Clareity’s 2016 NAR Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo Report

Mid-year MeetingsThe Trade Expo itself was smaller than usual this year, but there was so much going on at NAR’s “Midyear” in Washington DC that this report became an exercise in editing. We’re going into deeper-than-usual detail about some of the sessions and “off the floor.”  If you were there, this will help your recollection or provide another perspective; if you weren’t there or missed one of the sessions we covered, you’ll appreciate the detail. This report is a summary of what was originally 50+ pages of notes and observations!

CMLS “Brings It to the Table DC”CMLS

Before the NAR meetings started, the Council of MLS (CMLS) put on a great session. To set the stage, Council of MLS members represent 1.1 million MLS subscribrs enationwide. This year, they attracted the largest group ever to its DC event. The goals of CMLS are to unify the voice of MLS, to build industry relationships to foster collaboration, and help shape the future of the real estate industry. The vision of CMLS is, “To be the global leader in aligning the real estate industry toward a better, more efficient marketplace.” The mission is “To bring the real estate industry together and explore issues, provide solutions, advance multiple listing services, and build a better marketplace.”

This has been a big year for CMLS, refining the vision and mission, creating a new interactive website, hiring several new staff to help achieve CMLS goals, and encouraging more MLS leader engagement through the section councils. The “section councils” are designed to bring together experts on various topics to collaboratively gather new information to add to the next version of the best practices documents. There is also a goal of expanding CMLX certifications. CMLS has a new brand development, communications, and marketing/media relations plan. Collaboration is strong. CMLS is working with RESO, Cove, REDPLAN, The Realty Alliance, Leading RE, NAR, portals, vendors, the Department of Energy, and more.

The audience received a RESO update from Jeremy Crawford, Executive Director of RESO. RESO needs additional MLS participation in the work groups to help create the standards. 525 MLSs are now certified on the data dictionary, representing 1.1+ million brokers and agents, and more are currently in progress. Some MLSs are unhappy that those still not certified have not been sanctioned by NAR in any way, even six months after the deadline.  Data dictionary 1.5 should be ratified in June, and that starts the clock ticking on certification – MLSs are required to be certified on new releases within a year. MLSs must demonstrate compliance with the new Web API by June 30 of this year! For more information on certification, visit http://RESO.org/certification. Contact your MLS vendor regarding adoption and apply for RESO certification. In terms of standards adoption, Jeremy suggested that MLSs only give new vendors and other data recipients expanding into their market the new data dictionary feed and the Web API feed.

In the next session, “What are the important questions for Upstream?” we heard the latest news, including that there is a new CEO, Alex Lange, who starts June 1st. At last, there will be an official point of contact to handle Upstream’s communications! Alex was with NAR’s Second Century before joining Upstream. Cary Sylvester, a member of the Upstream board, said that she can’t say what costs will be for Upstream going forward after the initial development (which was funded by NAR) – whether it’s per person per listing OR how costs will be distributed.  Chris Carrillo, CEO of Metrolist (Milwaukee), said that while he is supportive of the concept, he has questions. Today, he said, there is one source of truth – the MLS. Now, with Upstream there will be two sources of truth and data feeds from both. Wouldn’t fragmentation in each market be an issue? There were many other good questions asked, and many remained unasked. Some MLSs felt, as many have in the past, that the hard questions aren’t being answered yet.

Bob Bemis from RPR provided an AMP update: “What AMP means to the MLS.” RPR is the foundation on which AMP is being built.  AMP plans to leverage the substantial investment in the RPR database. AMP will be a parcel-centric database to power MLS services, creating an ecosystem of data-connected applications. Bemis said that AMP is in discussions with 51 markets, representing 177,801 subscribers. Initial software development partners (often called “front-ends” to the AMP “back-end” database) include Rapattoni, Lone Wolf, W&R Studios, and Bridge Interactive Group and two or three more will be announced soon. Five test markets were identified and prepared: SFAR, Southern Oregon, South Central Kansas MLS, SE Minnesota Association of Realtors, and FCAR in Florida. Several of the MLSs and technology vendors later said they were surprised to see their logos on these slides, as they had not committed to this project, but had agreed to listen and learn more.  Bemis also stated that AMP would be a direct competitor to existing MLS vendors like CoreLogic, Black Knight and FBS.

