- CMLS @ NAR
- Tradeshow Floor
- John Mosey Receives CMLS’ Highest Honor
- MLS Roundup
- Something for Everybody
- 2017 MLS Executive Workshop
Orange County/Orlando Convention Center. Because size matters for groups as large as NAR!
CMLS @ NAR
Before NAR meetings got underway, the CMLS board of directors met to discuss current initiatives and plan strategic objectives for the coming years. I was privileged to be a part of this impressive group, and I can’t wait until these many fine initiatives become public knowledge.
Both CoreLogic and Zillow threw amazing parties within fifty feet of each other. Many party guests went from one party to the other. We can’t say one party was the best – together they rate “best party!”
To everyone’s enjoyment, there was a lot going on down on the tradeshow floor this year!
Hot Trend – Virtual Reality
You couldn’t turn around without finding someone trying to compete with Matterport on virtual reality, trying to provide something along the same lines and for less money, including a “DIY” product.
We all know Greg Robertson, and that man can sell. Check out his booth – selling the benefits of his product to agents – “Win More Listings” and “Be the First to Know”. It drew agents in like moths to a flame. Then compare it with the much less busy Emphasys Software booth. While Emphasys is a well-respected company in our industry, can you tell what that company does and whether you should go over to learn more? Booth design is important!
You all know how much Clareity loves gadgets. There were several sweet drones for sale on the tradeshow floor. Their HD cameras and stability were a cut above the normal drones we’ve seen for sale, and the value for high-end drones is getting better and better.
Now that legislation has officially passed, allowing drone pilots to use the technology for real estate, plan to see many more companies flow into this space!
Last year people were worried that NAR’s member-money spend on transaction management to provide “free” transaction management to members would interfere in the competitive technology market – but so far it has not. For instance, in the last year Instanet Solutions has signed 16 new MLS and Association enterprise clients totaling over 120,000 new users. Instanet also signed marquis broker clients William Pitt Sotheby’s (1,100 agents – the largest Sotheby’s franchise), Latter and Blum and companies (1,600 agents), and many more small to mid-size brokerages plus thousands of individual subscribers. Instanet also extended 100% of its current MLS and Association enterprise clients totaling more than 55,000 users.
We’ve also heard that DocuSign is doing well in the space, and seen announcements from Dotloop and Ziplogix regarding contract renewals. Again, competition in the forms and TM market segment seems alive and well, despite everyone’s thoughts last year!
The REach Class
NAR’s REach program provides mentorship and resources for several companies a year, helping them become more successful in the industry. At the NAR Expo, they all share a booth. The REach class of 2016 includes:
MLS Association Executives Session
The audience received an update from NAR liaison to realtor.com, Suzanne Mueller (SVP, realtor.com): realtor.com now gets 53 million visitors per month. Realtor.com just launched a new mobile app, good considering mobile accounts for 50% of their growth. Over a third of realtor.com visitors don’t visit other portals, Suzanne claimed. The Elizabeth Banks campaigns have been very successful, especially with millennials. Coming soon expect to see larger photos, maps next to the photo, and more information moved to top of the fold, including broker and agent attribution. Recently Move has relaunched a much improved international portal with 4.5 million listings seen in over 70 countries for a global audience of 200 million visitors per month.
The Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award was awarded to John Mosey from Northstar MLS. Kudos to John, and more on this below!
Jeremy Crawford led a panel talking about RESO and data standards. Glen, who presented at the RESO conference, talked about how challenging it can be to get rets feed from 50+ MLSs, even some MLSs that didn’t want them to join as a broker. Some MLSs he dealt with were still not data dictionary certified, and some didn’t even know what it is! Suzanne talked about the need to improve communication with MLSs about data standards, and how important creating consistent data is for the industry. The group talked about how MLSs don’t generally put enough information on their websites about RESO compliance and how to get data. MLSs should use the compliance logo and explain the benefits of standards use to subscribers.
Matt Cohen was on an MLS technology panel with Mike Wurzer and Chad Curry that discussed everything from computer vision to software personalization to aquaculture and self driving cars and their impact on real estate. Sorry, we could have taken better notes, but Matt was on stage! If you want Matt or me to talk to your organization about the future of technology and real estate, give us a call.
