Will U.K. agents adopt the OpenBrix Multi Listing System? – video

The OpenBrix portal is getting set to launch and will be attempting to introduce a form of multi-listing system (MLS) to the U.K.

The MLS is a long-established arrangement in the U.S.A. and is utilised by the overwhelming majority of agents. In simple terms, an agent with an instruction puts it on the MLS and any agent with a buyer is then able to arrange a viewing. If a deal is done the listing agent will share their commission with the agent who introduced the buyer.

In the past we have had referral systems that have been operated by agency groups and trade bodies in the U.K.  The NAEA had such a system to enable members to refer business to one another. But there has never been anything to replicate the MLS from the States.

Russell Quirk, with his Properganda PR hat on and representing OpenBrix, has held a half-hour, cross-atlantic Zoom interview with US realtor Matt Fetick, who spoke about how MLS really works,  and his views on the OpenBrix plans.

Fetick is the owner of two Keller Williams market centres in Delaware and Maryland and is a successful real estate agent in his own right.

Quirk asked a number of questions around what MLS actually is, how it works, and if it will work over here.

What Fetick says is very interesting and does shed light on how MLS could work in the U.K. but whether OpenBrix can persuade a critical mass of agents to get behind the idea very much remains to be seen.

We think you will find the instructive video well worth watching – and it really isn’t too much of a sales pitch for OpenBrix.

We shall be interested in readers’ comments about MLS and whether they will consider using it.



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  1. JimCricket

    When you work in a culture of vendors being prepares to pay 6% to sell their property, then all is good. However, this would be unworkable on a 1.5% average fee in the UK. What’s in it for us as agents? We have a portal system which is dominated by a few companies unlike these other cultures and we pay through the nose for their service which helps to drive our fees forever lower. Gun, foot.

  2. Interested in Property

    I agree 100% with JImCricket, plus it will lead to a lesser service for the Sellers as the agents will lie about offers to try and tie them down to them and no other agent. The UK is not the USA, we think differently and work differently. KW are trying to dictate the agenda to suit themselves and no one else. Good luck to them trying to change a way of life in the UK!

    Also, be careful what you wish for with self employed agents:

    You lose the control over them in getting them to come to the office etc as they will say you do not pay me a wage so i will do what i want.

    Some will use it as a hobby and tell the world they are a Real Estate Agent.

    Your level of service will dip as they get more and more desperate to make money.

    They will avoid training as it will cost them time and money – in their logic.

    Family will come before work.

    Just a few examples. The motto if its not broke don’t fix it comes to mind!

    1. Simon Bradbury

      Hi “interested In Property” – interesting post.
      However, in my view the motto “… if its not broke don’t fix it …” is just about the most uninspiring motto ever spoken or written by man or woman!
      LOTS of inventions and systemic changes have been created and improved our lives when things were not necessarily “broken”.

      1. Interested in Property

        maybe i am old fashioned Simon 🙂 
        i take your point however

        1. Simon Bradbury

          There’s nothing wrong with being old fashioned my friend! 

  3. AgencyInsider

    Will UK agents adopt the OpenBrix MLS?


    1. LondonRealtor

      Totally agree 100%

      As a licensed Broker in the States I spend a lot of time on MLS, its an amazing system and has many benefits. I have often thought myself how one could ever bring it to this country but as JimCriket says its all about the fee. It simply won’t work here until there is a national requirement for every real estate professional to be licensed and sellers are prepared to pay 5-6% sales commission. Its not going to happen anytime soon.

  4. Simon Bradbury

    The referral of buyers and sellers to other estate agents can, and for some of us already is, an excellent way of demonstrating an enhanced proposition that very few agents currently utilise properly. It’s not about the money, though it can be financially lucrative, it’s all about the customer experience and offering a valuable service that other agents may not be able to offer.

    The key to success with referrals is to establish a “referral culture” within your agency, supported by effective internal processes and great I.T. to monitor the whole process.

  5. jeremy1960

    Is it not a fact that vendors “interview ” a number of agents, reject those they feel they can’t work with and appoint the agent that they most trust? Imagine then how that vendor would feel if the appointed agent were to turn round and say that it’s a free for all!

