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  • Shock and concern ripple through leadership for REcolorado, the 16th-largest MLS in the United States, as owners DMAR and SDMDRA agree to sell the MLS to a private equity firm outside the real estate space. 
  • Shelly Vincent, vice chair for REcolorado, confirmed the deal, which came as a surprise and canceled an earlier plan to buy REcolorado back from its owners. 

REcolorado, the 16th largest MLS in the nation, is in the midst of a seismic and controversial transition as its owners, the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) and the South Metro Denver Realtor Association (SMDRA), have agreed to sell it to a private equity firm. 

Shelly Vincent, the vice chair of REcolorado, confirmed the decision, revealing that DMAR and SMDRA had shared a letter of intent to sell REcolorado to a newly formed LLC outside the real estate space. 

The deal could be finalized in a matter of weeks. And it’s causing no small degree of shock and concern within the MLS’s leadership. 

Here’s what we know so far. 

REcolorado backstory

The Realtor associations that own REcolorado—DMAR and SMDRA—had originally been in communication with REcolorado leadership about the latter buying the MLS back from them. 

The process began last December, and, according to Vincent, the plan was to “buy back the shares and become independent, but we were given no opportunity to even compete to do so.”

At 9 pm on June 20, DMAR and SMDRA shared the letter of intent to sell REcolorado to an external LLC. The letter had been signed May 23, 2024. 

As of February, we had already accepted their counter when all communications involving the sale went silent. We had no idea there was another party this involved until we received the [letter of intent].

Shelly Vincent

Vice Chair of REcolorado

The terms of the deal

The fact that this deal was happening wasn’t the only cause for concern, either. The terms have left REcolorado leadership uncertain about their company’s future. 

For one, Vincent wanted to know what they could expect for a severance package for REcolorado President and CEO Gene Millman and COO Leesa Baker. 

Also, Vincent added, the wording of the letter of intent gives the impression that REcolorado might not be an MLS for much longer. This is concerning considering it facilitates 76% of Colorado real estate transactions according to its website. “Our attorneys are freaking out,” Vincent said. “They’ve never seen anything like this.” 

Along with serving as vice chair of REcolorado, Vincent is the employing broker of over 2,500 HomeSmart agents based in Colorado. She had been part of the team negotiating with DMAR and SMDRA to buy back REcolorado from them. 

That deal is no longer on the table. And it could be at least partly due to the friction between REcolorado leadership and the two Realtor associations. As Vincent put it, there’s “a tremendous amount of bad blood” between REcolorado and its association owners. 

As the associations face declining membership, Vincent acknowledged that this deal could bring in more money to compensate for lost dues. But it will also bring risk as real estate professionals question whether association membership is worth the cost. 

For her part, Vincent plans to move her primary association membership to the Mountain Metro Association of Realtors (MMAR). But this whole experience has left a sour taste. 

How am I supposed to defend association memberships to my agents?

Shelly Vincent

Vice Chair of REcolorado