Matt Cohen was also on a panel discussing MLS Regionalization and much was shared about the goals of the topic and the need to establish trust and follow a deliberate process toward regionalization. Please contact Matt if you want to discuss this topic or if your MLS needs a facilitator to help you achieve your regionalization objective.
Denee Evans and Lauren Hansen from CMLS talked about MLSs and NAR working together. The next CMLS meeting is set in Austin, Texas and it will be a great opportunity for networking and peer exchange. Lauren talked about the MLS best practice documents offered by CMLS – available on the CMLS website and which are kept fresh by section councils and CMLS member feedback. Lauren also described the CMLX designations. Denee suggested that audience members join the section councils. She continued with a description of the CMLS partnership with NAR. CMLS taught the CMLS Best Practices at AEI. CMLS Board Members also ran the MLS breakout sessions at the NAR meetings. CMLS also has representation on three key NAR committees – AE Committee, Emerging Technologies Committee, and one other. CMLS has updated NAR leadership about CMLS initiatives. Katlyn, NAR’s director of MLS, was introduced. Her responsibility is to work on the CMLS relationship and creating a workgroup on cooperative relationships. She’ll also be working with RESO, Upstream, etc. Katlyn is excited to improve communications between NAR and MLSs and make everything better.
Multiple Listing Service Forum
Karen France provided an RPR update. RPR has now partnered with 661 (of 716) MLSs representing 1.16 million Realtors. Annually, 627,000 people use RPR with 130,000+ using it on a monthly basis. Over 255,000 members have installed the mobile app, and over 3,000,000 reports are created annually by Realtors. In the past year, sessions increased by 87%, and returning visitors increased by 110% year over year. Karen said that “All of this busts the myth that no one is using RPR.” After this update, Nicole Nicolay, a Realtor whose husband works for RPR, gave her testimonial about how RPR has helped her business, improving her open house conversions. She shows open house visitors RPR reports in print (she only has one copy), then gets people to type their contact information into a form on her website so she can send them the reports electronically later. 30% of her business is generated this way. Smart way to use the free RPR report, Nicole! To see sample RPR reports text “NARRPR” to 555888.
Jessica Edgerton (Associate Council, NAR) provided a legal update. First, she provided copyright litigation updates. The first was between a photographer and a broker (Redfin) who the photographer said misused his photos. The broker argued that this was an MLS rules issue, not a copyright case, and also that they were protected by DMCA. NAR filed an amicus brief on behalf of the broker with regard to DMCA. The court found in favor of Redfin but didn’t base its decision on the DMCA argument, but rather the first argument. However, in a footnote the court said they liked the DMCA argument. There is a motion from the photographer to reconsider. A national network of photographers (VHT) has filed suit against Zillow saying the license to its images was being overstepped by the images on Zillow, especially where they end up on “diggs.” This relates to the limited license between photographers and agents, limited to the life of the listing – not for use after a property has sold. Zillow filed to dismiss based on failure to reference necessary parties in the case (all the brokers and licensees). That’s where the case stands. Jessica says Zillow’s argument is flawed, but we’ll see what happens. There’s a lot of potential here, since every image misused can result in damages up to $150,000. In Stevens v CoreLogic it was claimed that CoreLogic removed embedded copyright information. It’s easy to accidentally remove this image during typical manipulation. The case was dismissed because there was no proof there was copyright information (CMI) in the images or that information was intentionally removed. MLSs must obtain representation from participants that the have proper license to use images, use DMCA, and more. On the patent front NAR v. Data Distribution Technologies, LLC. DDT targeted the industry. NAR filed requesting DDT’s patent on a “remotely updated database system” be declared invalid. They also filed an Inter Pares review petition with the USPTO to invalidate the patent. DDT settled with NAR and made covenants not to sue any real estate related entity on this patent.
