Success Guide: MLS Software

August 12 2019

 

Welcome to RE Technology's Success Guide for Multiple Listing Service Software. You will learn how to become THE expert in your market with industry-leading ideas and solutions. We have hand-picked six of our favorite tools proven to help real estate professionals grow their businesses. Download the FREE guide to learn how you can leverage online marketing in new and exciting ways to beat the competition!


MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE SOFTWARE GUIDE

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Slightly more than 600 multiple listing services (MLSs) operate in the United States and Canada that are the envy of the global real estate industry. Cooperation and the offer of compensation among participating brokers create the foundation for these organizations. Over time, these principles have transformed MLSs into the epicenter of technology for real estate agents, creating nation-wide marketplaces.

Subsequently, many technology companies have developed add-on software that enables MLSs to add helpful services to the core MLS software.

In this guide to software, delivered primarily through the MLSs, RE Technology highlights a variety of applications that enable a richer and more effective platform for agents, brokers, and the consumers that we serve. As our industry changes, these technology tools integrate into multiple listing platforms to drive innovation and end-to-end services.

Please enjoy this overview and let us know if there are additional products that you believe we should feature in future RE Technology Success Guides.


 

LATEST TRENDS IN MLS PRODUCTS

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A number of significant trends are emerging to shape America’s MLSs today.

  • Real Estate Standards Organization
  • Security for Authentication and Data
  • Systems Integration for Single Sign-On
  • Smart Bi-Directional Data Integration Between Applications.

The Real Estate Standards Organization became a different organization a few years ago when the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) adopted an MLS policy that requires all NAR® affiliated MLSs to adopt the standards or face the revocation of their charter. Over the past few years, this encouragement by NAR® has catapulted MLSs into high gear to adopt the RESO data dictionary to normalize data fields, and the WebAPI to replace RETS as a more contemporary transportation method. All of this effort goes a long way to reducing the costs of connecting software to MLS data, providing an extraordinary benefit to all broker and agent subscribers to the MLS.

MLSs have also made great progress on adding access security. Perhaps only a hundred or so MLSs remain that have yet to lock down password sharing. MLS system developers have wisened to best practices on security too. Systems protect against hacking by taking added security measures. Application programming interfaces (APIs) have security, and firms connecting to MLS data require higher levels of authentication. Additionally, leading MLSs have begun to follow a technique called data seeding. This process drops little seeds of data into data feeds that allow the MLS to “watch” where the data goes. Soon you will see the news stories of data pirates being charged with theft. Exciting!

A key barrier to adopting MLS services and software extensions was username and password management. Frankly, remembering the MLS password is hard enough – now imagine remembering a dozen or more passwords to access the many software extensions to an MLS. That has been solved through MLS Single Sign-On. When a user signs into the MLS, they are automatically signed onto other software applications without the need to log in to each one of them – ergo the term – single sign on. We are delighted to see more than listing data being shared across software in the MLS today. In this new era of connecting software and data using APIs, the MLS system can now securely send and receive customer records, saved searches, saved favorites, and many other consumer-centric data that an agent needs to manage. Agents can send these records easily, without being required to re-key the data. This not only saves real estate professionals valuable time but improves accuracy and reduces the likelihood of an error that could compromise a transaction.

These are exciting days for our nation’s MLSs. More than ever before, they can assemble a group of software products that work together to design an effortless system of productivity. We will illustrate this trend through the narrative of applications covered in this guide.

RE Technology dedicates a private section of digital publication specifically to MLS related software. Because these solutions are not sold to agents or brokers, only our MLS subscribers have access to this section of the site.

Click here to browse the rest of RE Technology and get a free trial subscription.


 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN BUYING MLS PRODUCTS

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Always start with the price. If products being offered to the MLS are not priced in line with expectations, looking at the software is a waste of time unless you have already gotten your board to agree to a price increase. If a price increase is out of the question, there is no need to look at more expensive products than you can afford.

