CEO’s Message: From Idea to Ideation — MLSListings and the Upstream Pilot

Jim Harrison: MLSListings Inc CEO and President

Jim Harrison: MLSListings Inc CEO and President

This is an astounding moment in the history of the American real estate industry. Current events that will forever leave their mark on the businesses and careers of our subscriber and brokerage communities are popping up all around us. Driven by trends, disruptions and forces emerging from consumer activism, government regulation, Wall Street powers, and new forms of competition, it is clear that every aspect of our industry and marketplace will be impacted over the next 12 months.

Two of the most powerful players in this fast moving industry environment are Upstream and AMP. Both of these programs were created as part of the near revolutionary behavior characterizing the industry’s efforts to recover from the crisis and trauma of the 2005 – 2009 market crash and mortgage crisis that resulted in massive destabilization. Through programs such as Upstream, the industry is now reengineering and reenergizing America’s love affair with real estate and home ownership.

The Upstream project was conceived and launched by a coalition of brokerages, networks, and national franchises representing real estate companies of varying sizes and business models. This group has focused its efforts and innovative disruptions around its belief that when all is said and done, access to and the utilization of information and data will most significantly mark the future.

Accordingly, the mission of the Upstream project is to create a comprehensive data technology platform that will:

  • Create a single, national data entry point and storage platform for real estate-related data
  • Standardize data formats between systems
  • Manage the distribution of real estate information with a rules-based engine that supports the individual requirements of each participating brokerage

A corporate entity called Upstream RE was formed to hold ownership and management of the system. NAR, RPR, and the UpstreamRE, LLC Board of Directors executed the license agreement on October 28, 2015. This agreement coupled with financing from NAR, signaled the onset of an entirely new chapter for the real estate industry. RPR, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, was selected as the project’s technology developer and vendor.

Within the next six weeks, the new Upstream technology will be introduced into the marketplace. As a precursor of that event, this month, at the NAR Legislative meetings in Washington, D.C., five alpha testing teams each consisting of an MLS and a large brokerage were announced. Out of some 750 MLSs across the country, MLSListings has been selected to serve as an alpha test team.

MLSListings’ selection for this historic opportunity is a tribute to the dozens of volunteers who have provided the leadership that has influenced and molded MLSListings into a world class organization over the past eight years. It is evidence of the high esteem and respect with which MLSListings is held across the country.

However, MLSListings’ acceptance of this task does not suggest that the leadership assumes Upstream is necessarily the solution for our industry. Rather it is a demonstration of the respect that the leadership holds for the spirit of the Upstream project and its status as a direct product of the most prestigious team the American real estate industry has ever fielded. MLSListings’ leadership believes that the industry must innovate and move forward, that this project deserves the best implementation that the industry can provide, and that MLSListings is best positioned to accomplish that mission.

MLSListings is absolutely committed to the future success and prosperity of the Northern California real estate community. We believe that our involvement will not only provide a superb test bed for Upstream but will also drive MLSListings to even higher levels of experience, expertise, and achievement from which to meet these objectives.

With these events, the industry has moved forward into a new chapter of its history. The preceding points are no longer concepts but now represent reality.


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