There was a panel on MLS regionalization. There are now 75 regional MLSs with one system, where one fee is paid, and one point of entry. There were 825 MLSs in 2014, and now there are only 750. Panelists expanded upon various regional MLSs describing their model:

  • The NY State Alliance of MLS was created in 2008: 3 MLSs with 8,000 users are governed by a regional BOD, local MLS staff, each shareholder sets/bills MLS fees locally, and it’s a mix of association and broker ownership. There were some decisions deferred, which, in retrospect, should have been addressed up front.
  • Indiana Regional MLS was created in 2012: 13 MLSs with 5,000 users (now 15 MLSs with 6,000 users). They have 2 full-time and 2 part-time regional MLS staff. It’s governed by a regional BoD, and each shareholder sets/bills MLS fees locally. Governance is simple – associations with 1,000 members and up have two directors and ones with fewer members have one. Looking back, they centralized data security and syndication. However, they put in a combined checker for the data but did not put in centralized data compliance, and in hindsight MLS staff should have done compliance from the beginning.
  • NEOHREX is an agreement between two regional MLSs – NORMLS/CRIS MLS – 11,000 members total. The organization serves 6 MLSs, and each does its own billing. Carl likes the ‘looseness’ of their model, and that no one changed their business model, but everyone has products and services they didn’t have before. Looking back, some of the verbal agreements were insufficient, and they are now hammering out a more formal agreement.
  • “MLS: Evolved” will be created in 2017. It is hoped that, for starters, 11 potential associations/MLSs will form one MLS spanning 6 states plus DC and including 80,000 users. It would be owned by 45 associations and dedicated MLS staff, with uniform MLS fees billed by the regional. The challenge is that there is a lot of fear in the market that members from “over the bridge” will come over and sell properties (something that has never been a serious issue in any regional MLS that has formed in the last few decades).

The biggest announcement of the day was the plan for enhanced CMLS / NAR collaboration. As part of that collaboration:

  • NAR will add three CMLS members to the MLS Technology Sub-Committee, from five CMLS nominees.
  • NAR will add one CMLS member to the Association Executives Committee, from three CMLS nominees.
  • NAR will add two CMLS members to the AEI curriculum group, from four CMLS nominees.
  • NAR and AEI leadership will coordinate with CMLS to conduct CMLS Best Practices and other such MLS presentations and education offerings as deemed appropriate.
  • CMLS will be invited to give a report to the NAR Executive Committee twice a year at the two business meetings.
  • NAR will be invited to give a report at CMLS board and/or business meetings. NAR and CMLS will work together to give input to the Upstream and AMP projects.
  • NAR and CMLS will work together on future potential product/project discussions that affect NAR or MLS organizations.

Sometime in the future, NAR and CMLS will jointly propose a “Game Changers” program for MLSs. This will be similar to what was done with local associations 4-5 years ago with a program/fund to pay for creating big ideas that MLSs would like to pilot. NAR will facilitate an annual meeting among NAR’s leadership, CMLS leadership, and members of the large broker community.  NAR and CMLS will establish a program (and funding) for exploring and executing on potential MLS mergers and consolidations. Response to this collaboration was mixed. Some MLSs were very positive that CMLS would have a seat at the table with NAR while others felt it was a “sell out.” Clareity generally feels very positively about this development.

Exciting Tradeshow Floor?  Not so much this year.

Frankly, this may have been the most boring trade show floor Clareity has been to in years. There was hardly anything new to note, and most existing vendors had only minor enhancements or nothing truly new to show.

