There’s been a lot of talk about monetizing MLS data.

Tomorrow, May 17, is a big day in DC as NAR’s Board of Directors considers an amendment to NAR’s MLS Policy to make clear that MLSs must provide participant brokers with a source of MLS data (either downloads or data feeds of active, sold and off-market data) that brokers can then use to generate automated valuation models (AVM) using software licensed from a third party in order to sell those AVMs to financial institutions in return for a fee independent of a real estate sales commission.

And if brokers are allowed such access for AVM purposes, the amendment needs to make clear whether or not listing brokers can opt-out of providing their listing data.

The issues are complicated and the stakes are high, as is the fear of unintended consequences with any policy change. For a comprehensive analysis of the issues from two well-regarded authorities on MLS policy and practice, you’ll want to read the reports of Brian Larson and Matt Cohen cited below.

In his blog, Brian Larson sets forth a detailed analysis of the issues in a five-part series on the question of whether and how brokers participating in MLS may use listing data of other brokers to power AVMs sold into the real estate vertical.

In a Whitepaper – Broker AVM: Exploring the Controversy – Clariety Consulting’s Gregg Larson and Matt Cohen outline the controversy over who should be able to monetize MLS data with AVM customers.

Also, see these relevant Inman News articles:

The Broker AVM controversy began when Realty Alliance outlined its position in a letter to NAR January 27, 2014 – 

And here is the Realty Alliance statement on their Facebook page on the eve of the Directors vote:

“Realtors are the most qualified to manage a valuation program (such as BPOs and AVMs). Outsiders (like Zillow and others) are not.

Why would Realtors vote to restrict their own ability to perform valuations and thus allow outsiders to have this space all to themselves? Consumers would pay the price.

MLSs should give MLS participants data/feeds for permissible uses without unnecessary delay or red tape. That is what the Advisory Board’s motion was about (now passed by the MLS committee and the Executive Committee).”


It will be an interesting Saturday morning in DC. How would you vote?