Jessica also mentioned ADA Website Accessibility – brokers are getting demand letters about this. DOJ is trying to answer the question “Is a website a place of public accommodation?” Six years later we are waiting for guidance, and we think it will happen by 2018. There does seem to be guidance based on jurisdiction. But the overall advice is to get ADA compliant now, meeting WCAG 2.0 AA. There are resources about this on Realtor.org
Alex Lange, President and CEO of Upstream provided an Upstream update. The brokers got together to deal with the inefficiencies of entering listings and other information in too many places and where they feel they have lost control over distribution. Alex says brokers want to create listing use agreements at a granular, listing level – who receives what fields and media, and when. They also want to distribute hi-resolution photos and videos that many MLSs can’t handle. Upstream wouldn’t have that limitation. Alex talked about the broker ownership and governance of Upstream and how NAR has provided some funding but has no ownership. He further talked about how they would like to see Upstream integrated with the MLS, inside the MLS. Upstream is in five pilot markets with 16 brokerages. Alex showed a video of an implementation, showing listing input and an integration with Skyslope transaction management, and the creation of an Imprev single property website, Corefact which creates marketing materials, and more. All of these integrations had access to the content as soon as the listing was marked active in Upstream – instantly. Tim Dain did some rough math based on Alex’s assertion that all the entry costs $6 per listing. Tim said that if the MLS with all the fields was $4 of that, what was left was $2 times the 6 million listings in the United States – times the two dollars that’s over $12 million a year. What would Upstream cost compared with that figure? There was no answer, but Alex promised one soon.
Mark Lesswing talked about RESO data dictionary and Web API compliance, as well as Blockchain technology. 1.24 million members are covered by dictionary compliance. Over 400,000 are covered by Web API compliance. That’s great progress (though not 100% compliance with NAR rules!). Mark urges MLSs to make these feeds available and get the word out to members and their vendors. He also urges everyone to get involved in RESO. Moving on to Blockchain: Blockchain is a way of managing data in a non-centralized way – keeping track of events over time. It could be used to track how properties evolve over time in the recording process, contracts, and more. No one we spoke to in the audience understood a word of the Blockchain description if they didn’t already understand Blockchain – this will take a lot more explanation in the future to move it forward.
Melanie Wyne from NAR provided a government affairs update. She’s been working on patent litigation reform but the pharma PAC has blocked it. They’ll try again next year. While congress is stalled, the FTC has moved forward with recommendations about venue reform, greater transparency with regard to patent troll shell companies, and requiring them to give more information when filing a lawsuit – how you might be infringing. In privacy and data security many bills were introduced – NAR has concerns and want the bill fixed or stopped. Regarding the Internet of Things (IoT), there are security and privacy concerns. The commerce department has started discussions and NAR is a part of them.
Marbury Little and Jim Imhoff presented an update regarding NAR’s Corporate Ally Program, which funds much of the work that Melanie was talking about. Marbury gave a passionate plea for continued high levels of support. Attention MLS operators and industry vendors, make a contribution if you haven’t yet. Clareity proudly contributed $10,000 last year and $10,000 in 2016 to the CAP program. Everyone does not agree with everything that is done at NAR, but one thing nobody disagrees on is the strength of NAR’s Advocacy in Washington DC to protect the real estate industry and drive the value of home ownership. Everyone reading this report makes their living from the success and health of the real estate industry, and NAR has our backs for advocacy. To find out more about making a contribution, please email Marbury at: email@example.com, or email the NAR CAP’s staff manager Paula Martino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The microphone was opened to discuss local issues. No issues were reported.
MLS Listing Issues and Policies Committee
Previous minutes were approved. Then there was a progress report on the NAR-CMLS collaboration, repetitive with Clareity’s previous reports on this relationship and with the presentation described from the previous day.
Jeanne Radsick provided an update on the progress of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board. The group received a letter from LeadingRE and they are researching information so they can respond. Issues include a standard IDX payload, mandatory broker attribution and eliminating agent attribution, eliminating IDX display of expired listings, and many, many more items. The group is also discussing automatically generated thumbnail displays of property information on social media platforms and their compliance with IDX policy. The group so far is predisposed to agreeing on this – as long as information doesn’t change and it links to an IDX site. The group is also reviewing lockbox security requirements. Finally, 7.42, jurisdiction of association multiple listing services. Input has been requested via survey. This is a very important thing, especially in light of the MLS regionalization trend. Following is a quote of a comment made by the change requestor:
Jim Weix, Broker/Owner of The Real Estate Company, Inc., and those attending the National Association of Realtor (NAR) convention in Orlando last weekend got a pleasant surprise.