CoreLogic Trestle

One of the only substantially new initiatives we noticed on the tradeshow floor was CoreLogic’s Trestle. Trestle provides a centralized source for content, powers MLS data management, powers broker listing access and syndication and now it also delivers CoreLogic property content and analytics to power enriched solutions in a data marketplace. This provides local MLS content management and either RETS or Web API delivery, cross-MLS data feeds, and broker access/syndication. MLSs can locally manage distribution, fees and contracts. Brokers and their vendors can, using Trestle, obtain unified listing feeds from multiple MLSs in one format, and optionally license CoreLogic content that supplements the listings, such as community and statistical content. There are already over 100 MLSs representing 500,000 agents signed up for Trestle for data distribution.

Corelogic also hosted a full espresso and coffee bar at their booth – a true necessity after nearly falling asleep walking the rest of the trade show floor.

Trestle booth - 2016

New Technology Rugs?

The rug guy also caught our eye.  Ever wanted a rug or door mat with your family portrait (or picture of your in-laws) on it? This guy can do that!

Rugs!

Extending MLS SSO Dashboards to Brokers

Clareity Security announced the launch of “Broker Dashboards” allowing brokers to centralize their firm’s resources within a customized, broker-branded dashboard, which includes Single Sign-On to web application resources, a notification and communication module, and an integrated content management system. The “Vendors & Affiliates” module allows brokers to subsidize the cost of the Dashboard through MSA ad-space for its vendors or affiliated companies, and provides an opportunity to improve the adoption and capture rates for preferred transaction service partners. The broker dashboard can be integrated with existing MLS Dashboards, which agents use an average a few times per day already.

Transaction Management and Forms Software Update

Last year NAR announced that zipLogix would be providing “free” transaction management and forms as a member benefit, with certain elements reserved as optional paid upgrades. This news caused a lot of concern and discussion among MLS, local and state association leaders, and others, but so far it is hard to see any negative impact on the competitive technology market. Several local and state associations have recently selected other software solutions such as Instanet Solutions and DotLoop, apparently rather than just supporting the “free” option.  Examples include:

  • “New Orleans REALTORS® Choose Instanet’s Paperless System over “FREE” service” (January 28, 2016)
  • The Arizona Association of REALTORS® (AAR) entered into a licensing agreement with Instanet Solutions for its online real estate forms. (March 11, 2016)
  • The Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) entered into a licensing agreement with Instanet Solutions for its online real estate forms. (April 18, 2016)
  • The Connecticut Multiple Listing Service (CTMLS) and Instanet Solutions announced today that they are including Authentisign for electronic signings for its 10,700 REALTOR® members. This is in addition to TransactionDesk, Instanet’s unified paperless system, which is launching next month across Connecticut. (April 26, 2016)
  • Subscribers of North Texas Real Estate Information Systems (NTREIS) will now be able to leverage the power of the real estate industry’s leading paperless transaction platform. TransactionDesk® by Instanet Solutions. TransactionDesk features advanced integrations with Matrix™ and Realist®, the listing management and property information solutions used by NTREIS members.(May 3, 2016)
  • Dotloop announced that it has reached a new agreement with the Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR). Starting May 10, all of TAR’s forms will be available in the dotloop® document library for the more than 100,000 members of the association. (May 10, 2016)

As these press releases indicate, competition was alive and healthy for TM and forms business in DC.  This will be an interesting space to watch, as competition is likely to heat up further.

MLS Vendor / System Update

CoreLogic has made some significant upgrades to its Matrix system including a UI redesign in addition to Trestle as previously mentioned. They also announced that support is coming soon for pre-MLS and non-MLS listings in search results, a switch from Bing Maps to Google Maps, and a “forgot my password” feature for non-SSO systems. Another announcement was their recent partnership with Instanet Solutions to better streamline and automate transactions. In conclusion, CoreLogic continues to grow in MLS participation, now at 147 MLSs, and as a business with over 1.3M active listings.

