The MLS 2020 Agenda Overview

by Victor Lund on September 7, 2017

MLS 2020 Agenda

Ahead of CMLS, “The MLS RoundTable” published the MLS 2020 Agenda. It is a paper that provides a series of one-page perspectives from industry executives about the Future of the MLS (hat tip to Saul Klein who I give credit for coining the term). It is not clear how the people were chosen to opine on the agenda for MLS. Although there are a solid number of enlightened MLS thinkers in the report, there are many other great MLS executives that are conspicuous by their absence. The report is a good primer for the conference. The Association Problem (and Governance) There is some conversation about the relationship between the Associations of REALTORS® that own MLSs and the operations of the MLS itself. Much of this has to do with Governance. Bad governance kills great companies every time. There is an assertion that the association-based decision-making model is disastrous for the MLS – but there is no description about how the decision-making fails. Plenty of Associations have excellent decision-making models. I look forward to hearing more about what bad association decision-making models are. I agree with the premise that Associations can be troublesome for MLSs, but on different grounds. Associations profit from the MLS – and that is the biggest retardant of all if they are not providing any value to the MLS.  Associations should not be able to mark up MLS services 100% for doing billing.  If they are providing training and support, they need to be held accountable for their deliverables, required to have the right equipment for managing support, etc. I am just completing a project for a large firm who was being denied sales data in 12 markets – all Association managed MLSs with fewer than 500 subscribers. For most of them, a phone call or two cleared up the misunderstanding. The last 4 have been an issue. Two of them do not have full time staff running the MLS or the Association. I had to chase down the agent who was the president, educate them on the MLS policy that they have in place (yes, their rules clearly allow for sold data), and help them connect with their MLS vendor to add sold data to the feed (he did not know who to contact or their phone number). As it turns out, our broker client will be the first in those markets to have a sold […]


Broker Public Portal Update Webinar

by Victor Lund on August 17, 2017

As part of our commitment to keeping CMLS members informed about industry initiatives, we want you to know there will be an upcoming webinar for the Broker Public Portal. By sharing and encouraging awareness, CMLS supports unified leadership, open communication, and market knowledge within the industry. All The Questions You’ve Wanted To Ask About The Broker Public Portal, Answered Most people have heard about the Broker Public Portal and have questions about it. This webinar will allow you to ask your own questions and answer some common questions: What is the BPP? What is the relationship between the BPP and Homesnap? How much does it cost to join the BPP? What are the benefits of the BPP for MLSs, brokers and agents? Can the BPP actually compete with the large portals? How is listing data shared with consumers and agents in the BPP? At 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 24, CMLS will host a time for the Broker Public Portal to answer member questions. Denee Evans, CEO of CMLS, will join the conversation with Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES; Stephanie Hill, MLS director of GLVAR; and Merle Whitehead, chairman of the board, Broker Public Portal. ​If you have any questions for the panelists please email them to We will compile a list and get them over to the panelists prior to the webinar so they may be addressed. Be sure to register HERE!


Enormous Change is Happening Around Us Everyday

by Victor Lund on July 24, 2017

Change Switch

Enormous change is happening around us everyday. I am sure that you would all agree that this change is likely to accelerate in the second half of 2017 and beyond. I believe strongly in our WAVes of Change agenda. We are committed to the support of our clients who are going through transformation journeys to redefine their purpose and strategy. We passionately believe that people and company culture are the foundation of competitive differentiation, and that is the highest responsibility for the leadership of your company. But we also believe in outside perspective, and the learning that comes from understanding the best practices developed by other companies. WAVes of Change This program, now in its second year, puts clients at the center of our business strategy and operational consulting. The quarterly meetings are the tuning fork for dozens of MLSs and REALTOR® Association Boards of Directors. Many of our clients depend on WAVes of Change as a resource to stay current with the unprecedented evolution that is happening as MLSs, Associations, Brokers, Agents, Governments, and Consumers endeavor to improve property transactions. Indeed, change happens. Thankfully change is also the biggest driver of new opportunities. But it also simulates new challenges for today’s leaders. Opportunity for Growth WAV Group has been working with a number of enterprise clients around building an Expansion Playbook and audit to insure that growth companies are addressing the right markets with the correct message and tools for supporting their success. The effects have been impressive to behold, as clients have explored their road-maps to pave new roads of transformation both internally and externally. Our industry is full of extraordinary leaders who are already hard at work accelerating change, revitalizing their business, and re-imagining how their companies can advance. Marilyn calls it “marching purposefully forward.” So many of our clients are the most admired in our industry, and we are humbled to play a role in their success. Please join us on our next WAVes of Change by emailing Camilla to enroll. The next episode will have a special edition recapping Inman San Francisco and the CMLS Conference, discussing the efforts of disrupters who have grand plans to change the way real estate happens.