  6. MillicentBystander

    Unfortunately the vast majority of agents will turn their noses up at anything Russell Quirk is associated with / endorses, no matter how much of an opportunity it offers for the industry to improve or agents to provide a better service to their clients.

    1. Commenttrawler

      Absolutely agree, I lost interest once his name was mentioned

  7. Trevor Gillham

    Trevor Mealham has done this for years hasn’t he? INEA.

  8. Property Poke In The Eye

    UK EA fees are too low to share.

    If all agents charged a min of 2.5% then this could work.

    Otherwise weaker agents will take on low fee, highly priced instructions then try and share.

    Not only that – agents just dont like working with other agents.

  9. watchdog13

    Has the editorial team at PIE been taken hostage by Quirk?

  10. scruffy

    MLS will be considered periodically by UK agents (Russell being the latest) before quickly realising the fundamental shift required in public attitude towards estate agents has to happen long before a potential client would even consider MLS fee levels similar to those in the States or Europe.

    Nonetheless I came away from meeting and questioning a Connecticut agent who was part of a successful MLS network operating up and down the coast with lots of good ideas; this was in 1987. A regional real estate magazine was one idea that we adopted, following their fortnightly edition shared with other agents.  This model was (much) later adopted in the UK by the likes of the Guild and high-end national brands. But then good ideas can and do come from other countries such as Australia and some countries in Europe who have developed their estate agency roles in different ways, partly as a consequence of specific agency legislation.

    Our fundamental issue remains that we should get proper recognition for the value added that our “profession” can deliver to our customer base, rather than race to the bottom as has been happening in the corporate sector, subsidised by their referral fees. Only then will we have a chance to make such changes in attitude that are a pre-requisite for MLS or other ideas to succeed.

    Evidence of the race to the bottom can be readily seen from the level of viewings by those who are yet to place their home on the market, which are permitted (as such applicants keep telling us) despite being in flagrant breach of MCH&LG, RICS and Propertymark guidance.


  11. MillicentBystander

    Matt Fetick is 100% correct that OpenBrix should insist that participating agents MUST list 100% of their inventory on the platform within, say 48 hours of taking the instruction from the client, otherwise it is just an agent focused tool and not one that has the consumers best interest in mind.  I fear any MLS will struggle in the UK as property industry here is full of agents with scarcity mindsets and who willing to put what’s best for them before what’s best for their client.

  12. Woodentop

    Lol …. NO, NO, NO.  
    Having experienced the American dream with Realtors … it is riddled with corruption, argument and the system is a fiasco in many states with part-time workers, lazey listers waiting for a buyer via others, causing more hassel and complaints than worth the trouble. Most of it is nothing more than a lead generation based on the advert. 99.99999% of finders have no knowledge of the property, vendor specifics etc.  
    Put it another way Multi-listings in USA is web portals in the UK like RM, Z and OTM.
    We don’t need it, our system of conveyancing and fee’s etc are not compatible.

  13. Hillofwad71

    In commercial property agency  the buyer is often represented by an  agent and paid a fee accordingly indepenedently .
    “Act and share” amongst agents also has always been a feature amongst agents  on the commercial property agency side ,particularly so with property invesments  and prime shops which aren’t being openly marketed .
    An  agent  being given the wink by the seller’s agent who hasn’t got a client him /herself  but  in turn knows another agent  who might and they will share a buyers fee between them  .
    This clublike  culture  has been part and parcel of the game.
      One famous West End agent said “There are 3 fees to every deal and I want all of them. Few years back mind as the same agent used to be spotted  driving into work dictating letters into a handheld dictating  machine  .
    The problem for resi property  with the portals is that most enquiries will arrive at the sellers agent desk  without passing the lips of another  agent controlling the enquiry .
      The market wont bear another hand in the bran  tub when the fee  rates are  under heavy competition .
      However difficult to imagine taking hold here on the residential  property which is being openly marketed and fully exposed on the portals .
      The “Buyers”agent has no control over the enquiry in  99 cases out of a 100      

  14. James White


    This is nothing more than a publicity exercise as the correspondents know that this is an unrealistic proposition for the UK agency sector.


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