With all the recent offers to local MLS operators to offer content “beyond the listings” – including school information, crime information, demographics, automated valuation models (AVM), and more – I wanted to validate subscriber interest in that content.
Clareity Consulting’s nationwide survey of MLSs attending the MLS Executive Workshop had over 9,200 responses (a margin of error of +/- 1.02%). This confirmed my beliefs that they are very interested in the content. What was something of a surprise was that they want it integrated in MLS reports even if they already have access to the content somewhere else. The full survey report is posted on the Clareity Consulting website.
One thing I didn’t include in the survey report was documentation showing how interest in this content has grown over time. In 2002 I performed a number of surveys for MLS clients on this same subject. The following charts show that growth:
The report also mentions, but doesn’t detail, differences between the national statistics and the local level. Below are examples of the two survey questions where I expected the most variation illustrating the two markets with the greatest deviation from the national statistics. The key point is that the overall picture was similar from market to market. On all other questions, local market differences were completely insignificant, within the small margin of error.
What is the takewaway from the survey? MLS subscribers want this content and clearly MLS operators should consider making an effort to improve the total content available to subscribers – sourcing the additional information themselves and including it in the MLS, partnering with RPR, or both. The MLS strategy will likely depend on factors such as the level of MLS integration desired by subscribers and provided by different options, cost and effort of each option, the interest in providing this content to non-Realtor subscribers, and the amount of control the MLS operator wants to have over data sourcing and quality.
Regardless of the strategy chosen, Clareity Consulting’s MLS Beyond the Listings survey clearly shows that content “beyond the listings” is a growth category for the real estate industry.
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