required to join association of realtors

Do I Have to Join The Board of Realtors?

I just got my real estate license, do I have to join an association of realtors?

This is a common question, you finally got your license, you found a real estate brokerage where you want to work, now what? A real estate licensee is not required to join a board of realtors to sell real estate. The ability to broker or sell real estate is regulated by the state. Once you are licensed, you are legally permitted to sell real estate. A board of realtors is an optional association that is joined after you get a license to access agent tools. When you work under a broker that is a member of a board of realtors, that broker might require that you join so that all agents are a member of the board at the brokerage. However, that is just a company policy, and again, not a legal requirement to sell real estate.

Why should I join a board of realtors if it’s not required?

As mentioned above, your broker may require you to join because they are a member. Many real estate agents join a board of realtors because they see that as the only way to get access to the multiple listing service (MLS), real estate forms, and other professional tools. In some areas, agents are forced to join a board if they want MLS access only and nothing else. Even more, agents find out that they cannot just join a local board, but are required to join a local, state, and national board. It’s an all or nothing proposition with an all or nothing price tag.

What Is The Alternative to Join All Three Board of Realtors?

Some real estate agents see value in the dues they pay to be a member of the local, state, and national associations. However, not all agents have a need or desire to pay for three membership just to access forms and the MLS. These agents can access the tools they need through the Open Organization of Realty Professionals (OORP). Agents don’t need three memberships. Instead, they can be a member of OORP and access professional real estate forms, a national MLS, and a lockbox with national coverage.  This gives agents wider geographical coverage and all the professional tools they need from a single source.


Are You One of Us?

Are you one of us? OORP membership is not for everyone.

There is a segment of agents that don’t like that they have to join and pay three separate associations. They don’t like the geographic limitations of the MLS and lockbox, and they don’t like only one option for real estate forms. Basically, this segment of agents prefers a simple, single, less expensive source for their professional tools. These are the agents that have joined or will join OORP.

OORP isn’t for every agent. Some agents have no issue paying three associations, they have no complaints about lockboxes or regional MLSs or any of it. They are happy with the status quo. These are not the members we are seeking. We want the agents that understand the benefit of a national MLS and a national tech-driven lockbox solution. We want agents that will give feedback on our forms so that we create or revise the forms so that they always reflect the state of the industry.




A National Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

There is no shortage of talks about a statewide MLS or National MLS. After all, it only makes sense if we look at it from the consumer standpoint. A consumer can add an app like or to their phone and browse MLS listings all over the country. From their standpoint, there are no MLS boundaries or territories, just seamless listing data as far as their finger can roam the map on the phone. Consumers have no idea that behind the scenes there are numerous data feeds from independent MLS systems all feeding the data into the consumer website.

So why are there so many MLSs? Surely, even a single statewide MLS makes sense at the very least. Many MLSs already have the infrastructure or could easily add listings across the state if they suddenly had to become the “statewide MLS.” The main reason is that the history of the MLS is attached at the hip to the local associations, which, by nature, are territorial. So a certain MLS served a territory and was endorsed by the local association. That model worked in fine in past , in a time of hard copy forms, fax machines, and agents driving back and forth for paperwork. Now, however, is a different world. All the MLS data is online, and tech companies have created for consumers statewide, actually, nationwide coverage. So, the whole digital age came, but we still have all these local MLS systems. They are independent, so what should they do, agree to consolidate for the sake of the real estate professionals? Of course not, they will compete, and cooperate, but still compete with each other. So, agents are left with fragmented MLS territories and joining multiple associations.

There you have it, the relics of a past system are still present, and have left these boundaries that shouldn’t exist. Luckily, there is an answer to this. There is a national MLS that, at the time of this article has over 32,000 members. This MLS is free of the restrictions of local associations and allows agents to enter listings that are visible on a national level, just as MLS data is syndicated nationally through or countless other sites.
The Open Organization of Realty Professionals (OORP) has forged a relationship with the National MLS to give OORP members a discount. More importantly, to give real estate agents access to a national database of listings, something that consumers already enjoy.