Stratus LogoFor many real estate professionals, Stratus is a foreign name. Unless you operate in Ontario Canada or Long Island, NY, you may not have experienced their MLS system. Having said that, those two markets equate to over 100,000 users – giving Stratus significant scale.

Today, AMP Systems, LLC – a Stratus sister company – and Stratus are working on two projects that reimagine the MLS. In Toronto, they have formed a joint venture with the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board and Teranet, the land registry for Ontario to build an MLS backend that is not only built for that province, but will be made available for all of Canada – should other Realty Boards wish to adopt. In the United States, AMP Systems will enter into similar joint ventures where MLSs will own their backend data system. AMP Systems will continue to deliver, develop and maintain the backend. Once MLSs switch to this system, they will never need to go through a system conversion again. It is meaningful to note that AMP Systems acquired the assets of Advanced Multiple-Listing Platform or AMP from Realtors Property Resource, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS®. They pioneered the concept separating the backend database from the front-end application. Unfortunately, the idea of NAR managing the backend database for MLSs did not gain much traction; AMP Systems overcomes this concern by creating a joint-venture with their clients.

The second project that Stratus is working on is in Europe. There, they have partnered with the ČSOB Group – a wholly-owned subsidiary of KBC Bank NV of Belgium. They are about the size of Capital One bank operating in Belgium, Ireland, Central Europe, and South-East Asia (50,000 employees). In partnership with Stratus, the financial institution is launching a property management portal in the Czech Republic. Consumers will log into their bank, pay their phone bill, gas bill, water bill, mortgage, car loan, etc. If they want to sell their home, Stratus provides access to listing agents. When the property is listed, other agents can see the property for comparative purposes, but there is no offer of compensation. At launch, five million consumers will have access to the platform.

Stratus may have sparked some innovation here in America; we have always thought of the MLS as an agent-centric ecosystem. Sure, there are client servicing tools, but they are limited to buying and selling a home. What other consumer-focused homeownership programs can the MLS offer, that ties them to the agent and broker for life? Can the MLS be a homeownership portal?

Those are thought starters for your next brainstorming meeting. Should MLSs invest and own their backend system? There are some MLSs that participate in the Common Data Platform and The Grid that think so. And CRMLS has the CRIB.

What is the long term consumer strategy for MLSs? Perhaps CoreLogic is thinking this way with OneHome.