JERRY ALAIMO – ‘Close to launching’

Connecticut’s statewide multiple listing service, CTMLS, is getting closer to becoming a reality. The service is due to launch next month.

“We’re very close to launching,” said Jerry Alaimo, president of the Connecticut MLS, who is also president of Century 21 Alaimo & Corrado in Enfield.

The organization of the MLS is coming together quickly, Alaimo said.

“We’ve got a committee that has just finalized the data,” he noted. “We selected our membership software.”

The board of directors also has chosen a location for the service’s office in North Haven, and has hired a chief executive officer and the first staff member. Cameron Paine, former chief operating officer of the Bonita Springs-Estero Association of Realtors in Florida, took the reins as the CEO of the Connecticut MLS earlier this week. They also put out ads for more staff people.

“All the details are coming very fast,” Alaimo said.

The statewide MLS, which is slated to begin operating on Jan. 10, will incorporate six of the 10 MLS networks that are currently operating in the state. The Eastern Connecticut MLS and the Hartford, New Haven, Midd-Shore, Waterbury and Litchfield multiple listing services, which were already in a cooperative, will join when the statewide MLS launches.

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

“They’ve taken a watch-and-see approach,” Alaimo said.

Working to convince the individual multiple listing services to join the statewide system was a challenge, Alaimo 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.

“Getting all of the various MLSs to make the decision to give up what they have and take a leap of faith has been the most difficult part,” Alaimo noted.

‘Highly Accurate’

Helping to streamline the real estate listings across the state will be part of Paine’s new job.

“With the launch of CTMLS Â… Realtor members and participants with CTMLS will be able to offer their clients greatly increased and highly accurate listing data across the state of Connecticut,” according to a prepared statement by Connecticut Multiple Listing Service officials. “CTMLS represents the future of multiple listing services.”

While working at his last job, Paine helped found an MLS cooperative and MLS data sharing agreements with more than 20 other multiple listing services.

The board of directors also hired Barbara Horvath of Columbia as the administrative services manager for the MLS. She started her job in late October. She previously worked at First American MLS Solutions, which bills itself as the leading provider of multiple listing services and real estate membership management systems in North America. She served for the last five years as the account manager for the Northeast region.

Horvath also worked for Realtors Multiple Listing & Information Services Inc., serving central Connecticut as the MLS director.

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 Connecticut Association of Realtors sponsors the MLS, which is a not-for-profit company. 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 multiple listing service.