RISMEDIA, April 10, 2009-What will be required to build on the current solid foundation of today’s MLS? Here is part of the MLS 5.0 whitepaper, a vision that attempts to answer the question and creates a basis for an industry discussion. Open and frank discussion is essential to creating the tools and organizations that will position Realtors to provide services to meet the expectations of future buyers and sellers. This paper is a vision and not a roadmap. MLS in the broad, generic sense needs to be redefined in the age of information proliferation and online participatory environments. MLS is more than an offer of compensation and cooperation, but how much more? That decision is up to you.
The real estate industry has the opportunity to “take back its future.” For a number of reasons, it has appeared over the last few years that forces, out of our control, were at work to reshape the real estate industry-from technology, to the Internet, to the U.S. Department of Justice, to new business models that are the darlings of Wall Street, to the press, to the divergence of the different generations, and to economic conditions. It is now time to fight back, and in doing so, all concerned will be winners, Realtors and consumers alike.
It is upon this theme that the concept of MLS 5.0 is introduced, as the “MLS of the Future.” It is time to look at what MLS seemingly has “always done,” and bring it into the new millennium. This will require bold initiatives. To get the most out of this paper, you may need to suspend your skepticism and step into the future. Ask yourself: “What is the value a real estate professional brings to consumers when information about everything, including real estate, is so abundant on the Web? MLS 5.0 should provide the tools to enable the real estate professional to deliver value, part of which will be to put the information available into context for the consumer.
Today, MLS is not the only way to gain exposure for listings. Yahoo!, Google, Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, VAST, Point2Homes, Realtor.com and many more have the potential to expose listings to more potential buyers than ever before-and for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. If you were a consumer selling your home, wouldn’t you want it marketed everywhere? In the age of information, consumers and Realtors are becoming more comfortable using these new tools and new databases, and will become even more comfortable as the concepts of Web 2.0 become better appreciated and understood. MLS must reflect the new realities.
Many Realtors are not acquainted or familiar with some of these realities. It will take more than vision to bring the ideas and concepts of MLS 5.0 into reality. It will take courage and leadership, as old paradigms, territorial rights, politics, potential job loss by MLS executives and staff, and fear will undoubtedly create obstacles to successfully altering the mission of MLS. And that is what we are talking about-altering the mission-and with a new vision for MLS. Objections-real and imaginary-will be heard in abundance. Be prepared to field them.
In a follow-up article next month, we will aim to answer the big question pertaining to what the Future MLS would look like, if we were to build one from scratch today.
What’s your opinion? Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saul Klein is CEO of InternetCrusade and Point2 Technologies Inc.
For more information, visit www.point2agent.com.