Acting on a request from Weix, NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee announced that they are studying the elimination of a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Territorial Jurisdiction rule. A task force has been created and there may be a recommendation at the Committee’s May, 2017 meeting.
Attendees also learned that a MLS Consolidation Resource Program is being set up and expanded by NAR, to assist in MLS mergers. The Committee said that the number of MLSs in America is shrinking daily, as MLSs merge.
Early in Sept., Weix had requested that NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee eliminate the MLS Territorial Jurisdiction policy. This policy allows mainly small MLSs to force agents to join that particular MLS, if their Broker belongs to it and their office is located in that MLS’s Territorial Jurisdiction.
Weix was able to meet with Rick Harris, Chairman, and Jeanne Radsick, the head of the task force studying the issue. Weix explained to committee members that the rule was unfair to Brokers, Agents, and homeowners nationwide trying to do business or sell their homes. He stated that it also hindered Brokerage firms in hiring Agents and added unnecessary cost to Agents.
To compound the problem, many of these small MLSs try to restrain trade by refusing to do data sharing with neighboring MLSs. Brokerage firms and agents then also must join those neighboring MLSs in order to give their listings the added exposure needed.
Brokerage firms and Agents nationwide have complained for decades that MLS Territorial Jurisdiction forced Agents to join an MLS that they often had no use for. They then had to not only join that MLS, but also the one that better served their needs and that of their customers.
NAR eliminated a similar rule for forced Realtor Association membership back in 1996, and created what is known as “Board of Choice”. By eliminating the right of Associations to use Territorial Jurisdiction, Agents were free to join the local Realtor board that made the most sense to them, based upon such factors as geography, location, services, etc.
“I feel very strongly that an ‘MLS of Choice’ will best serve the needs of Agents and homeowners nationwide” said Weix.
NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee announced yesterday that NAR’s MLS Territorial Jurisdiction Policy is being reviewed. This will perhaps eliminate MLS Territorial Jurisdiction. Jeanne Radsick, Advisory Board Chair, informed us that, as part of the task force studying the issue, a survey is being done by the Council of Multiple Listing Services
Shelley Speccio shared information about the CMLX certification program and CMLS best practices. She reviewed each level of the program. CMLX 1 is now self-paced online in five 1-hour modules. There are 190 graduates of this level. Level 2 is six 1.5 hour modules, offered twice per year. There’s also a white paper written assignment required. There are 94 level 2 graduates. Level three has two 2-day seminars, 360-degree executive leadership assessment, evaluation of the best practice checklist and limited executive accepted, finally completion of a benchmark project that benefits the industry.
There were no policy changes put forth this year.
There was a session where RPR and participating vendors showed some of the products that are integrated with it to provide “front end of choice.” Surprisingly, less than a hundred people were in attendance.
Rob Overman at Robotik Software showed a product focusing on key features – listing maintenance (limited business rule capabilities at present) and search. It is his intent to build in prospecting and some other features.
Matt Fowler showed Solid Earth’s Spring product, integrated with AMP. This product doesn’t manage listing input – it’s an attractive lead generating website. The demo showed data coming out of the Greater Alabama MLS database, via AMP. The demonstration that followed, of a broker site, included the RPR AVM.
Lone Wolf provides an end to end broker solution – from a listing system to websites and CRM to accounting. The focus of this demonstration was running search off of AMP. It included listing history, school information, and open houses. They also showed some basic listing maintenance.
Carlos Grass from Stratus Data Systems demonstrated his AMP-connected listing search – including share (email, text, etc.), export options, list creation and more. He also demonstrated a robust client / agent communication tool. Carlos is looking forward to adding more information from RPR right in his interface in the future.
Greg Robertson showed CloudMLX, CloudStreams and finally – integrated with AMP – is CloudCMA. Though not yet integrated with AMP yet, CloudMLX (which won the 2016 Inman Innovator award) was super slick, as always. CloudStreams is a listing alert system – super fast notifications when listing events happen, and beautiful too. CloudCMA already integrates with 15 other APIs, so AMP integration was easy for them.
