Ohio's Largest MLS Rebrands With An Eye On Consolidation

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Ohio's Largest MLS Rebrands With An Eye On Consolidation

MLS Now CEO Carl DeMusz: “We endeavor to be really good neighbors, but hey — if it leads to a first dance, we’d love that.”

Nearly three years after its birth, Ohio’s largest multiple listing service has changed its name. Formerly Yes MLS, the 13,300-member organization has become MLS Now.

The new moniker reflects “its members’ tenacity for action in the present moment,” MLS Now said Wednesday in a press release. The rebranding does not come with operational changes, though the MLS made the announcement with an eye toward future growth. Yes MLS was formed in 2018 when Cleveland area-based Northern Ohio Regional MLS (NORMLS) and Akron-based Centralized Real Estate Information Service (CRIS) dissolved to form a new, consolidated company that would serve 36 counties in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“Today, with almost half the Realtors in the state as members and over a third of Ohio’s units valued at $9 billion sold in 2019, the organization has thought forward for long enough — the time is ‘Now,’” MLS Now said in the release.

MLS Now is owned by eight shareholder associations. The MLS also offers wholesale MLS services to four other associations, three of them in Ohio: the Wayne-Holmes Association of Realtors, the Guernsey Muskingum Valley Association of Realtors, the Parkersburg Area Association of Realtors in West Virginia, and the Marietta Board of Realtors.

MLS Now operates in an area with a lot of small MLSs and anticipates “expansion in the near future” as it brings on other wholesale partners as a result of policy changes from the National Association of Realtors over the last several years that some MLSs are unable to put in place due to size and lack of resources.

These include a policy giving brokers the right to get back data they’ve entered into the MLS, a rule designed to combat pocket listings known as the Clear Cooperation Policy, a policy allowing brokers to display up to three years of sold MLS data on their websites, and a requirement that MLSs shorten listing feed updates to 12-hour intervals, “which smaller MLS servers were unable to deliver,” the MLS told Inman.

Carl DeMusz

“With NAR’s recent data feed policy chances, smaller MLSs are finding it extremely difficult if not impossible to serve the data needs of their broker partners, who have a right to the data,”  MLS Now CEO Carl DeMusz told Inman via email.

“[MLS Now’s] partner accounts now have access to a plethora of the latest and greatest in back-end tech resources such as Trestle for web API,” as well as staffing to support broker partners, DeMusz added.

MLS Now makes operational fees on data requests from partner firms and those accounts are separate from their own subscribers to whom they also provide these resources, the company said.

“MLS Now provides its subscribers products and services that serve the needs of the current moment, highly responsive staff, and an experienced team of leadership, making it the logical choice for associations looking to partner for their MLS needs,” said Marlin Palich, MLS Now’s 2020 board chairman, in a statement.

Asked whether MLS Now hopes to bring on wholesale partners that may eventually merge with the company, DeMusz said MLS Now takes a “non-aggressive yet confident approach to consolidation via mergers and acquisitions.”

“We endeavor to be really good neighbors, but hey — if it leads to a first dance, we’d love that,” he said.

In the past, the Ashtabula County Board of Realtors was brought in as a wholesale partner that later became an MLS shareholder, the company said.

MLS Now logo

Although rebranding, MLS Now is keeping its logo, which DeMusz designed along with the MLS’s head of marketing and IT, Aaron Powell. DeMusz created the signature roofline shape in the logo’s cloud, which was inspired by “the MLS which these days includes many homes listed and stored in the cloud,” DeMusz said in a statement.

MLS Now is not the only major MLS to undertake a rebranding effort recently. In September, New England’s largest MLS, MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN), rebranded with a new “wicked smart” tagline, new logo and new website.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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