Real Estate & Construction  June 27, 2024

REcolorado leaders oppose sale to private-equity firm

GREENWOOD VILLAGE — The residential real estate brokers who lead REcolorado are publicly opposing a planned sale of the state’s largest multiple-listing service. 

Instead, REcolorado wants its owners — the Denver Metro Association of Realtors and the South Metro Denver Realtor Association — to sell the operation to its member brokers. 

DMAR and SMDRA confirmed this week that there is a preliminary deal in place to offload the  Greenwood Village-headquartered broker-to-broker network that claims to facilitate more than 75% of all real estate transactions in Colorado.

Leaders of the MLS “disagree with their approach and are dedicated to keeping REcolorado a broker-focused business partner,” a message posted to REcolorado’s website late Wednesday said. 

REcolorado’s owners did not provide any information about the would-be buyer, but the MLS referred to the unnamed entity as a “private-equity firm” in website post. 

In an emailed statement to BizWest this week, DMAR and SMDRA said the associations have inked a letter of intent to sell REcolorado, and that the deal “will help provide expanded and improved service opportunities for metro-Denver Realtors and licensees, the members of our associations and REcolorado subscribers that depend on the MLS to provide the vital market information required to best serve consumers in their home buying and selling process.”

One of the motivations for the sale is legal protection against antitrust allegations, DMAR and SMDRA said.

“We strongly believe that this is the right time to sell the MLS, as the industry continues to advocate decoupling from the Realtor associations that have long owned the MLS. As has been widely reported in industry reports and media coverage, decoupling MLSs and Realtor associations could help protect MLS organizations from ongoing antitrust litigation,” REcolorado’s owners said. “Separating could also improve MLS management, according to the latest Swanepoel Trends Report, which also recommended that MLSs be structured as for-profit businesses, while Realtor associations should be nonprofit organizations.”

REcolorado’s leadership responded to this argument about decoupling MLSs from Realtor associations in the Wednesday post. 

“While we support a vision for decoupling the MLS from Realtor association ownership, selling your most valuable tool to a private-equity firm is a questionable way to achieve that and may bring added uncertainty,” the message said. “In fact, separation between the MLS and associations is why we actively engaged with DMAR and SMDRA earlier this year to acquire 100% ownership of REcolorado …”

SMDRA and DMAR said in a statement Wednesday that “additional details regarding the buyer and agreement will be announced soon,” but “due to the legal obligations of the LOI and our process, we cannot comment further at this time.”

The residential real estate brokers who lead REcolorado are publicly opposing a planned sale of the state’s largest multiple-listing service. 

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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