Courageous, Unselfish, Forward Thinking, Thoughtful – those are the adjectives that Association shareholders, brokers and agents are using to describe the merger of Metropolitan Regional MLS and Trend MLS. In an announcement today, the firms announced that they are now offering a combined data feed. This means that any technology service provider can get one data feed from both markets, reducing the costs associated with managing multiple feeds and normalizing data. Unified Feed is Designed for Participant Brokers Rockville, MD and King of Prussia, PA – Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (“MRIS”) and The Delaware Valley Real Estate Information Network, Inc. (“TREND”) announce their intention to create a content feed of listing information from both multiple listing services (MLSs). The new combined feed will be available to brokers who participate in both MLSs, and can be used for IDX, broker back office and other data needs. “When brokerages operate across multiple marketplaces, they must aggregate information from multiple data feeds, apply the appropriate display rules for each MLS, and pay redundant technology costs, all in order to have a unified IDX search on their own websites or improve brokerage operations,” said Sandra Troccoli, Director of Information Technology & Website Services for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Homesale Realty. “This is a new opportunity that will reduce technology costs and cumbersome management of duplicate feeds. It highlights the importance of MLS consolidation from a technology standpoint.” Last fall, MRIS and TREND announced their intention to consolidate their MLSs to create the next era of MLS that will preserve compensation and cooperation, promote the expansion of an orderly and efficient marketplace and provide brokerage firms greater control of and access to their listing content. MRIS and TREND are starting now to find concrete ways to serve the combined brokerage community. The first product to be delivered will be a new feed with listing content from both MLSs. “MRIS and TREND are developing a streamlined way to deliver real estate information and provide brokers with easier access to all their listing content,” said Jon Coile, Chairman of MRIS’s Board of Directors. “This combined feed is the first tangible benefit to be delivered as an advantage of MLS consolidation. It brings economies of scale, common policies, and simplified processes to brokers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Without the challenge of administering multiple content feeds, we can spend more time focusing on our business and our clients’ […]
The highlight topic for the CMLS conference last week was the overview provided by Tom Phillips, President and CEO of TREND; Gene Millman, TREND Board Chair and David Charron, President and CEO of MRIS on their shared vision for bringing their two regional MLSs together. The keynote for me is that these organizations and their boards of directors started with a clean whiteboard. Nothing was held back from the development of the strategy, including dissolving both companies. The two organizations do not have the answers yet, but they are on the path to figuring it out. Why would they do this? Great organizations start ambitious projects with answering the question of Why. TREND and MRIS came up with this list of Whys that are on their project website, MLSevolved.com Consumers and Brokerage firms do not have boundaries, why should an MLS? Core Values of each organization are the same. Better position to meet broker and subscriber demands. Be expansive and inclusive Acquire or develop better services. Address and lead industry initiatives better Innovate Move quickly People who listen to their customers usually succeed A friend of mine always reminds me that if you asked consumers what they wanted, Ford would have developed faster horses instead of cars. That sentiment aside, there is a thunderous outcry from across the industry to provide better MLSs that span markets more efficiently. Brokers want MLSs that provide services that overcome their technology challenges of overlapping market disorder, redundant data management, disparate rules and regulations, lack of data standards, lack of standard business rules, etc. Today, there are over 770 MLSs that provide the same service differently. The differences between MLS services are driven more by protectionism than they are by service levels. Brokers who never leave their MLS area do not really feel these problems unless they are in one of those arbitrary border zones between two or more MLSs. Perhaps that is the point. The arbitrary border zones are rampant. We have 50 States in America – an average of 15 MLSs per state. That’s insane. Moreover, there are between 1200 and 1400 Associations of REALTORS® each with different lock box solutions, rules and regulations, forms, etc. It is a nightmare for broker operators as well as agents who span any more than one. Governance Issues I am pretty sure that the business operators of MLSs can handle the mergers. […]
