When the real estate industry brokerage leaders and Multiple Listing Service (MLS) leaders gathered to reimagine a better national consumer search experience, Chicagoland MLS Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED) jumped right in. They believe in the mission of the Broker Public Portal and have partnered with Homesnap since July of 2016. The company has committed not only treasury but also significant volunteer effort.

The results: More than half of all MRED agent subscribers now use Homesnap. Most of all, hundreds of thousands of Chicagoland consumers — 674,007 at last count — have accepted an invitation from their agent to work together in Homesnap. Homesnap is quickly becoming a leading consumer search portal in one of America’s greatest cities.

Remember, the National Association of REALTORS MLS policy is clear: MLS consumer-facing search sites are BASIC service offerings, and so is the marketing of those sites. Today, more than 145 MLSs provide Homesnap as a member benefit to deliver a better property search experience than third-party websites. More than 875,000 agents can use Homesnap today by downloading the app and inviting their clients. Agent adoption and consumer invitations to the site are the transformative force that is putting Homesnap in a leadership position with consumers.

There are two future steps that MRED will be taking to support agent and consumer adoption of Homesnap. The first is technology integration. MRED has facilitated a conversation between Homesnap and their MLS provider, dynaConnections, to deliver the first deep integration with the MLS consumer property alert system. The consumer property alert system in an MLS enables the agent to set up client notifications directly from the MLS. The Broker Public Portal is having similar conversations with other MLS software providers to power alerts in other markets.

Research performed by WAV Group in cooperation with CoreLogic, FBS, Rapattoni, Solid Earth, Paragon, and SEI indicate that an estimated 200 million property alerts are sent to consumers each month in America. The eventual integration between MLS system vendors and Homesnap will allow agents to drive impressive traffic to the site , perhaps even passing the incumbent third-party advertising portals in the future. These integrations are complicated, but the industry is making them happen in the interest of serving the consumer, as well as the agents and firms that represent them. Some industry leaders believe that Homesnap could eliminate the need for MLSs handling listing syndication on behalf of their brokers and agents because Homesnap follows the Fair Display Guidelines, which advertising portals do not.

There are numerous regional MLS consumer sites like HAR.com, MLSLI.com, TheMLS.com, MyFloridaRegionalMLS.com, MLSListings.com, and others that are achieving lofty success in their communities connecting consumers directly to real estate professionals. The ambition behind the Broker Public Portal is that a national collaboration between MLSs to promote Homesnap to their customers will deliver an even stronger performance than those smaller regional sites.

The second step of the MRED campaign is to drive consumer traffic to Homesnap and establish a new household brand for home search. The MRED consumer ad campaign launched in phases starting in June.

The chief goal of all of this is serving the consumer and driving business for real estate agents and firms. When an agent has an experience like Chicagoland’s Carrie Little, it makes adoption soar. Little at CarMarc Realty in West Chicago, shares this: “While showing a listing to my buyer, I shared the Homesnap app. My buyer started using the app immediately, she picked 3 homes from the app, and she purchased one that following weekend. She shared the app with her mom, who also purchased a home then listed her home for sale. I received three deals from sharing the Homesnap app!”

Here’s the best part: MRED is making their consumer ad campaign available to other MLSs that wish to deploy Homesnap consumer marketing in their area. This is an enormous contribution to our industry and the Broker Public Portal initiative. Other MLSs will not need to hire an ad agency. They can use the ads that MRED has built. It is expected that other MLSs will also add additional creatives to the shared library available to participating MLSs and brokerage firms engaged in the Broker Public Portal. Please contact me by email or phone if you would like me to provide the MRED marketing campaign to you. It’s all branded to Homesnap, so you can easily launch it in your market.