Negotiate with your existing vendor first. We know that the cost of switching technology vendors is very expensive. It requires more training, support, and communication activities and those require capital and labor. Unless your subscribers hate your current product, or the company is not supporting you correctly – stick with what you have or budget correctly to deliver a new and better service.

Check their references. It is pretty commonplace for technology companies to have a handful of favorite customers. You want to check references carefully by looking at similar sizes of MLSs who offer the product. You also want to talk to some new customers about the onboarding process and some old customers about the company’s dedication to improving the product on a regular basis. By the way, it is also a good idea to check to see if the company is a member of the Real Estate Standards Organization and if they are certified.

Find out how long the new vendor will run in parallel before the billing starts. Nothing can hurt a new product launch more than a cut over that happens before it should.

Take a very close look at the contract terms and conditions, especially the data licensing agreement. These are critical business terms to your contract that are sometimes looked over. Also, be certain to negotiate your exit. You need to enter a contract through the lens of failure. You may also want to negotiate growth and shrinkage into your agreement by securing the pricing levels in advance.

Reporting is one of the most overlooked areas of buying MLS products. Insist on reports that show the number of daily users, weekly users, monthly users. You should be able to pull reports on those users to check on their satisfaction with the product. You may also want to enlist the support of the vendor at driving adoption. Alternatively, rather than negotiating a site license, only purchase licenses for the average number of monthly unique users.


HOW TO GROW YOUR MLS

Today’s era of MLS consolidation mandates responsiveness in the delivery of services to the brokers and agents that you serve. The complaints that lead to MLS consolidation are pretty consistent. Understanding these complaints and learning how to respond to them will position your MLS for high levels of customer satisfaction and a platform for expansion.

The biggest complaint among brokers and agents is customer support and training. Whenever brokers and agents feel like the MLS is out to get them, there is a problem. If your customer calls and you can’t take care of their problem, the problem is you. These are pretty strong statements, but you must understand that your customers are your biggest fans when you are doing a great job. Customers belonging to more than one MLS will be very outspoken about which MLS is better. Be sure to meet with your large brokers, top producing agents, and survey everyone to learn what you can do better. They will give you the answers.

MLSs can become more attractive with the array of products they offer for the fees they charge is a classic economic model of return on investment. An MLS delivering great service on top of highly satisfying technology at a reasonable price likely will grow. Price is a pain point for many agents and brokers when the services offered beyond the core MLS system are not appropriately valued. Research the offerings of nearby MLSs to make sure that you are competitive.

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Building a great core technology stack for basic MLS services is table stakes today, but many MLSs have developed a premium service. In some cases, MLSs offer an array of technology for a very low bundle price. In other cases, MLS support brokers and agents with a la carte pricing for specialty software. The value of the MLS in both of these premium subscription models includes data integration, support, training, and much lower prices.

Lastly, it is important for MLSs to be extremely skilled in data management. MLSs who have technical staff that can manage data are in a much better position than MLSs who need to rely on a vendor. A growing MLS needs to be able to manage the details of system migrations and data shares. Having this skill assures that a growing MLS does not drop the ball on onboarding new customers.


 

ONLINE MARKETING PRODUCTS

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Contact Information

Jessica Smith

Orlando, FL

(888)784-5404

[email protected]

KEY PRODUCT BENEFITS

  • Smart Forms
  • Paperless Transaction Management
  • Broker tools, including review for compliance
  • Cloud storage
  • Digital Signatures
  • Tech Helpline support
  • Responsive web design for access on mobile devices

FORM SIMPLICITY

Transactions made simple

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Created for REALTORS® by REALTORS®, Form Simplicity is one of the real estate industry’s most popular and advanced paperless transaction solutions.

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KEY BENEFITS: Form Simplicity gives real estate professionals the tools to create, manage, share and store transactions. Whether on computers or mobile devices, users are equipped for on-the-go, paperless transactions.

