The possibilities are endless
The MLS Track at Inman Real Estate Connect left my mind spinning with the possibilities that are ahead for our industry and, more specifically, the MLS. I ended up with a few opinions and a bunch of questions to take back to my local Board for discussion. This is where this conversation rightly belongs, after all…with the agents and members who pay for and use the service, and create the data.
Points were made by the various experts about the political implications of the choices we now have and I can’t help but think that if there ever was a time for changes to come to this model, it is now. The changing market, demands for transparency by consumers and the proliferation of social media are all meeting and creating an environment of unprecedented possibility. Never before have we had an opportunity such as this – one which can be directed by member demand rather than leadership whim or control.
Read over the questions and ideas I came away with (thanks to the panelists) and then go back to your Board and start or continue some conversations.
Devilishly Simple, Common Sense Ideas
Will MLS’s find a way to create Univeral Property I.D.’s allowing the cross-referencing of data between tax records and sites like flickr, youtube, etc? (love this one from Michael Wurzer!)
When will the ‘natural language search’ we use everywhere else online become part of the MLS interface? Shouldn’t this interface look and feel different than the actual database?
Easy-peasy? Cool. Now some tougher ones…
Local MLS’s With Public Facing Portals?
Will more local MLS’s offer a public facing website allowing consumers to search for listings, research sold data and more? There are some that are doing this already. Is this creating unfair competition with Broker and Agent sites?
Would these sites, if created, render national portals like Trulia, Zillow and the big R unnecessary or redundant? Can’t a locally focused portal offer better hyper-local data and information that consumers like?
How will Brokers and Agents provide a value proposition to Consumers? Isn’t giving away the data, giving away the farm so to speak? How will MLSs create value for non-listing members like exclusive buyer’s agents? What other information could a local Association site offer that would fairly serve these members too?
Hard questions, right? Well, put on your big girl panties and keep reading – this party is just getting started!
Is Regionalization or Nationalization Inevitable?
Will local MLS’s change their focus from being the gate-keepers of information to being service providers to their customers aka Brokers and Agent members? How are MLS borders justified in the eyes of these customers? And how about to their customers? Shouldn’t we start to respect the blurring of the lines of Broker market area vs. Association market area?
Wouldn’t consolidation allow MLS’s to become large enough to create scale and ability to provide tools that consumers now get elsewhere (T, Z, R)? Should we prepare for the idea that the consumer will determine where we go?
Also, could they then be able to provide more services to Brokers and Agents, thereby lessening the burden on these dues-paying members? Would this allow Brokers and Agents to focus better on professionalism and service rather than all the peripheral ‘stuff’ (forms programs, showing services, etc)? Should MLS’s redefine ‘core services’ and really empower Brokers? Should we be creating, as Saul Klein said, ‘an ecosystem of innovation’ by supporting our members’ businesses?
But then again, wouldn’t consolidation also reduce competition between MLS providers and therefore service? Or is there a way to separate the database from the user-interface preserving choice by members?
Is it all about exposure of listings and economies of scale, or would we be merely creating monopolies?
Is Your MLS Changing With Your Business?
Are you satisfied with your MLS system? Are your clients? How much value do you think you are getting for your dues dollar? Is there a nearby MLS that might be able to do it better? Or are you thinking about creating your own? Talk to your local Association about how you feel!
“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers
The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS. However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:
Do You Smell Smoke?
“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)
“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?)
“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)
“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)
“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)
I Think I See Flames
“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)
“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)
“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)
“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)
“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)
“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)
“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)
“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)
“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)
Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):
“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)
“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS
I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS. It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:
Booze ‘N’ Fools
“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)
“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)
“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)
“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)
“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)
Puff ‘N’ Stuff
“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)
“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)
“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)
“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)
Proof or Goof
“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper exploded.)
“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)
“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)
“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)
“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)
And This Week’s Winner Is:
“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)
PROOF OR GOOF, FRIENDS – I’M WATCHING EWE 🙂
My secret office organization tip – Sharpies and tape
If you’re still practicing to be OCD, here is a secret I don’t typically share with anyone, but I’m willing to share with you today…
I used to be obsessed with the P-touch machine. I labeled everything. Drawers, shelves, folders, canisters, and anything that I could think of putting a label on.
But the label makers weren’t as pretty as my own handwriting and didn’t come in every color a Sharpie does, so I got the brilliant idea one day to write in light blue sharpie in my beautiful handwriting on clear tape, placed neatly on the shelves in the pantry. Visitors thought I had written on the cabinets, “what if you have to move things?” they asked. “It’s just tape, look!” I said as if I was performing a complicated magic trick.
Not just shelves!
It’s great to use this tip on files and folders so you can reuse them (especially if you have custom files or designer files), on drawers at the bottom of each section where pens and tape goes, and especially in the break room.
No more label maker, no more refill cartridges and no more mess, especially someone else’s mess! Trust me, this is an OCD person’s dream organizing tip!
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