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Highlights and Lowlights at NAR Midyear

by Kevin Hawkins on May 25, 2017

NAR Brochure

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is a mouthful, so we all just call it NAR Midyear. This one was a scorcher: both inside, as Upstream was the hot topic, and outside, as the temperatures were in the 90s in mid-May and the humidity made me remember why everyone leaves D.C. in August (except the tourists). CMLS Brings it to the Table For me, this was the highlight of the conference and it really isn’t even officially part of Midyear. It’s a tangential track that the Council of Multiple Listing Services hosted at American University, about 15 minutes north of the Marriott and Omni. The setting was in a meeting room inside its new Innovations building at AU that was so new, it wasn’t even on GPS, so finding it was a challenge for Uber and Taxi drivers. The content was stellar. Brian Boero of 1000watt introduced this clever, simple slogan to define what an MLS is with “Making the Market Work.” Brian did give me my favorite quote of the day: “No other group of 1 million people could be more different than REALTORS®.,” he said. Marilyn Wilson, our founding partner at WAV Group was tasked at presenting the results of the MLS Benchmarking survey that WAV Group conducted for CMLS. The benchmarking survey sampled the behavior of more than 200 MLSs representing over 1 MillionREALTORS®. There are certainly opportunities for improvement and CMLS best practices education leads the way. Fewer than 1 in 5 MLSs do an annual technology review Fewer than 1 in 3 have a marketing program, yet 2 in 3 say they promote products regularly Less than half measure customer satisfaction 40% use customer satisfaction benchmarks Fewer than 50% track calls Only 40% require board training for understanding financials 58% have no written succession plan Throughout the day, some of the best minds of the MLS industry shared their thoughts and visions, candidly, including Lauren Hansen (consolidation), David Charron (consolidation), Kathy Condon(broker engagement) and Chris Carrillo (The Grid). I loved what David observed: what prevents consolidation is a clashing of cultures. How true! It was at lunch that Upstream’s Alex Lange made the announcement that was heard around the industry almost immediately, creating an instant debate among PR people about whether the word “pivot” should have been used – or not. Upstream will now integrate with MLSs like a data share – allowing brokers a […]


LIBOR and BNAR getting serious about REALTOR(R) safety

by Marilyn Wilson on May 16, 2017

Did you know that nearly 1/3 of REALTORS(R) STAY in situations where they feel unsafe as they strive to make a sale.   Nearly 4 in 5  do NOT ask for Identification/Verification before meeting a client.  Just about everyone (88%) of agents are alone when showing a home to new prospect. Bottomline, many agents put themselves at risk REGULARLY.   While real estate is an amazing industry that provides exciting career opportunities to nearly 2 million people every year, it’s a job that deals with the public.  By definition, it puts agents at risk. The Long Island Board of REALTORS® and the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® have recognized these issues and are trying to support agents to help them stay safe.  Today they have announced a partnership with Real Safe Agent to provide safety training and technology. Read the Press Release Below:  Austin, TX, May 16, 2017:  The Long Island Board of REALTORS® and the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® are joining the growing list of Multiple Listing Services and REALTOR® associations deploying the Real Safe Agent system, which includes the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service and the Fort Smith Board of REALTORS®. “Staying safe means preventing a crime, not reacting to one.  So, when I presented the Real Safe Agent system to my BOARD, we knew we needed to purchase the system for our members”, stated Dave Legaz, President of LIBOR.  “As a former NYPD Sergeant, it’s clear to me that Real Safe Agent understands both REALTOR® and criminals; and allows the agents to prevent a crime without jeopardizing a sale.” BNAR’s CEO John Leonardi, a retired US ARMY Lieutenant Colonel and 25-year industry veteran as an MLS and REALTOR® Association executive said, “Real Safe Agent is one of the most innovative products I’ve seen, it’s rare that something comes along that changes a paradigm in our industry and Real Safe Agent completely changes how REALTOR® safety is approached.”  The Real Safe Agent system differs from traditional safety products in that it’s based in behavioral science and uses the real estate community to prevent the behavior patterns of predators from bearing fruit for the predator, as well as denying the predator the environment needed to commit the crime.  Carl Carter, Founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation and son of murdered real estate agent Beverly Carter commented, “I think the Real Safe Agent system is the real answer for the industry, […]


