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RISMEDIA, April 24, 2008–At the 4th annual, Connections Multiple Listing Services Conference, held in Philadelphia, PA recently, association leaders, staff, brokers, and industry analysts came together again to examine the challenges facing the real estate business as technology and the economy impact the way they work and in many cases their ultimate survival. Two themes of the conference emerged; the relevance of the MLS in the business model of the broker and the survival of MLS as it exists in many regions as stand alone providers maintaining disparate pockets of information.

In a move significant to New Jersey, the Ocean County Board of Realtors® and Trend MLS, King of Prussia, PA, signed what they’re calling a first-of-its-kind agreement to freely share listing data between their systems in New Jersey. These two neighbors recognize the impact keeping the status quo has on the real estate professionals they serve. As technology moves forward and brokers’ geographic reach is expanded, keeping to the old ways in segregating listing content with boundaries becomes counterproductive.

Across the nation MLS administrators and real estate professionals have adopted the acronym OMD for the Overlapping Market Disorder, which is evident as brokerage needs expand in the new real estate marketplace. The Internet especially has overtaken the idea that all real estate is local by challenging the core definition of “local.” In a move to tear down artificial walls and think outside the box, the leaders of these two associations agree, as Chris Schlueter 2008 President of OCBR said, “to our way of thinking, there is no box.”

The Ocean County Board of Realtors says it continues to approach its neighbors and indeed every other MLS and Realtor association in the state to embrace the ideas of sharing information.

“This is a proven strategy that works in every state across the U.S., it is time that the industry here in New Jersey looks around to see that perhaps someone else has solved our problem already,” says Schlueter.

“Significant challenges to this process exist in New Jersey to catch up with the progress seen in other areas of the U.S. The neighboring systems here have not historically enjoyed the background of reciprocity that seems to be a pre-cursor in the collaborative evolution we see in most other regions.”

For more information, visit www.oceancountyrealtors.org.

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