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Numbered MLS areas are gone

By Allen Norwood
Allen Norwood
Allen Norwood writes on Home design, do-it-yourself and real estate for The Charlotte Observer. His column appears each Saturday.

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Numbered listing areas have disappeared from the regional multiple listing service. You no longer need to remember that Area 5 is southeast Charlotte and Area 10 is Union County. Instead, search for Beverly Woods or Indian Trail.

The decision to eliminate the long-standing listing areas was made almost a year ago, said Joe Rempson, president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association. The association operates Carolina Multiple Listing Services.

When the MLS moved to a new online operating system, he said, leaders considered related changes. “The board of directors (of the MLS) asked, ‘Are areas and sub-areas still relevant? Is there a better way to do things?’ 

The directors decided that using such options as ZIP codes, towns and counties and familiar community and neighborhood names would be easier to understand than numbered areas. “Even some of our own members didn’t quite understand (the areas and sub-areas),” Rempson said.

Lots of other multiple listing systems across the country don’t use numbered areas, Rempson said. They might use ZIP codes or city or county lines.

The areas and sub-areas are gone altogether, he said. Consumers won’t see them when visiting the public portion of the MLS online. Member Realtors won’t include the former areas when adding new listings to the system and won’t use them on their professional portion of the MLS.

Realtors began learning about the change last fall, said Rempson, who’s with T.R. Lawing Realty, and began training after that.

The areas have been used for years. Mecklenburg was divided into wedge-shaped areas 1 through 9. Each was divided into sub-areas. Surrounding counties had their own area and sub-area numbers.

As growth patterns changed and interest in specific communities swelled, overlays were added. Lake Norman became Area 13, for instance, and more recently uptown Charlotte became Area 99.

For the time being, the listing areas at Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, and in the Center City, are gone, too. But Kim Walker, spokeswoman for the association and the MLS, says they’ll return soon as system managers complete tweaks.

Officially, the areas disappeared April 24.

Online, you can search by unincorporated community, too. When I poked around the MLS site, our community of Sherrills Ford popped right up.

To see listings, visit www.carolinahome.com. Start with the map and bore in for a closer look.

I asked Walker whether she had heard from consumers since the change. “Well, no,” she said simply.

Seems prospective buyers aren’t clamoring for arcane numbered areas and sub-areas.

Special to the Observer: homeinfo@charter.net
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