It’s not even the “Gateway” anymore. What it is NOT is an MLS. It is not intended to be an MLS and is not designed to be an MLS. It is intended to be the one and only source of real estate information for Realtors to better do what they do.

Don’t be misled by the title “The Real Estate Channel” – it is a fill-in for what is a yet-to-be-determined name for what used to be the “Gateway.” Virginia was well-represented by Bob Blount and Tom Innes on the Presidential Advisory Group* that deliberated over and ultimately delivered the following report linked here (PDF).

Rather than explain what it “is” read the Questions and Answers document – I have omitted some of the questions to focus on those below that highlight the basics, MLS’ and cooperation and compensation. If you have further questions, please ask.

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“Q. 1 My MLS meets my needs. I don’t need information about property outside my market area. Why should I support TREC?

A. Comprehensive real estate information currently exists but that information is not always analyzed, categorized, or readily available in an easy-to-use, trusted format focused on the needs of REALTORS®. Consumer-focused real estate websites are gathering more and more information and REALTORS® will come increasingly to rely on those websites. Without convenient, immediate access to information to analyze/interpret for their clients and customers, REALTORS® will no longer be at the center of real estate transactions. TREC will also enable REALTORS® and MLS participants to access essential information about properties in their market area which may be “just outside” the area served by their MLS, and TREC information will be richer and deeper than what is available in MLS compilations.

Q. 3 How will TREC help me make money?

A. Time is money. TREC will ensure that REALTORS® and MLS participants have immediate access to the information they need to serve clients and customers in a “member-focused” format. Much of the information that TREC will deliver will not be otherwise available conveniently or economically.

Q. 4 How does TREC differ from Realtor.com?

A. TREC is not advertising and will not be publicly accessible; TREC will be revenue neutral and will not sell ads to its users.

Q. 6 What about cooperation and compensation?
A. Accessing TREC will not involve offers of cooperation or compensation. Cooperation is a Code of Ethics issue. All REALTORS® cooperate with other licensees except in those rare instances where cooperation is not in a client’s best interests. Cooperative compensation is an MLS issue. TREC is neither an MLS or an association of REALTORS®.

Q. 8 How will TREC impact current MLS vendors?
A. Data standardization may create a more competitive market for MLS.

Q. 10 Is TREC a national MLS?
A. No.

Q. 12 Will the public have access to property data through TREC?
A. No.

Q. 13 Can a property owner opt-out of having their property included in the TREC database?
A. No. TREC is not an MLS and is not an advertising vehicle. Information from the TREC database will not be publicly available on the Internet as are listings on MLS “public sites” or the Internet sites of third-party aggregators (e.g. realtor.com).

Q. 16 What control will individual MLSs have over the rules if they participate in TREC?
A. MLSs will retain complete control over their own rules and regulations, including the authority and responsibility of enforcing those rules.

Q. 18 Who is the “real estate community” that will be involved in TREC? Are they Zillow, Trulia, Google et al.?
A. No. The “real estate community” is MLSs and local and state associations of REALTORS.

Q. 20 How will the integrity of data in TREC be ensured?
A. TREC will rely on – and its success will depend on – quality data being provided
by MLSs and other information sources. Stringent technology safeguards will be
implemented to foreclose the possibility of unauthorized access.

Q. 23 How will duplication of property listings be avoided on TREC?

A. Every parcel of real property will be included on TREC – irrespective of whether it is currently available for sale or lease. Those available for sale or lease will be identified (“flagged”) accordingly.

Q. 24 How will NAR benefit?
A. TREC represents an opportunity for NAR to better serve its members and to facilitate a more efficient real estate marketplace. TREC will keep REALTORS® at the center of real estate transactions. TREC is revenue neutral and costs will be no more than what is necessary to develop and operate TREC. It will not be a revenue source for local associations, state associations or the National Association.
Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®”

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Know this – where we started with this project and where we are today is very, very different.
To get to where we are today, read some of the background on how we got where we are today.

FBS blog
RealCentralVA
BHB
Agentgenius

*The author of this post, Jim Duncan, was also a member of the PAG.

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