Thursday, August 17, 2006

Spanish MLS to close

Well, it's official, the Interagency Network MLS is closing. John Hollway, the managing director of the IN sent member agents an email confirming this yesterday. The reason given for the closure was Viva Estates' decision to withdraw both its listings and its funding from the group.

Monday the 14th of August VIVA Estates officially advised the Interagency Network MLS that they were resigning from the Network with immediate effect. It is a fact that VIVA were the main contributors in both revenue and listings to the IN Network and without their support the IN Network is no longer a viable business and therefore the Interagency Network MLS will cease day to day trading operations as of today.

This is not unexpected given Viva's recent decision to change their listing commission. Agent co-operation is obviously not part of their future plans and as a result they have dispensed with the organisation that they set up for this purpose.

Unfortunately for the other members, the fact that the IN was funded (for the most part) by Viva means that they can act unilaterally in this manner. Whilst there are also other shareholders who no doubt stand to lose their investment - the main loss will be the effective cross-sales body that the IN had become. For the active top 20 or so member agents, the IN proved an excellent environment in which to collaborate.

It is highly likely that these agents will seek to maintain some level of co-operation and to establish a successor to the IN. The concept of the multi-listing service is still valid to these agents, who will no doubt pursue alternate admin and software arrangements.

Viva have, it ought to be noted, been gracious enough to offer to pay for a transition period whereby members will be switched over to Infocasa. The providers of Infocasa, Mercury, are also the same people who designed the IN software so such a transition should be relatively painless.

So, will we see a new MLS rise from the ashes of the old? Will it still charge 7.5% commission? Will Viva and this new body be on speaking terms? Interesting times ahead for sure. More plot developments than your average Eastenders omnibus.

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