We would like to share that the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is accepting applications for its newly created Manager, Multiple Listing Service position.We are looking forward to working with this individual and believe this role will help to grow our cooperative relationship, inform policy development, and keep the MLS perspective part of the discussions.Know the perfect candidate? Help identify the individual that will maximize the potential of this position by passing along this information. A complete job description can be found below along with the link to the NAR job portal where candidates can apply.   Position: Manager, Multiple Listing Service Reports To: Vice President, Board Policy and Programs Division: Board Policy Position Summary: Provide support to NAR members, REALTOR®-association owned MLSs, and the MLS industry. Candidates should have experience working for an MLS and strong knowledge of the technical and administrative MLS operations. Major Duties and Responsibilities (Not all-inclusive): Actively connect with MLSs and REALTOR® associations, the Council of Multiple Listing Services, and the Real Estate Standards Organization by attending relevant meetings and cultivating relationships with the organizations’ leadership and executives. Track and issue reports on progress. Participate in strategic creation of educational and operational resources supporting REALTOR® association MLSs. Assist NAR MLS Committee Staff Executive in preparation of committee and advisory board meetings. Implement projects arising from NAR’s MLS committee and NAR’s collaboration with CMLS. Research, identify, analyze, and keep current on developments and events effecting MLS operations. Make presentations and help prepare other informational material as necessary. Work on other departmental projects as needed. Experience and skills: B.A./B.S. preferred 2-7 years of working in Operations at an MLS Knowledge of the organization and rules for REALTOR® associations and MLSs Tech savvy Knowledge of/participation in RESO is a bonus Self-motivated Strong written and verbal communication skills Effective and persuasive relationship building skills Strong problem solving and analytical skills Outstanding interpersonal skills Positive attitude Travel up to 5 to 10 trips per year Please find the link to the NAR job portal where candidates can upload a resume:


Upstream Update From CMLS

by Victor Lund on April 12, 2016

CMLS gets the scoop on this latest UpstreamRE release. Kathy Condon of CMLS was able to connect with UpstreamRE spokesperson Craig Cheatham to catch up on the progress made on the development side in the first three months of the year since the vendor agreement was signed. As a reminder, CMLS is hosting a “bring it to the table” meeting on Tuesday, May the 10th in Washtington D.C. For those of you attending the NAR Midyear meetings – you may want to fly in a day early for this meeting. It’s one of the best ways to get a 360 degree review of all of the presessing issues in the world of MLS. It sells out fast – so visit the Council of MLS website today to reserve your spot From The CMLS President……. Shortly after the Project Upstream concept was first revealed last year, CMLS promised to keep you informed about the status of this initiative and seek collaboration with the developers in order to share member knowledge and experience. I am pleased to report that our organization has met these objectives. CMLS Past President Shelley Specchio, CEO of Northern Nevada Regional MLS, has been invited to serve on the Technology Work Group that monitors the development of Upstream. Her involvement will play a critical role in ensuring the MLS industry has a voice in the development of this software and provide an early opportunity to review it in an effort to develop best practices and member standards upon its adoption. Her work will not be alone. According to the first Upstream Update that was sent exclusively to CMLS from Upstream officially, some brokers are participating in initial testing along with their MLS organizations. Their involvement will incorporate MLS business rules into the system. Upstream has also committed to provide us with regular updates. While this represents phenomenal progress in developing a collaborative relationship with Upstream, it is important to note that CMLS has still not taken a positon, nor have we attempted to predict the potential impact of this project on MLSs and the industry at large. It is still too early to do any of these things. Our commitment remains consistent in supporting innovations that improve the ability of our members to better serve their constituents by ensuring an orderly marketplace with cooperation and compensation among brokers. We will continue to explore innovations that provide for the […]


