Today, the State of Arizona has 10 MLSs with about 70% of Realtors in large metropolitan areas such as Phoenix and Tucson. This is causing overlapping market membership where brokers and agents are members of more than one MLS. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is encouraging data sharing to reduce the need for Realtors to belong to multiple MLSs. Here is the PAG report from NAR on Data Sharing. One MLS executive that has taken steps to act on the NAR report on data sharing is Kim Everett who runs an MLS in Arizona.
Kim is the CEO of the Western Arizona Regional Data Exchange (WARDEX) which serves 1,100 subscribers. They represent a large geographic area consisting of the Mohave County seat, Kingman, the Colorado River communities of Laughlin NV, Bullhead City AZ, Needles CA, Lake Havasu City, Parker AZ to Quartzsite AZ, and surrounding areas. The Association shareholders include Kingman Golden Valley AoR and Bullhead City/Mohave Valley AoR.
Under Everett’s leadership, WARDEX has positioned itself for data sharing to resolve the problems of overlapping market disorder. The keynotes of work at WARDEX to facilitate data sharing includes the adoption of data standard in the native MLS system, the adoption of a data share distribution and ingestion platform, and rules alignment.
Adoption of Data Standards
One important decision that WARDEX made was to standardize the data fields inside of their instance of Matrix. For many MLSs, data mapping makes data sharing cost prohibitive. If your MLS has not adopted RESO schema natively, data mapping may easily cost $20k to set up, plus significant per month maintenance fees from each MLS vendor. Those fees could easily become tens of thousands each year per MLS, creating a financial obstacle for an MLS hoping to share data.
WARDEX adopted the RESO Data Dictionary and schema natively in Matrix, their MLS system from CoreLogic. Other MLSs like Stellar MLS in Florida have done the same. The benefit to making this decision is that it reduces the costs of data sharing for every MLS in the data share by eliminating or reducing custom data mapping and maintenance. The best time to transition to RESO natively in any MLS system is when you do a conversion or major system upgrade (which is like a conversion).
Because WARDEX is native RESO today, other MLSs that want to data share with WARDEX can send them the RESO standard data feed that they supply to brokers and their vendors.
For data distribution, WARDEX would also send their sharing partner their RESO standard data feed. WARDEX uses the Trestle platform from CoreLogic for data distribution. Trestle is available to any MLS on any system at no cost to the MLS. An added benefit of Trestle is RESO certification, data security, contract management and data distribution.
For technology providers and data consumers, there is a monthly Trestle platform fee to cover overhead – including setup and support. Technology partners and data consumers benefit from the data consolidation and unified data feeds, even if they only need one feed, even though they may be pulling data from multiple MLS’s.
It is interesting to note that WARDEX has deployed Data Defender as a compliance tool. They manually audit once a year. Biggest challenge is making sure that agents have the correct license under the correct broker. Agents forget that when they move to a new broker, they need a new IDX agreement. This is particularly helpful in data sharing for rules enforcement.
Although the NAR MLS Policy is standard, the adoption of the MLS policy is not uniform. Within the policy are many options; local MLSs are free to append the policy in their local market within reason. As a result, even in the State of Arizona, there are many versions of MLS policy and rules that impact data and data distribution. Similarly, the way that MLSs implement policy can also vary widely. Everett is a strong advocate for collaborating with other area MLSs to align policy to normalize and promote healthy business practices for participants and subscribers.
WARDEX is surrounded by MLSs that use other systems, FlexMLS from FBS Data is popular. FBS customers can deploy Trestle and connect it to Flex to use for data sharing and data distribution. Trestle works across any MLS system. Again, the benefit to using Trestle is that it normalizes the data to promote easier and low-cost data sharing and there is no additional charge. Instead of a broker going to three MLSs to get data for their brokerage, they can get one feed from Trestle with all three sets of data already combined.
Driving Revenue and Reducing Costs Using Trestle
To add revenue, WARDEX charges a data feed fee to vendors. WARDEX charges for data feeds on a tiered basis; vendors with multiple feeds get price discounts. WARDEX has redeployed that revenue to hire a trainer, reduce fines, and deliver a better customer experience. They have also been able to fund a market statistics program with Domus, and integrate Restb.ai. They were also able to reduce member dues.
If you are considering a data share, we hope you found inspiration from WARDEX. If you’re interested in learning more about how Trestle can help you with your data share challenges, contact your CoreLogic Account Executive or Kevin Greene, Executive, Real Estate Solutions at email@example.com or visit this website.