The now infamous GRIPE List issued by Craig Cheatham back in 2013 has led to a plethora of new ideas and initiatives. From the momentum of RESO Data Standards, to the Broker Public Portal and Upstream, the confrontation has led to more innovative ideas and initiatives than we’ve seen in many, many years. Last month MRIS and TREND announced a ground-breaking intention to find a way to partner with each other to create a brand new organization built with the fundamental goal to create a truly broker-centric MLS. According to David Charron, President and CEO of MRIS, “We are committed to a shared vision to consolidate. Both of our organizations are really excited about finding ways to model the MLS of the future, designed to be nimble, flexible and central to solving the needs of brokers. Together, MRIS and TREND are going to work with all of our shareholders and interested parties to create the next era of MLS. That organization that will be built to meet the needs of today’s dynamic marketplace while also considering the needs of all stakeholders – brokers, agents, associations, our staffs and even consumers. We are opening our doors to neighboring associations, MLSs and brokers who share our vision and want to work with us to shape a whole new way of providing MLS services in the Mid-Atlantic region.” Tom Phillips, President and CEO of TREND told us that the initiative is being developed to solve the Classic Broker Problem. “Brokers who cross markets and have to join two or three MLS have the onerous job of entering listings in multiple systems. The same broker has to understand and train their agents on multiple rules, regulations and compliance requirements. When a brokerage wants to offer its clients a great online experience they have to aggregate information from multiple data feeds. These are cumbersome practices that create financial burdens and consume valuable time. Our goal is to help alleviate this.” If the taskforce formed that has been at work for over ten months can be successful, they will open up a huge market opportunity for brokers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Collectively, TREND and MRIS cover 31,000 square miles, 17 million consumers, 7 million on and off market properties, and 10 million property parcels. The group has drafted a Shared Commitment and Vision paper to help articulate the ultimate goal of the program. Here are a […]
Last week MRIS and TREND announced a ground-breaking intention to find a way to partner with each other to create a brand new organization built with the fundamental goal to create a truly broker-centric MLS. If the taskforce formed that has been at work for over ten months can be successful, they will open up a huge market opportunity for brokers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Collectively, TREND and MRIS cover 31,000 square miles, 17 million consumers, 7 million on and off market properties, and 10 million property parcels. The group has drafted a Shared Commitment and Vision paper to help articulate the ultimate goal of the program. Here are a few of the highlights of the program that really caught my eye. Read my article here to learn all about it. Building on the Shared Vision I love the idea of a multi-state regional MLS that puts brokers and the rest of their constituents at the heart of their focus and decision-making. This idea inspired me and I began to think of places where you take this vision, so here goes. What if the region of this new mega MLS could be defined by broker need rather than some artificial boundary based on the coverage of a real estate association or an MLS? Customizable MLS Coverage Defined by Individual Broker Need Here’s a crazy idea! What if the scope and geography of the MLS data offered could be dynamically defined by individual broker needs? For example, what if Broker A that operates in 4 MLS regions could have access to those four areas. Service offerings would also be available with the data from that custom created area. Fees would be defined commensurate with the specific geography the broker required, Now Broker B operates in 14 MLS markets. They also can pay for the territories that are relevant to them and again provide a seamless data aggregation for their needs. Instead of a static definition of an MLS region, the broker would be at the center of territory definition. The scope of the MLS service offerings could be adjusted in real-time to the territory defined by individual MLSs. Let’s play this out further – what if every MLS from Maine to Florida was seamlessly connected? This ultimate “mega MLS” could provide the data services available in the regions customized to the needs of every brokerage. Brokers that operate currently only in one […]
