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This past January 1, 43 Realtor associations spanning six states and the District of Columbia joined forces to create one of the largest and most comprehensive multiple listing services in the country, Bright MLS.

The lead organizations — TREND (The Real Estate Information Network of the Delaware Valley, whose service area also includes Berks and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania) and MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, the MLS covering the Greater Washington and Baltimore regions along with just about all the rest of Maryland and parts of Virginia, West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania) — are at work on merging the systems and databases the Bright member organizations use to access listings and serve clients. When the merger is complete, some 85,000 real estate agents will be able to help their clients buy and sell a home faster and easier, no matter where they’re moving within the Mid-Atlantic region.

Work on the common platform is already underway, Phillips said, and the new technology will be rolled out starting in the Central Pennsylvania markets in the fall. Over the months that follow, the platform will be rolled out gradually to TREND and MRIS members, and all the member agents should have access to it by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

Phillips said that the new platform will include some more powerful capabilities. “There will be better integration of other information sources — community data, school information, the ability to search by drive time. These things will directly benefit consumers whether or not they’re working directly with a broker or agent.”

Bright is being built to offer a stronger, less constrained, inclusive organization whose sole mission is to give real estate professionals control over listing content and access to the best tools for using that data in their businesses.