Success Guide: MLS Software 2021

 

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Multiple Listing Service Software Guide

There are just under 600 multiple listing services (MLSs) operating in the United States and Canada that are the operational 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 develop 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.

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LATEST TRENDS IN MLS PRODUCTS

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 (RESO) became an independently operated not-for-profit trade group in 2011, normalizing the transmission of real estate data to the technology companies that serve brokers and agents. When the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) adopted an MLS policy requiring all NAR® affiliated MLSs to adopt the standards or face the revocation of their charter, RESO stepped up to introduce a data dictionary and WebAPI to the industry. Over the past few years, this encouragement by NAR® has driven adoption of the RESO data dictionary, normalized data fields, and the WebAPI deprecated RETS. 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. Password sharing has been mostly eliminated. MLS system developers have cultivated awareness for best practices on security, too. Systems protect against hacking by taking added security measures. Application programming interfaces (APIs) both provide and require security; firms connecting to MLS data require advanced levels of authentication. Additionally, leading MLSs continue to pave the way for system security by “seeding” and “tagging” their data. These processes allow the MLS to track how third parties obtain their data, with the both terms appearing on NAR’s list of MLS Security Best Practices. By inserting trackable data (seeds) and non-distorting changes within the actual listing content (tags), MLSs gain the ability to ‘watch’ where their data goes. CoreLogic’s Trestle Defender is making promising headway in the evolution of this practice.

A key barrier to adopting MLS services and software extensions was username and password management. Frankly, remembering the MLS password is challenging enough – now imagine remembering a dozen or more passwords to access the many software extensions to an MLS. MLS Single Sign-On revolutionized the credential verification process. 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.

More than ever before, MLSs 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.

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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 need for efficiency that leads to MLS consolidation is pretty consistent. Understanding this need and learning how to respond to it will position your MLS for high levels of customer satisfaction and create a platform for expansion, rather than one to be acquired by a larger entity.

A frequently vocalized pain point for brokers and agents is customer support and training. 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 gaining magnetism 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.

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 internal technical staff that can manage data are in a much better position than MLSs who need to rely on a vendor. To position for growth, MLSs need 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.


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What to look for in buying MLS Products

Always start with the price. If products being offered to the MLS are not priced in alignment with your 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 products with usage costs that exceed your budget.

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 won’t tolerate your current product or the company is failing to support you correctly – stick with what you have or budget effectively to deliver existing resources with new and improved service.

Check references for prospective vendors. 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’ll also benefit from dialogue with new customers about the onboarding process, and with old customers about the company’s dedication to improving the product on a regular basis. It is also critical to ensure the company is a member of the Real Estate Standards Organization and have obtained their certification or are in the process of doing so.

Find out how long the new vendor will run in parallel before the billing starts. Little 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 upon contract termination. Strategically speaking, it’s wise to design 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 engagement 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.


MLS PRODUCTS

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Contact Information

HOMESNAP

Eugene Gligor

Director of Business Development

[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

CRS DATA

Rob Williamson

864.431.8289

[email protected]

Nicole Morgan

336-065-9597

[email protected]

crsdata.com/mls-tax-suite

 

KEY PRODUCT BENEFITS

  • Consistent Product Enhancements
  • Seamless Integration with Your MLS System
  • Customization Options
  • Intuitive Navigation
  • Accurate and Current Property Data
  • Prospecting and Map Layers
  • Home Improvement Adjustments Calculator

CRS DATA

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Comprehensive and Accurate Property Data at Your Fingertips

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COMPANY 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 real estate professionals.

FEATURES

MLS TAX SUITE

Our innovative products and services are backed by reliable technology and refreshingly human customer support. MLS Tax Suite seamlessly integrates with your existing MLS and is mobileoptimized so that you have access to the newest information and property data anywhere, anytime. The intuitive platform is easy to navigate and offers customizable features and reports. 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

“The CRS Data team is a true partner, not just a provider of product. Their commitment and dedication to comprehensive property intelligence is trustworthy and backed with outstanding support.”

-Denise Mecseji, MLS Manager | Great Plains Regional MLS

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Contact Information

Form Simplicity

Jessica Smith

Orlando, FL

(888) 784-5404

[email protected]

 

KEY BENEFITS

  • Digital transaction management
  • Smart forms
  • Broker tools, including review for compliance
  • Cloud storage
  • Digital signatures
  • Tech Helpline support
  • Mobile responsive

FORM SIMPLICITY

Form Simplicity is one of the real estate industry’s most trusted and advanced paperless solutions for transaction management.

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PRODUCT OVERVIEW

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 onthe-go, paperless transactions.

Owned and operated by Florida Realtors®, Form Simplicity saves agents’ time with auto-populating smart forms that eliminate re-typing 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 -- helping them reduce their risk through a customizable, automated, paperless review process, which safeguards brokerage transactions to remain compliant.