Four Major MLS Firms Adopt Data Dictionary Morrisville, NC – June 4, 2015 – The real estate industry’s Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) is fast becoming the industry’s “innovation enabler and cost-saver,” as technology firms serving the real estate industry will be unleashed as property data becomes standardized by the nation’s estimated 850-plus Multiple Listing Service (MLS) firms. Driving the welcome change is the National Association of REALTORS® mandated deadline for the adoption by Realtor affiliated MLSs of the RESO Data Dictionary by Jan. 1 of 2016 – just six months away to ensure industry adoption on enabling standards. Four of the nation’s largest and most respected MLS firms are now Data Dictionary compliant: MRIS, serving the Mid-Atlantic region; MRED, or Midwest Real Estate Data serving Chicagoland; MetroList Services serving Sacramento; and MLSListings, serving the Silicon Valley. Combined they serve more than 100,000 agent members and drive tens of billions of dollars in real estate transactions each year. “The role of RESO is clear,” says Jeremy Crawford, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization. “We are real estate’s innovation enabler and cost-saver through data standards development, implementation, and adoption, which is what every major industry experiences when data becomes standardized.” “RESO empowers the real estate industry to more rapidly innovate and iterate by creating an environment through standardization that eliminates redundancy. What we all are trying to achieve is better experience for consumers when they buy or sell a home,” Crawford says. “For real estate technology startup TLCengine, RESO efforts like its Data Dictionary, Web API and RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standards) specifications, create a faster path to success,” says its CEO and Founder, Krishna Malyala. “RESO efforts will give us the ability to deploy our new technology faster, lower our development cost, and allows us to update and improve our product features far more rapidly,” Malyala says. Malyala argues the key will be the continued embracing of new standards delivered by RESO by all players in real estate. “RESO and its impending standards, including the Data Dictionary, are not just an MLS thing or an MLS vendor thing,” he says. “Everyone in the industry will be positively impacted by RESO and new standards so everyone needs to get involved now, and not wait for a deadline. We are involved because we want to have a voice in real estate’s future.” Crawford adds that “everyone” Malyala refers to includes real estate broker-owners […]
Heithaus Named Chief Evangelist & VP of Sales of RBI & Hill Joins MRIS as VP of Mark ROCKVILLE, MD (November 6, 2014) — MRIS, the industry-leading Mid-Atlantic Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that facilitates nearly $125 million a day in residential real estate transactions, is pleased to announce new executive leadership for its organization and its subsidiary RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC (RBI). Bringing more than 30 years of real estate industry experience, John L. Heithaus will assume the position of Chief Evangelist and Vice President of Sales for RBI. Heithaus, a third generation real estate professional, brings a deep perspective and understanding of residential real estate statistics, traditional and non-traditional market insights, and real estate-related technologies for consumers and professionals. Building on the great efforts at RBI to date as well as the success of GetSmartCharts.com, Heithaus will be responsible for developing strategic partnerships and overseeing sales operations to support RBI’s expansion goals and objectives. Previously, Heithaus served as Chief Marketing Officer of MRIS and most recently as Chief Operating Officer of BuyerMLS. Jonathan Hill is rejoining MRIS and will serve as Vice President of Marketing & Communications. With a career spanning over 25 years in the real estate industry, Hill has accumulated extensive experience as a real estate licensee and as an MLS executive including sales, management, customer support, marketing, and product development. Hill, who started with the company in 1996, has a keen understanding of the real estate industry and will help to provide overall direction and strategic leadership for the company’s marketing activities. In his role, Hill will be responsible for MRIS’s extensive plans and roadmap for marketing, communications, education and events. For the past five years, Hill led RBI, MRIS’s wholly owned subsidiary. “John and Jonathan have made significant contributions and accomplishments in our industry and we are thrilled with these exciting changes at our organization,” said MRIS President & CEO David Charron. “We are more committed than ever to evaluate, innovate and bring more tangible value to our customers around the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. I look forward to seeing how two of the industry’s most forward-thinking leaders will take us to the next level.” ABOUT MRIS MRIS is Real Estate in Real Time™. We’re a leading provider of real estate information technology and services, and are frequently ranked among the most productive Multiple Listing Services (MLS) in the nation, facilitating over $45 billion in […]
