Bay Area realty agents frustrated after cyber attack hobbles MLS

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Marin real estate agents are scrambling after an essential online tool used to connect home buyers to sellers was hacked.

The service remained down Friday ahead of a weekend of open houses during a crucial time of year.

The ransomware cyber-attack Wednesday left Multiple Listing Service, a property information and cooperative data service, down across the country. The outage left new property listings and open houses unsearchable, and certain data unavailable.

Megan Pomponio, a real estate agent with Compass Real Estate based in Kentfield, said the MLS outage limited the information available, postponing listings and delaying communication between agents and brokers.

“I have no idea what’s going on or how long it will take,” she said Friday.

While she did not have any listings planned over the weekend, she said she was unable to see the status of current listings or any private remarks, such as where keys were located — information that is critical to open houses.

In an email sent to subscribers from BAREIS, the regional MLS for Marin County, the service said it may be days before the issue was resolved and Rapattoni MLS, the parent software company, has access to the network restored.

The message also gave instructions for a few work-around solutions in the meantime, such as an alternative platform in which brokers and agents could post information about open houses.

Romeo Arrieta, CEO of the Marin Association of Realtors, said the association has other ways to serve its members, as well as multiple ways to access member data.

“While this is not ideal, business is still happening,” he said Friday. “Realtors are adapting and keeping the market moving while Rapattoni resolves the issue.”

Antony Erlec, a San Francisco-based Compass Realtor with listings in Marin, said he had a listing he was hoping to post Thursday, but could not due to the outage. He said that even if the issue was resolved in the next few days, it could have a ripple effect on the timing of other listings.

“We wanted to list it today, and still can’t,” he said Friday. “We have another planned listing next week, but we were hoping to spread these listings out.”

The agents spoke about the unfortunate timing of the MLS being down: on a weekend and right before school begins.

“A lot of people are trying to get settled before school starts,” Pomponio said.

Erlec added that ideally properties are listed now in order to be sold before Labor Day. If not, he said the strategy is to wait until after the holiday weekend to list.

“I really hope it is resolved soon,” he said.

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