The history of Tulare County goes back to the very beginning of California. It is located in the heart of California's farming belt in the great San Joaquin Valley. Visalia, the county’s largest city, was established in 1852 and has the distinction of being the first community between Stockton and Los Angeles. At that time, Tulare County included all of the area between Mariposa and Los Angeles Counties, and stretched from the Coastal Mountain Range to the State of Nevada. Through the years - the Counties of Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Kern, and Inyo have been formed out of what was once that original territory.
There are not any known written records of the first organizational efforts made by real estate agents in the area, however, it is believed to have occurred about 1917. The National Association of REALTORS fully recognized the Visalia Realty Board in July of 1921. It became the 28th Board of REALTORS in California.
There weren't many real estate agents back then, but there is a history of agents establishing professional standards and working together since that time. R. F. Cross helped organize what was then known as the Visalia Realty Board and became its first president. Its jurisdiction was both Tulare and Kings Counties. Mr. Cross was quoted as saying, “R.E. Hyde purchased the land that is now the Visalia Country Club and Green Acres from L.M. Howell for about $300 per acre.”
In the February 1941 issue of the California Real Estate Magazine, it was noted that the Visalia Board had 11 members. During the 1940s the association assisted in forming what became the Kings County Association, Orangebelt Association and the Tulare Association. The idea of the Multiple Listing Service came about when several members attended a California Real Estate Association convention. The benefits of this type of cooperative service were discussed at the convention and the group decided that it sounded like a good idea.
Early in 1950, after discussing the matter at several Realty Board meetings, a committee was formed to formulate bylaws and a constitution. Serving on the committee were Adoph Sweet, Lloyd Griffin and Faber George. After adopting a constitution and bylaws the first listing was published in May of 1950. Faber George served as the first president of the organization. The application fee was $25 and dues were $1 per month. Mr. George submitted the first listing. The property was 718 S. Church Street in Visalia. Mr. J. L. Philippe made the first MLS sale, which was Mr. George's listing on Church Street. There were five members of this newly founded service. Mae Hover became the association's Executive Officer in 1951 and published a semi-weekly bulletin of new listings/sales. Membership grew to 7 offices with 20 members by 1952 and 60 members by 1957.
On August 15, 1957 the Visalia Realty Board was incorporated. Weekly meetings were held at McDonalds Café on West Main Street and also at other times the Hotel Johnson, El Rancho Café, Old Drive Inn and the Wagon Wheel. At these meetings, “MLS Tear Sheets” were distributed and then place in Binders (MLS Books). After the meeting, members went on “Tour” or “Caravan” and viewed all newly listed properties. No more than 8 listings were allowed on Tour and each member toured in a caravan going from listing to listing. The Association’s office location became 118 N. Willis.
On April 10th, 1969 the name was officially changed to The Visalia Board of REALTORS in order to conform to the National Association of REALTORS requirements. Shortly thereafter, in 1971, the Association celebrated its 50th anniversary. At this time, there were 39 REALTOR Offices and 92 members.
In August of 1977, the association acquired the property at 301 W. Noble in Visalia. In 1991, the name was changed to the Visalia Association of REALTORS. The change reflected the association's new policy of being an all REALTOR Association. Prior to this there were two categories of membership - REALTOR and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE. During the 80's, the Board also entered the computer age. At first there was little more than a word processor and a simple bookkeeping system, but that soon changed.
In 1991 the Board moved to its newly acquired larger office building at 2424 East Valley Oaks and by then it was publishing an “MLS Book,” not sheets of paper to place in a Binder. The MLS became accessible via computer. In July of 2000, the Association became one of the first Multiple Listing Services in the nation to have an Internet based MLS. It was in fact the “Beta” site for the Rapattoni Internet MLS System. The association, soon thereafter, entered the “Cyber Age” with its very own web site.
In 2003, the Visalia Association and the Tulare Association joined forces to create the Tulare County Association of REALTORS and MLS.
MLS - Multiple Listing Service, in one form or another, dates back into the nineteenth century. The first Boards of REALTORS® were established as "Real Estate Exchanges." On certain appointed days, the Members of a Board of REALTORS® gathered at the Board offices and "exchanged" information about their listings. They, in effect, carried on an auction as they frequently came prepared to purchase certain property desired by their principals, but listed by another broker. This practice was common in the 1880s and 1890s. Shortly after the end of the nineteenth century, the term "multiple listing" was in use. It is mentioned as an activity of Boards of REALTORS® as early as 1907.
In the 1920s, the multiple listing had become widely accepted. The expansion of this function continued through succeeding years and spread throughout the country with the result that today hundreds of local Boards of REALTORS® provide Multiple Listing Services, in one form or another, to their Members. A Multiple Listing Service is:
• a facility for the orderly correlation and dissemination of listing
information among Participants so that they may better serve their
clients and customers and the public
• a means by which authorized Participants make blanket unilateral
offers of compensation to other Participants (acting as subagents,
buyer agents, or in other agency or nonagency capacities defined by
• a means by which information is accumulated and disseminated to
enable authorized Participants to prepare appraisals and other
valuations of real property
• a means by which Participants engaging in real estate appraisal
contribute to common databases
History compiled by: Lyman Treaster (former President 1958), Betty Treaster (former Executive Officer), Janet Carr (former Executive Officer) and Karl Hampton Executive Officer.