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Do you remember rushing to return a DVD to Blockbuster before you were charged a late fee? Or taking your Kodak film cartridge to a local drugstore for one-hour processing so you could get photos developed immediately? What about shopping at one of Tower Records gigantic stores for the latest vinyl album?

Blockbuster, Kodak and Tower Records were category leaders. Each eventually faced technology-based disruption in their industry. They now offer a valuable lesson for the real estate industry today. When your industry is being disrupted, inaction—or action that comes too late—can result in displacement, or, worse, irrelevance.

Industry Action
Today, hundreds of MLSs and real estate brokerages are battling disruptors hoping to take over our position as the first point of contact for consumers looking to buy or sell property. For too long, third-party advertising websites have co-opted a space that rightfully belongs to real estate professionals.

Many real estate brokers and agents spend thousands of dollars every month to promote their listings with online advertising companies. Agents once believed that they had no choice but to spend their money on third-party sites because there were no other viable options. In response, the Broker Public Portal (BPP at brokerpublicportal.com) was founded by MLS and brokerage firms to create an alternative to expensive third-party advertising portals.

The Broker Public Portal provides consumers the same comprehensive, real-time MLS data used by real estate professionals—the people who list and sell homes. Powered by Homesnap and Homesnap Pro, BPP provides the only nationwide mobile tech that follows industry-defined Fair Display Guidelines. There are no display ads from other agents or brokers on one’s listings, and all inquiries are sent to the listing agent or broker for free.

Broker Public Portal with Homesnap has been a gamechanger. Now available to over 1 million agents through more than 200 MLSs, Homesnap is delivering agents millions of dollars in free leads—leads that are included in their regular MLS membership fees—by exposing agent listings to millions of consumers.

BPP with Homesnap also offers the only app in America that works with every MLS system, including dynaConnections, Paragon and CoreLogic’s Matrix, with Rapattoni and FBS Flexmls soon to follow.

However, even though over 1 million agents are benefiting from the free leads generated from No. 1-rated search app Homesnap, hundreds of MLSs are still sitting on the sidelines and not signing up for this service that will reshape the consumer search landscape.

Is Inaction Fueling Your Own Disruption?
The danger is real. When an industry faces technology disruption, doing nothing or waiting to see what happens before you act has negative consequences. History has taught us that. Just ask the folks who used to run Blockbuster, Kodak and Tower Records.

It’s time for every MLS and every broker who serves on an MLS board to take action to partner with the Broker Public Portal. This is about the future of our industry; inaction is not an option. We’re in this together. BPP with Homesnap is our industry initiative, and that means we’re all part of the BPP movement. It’s time for all of us to step up. MLSs and brokerages cannot sit on the sidelines and watch. If your MLS doesn’t offer BPP with Homesnap, let them hear your voice today. Contact your MLS leadership directly to let them know that the BPP is vital to their future.

Gurtej Sodhi is chief information & operations officer, corporate EVP at The Crye-Leike Group of Companies Inc., one of the largest real estate/mortgage banking/insurance/title firms in the U.S. with 150-plus offices that conducted 30,000-plus transactions resulting in annual sales volume exceeding $6.5 billion in 2018. Crye-Leike’s footprint extends across nine states with participation in over 40 MLSs. For more information, please visit www.brokerpublicportal.com or www.homesnap.com/bpp.