Larson Skinner founder named to industry hall of fame

by Victor Lund on October 22, 2015

Minneapolis, October 19, 2015: Brian N. Larson was inducted into the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) Hall of Fame at the CMLS Conference in Kansas City on October 8, 2015. According to CMLS, “The honor is a means of recognizing and acknowledging a lifetime of leadership, energy, and intellect that improves and elevates the real estate multiple listing service industry.” During its 58-year history, CMLS has been the trade association of the MLS industry in North America, now supporting 178 member organizations that serve more than one million subscribers. Larson is the fourth leader to be inducted into CMLS’s Hall of Fame. “To many of us, Brian has been a mentor, a counselor, a contributor, a confidant, an organizer, a director, an advocate, a leader, and a friend,” said Shelley Specchio, president of CMLS and CEO of Northern Nevada Regional MLS. “He has made enormous contributions to the MLS Industry, including the refinement and promotion of IDX or Broker Reciprocity, a national policy that empowers brokers to grant listing display rights to each other for advertising on the Internet.” Larson is “of counsel” to Larson Skinner PLLC, the law firm he founded more than 13 years ago. He has been an attorney and business adviser with a national reputation for serving the real estate vertical. The firm is pre-eminent among those serving real estate multiple listing services and trade associations. Under Larson’s leadership, it focused on strategic legal advice, especially relating to collaborations of MLSs, including copyrights, data sharing, the formation of new regional MLSs, and national collaborations like the MLS Domains Association. As a lawyer, Larson has focused much of his work on intellectual property, e-commerce, databases, web branding issues, the real estate industry, and rule making for online communities. Larson left his position as managing member of Larson Skinner to take up an appointment as assistant professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in August 2015. There he researches rhetoric and argumentation, especially in legal and professional communication, and teaches technical and professional communication. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Larson’s induction into the CMLS Hall of Fame was preceded by those of Pat Bybee, Jeannette Biddle, and Peter Shuttleworth. The honor recognizes the contribution of the inductee to CMLS and the MLS industry at the close or culmination of the inductee’s career in […]


Can You Predict Housing Trends Better than NAR?

by Victor Lund on September 30, 2015

The Council of Multiple Listing Services has long discussed the idea of being the source of homes sales data, but has never acted on this. So, ahead of the CMLS2015 conference, we’re conducting an experiment to see how successful we might be if we gather that information direct from agents, brokers, and MLSs. How to Participate Many of you are already compiling this housing data. If you could copy us when you send your local data to NAR, that would be helpful. Alternatively, we’ve created a brief survey that asks about pricing, closings, and market conditions in your local area. Please take just five minutes to fill it out and submit it. We will publish the results of the poll next week and have it available for discussion at CMLS. Let’s see if we can predict the numbers of the NAR report–before the NAR report comes out. Then, following the release of NAR’s data, we’ll compare your answers to the official report. Ready to participate? Take the housing trends poll now!


Midyear Recap: CMLS Brings It to the Table

by Victor Lund on May 12, 2015

CMLS is an acronym for the Council of MLS. It is an organization that allows MLSs to share best practices in their pursuit of delighting the brokers and agents that subscribe to MLS services. A few years ago, they began the successful practice of having a primer conference the Tuesday before the NAR Midyear Legislative meetings. This year’s meetings were held at the City Club of Washington D.C. with 130 in attendance. Diamond sponsors for the event included MLS vendors Black Knight Financial and CoreLogic. They were joined by,,, and, all of whom overtly recognize and support the role of the MLS in delivering data to their publications. Agenda: RESO Data Dictionary Certification, 1.5 hours. Certified Best Practices, 1.5 Hours. RESO Data Dictionary Certification WAV Group has written pretty extensively on the topic of RESO Data Dictionary Certification. CRMLS CEO, Art Carter, introduced five panelists, each of whom represent MLSs using different vendors: Sean Murphy, TARMLS (FBS Data) Mike Cotrill, CTAR/NORES (CoreLogic) Lauren Hansen, IRES (self-developed MLS system) Dave Howe, MetroList (Rapattoni) Greg Manship, Intermountain MLS (Black Knight) There is an assumption that the MLS vendor is going to take care of MLS certification for their customers. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of this work must be done by Jan. 1, 2016. You must be certified! Your server must go through a certification process before the end of the year. Why Data Standards? Data Standards are the set of rules that must be followed to ensure compatibility and interoperability between all of the different parties in a real estate transaction. It is incumbent on MLSs and brokers to join RESO to stay informed of these important standards. According to Jeremy Crawford, CEO of RESO, “the beauty of RESO standards is that data feeds in every MLS will be identical so there is no engineering required by application developers to enter different MLS markets.” Step 1 – Contact your vendor’s RETS implementation team. RETS is “real estate transaction standard.” It is a structured data format that allows vendors to access MLS data for the purpose of serving technology applications for use by agents and brokers. Keynote: MLSs should contact their vendor ASAP.  Step 2 – Data mapping. Every MLS has a unique set of fields. Mapping is a process of aligning MLS data fields to the Data Dictionary standard. The standard not only names […]


