listing service, Bright MLS, unites 43 mid-Atlantic organizations comprising nearly 85,000 real estate professionals from nine Realtor-owned MLS systems.

One, however, is not the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, in contrast to three other associations in the region – the Reading-Berks Association of Realtors, Bucks County Association of Realtors and Schuylkill County Board of Realtors – that joined Bright MLS.

That has created a potential rift between GLVR and other Realtor associations, some that said not joining puts agents and consumers at a disadvantage.

“We’re hoping Lehigh comes on board,” said Sharon Kehres, Berks association president and agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Wyomissing. “Why not have an MLS that covers more geographic area? It just makes sense.”

The GLVR, though, is taking a wait-and-see approach. One member said moving to Bright would mean a loss of autonomy and losing control of its demographics.

“We have an overlapping market disorder in many different directions, and this one solution on the table will not help all of my members,” said Justin Porembo, CEO of the GLVR, based in Hanover Township, Northampton County.

The goals of Bright MLS, which debuted Jan. 1, are to break down barriers created by individual MLS systems (which list properties for sale), pool information and promote industry collaboration across the mid-Atlantic.

“We really came together out of the need being driven by the industry itself that there are just too many MLS [services] with overlapping markets that aren’t serving the needs of the brokers and agents as well as we could,” said Tom Phillips, president and CEO of Bright MLS. “It’s our firm belief that broker and agents need information for a broad application to support their business in the year 2017.

“They are competing with eyeballs on national portals and other places, and having access to a broad market helps position the broker and agent in a much better place.”

The merger provides uniform access to 10 million properties spanning nearly 40,000 square miles, including parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. Phillips expects that access and span to grow.

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