Black Knight’s big news was their Paragon Client Connect 2.0, a new collaboration portal. With its modern UI, it makes communicating with clients easier and faster including map-centric real-time search, consumer focused detailed reports, showing requests and more. In other news, Black Knight put emphasis on their Association autonomy and flexibility. They help make MLS consolidation easy with Paragon’s new enhancements.

Paragon Client Connect 2.0

Client Connect 2.0

FBS MobileFBS has been focusing on two main items: the new Portals App and the Spark API. The app enables agents to better collaborate with their clients as they move through the home search and buying experience. Clients download the free app and can review, like, and share properties that meet their needs. They can turn on push notifications to get alerts when properties hit the market. Customers will be able to search the entire MLS from the app, save searches and more. Right from the app, they can work with their agent, expediting communications and keeping everything on one clean “newsfeed” for future review. Most importantly, this new release also comes with enhancements for Flexmls Agent Portals giving it a totally unified look and feel across all devices (Apps, Mobile Web and Web).  Regarding Spark, according to FBS, “The Spark API has allowed us to build new mobile and consumer portal applications, as well as many other new features in Flexmls, all while maintaining interoperability across platforms for saved searches, contacts, and all the other data. But the most beautiful thing about the Spark API is that any other developer can access the same data to ensure that brokers, agents, and MLSs no longer need to double-enter data and are never locked into a proprietary data system again.”

Rapattoni wants the industry to know that they are reinventing themselves, and are striving towards innovation with renewed focus on products and customers. They have a new Cloud AMS product, major updates to the MLS, and are focusing on industry partnerships – including data interoperability and being data agnostic to any 3rd party data sources, such as AMP and Retsly. Some of the MLS enhancements include adding up to 5 SSO modules to the post-login screen, many prospecting feature enhancements, an enhanced map search with real-time listing results, redesigned responsive IDX sites with built in lead capture and a redesigned client portal, a native app for Edge MLS (iOS and Android), a short term rentals feature (including interactive calendar, booking manager, rental amenities, and search by rental fields like date range, number of guests and nightly price). Rapattoni has also created an agent report writer that places the power in agents’ hands to create, share, and edit MLS reports and flyers.

Rapattoni client collaboration

The Portals

Zillow Group is at an all-time high with more than 166 million unique users in March 2016. Zillow Group consumer brands, Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy and HotPads, have increased by 22% year-over-year where the average of monthly unique users during Q1 reached more than 156 million. In March, Zillow Group achieved its highest market share, capturing 63% of the mobile and Web real estate audience according to comScore. When looking at mobile-only, Zillow Group’s market share is even larger, capturing 72% of the category. Zillow has become the most searched term in the real estate realm. When comparing the search terms “Zillow,” “real estate,” “realtor.com” and “Trulia,” Google Trends handed “Zillow” a “search interest” score of 52 in March, three points higher than the generic “real estate” score of 49. During the same month, realtor.com registered a score of 5. NewsCorp has made some big progress at realtor.com, but this search term example shows the consumer branding lead Zillow has achieved.  Zillow’s listing data accuracy has been historically inferior to realtor.com and some other sites, but more than 400 MLSs now provide direct feeds for their brokers to Zillow Group sites and more than 13,000 broker partners send listings directly to Zillow.  Based on these numbers, Zillow’s data quality has to be improving significantly.

  • Retsly has come out with Retsly Connect – a new application program interface (API) service that enables software developers to create front-end software that can be used in conjunction with MLS data was recently launched. Retsly Connect gives brokers and agents in participating MLSs the option of using the front-end software of their choice to manage their listings and data. Now, when their MLS integrates with Retsly Connect, brokers and agents can choose from a variety of software interfaces to search for and work with MLS information.  Two leading software providers that have created feature-rich, user-friendly software for Retsly Connect are Rappatoni and Stratus Data Systems. More are soon to be announced.
  • Dotloop continues to grow its list of partnerships with major franchisors, brokers and individual agents. The big opportunity for MLSs and Associations is Dotloop’s new site-licensing option that covers all members in an association or MLS. Dotloop also announced its Dotloop® Data Privacy Guarantee. The new guarantee, which builds upon Dotloop’s existing privacy policy, states that Dotloop customers own all their data and Dotloop will not use the data without customers’ permission.  This should help assuage some of the concerns we heard when Zillow acquired Dotloop.

