MyFlorida Regional MLS (MFRMLS) is about to launch one of the most innovative real estate listing websites in years, designed from scratch in collaboration with August Partners and built upon technology from a company that I’ve been a fan of for a long time – TLCengine.
First, the basics: it’s a well-designed website that works just as well on mobile devices. The site follows both relevant IDX rules and the Fair Display Guidelines promulgated by The Realty Alliance, based in turn on Clareity’s 2011 “Syndication Bill of Rights”. Besides a listing and roster search, the site includes content about communities in their region and a consumer-focused blog. It contains no advertising, and provides fairly typical agent/client collaboration functionality. But, besides the good design, there are a few things about the site that are by no means typical.
First, the site makes a really powerful case for why a consumer would want to use this website rather than a national portal. A picture (from the site’s home page) is worth 1000 words:
The focus on how current the listings are extends to the listing search results, where the default sort order is “Freshest First”.
“Freshest First” sort order
Then, as previously mentioned, there’s the TLCengine technology. As TLCengine co-founder Krishna Malyala likes to ask, “Mortgages account for only 50% of the actual cost of home ownership, so where is the rest of it?” Typically consumers search for homes in a particular price range, with an assumption that they know how this translates into affordability. But what if one $350,000 home has low utility bills, low insurance, and low commute costs (it’s close to the client’s job), while another $350,000 home has high costs in those categories? It turns out that even two homes with the same list price may have a very different monthly cost when everything is taken into account. Or maybe a home that has a higher list price is more affordable than one with a lower list price. That’s what TLCengine calculates and makes clear to the site visitor. By taking into account over 100 lifestyle cost variables, TLCengine’s patent pending technology helps site visitors answer the most important question: “Can I afford my dream home?”
Whether one starts from a typical location-based search or the TLCengine search pictured above, when one sees the results they include not just the list price but the estimated cost per month including all the factors mentioned above. In the example below you can see how one $350,000 house actually could cost over $300 a month more than an identically priced house!
Of course, that’s based on a number of assumptions, all of which are configurable by the site visitor and those configurations can be saved if the visitor registers on the site. Pictured below are some of those configurations:
It’s important to note that the numbers on which TLC monthly totals are based, illustrated above, are not random or hard-coded. Homeowner insurance is predicted based on insurance risk data per zip code and flood zone data. As data like mortgage APRs and gas costs change, the numbers in TLC change. If you want to learn more about TLCengine, visit http://www.tlcengine.com/.
Another important aspect of the site is that it provides an easy to use lifestyle search and includes hyperlocal content about popular lifestyle features (e.g. arts and culture, beaches, boating, fishing, foodie culture, etc.) which will be available from the “Communities” section of the site.
Community / Lifestyle search available as a search filter
The site also provides some information about the area around each listing. A listing detail screen includes a list of relevant schools and also includes some neighborhood demographics. A selection of nearby listings is also displayed. Each listing also includes a “Soundscore” that shows how noisy it is near a property – illustrated below:
There’s a lot more to the site – I’ve only given you the smallest glimpse, and there’s even more you won’t experience until you’re collaborating with an agent using the website – but you can’t do that until the site is live, which is expected to be in January of 2017, when you should be able to visit http://state27homes.com and see for yourself.
While the site leverages mobile-responsive design, there’s currently no plan to extend the work into installed native apps. MFRMLS currently provides subscribers (and through them, consumers) CoreLogic’s Go MLS app, white labeled as My MLS App, MFRMLS is still working through the synergy between the My MLS App and State27Homes.com and how they might position the two together.
The new website is a very compelling new experience and it should provide great benefit to MLS subscribers. Listing agents will get exposure directly proportional to the number of listings they have on the site and buyer’s agents will have a new tool they can use to collaborate with their clients. All MLS subscribers will receive leads from the site at no cost. These benefits were created without raising MLS fees. Well done, MFRMLS!