History tells many stories of long ago that reflect on the conditions of today. I came across a story about the Pilgrims that made me think that in some way, it is similar to the real estate industry and portals.

In 1630, a Pilgrim court dealt a nasty blow to one of its settlers. They ordered him to be incarcerated, burned his house, confiscated all of his goods, then ultimately exiled him from America. The Pilgrim’s name was Thomas Morton, and they said that he was a danger to society.

Morton went to England and pleaded with the English court, which was the court of record for Pilgrim society. Morton had found a new way to trade with the Indians for furs. Rather than barter goods, he held parties. He picked a nice spot outside of town, brought some jugs of booze, and invited some of the town’s young ladies to join him. The Indians saw that they were having a good time and soon began flocking to his parties bringing furs as a gesture. Morton was getting richer by the day. The English court saw nothing illicit about Morton’s ways and sent him back to America with the court ruling in hand.

This is where my real estate industry and portals relationship analogy come in. When you have a look at the top websites of our era, they are having a great party with listing information that pales to the stoic puritan society of real estate broker websites. They offer information on every home in the area, not just active listings or 7 years of recently sold MLS listings. They lift up the skirt of home values and show the legs of when homeowner purchased their home and what they paid. They even invite FSBO girls and Foreclosure girls and offer their frilly information to their guests.

Things did not end well for Mr. Morton. Even with his English court papers. Upon returning to America he was jailed until he went mad. Somehow I do not think that today’s leading portals are going to loose their sanity anytime soon. Indeed, it would seem that the real estate industry is the crazy one. Perhaps we should turn our attention to supporting brokers in throwing parties of their own.

When I do a gap analysis of the data on broker sites vs. the data on portal sites, the differences are plainly visible.

  • Every home on portals has information.
  • Every home on portals has an AVM value
  • Every home on portals has tax history
  • Foreclosure data is available for Bank owned property
  • Almost all active listing data is available
  • They enrich every listing with school boundaries, demographics, drive time calculators, cost of living information, lifestyle information et. al.
  • They provide quick and easy access to Mortgage professionals, Insurance professionals and real estate professionals – everyone that you would need to use as a resource in a transaction.

Sure, the accuracy of their data may be less than puritan sometimes – but the party is great. If you want to compete as a broker, you had better take off your hair bonnet and tall black hat.

WAV Group works with brokers and MLSs to license data assets. If you want to compete, we can help. But you will need to be prepared to have a flexible website developer who can integrate sophisticated APIs into user-friendly listing detail pages. A website developer that has a strong command of using search features to pull information from disparate data sources.

And last but not least, you need the support of your MLS or MLSs. This type of property website goes way beyond IDX display rules. And that, my good friends, is the Puritan problem. Prepare to be jailed, and to go as far as the NAR court or the Department of Justice to plead your case.