Realtor.com (RDC) has record traffic, and increasing momentum. They hit a record 55 million visitors in April 2016, a 25% increase over last year. The mobile audience grew close to 50% this quarter, and now represents 60% of page views and the majority of leads. Realtor.com claims the strongest engagement of any national real estate website, based on time on site and pages per visit. Consumers visited more than twice as many pages per visit on RDC compared to Zillow in March 2016. RDC visitors viewed an average of 10.1 pages per visit in March 2016 vs. 4.1 pages on Zillow (per comScore). Thanks to their data relationships with 750 MLSs (almost every one!), they have 97% of for-sale listings in the U.S. We’ll talk more about Realtor.com in the MLS Service Forum section of this report.

Best of Show – but not on the Tradeshow Floor

We had a demo of W+R Studios’ Cloud MLX product, which handles much of what an agent does on the MLS every day, especially when used as a hub for Cloud CMA and Cloud Streams (listing alerts and prospecting functionality). Cloud MLX provides a very easy-to-use search (including map search).  Users can create saved searches, connect with other agents via messenger type functionality, and share listings with existing clients. As with their other products, the focus is on striking the right balance between ease of use and functionality.  This product looks anything BUT the same-old MLS technology. Cloud MLX works with standard RETS servers, but is open to working with CoreLogic’s Trestle, Zillow’s Retsly Connect, FBS’ Spark platform, and RPR’s AMP.  Its goal is to work with any back end MLS database.

W+R Studios sells Cloud MLX and its other products directly to agents, brokers and MLS providers.  The pricing page currently up is for agents (currently only CRMLS members) who want to subscribe to Cloud MLX directly.  As with all of W+R Studios products, agents are free to use Cloud MLX for 30 days and not be charged.

More information: http://cloudmlx.com/signup

Card View of “My Farm” Saved Search, Found via Single Line Search

Cloud MLX

A Bit of Fun

While the days can be grueling at NAR events, everyone likes to have some fun when the sun goes down.

Supra threw a big, loud, dark dance-fest at the Omni – a reliable annual event for Realtors wanting to boogie down. There must be at least 1,000 people who roll through this party every year. The party is timeless (in a good way) and must cost a small fortune for the band, food and booze. Thanks, Supra!

Supra party

CRS Data and dynaConnections co-hosted a nice soirée at POV, the rooftop bar of the swanky W Hotel in downtown DC. Apart from the panoramic views of the monument, this private party overlooked the White House and Treasury – just making the vodka tonics that much more enjoyable. Shout out to CRS Data and dynaConnections for the best place to take a photo at NAR.

MRED Hits the Roof! MRED, the Chicago-based Mega-Regional MLS, hosted a classy gathering on the rooftop of Arent Fox, a DC-based law firm.  The weather cooperated and MRED had a well-known chef cater the event with amazing food.  This picture doesn’t do the rooftop venue justice, but back by that flag the views were incredible and reception was truly first class.  Great bartenders, too!

MRED party

Best Party Award

FBS. The party was on all three levels of the Roofers Union – the second floor was great for enjoying the band, while the third floor roof was great for quiet conversations. FBS provided a full open bar and also food that was a cut-above the normal – Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley of “Top Chef” fame pumped out the deliciousness all evening long!