AMP still has work to do in order to become a viable repository for MLS data, especially for content beyond the listings, and to achieve listing input incorporating MLS business rules. Data standards toward that end still need to be completed and approved through the RESO process, and we strongly encourage our clients to get involved in RESO to help make that happen. That said, it was great to see some compelling products!
John Mosey Receives CMLS’ Highest Honor
Congratulations to John Mosey, CEO of the Northstar MLS in Minnesota for winning the Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Achievement Award from CMLS. David Charron, last year’s recipient, presented this award and John received a huge ovation from the several hundred MLS and Association execs present. John Anderson, Northstar MLS chairman, accepted the award on John’s behalf and said he wished John could be there. The whole room wished John was there to see his huge smile and pride from receiving this award. Peter Shuttleworth was a mentor and leader for many of us in the MLS and property record management business. John, you have been a mentor for me and Matt and several partners at Clareity as well. Your creativity, leadership and diplomacy with the brokerage community for 40 years made you a perennial All Star team player and the MVP for the 2016 season. Congratulations, John, for your career well done!
Black Knight added some major enhancements since the last NAR meetings. First, the Collaboration Center, Paragon’s new consumer portal, has a completely new look-and–feel, new features, and responsive design for tablets and smartphones. The property detail view includes school and neighborhood content to keep consumers engaged, and the social media integration helps consumers draw others into their property search. Black Knight started the rollout of Collaboration Center in July, and all customers will have by early December. Second, for those that prefer a native mobile app, Paragon users and their clients and prospects now have access to Homesnap Pro. Black Knight and Homesnap are collaborating to deliver Homesnap Pro for Paragon, a new product that further integrates Homesnap and Paragon, and delivers a seamless user experience between the two applications. Homesnap Pro and Homesnap Pro for Paragon will be powered by Black Knight’s extensive property data and analytics. Homesnap Pro will be provided at no cost to Paragon customers (though there may be a setup charge). Since the Broker Public Portal (BPP) also leverages HomeSnap, Black Knight will subsidize 30% of the cost of BPP for customers. Third, Black Knight is launching Paragon for Brokers (P4B). This product provides broker branding of the MLS and listing reports and integration with third-party vendors and back-office systems. It also provides brokers the ability to customize messages to agents via the home page, calendar and login message. Brokers can also optimize listing management – defining and managing custom data fields exclusive to their listings, customizing listing reports, and setting up broker-exclusive listings. To manage this, brokers have a dashboard with all the administrative tools they need. There are already over 30 brokers taking advantage of this product. Finally, Black Knight has launched Association Autonomy, a capability built into Paragon that supports the emerging needs of Associations and MLSs to consolidate to a common platform and listings database while maintaining a level of independence and control for each Association to serve their unique needs of their market area and their members, whether or not they change their organizational structure in a merger. Key features include association-level branding and messaging, association-level customization of fields, business rules and reports, the ability for associations to manage data sharing relationships, association-specific third party integrations, and association-specific administrative features and defaults.
CoreLogic Matrix is now up to 636,000 users and climbing. CoreLogic’s platform consolidation should be complete over in the next six months. Matrix version 7 pilot installations are in progress, providing a vastly stronger Client Portal, new client activity notifications, a switch to Google Maps for superior imagery and coverage, an improved geocoding solution, and LisTrac integration. The Matrix 360a pilot installation in progress – providing an MLS product with a strong public records component built-in. Their Trestle data management platform is now live and processing RESO Web API certifications and RESO Data Dictionary v1.4 Silver compliance. INRIX Drive Time search is available via the Matrix Client Portal. CoreLogic can provide integrated “HouseFax” reports – comprehensive property history reports – like a “Carfax” for homes. Another add-on is ePropertyWatch, which sends a monthly email report about a client’s property including the home’s current value (CoreLogic RealAVM™), equity, price trends, recent sales, foreclosures, building permits, and more. These emails have a 50%+ email open rates and 36% click-through rates. CoreLogic also provides a visualization option for Matrix 7 called Graphiq, providing visually rich representations of community, transportation, hyper-local insights, community, school, property, market trend, and other information.