TESTIMONIAL

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

- Matthew Lemon

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Contact Information

GROWTHZONE

[email protected]

800-825-9171

www.growthzone.com

 

KEY PRODUCT BENEFITS

GrowthZone software is designed to manage the day-to-day operations of your association.

  • Helpful integrations (e.g., NRDS, MLS, lockboxes, QuickBooks, Zoom)
  • Easy-to-use
  • Save time on redundant data entry
  • Robust training and support options

GROWTHZONE

Software designed for associations with NRDS integration that helps staff easily manage agent and office contacts, lockboxes, memberships, events, billing, and so much more.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

GrowthZone Real Estate Association Edition is an all-in-one software solution that will save your association time and money.

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FEATURES

NRDS Integration: Update records in NRDS automatically; update member contact data, code of ethics training, and statuses.

E Commerce: Process payment transactions, store credit card information, manage dues splits, and more.

Key Integrations: Integrate with select MLS providers, Supra, and SentriLock; with push-to-sync updates processing 24/7.

Member Portal & App: Provide members easy access to resources and benefits via an online password-protected community; send push notifications to members via the app.

Staff App: View notes, register and checkin event attendees, and process event payments – all from your mobile device.

Marketing Automation: Build attractive email campaigns that ensure each contact receives vital information at the right time intervals.

Continuing Education: Track and manage CE hours and credits for your members.

Events: Manage events and event registrants. Includes Zoom and GoToWebinar integration for online meetings.

Data Management: Store data such as NRDS ID, MLS ID, Office ID, reciprocity settings, and more. Enable/disable data syncs and updates.

TESTIMONIAL

“I look forward to a long relationship with GrowthZone. They make it so easy.”

- Meighan Harris, Bonita Springs-Estero REALTORS®

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Contact Information

RENTAL BEAST

(855) 646-0768

[email protected]

rentalbeast.com/mls

 

KEY BENEFITS

Rental Beast’s easy integration allows MLSs to capture thousands of rentals that are normally off-MLS inventory, providing the necessary search, data ingestion and maintenance systems to effectively manage inventory. Equip your agents and agents with a suite of vetted tools to capture rental commissions, reach new buyers, and increase recruiting and retention.

RENTAL BEAST

A seamless integration helping MLSs offer agents and brokers powerful tools to safely and securely monetize rental transactions.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Rental Beast helps MLSs open up a $12 billion annual opportunity for member agents, brokers.

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Millions of Listings: Our database encompasses the market with the most accurate, extensive data on each rental.

Rental Search Tools: Provide member agents with rental-specific search parameters, including move-in dates, pet policies, landlord concessions, agent commissions, financial requirements, and many more.

Third-Party Syndication and CustomBranded Website: Ingested listings enjoy consolidated third-party syndication and appear on your MLS’s custom-branded website. Syndicate listings on the most well-visited web portals, including a unique syndication to Facebook Marketplace, Realtor.com, HomeFinder, Listanza, and more.

Rental Application Engine: Your members close rental transactions virtually while keeping FCRA-compliant. Landlords and property managers screen tenants within a simple user interface.

Rental Beast University: MLS subscribers learn with the only digital education platform, designed by industry experts and supporting agents through every aspect of the rental process.

TESTIMONIAL

“MRED has deeply integrated Rental Beast with our listings in connectMLS. This makes it easy for agents to provide a secure, easy, and cost-effective rental application. Landlords also get deeply informative background checks and credit reports to evaluate prospective tenants, all because of the relationship with their agent. Our agents love these capabilities.”

- Chris Haran, Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED)

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Contact Information

RPR

RPR Industry Relations Team

[email protected]

 

KEY PRODUCT BENEFITS

RPR integrations strengthen an MLS’s brand, increase site traffic, and greatly expand the reach of its listings.

  • Access to the nation’s largest, most comprehensive real estate database, at no cost
  • An unparalleled suite of products and services offered by one platform
  • A seamless integration process led by dedicated real estate experts

RPR

No-cost integration options that yield positive, proven results.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

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PRODUCT OVERVIEW

RPR®, the nation’s largest, most comprehensive real estate data platform offered exclusively to REALTORS®, offers tools that help MLSs leverage powerful integration options to the benefit of the MLS and its subscribers.

FEATURES

Your MLS/Your Brand: RPR will replace its logo with yours so that subscribers view your MLS as their trusted source each time they log into RPR. Your logo will also appear on the RPR reports they create.

Data Share & Display: A simple no-cost option with big rewards. RPR View™ allows Brokers to engage a wider audience for their listings in contiguous markets, among MLSs with reciprocal agreements, or nationwide. The MLS decides who views what listings and what they see.

Single Sign-On (SSO): Create ease for subscribers with RPR’s single sign-on integration. No separate passwords or URLs to remember. Create the ultimate integration experience by combining SSO with deep links.

Deep Links: Deep links allow subscribers to seamlessly move from an area or page on your MLS to the corresponding page in RPR, such as searches, properties, neighborhoods, and schools, among others.

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