Twenty-plus years after Connecticut real estate brokers started knocking around the idea of a statewide multiple listing service, it will soon become a reality. The Connecticut Association of Realtors’ board of directors recently approved the creation of a system that will consolidate most of the state’s 10 regional and local multiple listing services into one.

“The statewide MLS has been discussed forever,” said Robert Kennedy, executive officer of CAR.

But there have been enough changes in the market and advances in technology to make a statewide MLS a viable option now. Massachusetts and Rhode Island both have the statewide services, according to Inman News (

“The market wasn’t quite there [in the 1980s],” Kennedy said. “Technology wasn’t quite there.”

The Eastern Connecticut Multiple Listing Service will be the first regional MLS to be integrated into the system, according to Kennedy. That should happen in the fall.

‘Economy of Scale’

There was much debate about whether a statewide MLS was a good option for Connecticut, and four of the state’s local and regional multiple listing services have not agreed to join. The idea was resurrected about five years ago, when brokers started discussing whether a common database for all the state’s multiple listing services might be helpful to real estate professionals. That never came about, but the discussions led to an effort by brokers to start a statewide MLS, Kennedy said.

“The benefit [of a statewide MLS] is obvious,” he said.

It allows for uniformity across the state, he noted, and for brokers to subscribe to one service instead of several.

“You get economy of scale,” Kennedy said.

According to Inman News, regionalizing multiple listing services also can allow members to share property data, rules and forms.

In addition to the Eastern Connecticut MLS, five others voted to join the statewide system. The Hartford, New Haven, Middshore, Waterbury and Litchfield multiple listing services were already in a cooperative, and all five will join.

But the four remaining multiple listing services in the state – all of which are in Fairfield County – have not committed.

The biggest con to the statewide service is that it would be a change, Kennedy said.

“People are not necessarily comfortable [with the idea],” he said.

The four remaining multiple listing services are Consolidated MLS, which is based in Norwalk, and local multiple listing services in Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan.

“They like their systems,” Kennedy said.

Opponents to consolidating multiple listing services say it could allow agents to compete in market areas where they may have little or no experience, and that local multiple listing services and associations will lose revenue and staff through consolidation, according to Inman News.

There are more than 800 multiple listing services across the country, and most of them are affiliated with local Realtor associations.

Although the statewide MLS, which will be known as the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service, is sponsored by CAR, it will have its own staff and board of directors. The Connecticut MLS will be not-for-profit.

CAR has filed all the articles of incorporation and legal paperwork, and the National Association of Realtors is reviewing the proposed rules and regulations. The statewide MLS will begin phasing in the individual multiple listing services in the fall, first with the Eastern Connecticut MLS. The Eastern Connecticut MLS has a different vendor than the one that will be used for the statewide MLS, so there will be some training for its members, Kennedy said.

“It’s just a very rational timeline,” he said.

Jerry Alaimo, broker-owner for Century 21 Alaimo & Corrado in Enfield, will be president of the new multiple listing services board. He told Inman News that the Eastern MLS should be online by about Nov. 1, with the five members of the cooperative MLS phased into the new system after that.

“The current board members are serving in the capacity of the incorporators of the new organization. Until such time as we have an election they will serve in that capacity,” Alaimo told Inman News. There are 17 board members, including five who represent large brokerage companies, five who represent mid-sized companies, five who represent small brokerage companies, one member who is a local association executive and one member who is a sales associate and/or subscriber of the statewide MLS.

Alaimo said the involvement of the state Realtor association in establishing the statewide MLS was a “win-win” for supporters, according to Inman News.

“As we moved around the state, we visited multiple listing services and associations multiple times. The biggest issue on most of their minds was Realtor involvement in a multiple listing system,” he said to Inman News. “We really are going to be moving ahead the same way we have. The board-of-directors structure did not change. The [organization] will still be run by the participants.”

According to Inman News, the bylaws for the new organization say that the corporation will establish service centers with a number of local Realtor associations, including the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors, Greater New Haven Association of Realtors, Middlesex Shoreline Association of Realtors, Greater Waterbury Board of Realtors, Litchfield County Board of Realtors, Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors, Northern Fairfield Association of Realtors, Mid-Fairfield Association of Realtors, Greater Fairfield Association of Realtors, Ridgefield Association of Realtors, Greater Bridgeport Board of Realtors, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors and Stamford Board of Realtors.

The headquarters for the corporation likely will be in the New Haven area, Alaimo said, and the monthly fee to join the MLS will be $26 per member, according to Inman News.