ClareitySecurityLogoReal Estate Technology consulting firm, Clareity along with REAL Trends conducted a 2010 MLS Initiatives Survey for brokers. They surveyed 500 of the nation’s top brokers and received 150 responses. What surprised me was the apparent disconnect between what MLSs are doing and how brokers feel about it. In my reading, I was not so surprised by the results, but surprised that brokers have a lack of understanding of the initiatives themselves.

Listing Syndication – 36% of brokers oppose or strongly oppose it. If so, why are brokers syndicating listings at all. The MLS is not syndicating the listings, brokers opt into the free service in most markets. Brokers who do take advantage of the service like it. Key take aways are that brokers think that the MLS is making money on syndication, and are failing to communicate syndication features to them.

MLS Consumer websites – Many brokers oppose MLS websites, but send their listings to competing websites like their franchise site, Trulia, Zillow and others. Furthermore, the MLS has long allowed agents to send listings from the MLS to their clients directly from the MLS system. Should the MLS turn the client portals off? The only difference between the MLS client portal is that the agent sets up the search for the customer. Surely it would be a better service if the client could make adjustments to their search criteria or set up additional searches for their clients within full view of the agent. Again, it seems like the effective strategy for broker participants in the MLS is to have a strong consumer facing website that is broker owned, and operated by the MLS in accordance with their wishes. Our Hitwise data reports show that brokers are loosing in online search.

dotMLS Initiative – this really points to lack of communication and understanding among brokers. 80% are against the MLS joining .MLS. Perhaps they fail to understand that third party sites are monopolizing on that term to confuse consumers into thinking that they are searching the MLS. Furthermore, there is no way to enforce data policies and standards on .com sites. With dotMLS, the broker data would be protected like IDX data.

Sold Listings – 87% of brokers do not want to display sold listings on their website – WHAT? Would they rather that the customer goes to third party websites to get that information. Seriously – displaying recently sold listings around a subject active listing is an enormous advantage to consumer search. Why wouldn’t you want that?

Data Licensing preferences to Move, RPR, Corelogic – there is little preference for who to license data to, and more than half think that data should be licensed.

Data Standards – 40% of brokers don’t care about data standards. 20% don’t want data standards. 40% want them. Education on the value of data standards to brokers is clearly misunderstood.

MLS Consolidation – Ambivalence – half are satisfied with data sharing and MLS consolidation, the other half are not.

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