Fear of Agent Ratings

by Victor Lund on November 25, 2013

The real estate industry seems to want to avoid judgments and ratings of any and all kinds. It may be for good reason, or it may be for fear. The reality is that agents resist ratings for fear and reason. Most people react to change with emotion and justify that emotion with logic. Fear According to the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat that causes entities to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. In short, fear is the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it (also known as the fight-or-flight response) but in extreme cases of fear, a freeze or paralysis response is possible. As we break down the definition of fear, there are a number of keywords like “perceived,” “pull back,” “hide,” “basic survival,” “threat stimulus,” “fight-or flight response,” and “paralysis.” These are all very deeply rooted primary drivers of the human condition. It will take a revolution to overcome this fear, and I think the groundswell of that revolution may have already begun. Yelp, Zillow, California Association of REALTORS®, National Association of REALTORS®, countless technology firms, and countless MLSs have all dabbled in agent ratings. To be clear, consumers of real estate services demand ratings as part of their selection process. Real estate agents are fearful of the ratings because they may or may not be true depictions of the expected services delivered by an agent. Like it or not, agents will be rated. The real question for our industry is who will you trust to rate you? Who will consumers trust? Trust Back to Wikipedia, Trust is when one party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee). The trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome… but develops expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired. Who should agents Trust? I have always believed that the administration of programs like agent ratings should be local – like the local MLS or Association of REALTORS®. These entities are there to develop structure for the agent […]


RE Technology Buying Guide

by Victor Lund on August 21, 2013

RE Technology published a Technology Buyers guide. Brokers, Associations, and MLS are welcome to pass it along to agents.  2013 Technology Guide! The 2013 Technology Guide provides information on leading technology companies and products, and is designed to assist real estate professionals in selecting the best technology solutions for their businesses. The guide is available in two formats–as a PDF for download and as a web based flip book. The web version offers extra functionality by giving users the option to create and download a custom version of the guide containing only the products that interest them most. Guide readers can select products from categories including CRMs, iPad, document and transaction management, eSignatures, lead generation, MLS systems and eCommerce, mobile, online marketing, and more. Use this guide to help schedule meetings for CMLS and NAR Annual! We’ve also written a series of articles to supplement the Technology Guide for those who need help getting started down the path to new technology! Check the links out below: Choosing a Back Office Solution Choosing an iPad App Choosing an IDX/VOW Choosing an Ad Network Choosing an Electronic Signature Solution Choosing a Document and Transaction Managment Solution



