TRAVERSE CITY — Anyone who regularly searches online real estate listings knows it can be a time-consuming affair.
There are roughly 12 different multiple listing services in northern Michigan alone, meaning prospective buyers, sellers and real estate agents find themselves navigating multiple websites, each with different search engines, to find a perfect property.
Three Michigan real estate associations are trying to eliminate some of the duplicity by regionalizing the multiple listing service for northern Michigan. The Traverse Area Association of Realtors joined with two other associations to launch the new mls system, known as the Northern Great Lakes Realtors MLS. The site allows users to search property listings in the Grand Traverse, central and northeastern Michigan regions, making thousands more listings from across the state available to users.
“It’s going well,” said Kim Pontius, president of TAAR. “We started on time and under budget, and it’s already in the black four months in.”
The problem of navigating multiple mls systems is real for northern Michigan sellers, buyers and realtors, said Matthew Dakoske, a real estate agent with Re/Max Bayshore Properties. Anyone who wants to search for a property in Buckley, for instance, might have to navigate three different listing services, he said.
Associations in Wexford and Manistee offer differing databases, meaning a sale or purchase feasibly could slip through the cracks if all of the databases aren’t being mined on a daily basis.
“There is still this control issue by certain boards of realtors,” Dakoske said. “They want to control the information. Then they can control the buyers.”
There are 10 other realtor associations in northern Michigan that potentially could join the service. Many of those associations are standing by and waiting to see how the Northern Great Lakes venture develops.
Debra Townsend, association executive of the Central Michigan Association of Realtors, said work on the project started in late 2010. Association members said in a survey that they wanted a centralized database.