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Brokers Be Bold – Reclaim Ownership of Your Future

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MLS Matters by David Charron

RISMEDIA, Sept. 17, 2008-I had a bit of an epiphany a few weeks ago. A good friend reminded me that market leaders who are at the top of their game when the market balks usually see their core business change dramatically when it recovers. Revenues go down and margins slip with them. New kids emerge. The playground gets a bit more crowded. The players work harder to find new and increasingly transformational revenue streams. And so it goes.

The takeaway for brokers? If you want to come out the other side of the down market tunnel in a strong position, you need to think a few steps ahead.

Brokers in our market did just this last year when they approved a complete overhaul of our public listings portal, HomesDatabase.com.

Technology has presented those of us in real estate with a multitude of new choices. It has fueled enormous competition. And in almost every instance I can think of, it has served to cull the herd.

Every narrative in this business starts with the listing. For too long, our story has been told by too many outside our industry, so-called third-party sites, that use broker listings to aggregate eyeballs, generate ad sales (for themselves) and, in some cases, charge a tariff back to the source.

And because our industry is comprised of a million “Type A” personalities, these sites count on us to do nothing. To revel in our dysfunction. Indeed, they count on it.

This fact alone should serve as a call to action to brokers in every market.

Brokers are managers first. The good ones are always looking for ways to leverage “underdeployed” assets. At my company and in an increasing number of other markets, brokers are turning to the local MLS in this spirit.

And why shouldn’t brokers use the local MLS to craft and support a consumer entry portal (not a destination site-there’s a big difference) that includes all the inventory directly from the wellspring? Brand it locally, attract the consumer and pass them on to the people that have the “rest of the story” as quickly as possible.

Consumers are calling local, not long distance. Can you hear me now?

At MRIS, we heard, listened and took action. We built the new Homesdatabase.com. It’s launching publicly this month in our market. The platform will soon be available to other MLSs.

Real estate can own its own future. Take a look forward at www.mris.com/HDBmovie.

David Charron is CEO of MRIS, the nation’s largest MLS.

For more information, visit www.mris.com.

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