Atlanta, Macon; Macon, Atlanta. It’s so nice to see you.
Last month FMLS and MGMLS (Middle Georgia MLS), launched an “expansive” new listing partnership that would benefit buyers and sellers throughout Georgia. This led many agents jumping to conclusions which “sounded” too good to be true. For Atlanta’s volume producing realty teams, middle Georgia’s cheaper marketing costs make it a magnet for exploitation. For greedy agent-grabbing Brokers, a new territory represents a new pool of agents to recruit away from their current situation. It’s a lose-lose or win-win depending on your situation.
Predictably the FMLS/MGMLS agreement isn’t the capitalistic scrum many were hoping for. In truth, both MLS’s have done a very good job in protecting each other’s territory. The Agreement between the two MLS’s is a very nice feature. Only in marketing lingo would it be considered, “expansive”. Benefiting all buyers and sellers throughout the State? Dramatic over-reach perhaps?
We all know Listings throughout the U.S. all end up in the same places. (Zillow, Realtor, Trulia, etc.) So the ability to see Listings in another market is not new. What’s new here is, each MLS can “see” each other through their native MLS platform. Nice. Atlanta agents can now see Macon listings, as Macon agents would, while in FMLS. And, Macon agents can see our FMLS listings like we do, within their MGMLS application. Makes “looking” much easier for agents. Very nice, thank you.
I know both MLS companies have worked very hard in protecting their respective turfs from any unintended consequences. To that end, we back them 100%. But, doesn’t this issue also point to a much larger problem within the industry? Historically, real estate has been very territorial. It’s the reason the U.S. has hundreds of MLSs. Hundreds of poorly capitalized, mostly non-profit, MLSs owned by NAR*, whose main function is to feed the beast that is NAR itself.
Why do we have, or need, hundreds of MLSs? The answer is we don’t. The day will come when agents won’t have to work around dated MLS architectures, but it isn’t today. Old territorial boundaries, once firmly rooted, now stand in sand. How long can the future be held at bay?
While agents might not have understood the recent FMLS/MGMLS announcement, it did cause many to realize Macon isn’t that far away. “Hey, did you know Macon is less than a hundred miles from Atlanta”? “Even less from the airport”.
One explanation for this new agent interest in Macon most likely comes from clients. People have had their work lives changed in many ways. The idea of being at the office, or even near it on a daily basis is old school. If a home buyer only had to go to an office once a week, wouldn’t that expand their search area?
For generations Atlanta housing went north. Atlanta to Cumming. But, if we look at a future where Atlanta remains the magnet, where does expansion come from? The south. A homeowner in Macon is closer to Hartsfield/Jackson than a homeowner in Cumming is. For generations people lived ITP because of proximity to an office. But, if the office requirement changes, do homeowners really need to pay ITP prices?
You only need to look at a residential development map to see where new sprouts are forming. And you don’t need a crystal ball to envision a day when Atlanta’s sprawl reaches all the way to Macon. Long-time Atlanta residents can remember the late 1980’s when Roswell was the end of civilization and Alpharetta still had gravel roads. Funny isn’t it.
“Go west young man”; is an old timey phrase meant to embody the spirit of youth and the pioneering of one’s own future. But, to all the new home buyers in Atlanta, a better direction might be south.
Thank you FMLS and MGMLS. In a world that doesn’t work together very well, it’s good to know you guys are the exception.
*MGMLS is NOT owned by NAR! “little r’s” rule!