PHOENIX—According to sources currently seated in rows 14 through 18 aboard flight 763, two middle-aged REALTORS® are really hitting it off during the trip to Inman in New York. Using terms like “AVM” and “CMA,” the slightly overweight, average-looking men are reportedly engaged in a detailed discussion about overwhelmingly exciting work-related topics and, sources said, seem to be getting along great. “They got to talking as soon as we boarded, and you could tell they just clicked right away,” said 31-year-old Camille Catteano of 16B, adding that one of the men, upon looking up from his REALTOR Magazine™, immediately recognized the Keller Williams™ logo on the polo shirt of the man sitting down in the next seat. “Since then, they’ve been going on and on about Zestimates, Lead Generation, RPR, and commission splits.” I mean, just listen to them,” Catteano continued. “You’d think they were old pals. But they just met and just happen to both be in real estate.” Nearby passengers confirmed that the men, both wearing khaki pants with cell phones clipped to their belts, began the conversation by exchanging information about their respective listings and recent transactions. Reports indicated they then began to discuss various methods for “social networking” and “Search Engine Optimization” which appear to occupy a sizable portion of the day-to-day work in their profession. “I tuned them out for 30 minutes or so while listening to music, but when I took my headphones off, they were still going strong, chatting about some trade show they’ve both attended in Orlando,” said Marco Cruz, who occupies the row’s window seat, adding that the two joked about how difficult it was to get between meetings at all of the hotels around the convention center. “Then they got into how IDX policy standards have changed over the years and how listing syndication is really broken across the board, and at that point I dozed off.” Although sources reported a brief lull in the conversation when both men took out their laptops and began typing blog posts. The discussion is said to have picked up again after one of the men complained about his company’s efforts to write a blog, prompting both individuals to express their frustration that “its every agent for himself now” and “no one has offices with doors anymore.” “When I came around to their row with refreshments, they were so engrossed in conversation, talking about […]


Larson Sobotka selected as general counsel for CMLS

by Victor Lund on December 26, 2012

larson sobodka logo

Minneapolis, December 26, 2012: The Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) announced that it has selected the law firm of Larson/Sobotka, PLLC, as its general counsel. Larson/Sobotka, led by managing member Brian N. Larson, brings substantial experience in MLS matters to the service of CMLS, the leading association representing multiple listing services in North America. “We are pleased to assist an important leader in the real estate industry,” said Larson, who was chief staff officer of an MLS for nearly a decade and has served MLSs as outside counsel for more than a decade. “We have a unique set of skills and experiences,” he continued. “In addition to my own experience in the industry, other attorneys here offer unique skill sets: Elizabeth Sobotka has worked on major collaborations of MLSs, including data sharing and merger efforts; and Mitchell Skinner is our lead on MLS contracts and data licensing deals.” Larson said he expects the unique experience of his firm to bring great value to the trade association. Cathy Holefelder, 2013 president of CMLS and SVP of Heartland MLS, said “We are excited to have the Larson/Sobotka expertise working in conjunction with CMLS and look forward to this working relationship.” About CMLS: CMLS was formed in 1957, as the Northwest Council of MLS. The three founding members of Northwest Council recognized the need to share ideas, service models and management concepts.  The brainstorm of these MLS leaders evolved into a volunteer-led organization with a membership that stretches across all of North America. CMLS’ mission is to successfully act as the premier forum and resource for Multiple Listing Service organizations. CMLS’ goal is to provide facilitation of practical information and cutting edge management ideas to empower members (and their constituents) to meet the challenges of changing technology, legal issues, and organizational structures. About Larson/Sobotka: Larson/Sobotka PLLC is a law firm based in Minneapolis that focuses its practice on e-commerce, databases, web branding issues, and rule-making for online communities. The firm has garnered praise from clients for delivering legal advice seasoned by years of business experience; it focuses on achieving practical results while keeping legal expenses in check. The firm’s clients include many prominent real estate trade associations, multiple listing services, and brokerage firms. Check out the firm’s MLS/association-related blog at


