Why Isn't There a Commercial MLS?

Industry finds alternatives

August 1, 1999

Although residential practitioners have used the MLS for years, commercial practitioners haven't always shared listing information. Commercial property listing Web sites started to emerge in the mid-1990s, but an MLS-like comprehensive network of commercial property listings has yet to emerge.

Experts say the commercial world has been slow to interconnect for a number of reasons. First, the industry is fragmented, with no central repository of information. And with no MLS, there has been less investment in technology. Probably most important, commercial practitioners, more than residential, have always placed a premium on keeping information proprietary, guarding data jealously in hopes of closing a deal before someone else finds out about the listing.

However, contrary to some people's perception, these commercial listing sitesaren't trying to decrease the practitioner's role, the site developers say. Most sites allow only real estate professionals to post properties, culling out listings placed by nonprofessionals and referring them to a nearby broker.

Although these sites arestill gaining acceptance in the commercial arena, users and site providers are certain that the sites will prove themselves just like many other new technology products have. "We like to compare ourselves to the fax machine or the cell phone," says Dennis DeAndre, founder and CEO of LoopNet. "When they first came out, people were skeptical, but now they can't live without them."

Regional and specialty-oriented commercial property listing Web sites

In the August 1999 issue of REALTOR® Magazine, we looked at the largest national information databases and property listing Web sites for commercial practitioners.

Those resources represent just a piece of what’s out there, so we’ve compiled some additional information and links to help you tap into the vast commercial real estate cyber world. For a more comprehensive list of sites by state, region, or country, see commercialsource.com.For site ratings and descriptions, see pikenet.com.

The Dealmakers
Real Estate Investor
SIOR Online
SiteRide Network

Sources for Commercial Real Estate Pros

Several commercial real estate sites contain information to help you use the Internet to serve your clients:

NAR’s new commercial portal site features links to commercial property Web sites, haves and wants, industry news, and links to financing sources other industry resources.

Includes ratings and descriptions of 110 commercial property listing Web sites, commercial news, information, and links.

Real Estate CyberSpace Society
RECS is a membership organization that helps real estate practitioners become technosavvy, but its Web site offers links, Internet tools, and articles to the public.

Commercial specialty organizations

NAR’s nonresidential affiliates also offer Web sites that will help you get started online.

Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute
The Counselors of Real Estate
Institute of Real Estate Management
REALTORS® Land Institute
Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®

Sara Geimer is the manager of REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards and a former senior editor with the magazine.

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