5 MUST HAVES for your 2017 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 28, 2016

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We’re getting to budget time again and  starting to think about what products and services that MLS’s should offer their members in 2017 and beyond.

MLSs, of course, need to continue to offer their core MLS system, but there are a few other areas to consider as you move into your next budget planning cycle that will help your members.  WAV Group believes you should offer products and services that are designed to address a core need of your subscribers.  No MLS should offer a technology just because it’s exciting or new. They ALL need to address a fundamental challenge or create new opportunities for your subscribers.  There are five key needs that we believe are vital to the success of any MLS organization that need to be considered in 2017.  We have outlined the strategies and the proposed solutions below:

  1. Making Earnest Money Collection Safer
  2. Providing Broader Data Access
  3. Helping your Members Succeed with Technology
  4. Keeping your Subscribers Safe
  5. Making it Easy for Brokers to Leverage MLS data
  1. Making Earnest Money Collection Safer

Our industry has done a good job of bringing the transition process online.  We now have great methods for filling out, signing and distributing disclosures and forms online via a myriad of document management, transaction management and electronic signature solutions. We haven’t yet addressed the final mile though.  Today, agents are still driving all over town to collect and deposit earnest money checks.  There is more risk within this part of the process than any other yet we as an industry have ignored.  Read this interesting case study about how Northstar MLS is addressing this problem very effectively.

  1. Providing Broader Data Access

The core job of the MLS is to provide comprehensive, accurate and up to date real estate information that every REALTOR can leverage in their business.   Brokers continue to be frustrated by their inability to get one regional source of data for their websites, back office tools and mobile solutions.  MLSs will be doing their members a great service by finding ways to get them broader data access beyond JUST their local MLS.  While consolidation is the ultimate way to accomplish this task, many regions just can’t get beyond the politics. In the meantime, you can look at a variety of FREE and paid methods for accomplishing broader data access with data sharing efforts. I recently published a white paper on the topic entitled WAV Group 2016 State of Data Sharing. This series of case studies gives you an update on what other regions are doing to address this important problem.

  1. Helping your Members Succeed with Technology

At every strategic planning session that we facilitate we have a discussion about how the MLS can better educate and prepare its members to use technology more effectively in their business.  We got inspired by this conversation enough that we actually built a portal to accomplish this goal.  We launched RE Technology.com which provides an MLS with a way to provide daily technology training to their members, while also providing an effective method to promote the MLS’ own technology offerings.  The service is available to about 750,000 REALTORS today but there are still MANY markets that have not signed on yet. Contact us at Marilyn@retechnology.com and I’ll be happy to tell you more about it.

  1. Keeping your Subscribers Safe

Even though none of us like to think about it being a REALTOR is a VERY risky business.  An agent is alone and unprotected with strangers ALL the time.  We really believe that every Association and MLS needs to step in 2017 and offer training and technology that will help protect their subscribers in meaningful ways.   We look for  solutions like Real Safe Agent that offer training based on real world scenarios documented from those that have performed crimes against REALTORS. Please find a way to include this important topic in your budget in 2017.

  1. Making it Easy for Brokers to Leverage MLS Data

While there has been a TON of progress made with Real Estate Data Standards in 2016, thanks in large part to NAR’s requirement for every MLS to be Data Dictionary and Web API certified, there are still a bunch of MLSs that are NOT yet certified.  There are also a ton of MLSs that are NOT members of RESO.  By not being involved with RESO, MLSs are missing out on the chance to influence data standards to help address their unique local needs.  Definitely add a RESO membership in your budget for 2017.  By the way the membership now includes all future RESO certifications. By joining RESO you will actually SAVE your organization $750 per year!   Here’s a link to become a member here.

 

If you have any questions about any of these topics feel free to give me a call at 805 748-9118!

 

 

 

 

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