CMLS brainstorms new approach for MLS Rules

by Victor Lund on November 12, 2012

CMLS Brings It To The Table

The CMLS meetings (Council of MLS) were held on Wednesday, November 7th. There were numerous presentations but one in particular seemed to engage the Nation’s leading MLS executives in attendance – ReThink MLS. The question before the panel was “What If We Started from Scratch?” As we all know, MLS rules (including Broker Reciprocity) provides structure for how brokers and agents will behave when sharing listings with one another: Two problems have arisen since these rules were first crafted more than a dozen years ago. The MLS rules have become cumbersome in length and somewhat unwieldy to manage and enforce. Technology is advancing at a faster pace than the development of the rules. As the title to this article would suggest, the purpose of the session was to brainstorm, and contemplate ideas that might frame a more perfect union. It is upon this premise that Art Carter, CEO of America’s largest MLS – CRMLS proposed a thesis framed like a constitution or list of commandments. Disclaimer: Mr. Carter had feedback from his panelists and others on the creation of this list – so do not be alarmed – it is merely a thesis to promote discussion. The notion for discussion is that by creating a one page set of rules that outline the spirit of cooperation within the MLS – life may improve. You shall compensate other Brokers within the MLS if they bring a ready, willing and able buyer to your seller. You shall present offers in a timely manner to your seller and pay the compensation as published in the service if an agreement is reached regarding the sale of the property. You shall not place your listings in other places prior to your home MLS and this must be done within two days of getting the listing, unless your seller designates in writing otherwise. You shall not publish the listings of other Brokers via the Internet unless they have given approval and the listing brokerage is given credit for the listing on your website. Only fields that the Service allows for publication can be shown on the Internet unless the Brokerage operates as a virtual office website, then the Broker must show electronic evidence of a relationship with the viewing consumer. Remember the rule of cooperation, when placing a listing in the service, you are agreeing to help other brokers bring a ready, willing and able buyer […]

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Webinar: WAV Group Midyear Update

by Marilyn Wilson on May 25, 2012

Looking for an easy way to provide your Board with an update on important industry trends and programs?  Don’t miss out on the big news that came out of the National Association of REALTORS® Midyear conference. The WAV Group team was on the spot in Washington, D.C., and they have prepared a webinar that shares all the must-know details, as well as analysis of the issues that are going to shape the future of your business and our industry. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. The cost is $149. In an information-packed hour, all of the WAV Group partners – Michael Audet Victor Lund, and Marilyn Wilson, will discuss the following: Economic update: Macroeconomic factors that may impact the real estate industry in 2013 NAR issues:  Get the latest on IDX rules changes and other MLS policy issues CMLS Update:  Learn all about CMLS’ new SourceMLS initiative Broker issues: Learn about the hot topics being discussed by large brokers Trends in listing syndication and how some leading brokers are adapting to increase the online marketing effectiveness Technology trends:  What’s hot for agents, brokers and MLSs Non-Dues Revenue:   How can you create a new source of income to offset membership losses MLS system trends: An overview of new changes occurring on all of today’s leading MLS system platforms Time has also been set-aside for a question-and-answer period. You will have ample opportunity to have your questions answered by industry experts. Take advantage this opportunity to absorb the key points of the NAR Midyear conference distilled into a single session! To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here.

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NAR Honors David Charron as Top Industry Leader

by Victor Lund on May 22, 2012

David Charron

Charron is a 2012 Inductee to the National Association of REALTORS® Dr. Almon R. (Bud) Smith, AE Leadership Society  Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MRIS) today announced that its President and CEO David Charron has been named to the National Association of REALTORS® Dr. Almon R. (Bud) Smith, RCE, AE Leadership Society (Smith Society) – one of the real estate industry’s most coveted awards for excellence in industry and professional leadership. Charron, along with the other 2012 winners, will be awarded the honor today at the NAR Midyear Conference in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the Smith Society is to recognize those who excel in the association management profession by demonstrating uncommon leadership, a willingness to help others, and acceptance of a responsibility to constantly improve themselves. Every year, NAR receives nominations for leaders from across the United States and recipients of the 2012 AE Leadership Society were named by the Association Executives Committee Recommendations and Recognition Subcommittee. “All of us on the Committee felt that David was absolutely a perfect example of someone who epitomizes the meaning of the Smith Society,” said NAR’s Recommendations and Recognition Committee Chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS®, Diane Ruggiero. “David was an easy choice for us because of his progressive thinking and incredible contributions to the advancement of the industry and profession.” David Charron’s induction is a significant milestone since it’s the first time since 1998 that an MLS Executive has been named to the Smith Society. With this induction, Charron joins the likes of over 100 influential real estate leaders who make up the Smith Society. “Being inducted to the Smith Society is a true honor especially since the selection Committee is comprised of my fellow industry executives,” said Charron. “I know Bud Smith personally and he truly encompasses the leadership qualities I continue to aspire to.” As a national expert in residential real estate, executive leadership and industry collaboration, David Charron has been recognized by Inman News for the 6th consecutive year as one of the “Most Influential People in Real Estate.” In addition, he has earned recognition as one of the “Top Ten Newsmakers” by the Swanepoel Trends Report. He serves as Chairman of the MRIS Investment Committee, was a founding member of the COVE Group, served as a Board member of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, and was a member of the NAR MLS Policy Committee. […]