Owned and operated by Florida Realtors®, Form Simplicity saves agents’ time with auto-populating smart forms that eliminate retyping or duplicate data entry; allows agents to share and negotiate transactions with built-in collaboration tools; provides secure digital signatures; and provides bank-grade level security for cloud storage of all documents and logs.

Broker tools allow brokers to manage, review, approve, track and store every agent’s transaction activity from beginning to end. It helps brokers reduce their risk through a customizable, automated, paperless review process, which safeguards brokerage transactions to remain compliant.

TESTIMONIAL:

“I just tried out the NEW Form Simplicity, and I have to say it is AMAZING. Love how convenient the new layout is. EXTREMELY professional. I’ll be sticking with you guys for a long time.”

- Matthew Lemon

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Contact Information

Eugene Gligor

Director of Business

Developement

[email protected]

www.homesnap.com

KEY PRODUCT BENEFITS

  • Industry-friendly home search alternative that provides interested leads, for free, to the listing agent or broker and delivers accurate, real-time MLS information to home searchers.
  • BPP with Homesnap is the industry’s agent-centric, industry-first, pro-consumer solution to secure listing exposure and leads for agents.

HOMESNAP

The Real Estate Industry’s Technology Partner

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Broker Public Portal (BPP) with Homesnap is a collaborative venture between real estate brokerages and MLSs to create a national consumer home search experience that connects home searchers directly with the agent who best knows the home they are interested in. Homesnap is the public-facing brand of the BPP, the only national home search platform powered by real-time MLS data and following Fair Display Guidelines.

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FEATURES

Public-facing search portal that sends leads and inquiries to the listing agent.

Top-rated mobile productivity tool for agents.

HOMESNAP PRO: Homesnap Pro is the industry-facing version of the Homesnap consumer platform built specifically for real estate agents to access their MLS data and work from their mobile phones. Homesnap Pro uses real-time MLS data to give agents the flexibility to research homes, contact agents, and communicate instantly with clients and colleagues from any modern device.

BUILD YOUR BUSINESS: Make Homesnap your own with free branding throughout the platform.

Build your brand with Homesnap Pro Ads by reaching buyers and sellers on some of the most popular digital networks.

Boost your online presence with Homesnap Pro+, which curates and optimizes all aspects of your business profile on Google.

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Contact Information

Rob Williamson

864.431.8289

[email protected]

Nicole Morgan

336.065.9597

[email protected]

www.crsdata.com/real-estate-mls/mls/

KEY BENEFITS

  • Seamless Integration with Your MLS System
  • Mobile-Optimization with Intuitive Navigation
  • Accurate and Current Property Data
  • New, Consistently Evolving Product Enhancements
  • Customization Options

MLS TAX SUITE

Comprehensive and Accurate Property Data at Your Fingertips

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Since 1989, CRS Data has provided innovative data services that puts the power of clear and accurate property information in the hands of leading professionals.

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FEATURES

Our innovative products and services are backed with reliable technology and refreshingly human customer support. MLS Tax Suite seamlessly integrates with your existing MLS and is mobile-optimized so that you have access to the newest information and property data anywhere, anytime. The intuitive platform is easy to navigate and offers flexible and customizable features for an added touch of personalized reports and presentation of data.

With MLS Tax Suite you’ll have access to all public tax records, sales and mortgage histories, neighborhood comparables, area demographics, mapping details, and much more.

TESTIMONIAL

“We continue to choose CRS Data hands down. The quality of their service, data and product is superior. We know and trust that their team will take care of us and be an integral part of growing our revenue.”

- John Ryan

Georgia MLS

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Contact Information

RPR Customer Support

Chicago, IL

877.977.7576

[email protected]

KEY PRODUCT BENEFITS

  • The RPR Dashboard provides a portal into the metrics, statistics, and reports MLSs require. User metrics, data updates, content and training are provided, as well as reports to complement housing statistics.

