In some ways, San Francisco and the greater San Francisco Bay area is a little bit like New York City and the surrounding boroughs. The demands that real estate agents have in those markets to not line up very nicely with many standard MLS systems. Often, they can get pretty close to accommodating the agent who can learn how to get what they need out of the MLS but fall short of the agent needs in mobile. Moreover, consumer portal experience rarely has the functionality for search that agents can access.
The San Francisco Board of Realtors and MLS has been working in earnest for many years, perchance decades, to close the gap. Yesterday, SFARMLS announced that they have entered into an agreement with virtual office website developer Zenlist to create a system of choice for their agents. Realtors can use Rapattoni or Zenlist to enter/edit listings into the MLS system, search, schedule showings, etc. The big advancement will be in the client collaboration portal offered by Zenlist. As a virtual office website vendor, Zenlist pulls 100% of all data in the MLS that can be shared by an agent with their client.
Zenlist has honed their client collaboration tools over nearly a decade to become one of the top virtual office website developers in the nation. We know that a few of their premier customers in Chicago – Baird and Warner and @Properties – have adopted Zenlist for their brokerages. Strangely, Christies International Real Estate (operated by @Properties) does not offer Zenlist to their network today.
Although Zenlist has primarily focused their sales and marketing efforts on selling to the broker, they are starting to get traction as a companion to MLS systems. System of choice has become one of the most interesting developments in MLSs. For years, the MLS only offered one system, but now that you can connect and mirror data across multiple MLS systems using APIs, the idea of giving a choice to agents has flourished. System of choice has also softened the edge of MLS mergers and data sharing. Now, markets can share data or merge without disrupting the MLS system that agents consider the most important technology in their business.