FBS Party

MLS Executives Session

Panel: IMLS Introspective – Where are we and where are we going? The panel included David Charron, John Mosey and Greg Robertson, moderated by Brian Donnellan.  David talked about how from 2008-2011, brokers came out of the hard times much leaner than MLSs. The Great Recession was a watershed event for brokers, and by its end, they were “pissed” and “frustrated.” What the brokers are saying is that they need more data to survive in the business, to create predictive analytics, and better serve the consumer. The listing is just one piece of it. There are initiatives to address this need, and David said he largely agrees with most of these initiatives. The CMLS and NAR collaboration was also a watershed event. John agreed with David about these watershed events and calls to action. He talked about how the level of cooperation between brokers, MLS, and NAR to solve industry problems is increasing. Greg agreed that brokers want more data, and that there are initiatives since the big “broker ultimatum” that have addressed concerns but it’s not enough. He emphasized that it’s a shame that Upstream has continued to be disrespectful to MLS and there’s got to be a better way to partner. There’s a ground shift now from a software developer perspective – APIs, etc. It’s still painful to have to go back to his 200-300 MLS customers to get permission to release a new product, but the APIs should result in a renaissance of new development. John was asked why change is so slow to take shape, and he answered that there is a strain of negativity in the industry. It’s too easy for one person to put the brakes on something that needs to be accomplished. Leaders need to take a more assertive role against objections like unanticipated consequences that can’t be named. But, a lot is happening right now, and it’s good stuff – MLS Evolved, The MLS Technology Platform (MTP), the Broker Public Portal. John was asked how virtual the sale of a house can be and what the impact would be for brokers and agents. John says he doesn’t lose sleep over professionals being cut out of the loop; it doesn’t seem feasible or practical. He talked about his hat embroidered with “Make MLS Great Again.” The MLS is always becoming great again; innovation is slowed by the process, but the MLS is working on fixing that. Greg talked about buying a house online. It works for distressed homes, and even on the high end, there’s opportunity. The middle – that’s where the play is, to see if that can go online. David agreed with Greg but what keeps him up at night is the issue of cooperation and compensation. If new technology emerges where people buy properties in a remote fashion, it could impact broker operations. Someone will have to capture and report that information. Will it be us? It may negate the need for certain people in the process.

Realtor.com Update. Realtor.com is providing agent profiles that include a lot of information – specializations, designations & certifications, a map of their transactions, a timeline, ratings and reviews, and recommendations. This was built with industry input and criteria. It’s the only
map-based search for Realtors in the industry and gets over a million profile views per week. It provides free branding and leads via enhanced SEO. Test results show that consumers who viewed an agent’s full profile were 10x more likely to engage with them via an inquiry. There have been many recent enhancements, including an agent reminder to request ratings and reviews after each closing, and agents can easily check review statuses in the profile manager. There are also reports for the agent with regard to profile views and resulting in inquiries. Lastly, Suzanne Mueller, SVP of Industry Relations, made the point of how important it is when marketing the services of a Realtor, to provide sold listings data to show how productive that Realtor is. currently they have 65% of sold listings on realtor.com.

Consumers Look for Sold Data

Panel – Legal Issues to Watch for the Next 12 Months. This panel included Mitch Skinner, managing member of Larson/Skinner, Betsy Hanson, director of operations for CMLS), and Erik Feig, general counsel to MRIS. Betsy talked about REDPLAN’s prior art library as proof something existed prior to a patent issuance (many thanks from Matt, the REDPLAN Prior Art Librarian!). Erik talked about “coming soon” listings. They have gone smoothly in their market, but they learned that planning for the what-ifs is important, and they didn’t let perfect get in the way of good. There are details to work out, like “When does a coming-soon listing go active?” Mitch said it’s a major issue and they’re getting lots of questions about it. It’s a source of liability for brokers and education is needed. If it’s done to create a double sided deal that doesn’t benefit their client, there’s an issue. But MLSs should not overreach on this because it could result in a call from the DOJ. Erik talked about patent litigation: it’s hard to even agree about what a patent troll is, in terms of being a non-practicing entity. If you’re approached, please consult counsel that knows the ins and outs of patent litigation. Erik was asked about potential legal issues with Upstream, and said that the initiative raises questions about intellectual property rights, obligations, and risk – as with any other relationship. How do you coordinate that between the players? Mitch’s question was “Will the brokers using Upstream continue to meet the conditions of participation?” It seems like a no-brainer that brokers should continue to approve uses like IDX as a part of MLS. Mitch talked about copyright and urged MLSs to register copyright on a quarterly basis. Erik was asked about photographers targeting brokers, agents and MLSs on copyright, and he said that it is likely to continue.

