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For most brokerages in America today, the MLS is what it is. Many brokers do not pay much attention to their MLS until something substantial changes that rubs them the wrong way. The truth is, staying connected to your MLS and participating in the meetings can be one of the best ways to improve the performance of your brokerage.

Get Your Vendors to Use the RESO WebAPI
RESO, or the Real Estate Standards Organization, publishes updates every year that improve data access for the technology solutions in your brokerage.

One of the most significant changes is the release of the RESO WebAPI. Today, most MLSs offer two connections for data access: the old way—RETS or Real Estate Transaction Standard—or the new way, RESO WebAPI.

The biggest advantage that moving to the RESO WebAPI will have on your business is speed. Changes in the data are transmitted to your technology vendors at the speed of the internet, rather than intervals that may be anywhere from every 15 minutes to as long as once a day. The benefit of speed means that customers will get listing alerts from you first, or your agents will be able to work with listings in your other software applications within minutes of making changes in the MLS. For example, a price change in the MLS will be available in your flyer system almost immediately.

Call all of your technology vendors and tell them to convert to the RESO WebAPI today.

Take Advantage of Software and Discounts
Many MLSs will bulk license a basic feature set of software for all agents. Sometimes, the agent has opportunities for premium upgrades, and sometimes, the brokerage can take advantage of premium upgrades. Enhanced services in transaction management from Instanet® or zipLogix® will allow you to add in your brokerage forms and add branding to the standard forms used in your area. Cloud CMA and other listing presentation tools can also have your broker branding injected along with documents that speak to your brokerage value proposition. Automated virtual tours from providers like Property Panorama can also be enhanced. Even the customer portal that agents use to send MLS listing alerts in systems like CoreLogic® Matrix or others can have custom-branded pages that promote your brokerage branding.

Call your MLS director to make sure you know of any and all of these opportunities.

Pricing May Change Due to Competition
There is an enormous trend toward consolidation and the reduction in MLS fees that has been impacting markets across the nation. For decades, Associations of REALTORS® have been making profits on the “for-profit” MLS business and paying those as dividends to the “non-profit” Association of REALTORS®. In some cases, the MLS and/or the Association has tucked away millions in reserves. Take a look at how your MLS and Association are operating to determine if you think they’re making the right decisions with pricing and reserves. As a participant in the MLS and a member of the Association, asking for a look at the P&L and/or balance sheet should not be considered irregular. 

Victor Lund is a founding partner of WAV Group, a consulting and research firm that delivers services to brokerages, Associations, MLSs and the technology firms that serve them. Research, case studies and commentary may be found at WAVGroup.com.

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