CoreLogic’s GraphIQ Add-On
dynaConnections has introduced a refreshed, and mobile-optimized Agent interface using responsive web design. With this release, connectMLS offers complete Add/Edit listing capability in a mobile-optimized format, including the ability to upload documents and photos and create drafts. dynaConnections also introduced the “SmartBar”. Similar to a Google search, the SmartBar displays search result suggestions based on criteria as it is entered in real time. The SmartBar also saves and displays a record of recent search activity. dynaConnections recently became the first MLS Vendor to earn RESO Web API certification at the Gold level. Finally, dynaConnections released an SSO offering leveraging Open ID Connect.
FBS has been focusing on a number of feature enhancements and user experience optimizations in the Flexmls collaboration tools that agents and their customers use to work together before, during, and after a transaction. This includes in-house native-app development leveraging their RESO data dictionary compliant Spark API platform. Providing consistency across all platforms, including mobile, is an FBS differentiator. Recent enhancements include a cross-MLS search, enhanced address search and GPS location capability, sharing via text-message, and easier “one-click” “push” subscriptions. FBS has added 20,000 new subscribers to the Flexmls platform this year and not lost accounts, other than what has occurred via MLS consolidation. They are also top performers in Clareity’s annual satisfaction survey. Most recently, FBS announced that the Spark platform is powering AgentSquared IDX websites, integrated with Flexmls CRM.
FBS Advanced Address Search
FBS Listing Share via Text Message
Rapattoni Corporation has been working over the past year towards constant MLS improvement, not only in speed, performance and stability, but also improving workflows as well as look at feel. Following are the top three most visible improvements: The interactive Google Maps search provides an improved search interface and includes Street View. Rapattoni intends to continue to improve mapping by integrating new layers, parcel data, tax information, flood zones and more over the new few months. The new map search allows users to view listings, share information, and act on listings without leaving the page. Auto-Prospecting has been enhanced to allow agents to granularly select the types of updates they receive as well as their clients. They can select to include or exclude updates for Price Changes, Status Chance and Rejected Listings. Agents also have the ability to schedule their auto-prospecting based on specific criteria or for immediate matches. There’s also a new look and feel for auto-prospecting that extends to the MLS and email notifications for clients and agents. Rapattoni’s IDX solution also has a new look and feel, and the design will be brought into the MLS itself in the coming months. The IDX solution uses responsive design, has built-in lead generation features, and comes with a search widget that can be placed on any website easily.
Rapattoni’s New Mapping
Stratus Data Systems re-engineered listing input, which may not sound exciting but there are some interesting twists. Not only is it cloud-based, but it’s standalone so it can be provided separately from the full MLS system. Stratus has also structured their database so that below the level of the listing, there’s a database of building information. So, anyone who wants to use their listing input at their Real Estate Board of New York customer can have their listings auto-filled both with public records information and building information (e.g. doorman, exercise, elevator info, etc.) – saving subscribers time in what’s usually a time-consuming part of any MLS system. Stratus also engineered their system to use the AMP API, so they are ready to compete in that arena. They also support the Retsly API.
Stratus Data Systems’ New Listing Maintenance Module
Something for Everybody
All of us attending Universal Studios Night had a great time!
Do we really need this type of wacky restaurant concept to please the whole family on vacation in Orlando? Pick one: Sushi or Burger, and tell your whiny kid you’ll do the other one tomorrow night. Show your kids who’s the boss and don’t settle for a sushi chef wearing cowboy boots and a hat. That’s just silly in any language!
2017 MLS Executive Workshop – Register Now!
MLS executives and staff and leadership, please consider joining us in Scottsdale, Arizona March 1-3, 2017 for Clareity’s 16th Annual MLS Executive Workshop. This MLS Workshop will provide timely updates and address the key issues facing MLS executives and leaders. Space is limited and the event sells AND hotel sells out every single year, so please do not delay. For more information and registration, please see https://clareity.com/events
That’s all folks! Thanks for reading our 2016 NAR Meeting and Expo Report!
President & CEO
Share this post: