As always there is chatter in our industry about more MLS consolidation. After Ann Bailey’s proclamation that there should only be 12 MLSs in the United States at CMLS last year, I often get asked how many MLSs should we have? Should we go for s statewide MLS?
While it is logical in many markets to think about a statewide MLS or even multi-state MLS the politics and emotion surrounding a program like that is daunting. The chances of getting 50 statewide MLSs is slim to none in the foreseeable future in my opinion.
There IS a great way for MLSs to collaborate at the statewide or regional level, however, that is a LOT easier to achieve and yet VERY meaningful.
There are several states now that are coming together to create statewide MLS Consumer-facing sites. The Houston Association of REALTORS has led an effort in Texas and now offers Homes and Rentals.com with listings from all corners of the state of Texas. HAR.com also invites all Texas agents to complete their profile on the site FREE too. The profiles are full-bodied including a link to agent ratings, current listings, past sales, languages spoken and a whole bunch more.
New Mexico is in the game now too. They recently launched a really attractive site for their region called NewMexicoHomeSearch.com. In addition to a robust property search, the site also offers local community content provided by New Mexico True a statewide tourism campaign. Through a partnership with Listrac, agents will be able to share the listing exposure and leads generated from the site FREE of charge to their clients too.
What’s in it for YOUR MLS?
So, what’s the motivation for these sites and how it can work for you in your market?
FREE Leads and Listing Exposure
Agents that are paying for lead generation on other third party sites are spending over $500 per month on average. What better way to build brand loyalty than to provide more than $6000 worth of value every year!
Meet Core Standards Requirements
Associations are charged with ever increasing performance requirements through Core Standards. They are the hook to do the following:
- Engage Consumers in a Meaningful Way
- Promote the value of the REALTOR®
- Promote the value of homeownership
- Provide a method for Consumer Advocacy and engagement in important political issues
Statewide consumer sites can be designed to address all of these objectives for every association in the state!
There is nothing more valuable to an agent and their client than listing exposure, leads and interested buyers. Through a partnership with Listtrac MLSs can provide their agents with a way to take credit for Leads FREE of charge.
Satisfy Consumer’s interest in REALTOR-supplied information
Consumers CLEARLY prefer information provided by REALTORS® and NOT third parties. Several studies conducted by WAV Group have confirmed that MLS Consumer Websites are VERY valuable, especially for more serious home buyers and sellers. Why not work together with REALTORS all over the state to provide this coveted data to potential home buyers and sellers. Statewide property search sites in partnership with Listtrac can provide agents with a valuable way to promote the listing exposure and leads they are generating for their clients without spending a DIME!
Promote real estate statewide
The bottom line there is strength in numbers. A site populated with a large number of constantly updated new listings will be more optimized and generate better search engine placement. In essence, the more the merrier! Everybody wins when all of the listings in the state are promoted in one place!
Are there unintended consequences?
The naysayers of a statewide consumer site search site often tell me that they believe these sites are simply a step to a statewide MLS. While I can see why that might be a logical conclusion, to date, NONE of the statewide initiatives have led to statewide MLS efforts. The Associations that have stepped up to lead these efforts have not attempted to take over their neighbors. These sites have simply helped REALTORS get more eyeballs on their listings and their profiles so they could sell more real estate.
I believe 2017 is the breakout year when we’re going to see tons of new ideas get approved, tested and launched! I hope your state can be counted among some of these exciting new ideas!