A Case of Concern Embedded Search and Display

by Victor Lund on May 14, 2012


There is some degree of discussion about the notion that the IDX rules may be expanded to support Embedded Search and Display on websites or displays not under the apparent control of the broker. I believe that this is too risky, too hard to control, and beyond the bounds of IDX as currently discussed. New thinking is needed and proposed herein. The foundation of new thinking is that MLSs may approve certain websites for embeddable display as a matter of local rule. Embedded Search and Display Defined Many real estate technology thinkers have discussed the suggestion of Embedded Search and Display. An embedded search and display is a technology solution that puts an application in a container, like an iFrame. Matt Cohen of Clareity Consulting has described the notion of an embedded search and display as a solution to putting listings on sites like Facebook. Cohen proposes that a Broker or Agent may embed an IDX compliant solution under their actual control on a site not under the Displaying Broker’s apparent control. Cohen suggests that this method is prudent to address the interest our industry recognizes for publishing listings on social media sites, like Facebook. Consultant and legal counselor Brian Larson recognizes that if an Embedded Search and Display were on Facebook, the IDX data would be in a tidy container under the broker’s control, not published on the Facebook website. This is a great thesis. This embeddable IDX display would solve the concern about a broker sending the IDX data to a third party, which is prohibited in the IDX rules. Here, Larson makes an important distinction that honors a core covenant of participant control outlined in todays IDX rules. Namely, if the embedded display is under the control of the broker and the data is not being provided to a third party, the data it is safe even when presented on a website not under the control of the IDX participant. Although this construct would keep the data safe, it does not go far enough. The genesis of intent in the IDX rules, in not allowing an IDX participant to provide data to a third party, was somewhat designed to address the notion that a broker may not “resell data,” or otherwise benefit from the data set at the expense other participant beyond usage on their own consumer website. While I do not believe that an embedded display […]


Set your plans now for CMLS

by Victor Lund on April 8, 2012

This year, the most exciting and fulfilling conference will again be the CMLS by the Council of MLS. It is a conference like no other, dedicated fully to excellence in providing Multiple Listing Services to real estate professionals. This year, the CMLS conference will be in one of America’s greatest cities – Boston! Our hostess for the event will be Kathy Condon and her team at MLS Property Information Network or MLSPIN. Men have hosted the conference the past couple of years and done a respectable job, but we all know that women rock in organizational skills. Thanks to Kathy, this year will be outstanding! (Trivia – who was the last female MLS executive to host CMLS and where is she now?) Here are a couple of details Conference Dates: September 26th-28 Location: Sheraton Boston Hotel Discount Registration Cut Off: $495 before June 15th, $695 after June 15th – book early. This conference will sell out as it always does – so whip out that credit card and reserve your spot today. I am not kidding. Sponsorship: Because of the venue, there are fewer booths this year. If you are a CMLS member, you get first crack at sponsorship opportunities. Exhibitors from last year get first right of refusal, followed by new sponsors. If you are a vendor, I suggest that you contact Melissa Lindberg at MLS PIN today – or by phone at 508-845-1011 x7121. Like registration, the sponsorships sell out quickly. If this is part of your marketing plan for 2012 – you better contact Melissa Lindberg today. She will not be able to accommodate you once it sells out – no matter who you are or how hard she tries. Space is limited. Note: There is about a 15% discount for sponsors who reserve and pay early – get on that. Sponsorships range from $3100 to $15,000. LPS MLS Group has already committed to the Title Sponsorship with a contribution of  $20,700 (Thanks LPS!). Here is a hint. Final hint: If you want to assure yourself a ticket to the conference or a sponsorship spot – you may want to start by joining CMLS ($300) today, or renewing your membership if you have not done that already.


Top MLS trends for 2012

by Victor Lund on March 1, 2012

WAV Group is among the ranks of consulting and research firms dedicated to the success of the Nation’s MLSs. Given the company’s involvement at the strategic planning level, there are several developing themes being nurtured.     The top six trends are: Listing Syndication Premium Service Offerings MLS Consumer Websites Online Signatures Data Licensing Data Sharing


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