I was looking back at my “Re-Missioning the MLS Organization” speech from the CMLS Conference in 2008 and reflecting on what has changed in the past year or two. In some ways, not very much. I still believe that our real estate professionals must have clearly better, professional-grade tools, knowledge, and processes, and that MLS organizations are well positioned to help deliver on this need.
Many MLSs are delivering to some degree outside the realm of cooperation and compensation – the MLS public sites, transaction management and document management, forms, lockbox, showing systems, and syndication are services provided by the MLS in many – but certainly not all – markets. I would still encourage MLSs that have not already delivered in these areas and worked on adoption to do so – this is especially important for components that require network effect for best value.
But what of some of the other elements I mentioned – AVMs, unlisted property information from homebuilders and FSBOs, mortgage and foreclosure information, environmental information, agent and property ratings, as well as community, school, and demographic information – well integrated with the MLS? Most MLSs have either not provided the information or not done so in a way that is well integrated with the MLS. Will RPR be the partner of choice to drive this forward? Will MLSs source the data and integrate it into their systems on their own – inspired by RPR the way MLSs in California were inspired to move forward with regionalization and long-term MLS contracts by Calredd?
I still think the challenge is there at the local level – there is even still tension in many markets surrounding the evolution of the MLS organization to provide more than a system of cooperation and compensation. But I think our industry is up to the challenge. It’s time for us to invent the future we want and take bold steps forward to build that future.
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