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RISMEDIA, February 18, 2010—The MLS of the future must rethink its purpose and mission, and will expand its value proposition far beyond the offer of compensation and policing. Rather, it must be seen by its members as a “Success Enabler.” Central to its new market position as a success enabler will be the MLS’s ability to connect Realtors with consumers.

The MLS has at its fingertips what the consumer desires, in its purest form. A vibrant, engaged membership of local experts and the most accurate, most up-to-date property data that consumers crave. Tapping these advantages without further delay is critical. While some of the ideas MLS 5.0 contemplates may be obvious and straightforward, some are not for the faint of heart.

Referral Network
A referral network where Realtors gain exposure and build “social capital” based on their contribution to and participation in various online communities will be part of MLS 5.0. No third-party referral fee for dubious leads; this is a benefit of participating in the MLS. Gens X and Y have been raised participating online, as evidenced by the explosion of Facebook and other social networking sites.

Agent Rating System
Should an agent rating system be provided through the MLS or through a third party? Some of the information that would be useful in the creation of an agent rating system is readily available through the MLS (and the association). Information such as:

-How long the agent has been a member of the MLS
-How many transactions completed since joining
-Buyer sides
-Seller sides
-Volume based on sales price
-Average sales price
-Median sales price
-Consumer complaints
-Ethics complaints

This is a political hot potato. Even if the MLS does not provide a system, it could facilitate a third party in the delivery of this service to the public.

Many agents and brokers hate this idea, but consider, if you could find out before you went to a doctor or a lawyer, where they went to college, where they went to law school, where they graduated in their class, how long they have been practicing, if they have any complaints against them…would you, as a consumer, find this information valuable?

Neighborhood Data
Buyers typically choose a neighborhood first, then a home. Rarely do they define the neighborhood they are interested in by its zip code (which is how many MLS searches are done), and good geographical definitions of neighborhoods are not readily accessible and often have what can be referred to as “fuzzy boundaries.” By employing the “wisdom of the crowds” and online communities, neighborhoods will be better defined to the benefit of consumers and Realtors.

In next month’s column, we’ll expand the topic to encompass the inclusion of Sold Data on agent and broker websites, which many would agree is a highly controversial idea.

Tell us what you think or request the full article series to date at:

Saul Klein is CEO of InternetCrusade and Point2 Technologies Inc. For more information, visit