When RE Technology was founded by WAV Group partners in 2010, the goal was to provide an information resource inside the MLS system that would sharpen agent understanding of technology in real estate. We will forever appreciate MRED, MRIS, MLSListings, and MFRMLS for introducing the first 100,000 users to the service. Today, 91 MLSs and over 700,000 users have access to RE Technology as a member benefit. Because technology companies sponsor the service, there is never charge to the MLS or the broker or agent. The concept behind RE Technology is to support MLSs at delivering insightful information about technology that allows real estate professionals to make the best possible choices when purchasing solutions for their business. When it comes to real estate technology – websites, CRM solutions, digital signatures, IDX providers, virtual tour providers, and so many other solutions, the array of vendors is confusing. RE Technology makes learning about technology easy, and combines user ratings, product overviews, product descriptions, press releases, and company contact information all in one place. It was our belief in 2010 that social media, blogs, and rss feeds would take over the MLS newsletter as a primary method for communications. In some ways it has, but the MLS newsletter continues to endure. The RE Technology newsletter is MLS branded for every market. It is part of our localization strategy that organizes information for each MLS. For example, products offered as member benefits or premium MLS services are highlighted for the agent. RE Technology also informs the broker or agent if products requiring data have an active IDX or VOW data license in the market. We also include any information in the newsletter that the local MLS would like us to include. Moreover, MLSs can republish any articles or other information on RE Technology for other communications, like MLS customer magazines. For example, many MLSs are picking from the hundreds of articles about RPR to educate REALTORS on that new member benefit. Today, RE Technology sees about 40,000 daily visitors to the site. We also send out just under 57,000 emails a day. The open rate on those emails is about 22%, and the click though rate is about 50%. Apparently, article headlines play a significant role in open rates and click through rates. The hottest topics in the industry today are How to Use an iPad in Real Estate for listing presentations (CMAs) and […]
Technology companies are constantly battling usability in real estate. Among our user ranks we find a great human challenge – the 55-year-old real estate professional. This is the customer. There are some firms that do it right, and others that do it wrong. I recently saw a great example of software done right, and it is worth sharing. The example illustrates how you can improve software usability by putting help options immediately next to software fields and button functionality to explain them to the user. One of the most difficult software solutions for usability in real estate is the listing management module. Not only is data entry significant, but there are rules that must be followed to maintain compliance. Mistakes not only lead to frustration, but are also are followed by fines. The Keystone™ listing management product developed my Metropolitan Regional Information Systems or MRIS helps agents right where they need it most. When entering listings into Keystone, there is a drop down where agents can view the pick list choices. Sometimes the agent is not clear which pick list option best describes the property attribute. Keystone delivers help to solve the problem by inserting a support menu behind a clickable field label. If you click the field label, a pop-up window will provide the field definitions for each item on the pick list. A lot of time you see this level of support offered by putting a clickable question mark next to the item that provides definitions, support, training videos, or even access to live help. All of these “in app” support features help users help themselves; reduces help desk sessions; and increases usability of the application. A best practice to improving the usability of your application is to start with your help desk. Take the list of calls and/or emails and rank them in order of volume. Tackle the highest volume issues first. Build help guides for that specific issue and insert the instructions to resolve the issue right into the application. Some tools that you may want to use to create training and how-to instructions include TechSmith’s Jing Tool, Evernote, and video training using Engajer. Make yourself familiar with these tools and you will enjoy the increased rates of customer satisfaction and reduced help desk calls.
