MLSs have taken a relentless beating by large brokers over the last year. The message was clear, help us! Brokers are fighting for their lives in a technology cold war where they see everyone as a co-petitor. Third party sites are co-petitors in attracting consumers to property search websites. MLS consumer sites are sometimes co-petitors too. Obviously, other brokers are co-petitor’s, especially when it comes to the paradox of the MLS services vs. brokerage services.
For many brokers today, it is hard to know who is your friend and who is your enemy. It begs the question, “why can’t we all just get along?” The lines between partners and competitors are blurred. Firms want partners in online marketing with third party websites, but they want their content respected (see Fair Display Guidelines). Firms want the cooperation and compensation offered by the MLS, but they do not want them to level the playing field with too many core services offered to all subscribers. Some firms are delighted by the success of an MLS consumer website but would rather not have yet another competitor attracting the consumer.
The leading MLSs in the nation are sensitive to this issue, and they work as partners with all of their brokers by listening to their concerns and supporting them at developing opportunities to be successful. What is becoming more obvious by the day is the gap between this attitude found by large MLSs vs. the inconsistency found in smaller Association run MLSs. “There is an enormous amount of variation between MLSs across America today making it nearly impossible for large firms to deploy solution in every market to each of their agents,” says Craig Cheatham of The Realty Alliance and the RESO Board of Directors.
Many large firms like Philadelphia based Fox and Roach Realtors have invested significantly in technology solutions that differentiate their firms’ commitment to supporting the relationship between the brokerage, the agent, and the consumer. Their back office solution is called ARC, or Agent Resource Center. The ARC allows Fox and Roach agents to operate in the broker’s back office solution (Powered by CoreLogic’s AgentAchieve) with integrated MLS services. This is a landmark partnership for brokers who want their agents to leverage MLS services in their systems, not on the MLS system. As a data services partner, TREND MLS is fully supportive with full data feeds and Single Sign On to MLS solutions that tow the full power of MLS offerings into the Fox and Roach back office.
TREND MLS is not alone in this new level of partnerships with brokerage firms. WAV Group has found that constructive communication between brokerages and MLSs lead to great cooperation and strategy alignment more often than not.
If you are an MLS who would like support in your outreach to brokerages, contact WAV Group. If you are a brokerage firm that is challenged by the relationship with your MLS, contact WAV Group. WAV Group is a bold advocate for MLSs and Brokerage firms with a proven capacity for finding common ground.
Victor, I’m not sure what data Trend is providing from the MLS to Fox & Roach, but I have seen similar system arrangements for many years with big brokers around the country where the broker receives full RETS feeds of MLS data on internal systems where agents use the broker system for all but add entry. Since you say this is a landmark event I assume they are doing more than that. Can you shed some light on what you see as ground breaking in this arrangement that hasn’t been done in the past? Thanks.
The MLS tools like MLS system, Tax, and many others are now incorporated into the Fox and Roach back office. Agents can access those tools through single sign on so all of their business applications are drawn together in one place. They have eliminated the need for agents to log into multiple systems – they now just log into one. It also supports mobile.