New Multiple Listing Service program brings big changes.
Anyone in the home construction or real estate business will agree: Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that really matters. Quality materials, good construction practices, and proper maintenance may not be immediately obvious on the outside, but they can be the difference between a satisfied customer and a very frustrated one.
The Des Moines Area Association of REALTORS® (DMAAR) can relate to this principle on another level. The multiple listing service (MLS) program had been a frustration for a long time. But that’s all about to change starting July 21.
“We’ve been talking about this and working on it for more than a year,” says Cindy Pelz, Executive Officer of DMAAR. “The public and builders won’t even notice a difference, but it will be huge for agents.”
Pelz is referring to the recently launched MLS update, a new system built from scratch that took six months to complete.
“The way clients and the public feed data into the MLS and use their respective websites won’t necessarily change,” she explains. “But behind the scenes, the way Realtors use the MLS system is dramatically different.”
The new program, created by CoreLogic, one of the top real estate listing services in the nation, uses a completely new platform that is more mobile-friendly than previous MLS programs, and it was designed with its users in mind.
Robin Polder, current president of DMAAR, says, “We had a team of DMAAR members that provided recommendations and critiqued the test program for us. They gave us a lot of input about what worked and what didn’t in the old system and what they’d like to see in the new one. Then we tested it with Realtors and made more changes.”
The new system has all the bells and whistles Realtors liked from the old program, but with new features and more speed.
“In addition to being mobile-friendly, the new program offers a number of features that give agents and home buyers more accurate information more quickly,” Pelz says.
For example, agents have access to a real-time count of searches on their listings. The previous MLS version was not very mobile-friendly, but the 2015 edition is designed for use on iPads, tablets, and smartphones. Realtors will be able to load data for new listings immediately, on-site, and have that information instantly accessible for other agents and potential buyers.
Though the MLS system itself is an agent-specific service, the site will have a client portal, which agents can make available to home buyers, providing details on properties that meet their search criteria.
“There are more search categories available with the new system,” Pelz says, “so clients can search more specifically and narrow their focus more accurately.”
The agent can then save this search criteria and have new listings added directly to the client’s individual portal page, making it easier for both the client and the agent to filter information.
“One of the things we’re most excited about is the quicker response time,” Polder adds. “We can immediately view sales patterns, the data is more accurate, and we can link information directly for our clients, making it easier for us to find the right property for them.”
Pelz says, “With all the new features and changes, some adjustment will be necessary. Our members have access to the site already, so they can look around and give feedback. And the tech team continues to work and fine-tune everything right up to the July 21 deadline, when the site goes live.”
DMAAR has also posted online tutorials through CoreLogic’s Matrix platform. These 1- to 10-minute videos introduce Realtors to the new site and its many features. During the week of July 20, live classes will be held at the DMAAR offices so members have an opportunity for hands-on learning. The sessions, which will run approximately three hours, are available several times each day throughout the week.
“This is just the first step, really,” Pelz says. “We’ll be adding features as we go based on member input. The goal is to make our MLS site the only source Realtors need. They’ll input their listing data, determine where it goes, link information to national real estate sites, provide access to their clients and fellow Realtors—everything they need will be at their fingertips wherever they are.”
Built for speed and accuracy, the updated MLS site is a Realtor’s dream. The average homeowner may never see what goes on behind the scenes, but homeowners will certainly notice the difference.
Want to learn more?
Check out the DMAAR website at DMAAR.com. Members can access class and registration details for the July MLS sessions as well.