The map above shows the MLS systems and areas currently part of the new CARETS system. The expectation is that the system will ultimately cover all of So Cal including San Diego and eventually encompass the entire state of California.
Things are still in a state of flux as the new system gets set up and information is downloaded from all the participating MLS providers. Ultimately we will have access to all listing and sale information including the history of a property for the last year. Each individual MLS will continue to have property information for their areas for a longer period of time.
What this means for consumers is that you will now have access to listings that are listed by out of area agents who in the past may not have put the listing on the local board. It also means that searches for properties in other areas will be easier and more information will be available.
The downside right now seems to be the number of duplicate listings in the system. As an example I belong to the Westside MLS and the South Bay MLS... so I might put a listing on both systems. With CARETS the listing will show up twice.. once from the South Bay system and again from the Westside system. I'm guessing that glitch will be fixed later this month along with the promised information on sold and property histories.