There were a few very interesting articles in the Washington Post this week. Unlike industry commentary about the Zestimate, this one took place in public. The Washington Post stirred the pot a bit, as only the politically divided would do so naturally. The battle was epic. At 5:30 AM, David Howell of McNearney Associates published a piece titled “How Accurate is Zillow’s Zestimate? Not very, says one Washington-area agent. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/where-we-live/wp/2014/06/10/how-accurate-is-zillows-zestimate-not-very-says-one-washington-area-agent/ At 5:31, Stan Humphries, Zillow Chief Economist responded in his article titles “How Accurate is the Zestimate? Zillow says the tool is helpful when used the right way.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/where-we-live/wp/2014/06/10/how-accurate-is-the-zestimate-zillow-says-the-tool-is-helpful-when-used-the-right-way/ You really do not need to read the articles unless you are new in real estate. Real estate agents know the Zestimate is not accurate. It is just the best that math can produce. The frustration that real estate agents have is that the consumer is not keenly aware of the accuracy of the Zestimate. Because consumers typically check with Zillow before talking to an agent, real estate professionals are constantly starting conversations of home value around the Zestimate. Real estate agents hate that, and REALTORS® hate it even more. So what do you do about it? About David Howell David Howell is a REALTOR®. In fact, he is the past President of one of America’s great REALTOR Associations – the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS. He was also the Chairman of NVAR’s Professionals Standards Committee. He was also a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Regional Information System or MRIS. He is licensed in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland. He currently serves McEarney Associates Inc REALTORS® as the Executive Vice President & CIO. He has been a real estate broker since 1984. The Media Play I do not have the inside skinny on this public seeding of articles, but the fact that one landed exactly one minute after the other landed tells me that this was planned. I know that MRIS has a great relationship with the Washington Post. Clearly Zillow does also, or the Washington Post has learned from politics that if you are going to allow one side to bash the other, let the other side have a chance to respond. A good ol’ fashioned debate. Stan Humphries of Zillow held his ground nicely, and reminded folks that the Zestimate is not for making housing decisions. The Zestimate tells this story in its name […]
Director of Marketing, Communications, Events & Education Position and Company Overview Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MRIS, Inc.), located in Rockville, MD, is the largest real estate information service in North America serving the information needs of nearly 40,000 real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic. The company helps facilitate over $60B in residential real estate transactions each year and provide breakthrough technology designed to create value and innovation for the real estate industry. The company offers a leading edge suite of real estate marketing tools and technologies to its customers available both via subscription and a la carte purchases. MRIS enjoys the highest satisfaction score among large MLS organizations across the United States. MRIS is looking for a Director of Marketing, Communications, Events & Education who will identify, lead and manage all marketing and educational activities with respect to MRIS’ existing and new products and services that support the company’s business, customer and revenue objectives. This individual will be responsible for both strategically and tactically managing the corporate brand through a variety of mechanisms including PR, social media and advertising. In addition, the Director will manage all customer messaging through a variety of channels including customer support, email, social media, events and training. The successful candidate will bring 10+ years of marketing and management experience with increasing responsibility, with at least 6 years of directly relevant experience in marketing, public relations, communications, and related areas. An MBA in Marketing is preferred, but equivalent work experience and track record of success will be considered. Expertise with marketing and communication principles and practices, as well as deep familiarity with interactive marketing, social media, social networking, direct response, and event marketing, will be expected. Knowledge of web design processes, email marketing, and search optimization will be required. The Director of Marketing will also need to have expertise in establishing and reporting on marketing metrics, proving ROI, and managing significant budgets. A proven track record in working with both internal teams as well as outside vendors, effectively managing vendor relationships, and managing projects will be expected of the successful candidate. Experience working with advertising agencies for sustained effective campaigns is a major plus. The right candidate will thrive on teamwork, overcoming obstacles and gaining shared vision on complex issues. They will have the ability to outline corporate marketing strategies and then be able to execute on marketing programs that deliver on both short and […]
