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RISMEDIA, Oct. 2, 2007-(MCT)-The Olympic Multiple Listing Service ended more than 50 years of listing South Sound homes for sale this weekend when it became part of the state’s largest listing service.

On Sunday, the Olympic MLS was absorbed by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service of Kirkland.

The consolidation of the two services completes a decision that was announced by the Olympic MLS board in February.

The board’s decision to dissolve the Olympic MLS was partly based on the idea that a larger multiple can offer more services to its broker members and real estate agents than a smaller listing service, Olympic MLS manager Jerry Wilkins said.

Though Wilkins has yet to receive an official title for the local Northwest MLS office, he will continue to manage the local office as well as other Northwest MLS offices in the region. His other duties include teaching classes for new real estate agents and brokers, Wilkins said.

Besides himself, the Olympia office of Northwest MLS also will have two full-time employees, he said.

The office address will remain unchanged at 556 Lilly Road S.E., Suite D, he said.
The Olympic MLS office was launched in October 1952 and Wilkins became its manager in January 1997.

In his 11 years at the helm, the number of real estate agents doing business in Thurston County increased from 650 to more than 900, he said.

The number of real estate brokers in the county, or those offices that hire real estate agents, grew from about 62 to 65, Wilkins said.

In comparison, the Northwest MLS, owned by its broker members, includes 2,200 companies and 27,000 sales associates. It also serves 19 counties in the state.

South Sound real estate professionals expect the transition to be smooth, though Ted Leland of Abbey Realty said he will miss the personal touch of the Olympic MLS. But a larger multiple will offer “economies of scale,” Wilkins said, such as cheaper monthly dues for real estate agents. Monthly dues will drop from $36 to $30, he said. Another advantage will be working with uniform paperwork, rather than switching between different forms for different listing services, Greene Realty Group real estate agent Eric Hjelm said.

“We’re all on the same sheet of music now,” Hjelm said.

Copyright © 2007, The Olympian, Olympia, Wash.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.