RPR

RPR® provides data, tools and reports to help NAR members wow clients and close more deals.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

RPR offers specific tools that allow MLSs to gain increased branding opportunities, powerful integration options, and spot-on market and economic reports.

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FEATURES OVERVIEW

Your MLS–Your Brand: Replace the RPR logo with your MLS logo so subscribers will see your brand each time they login to RPR.

Simple Single Sign-On: Create ease for your members with RPR’s single sign-on integration. Users won’t have to remember a separate password or URL, as they can simply access RPR via the site they use everyday–their MLS.

Deep Links: Deep links allow your users to move back and forth between RPR and your MLS platform seamlessly. One click takes your members directly from a property within your MLS to the same property on RPR. Combined with SSO, Deep Linking offers the ultimate integration with RPR.

Enjoy The View: RPR View™ allows partner MLSs to make listings viewable by REALTORS® in other markets. This integration feature is perfect for markets with overlapping coverage areas and provides a premium service at no additional cost.

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Contact Information

SentriLock, LLC

West Chester, OH

[email protected]

513.618.5800

www.sentrilock.com

KEY PRODUCT BENEFITS

  • The SentriLock system provides secure and reliable access in order to facilitate the listing and showing of homes.
  • Our knowledgeable team delivers excellent support, saving time and money.
  • Exclusive features enhance safety while also equipping customers with data to better serve their clients.
  • Our focus on innovative technology and a durable product generates lasting value.

SENTRILOCK BLUETOOTH® REALTOR® LOCKBOX

As the leading provider of access management solutions, we create world-class customer experiences and deliver the most innovative technology.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

More than just a lockbox, the easy-to-use SentriLock system features Instant Showing notifications, robust reporting, world-class customer service, Agent Safety Feature and Property Data Integrations.

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FEATURES

Our Bluetooth® REALTOR® lockbox features:

  • A jam-free front opening key compartment, an illuminated key pad, fully removeable shackle and long-lasting user replaceable batteries.
  • SentriKeyTM Real Estate mobile app, The SentriConnect® Mobile app and One Day Codes.
  • Touch ID and Facial Recognition authorization.
  • Agent Safety, Property Data Integrations, Missing Key Alerts, Lockbox activity reporting, beginning and end of showing notifications, and homeowner notifications.
  • Longest support hours (8 a.m. - Midnight ET, 7 days a week) and a dedicated customer relationship manager.

TESTIMONIAL:

“We started looking at our current contract that was up for renewal and evaluating the options, and as soon as we saw the SentriLock lockbox, the app and the benefits that it would provide to our agents, it was just a no-brainer. Implementing the SentriLock system was very easy, you know, it was just a seamless experience and everything was taken care of. Working with SentriLock has changed the way we do business.”

- Mike Cotrill, CEO,
Greater Tulsa Association of REALTORS®

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Contact Information

[email protected]

513.583.5435

www.corelogic.com/realestate

KEY PRODUCT BENEFITS

  • Platinum RESO certified listing distribution
  • Unified, single listing stream for 3rd parties
  • RETS and web-API enabled
  • Listings protected by Trestle Defender™
  • Fully automated MLS/3rd party workflow
  • -118 MLS, 700+ tech vendors, 350+ data feeds enabled

TRESTLE

Ultimate Listing Data Management and Property Information Tool

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Get RealTime, Fine-Grained Control of Your Listing Content Distribution via RETS and the new RESO Web API standard. You can use templates to quickly set up data feeds for a variety of common purposes—such as IDX, VOW, syndication, and more. Trestle then tracks and reports all RETS and API usage so you can closely monitor your data users.

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FEATURES

Automated Workflow
Electronic agreements
Online approvals
Data license fee collection
E-commerce admin

Flexible Data Transport

  • RESO Platinum data
  • Dictionary feed
  • RESO Platinum certified
  • Web API Native RETS
  • Web-API delivery

Rock Solid Security

  • Simple rules engine
  • Dashboard monitoring
  • Trestle Defender™ for enhanced security
 

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