rbiEXPERT is now being launched nationwide through a partnership with CoreLogic. MLSs interested in this service should contact RBI or CoreLogic to reserve placement in the integration schedule. RealEstate Business Intelligence, or RBI is a subsidiary of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, or MRIS. The company was formed to meet the market analytic needs of roughly 40,000 subscribers to the MLS system in the Mid-Atlantic States – Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Their premium product, rbiEXPERT allows professionals to slice, dice, visualize, and share real estate market trends with their buyers and sellers in the best possible way. rbiEXPERT allows agents to pull real estate stats and reports and easily create interactive charts, to share with their clients. The key feature of rbiEXPERT is ease of use, empowering even the most novice agent the ability to instantly build tailored reports. It even has a component designed to work with smart phones and tablets, rbiMOBILE! For a number of years, rbiEXPERT has built adoption of their product by partnering with a number of the largest MLS services in the nation. It has allowed the product to develop its feature set in ways that support the local needs of diverse marketplaces from Florida (MFRMLS) to Arizona (ARMLS). The CoreLogic partnership is a significant development for RBI and CoreLogic alike. CoreLogic offers normalized public record data in nearly every county and zip code in America. The company is also the nation’s largest MLS service provider reaching around 632,000 MLS subscribers. CoreLogic and RBI have worked together to enhance the presentation of market metrics within the CoreLogic Realist platform using the names MARKETrends and MARKETrends Premium. MRIS has contracted with 1000Watt to utilize the Nudge platform to allow agents to publish market information to their clients. Nudge was established with the foundation that agents are the market experts in real estate, but that knowledge was difficult to communicate elegantly to consumers. With a series of simple, embeddable HTML5 market trending indicators, Nudge enables agents to convert complex economic housing data into simple to understand visuals that can be published on websites, mobile, email, or social media. Nudge, coupled with the market analytics of rbiEXPERT and the comprehensive and accurate data assets of CoreLogic creates a powerful tool for real estate professionals. Press Release —RBI Data Visualization Technology Available to Non-RBI Customers for First Time— IRVINE, Calif., March […]
I caught this article this morning on the Property Portal Blog. MRIS provides this inspiration to other MLSs around the nation. If there was ever a cause that the MLS and Associations of REALTORS should support – it has got to be helping the homeless. Print this article and bring it to your next board of directors meeting. Get approval to help out your local homeless shelter. Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), one of the largest MLS portals in the US serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area including Maryland, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, has announced that it has entered into a title sponsorship agreement for the inaugural Run For Shelter 10K race, due to take place on April 28, 2012, in Alexandria, Virginia. The sponsorship is on behalf of MRIS Cares, the charitable arm of Rockville, MD-based MRIS. By sponsoring Run for Shelter 10K, MRIS is contributing support to Carpenter’s Shelter, Northern Virginia’s largest homeless shelter in an effort to raise money and awareness for the nearly 12,000 homeless people in the DC Metropolitan area. “MRIS is dedicated to supporting the efforts of local real estate professionals, and we know that there is no substitute for the security and happiness provided by a place to call home,” noted MRIS CEO David Charron. “This is an extraordinarily important event and we are pleased to provide support and resources to this fine organization.” “Carpenter’s Shelter is thankful for the support of MRIS for the inaugural Run for Shelter 10K,” says Lissette Bishins, Carpenter’s Shelter Executive Director. “MRIS’s commitment to the shelter speaks volumes to their efforts to support housing in our community.” MRIS Cares proactively seeks local, national, and international charitable opportunities for consideration by the MRIS Charitable Contributions Committee (MRIS CCC), throughout the calendar year and in times of disaster. MRIS CCC began contributing to Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts, but officially formed in response to the earthquake disaster in Haiti in 2010, and they have helped in the Japan Disaster Relief. Currently, MRIS Cares team is actively investigating how they can help the southern region of the United States in the wake of the recent devastating tornados and flooding that have effected thousands.
WAV Group Webinar Feb 15th at 10:00am PST This WAV Group webinar will focus on a panel discussion about the topic of non-dues revenue. Numerous MLSs around the country have launched or are in the process of launching these programs to provide lower cost business solutions to MLS subscribers. According to the recent CMLS survey – 54% of today’s MLSs offer some form of non-dues revenue. “These companies are pushing the boundaries of their non-dues revenue programs,” says Marilyn Wilson, WAV Group Partner. Topic: Why MLSs pursue non-dues revenue Different options for generating non-dues revenue How it is positioned to their Board of Directors and members How to measure success Panelists: Victor Lund – Founding Partner of WAV Group John Heithaus – Chief Marketing Officer at MRIS Jeremy Crawford – Chief Operating Officer at MLSListings.com Prem Luthra – Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Real Estate Digital Melissa Olson – Senior Manager, Marketing & Sales at Metrolist Colorado Travis Huch, Western Area Regional Director at Zuora Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 Time: 10:00am – 11:00am PST Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/697962370