MLS Service Forum

There was a brief discussion about copyrighted MLS photographs and images. The existing MLS policy statement 7.85 (Ownership of Listing and Listing Content) would be revised to reflect the importance of participants having ability to license the listing content, and doing so. This is just a minor clarification. There’s also a new informational MLS Policy Statement regarding the DMCA. There’s also a copyright topic page at http://Realtor.org/topic/copyright

An update on UpstreamRE, LLC was provided by Bob Moline, Chair of the Upstream Board of Managers and President of HomeServices of America. He provided the well-known history and description of the project. A questioner noted that the MLS group would be more comfortable if a future presentation explained how all of this would actually work. The response was that a list of questions could be gathered and answered. Another questioner asked about broker costs. The answer is that the cost for a broker to join Upstream would be $100, but ongoing costs are not known at this time.

Jeff Young provided an update regarding RPR’s AMP. Coming soon for RPR will be SentriLock mobile and ZipForm integration, and an enhanced mobile app for commercial. The description of AMP was similar to what has been described in numerous places already. As an update, Jeff indicated that the AMP API was released to technology vendors last week.

Lesley Walker, Associate Counsel for NAR described the need to maintain Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant websites. There are no technical standards for websites in the ADA itself, so it falls to courts to decide specific cases and how the ADA might apply, and courts are split on how websites might be compliant. But, in general, the ADA applies to websites – definitely to the public website, and it’s unclear whether it applies to the subscriber-only area. People should review the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) to see if they are in compliance. Websites should be brought into compliance and compliance should be maintained over time. MLSs may also wish to add an accessibility policy where a contact is provided for taking complaints regarding accessibility issues. NAR’s realtor.org has this type of language, so it can be reviewed and adapted. Mark Lesswing described some of the ADA principles (perceivable, operable, understandable and robust) in more depth. For more information on WCAG, see http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ . Note that there are many tools available online for testing websites for compliance. Northern Nevada said that they had been formally charged on this with regard to the private part of MLS and their hearing is soon. Various brokers have also received demand letters regarding ADA compliance.

A Government and Political Affairs Update was provided by Melanie Wyne from NAR. On the patent troll issue, Congress has done little this year. There was a bill that went through committee, but the pharmaceutical industry got it stalled for this year. Similar issues are there with data security – it has been hard to get people to coalesce around any one piece of legislation. The Senate just passed something two weeks ago about how they are supportive of the Internet of Things, and NAR will be writing to the commerce department to advocate for interoperability and data security.

MLS Policies Committee

There was additional discussion about copyrighted MLS photos and images – the minor language changes to policy section 7.85 described earlier, making it clear that ownership rights and license granting is what that section is about. There was no discussion. The motion carried. It was proposed and adopted that this change be adopted effective immediately, and this recommendation was sent to the board of directors.

2017 MLS Executive Workshop – Save the Date!

MLS executives and staff and leadership, please consider joining us in Scottsdale, Arizona March 1-3, 2017 for Clareity’s Annual MLS Executive Workshop. This MLS Workshop will provide timely updates and address the key issues facing MLS executives and leaders. Room is limited and the event sells out every year, so please do not delay when registration opens up late this summer. For more information, please see http://clareity.com/events

That’s all, folks! Thanks for reading our 2016 NAR Midyear Report!

Gregg Larson
President & CEO
Clareity Consulting
Scottsdale, AZ
Gregg.Larson@clareity.com
480-444-2085
Matt Cohen
Chief Technologist
Clareity Consulting
Minneapolis, MN
Matt.Cohen@clareity.com
612-331-1788

 

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