As MLSs and their members vie for consumer attention (and dollars) in this unprecedented market, many may be wondering, what is it all for? How can our businesses stay relevant as we move into an increasingly tech-driven world?
Tom Demos, Constellation1’s Director of Broker Sales, recently shared his insights on MLSs on an expert panel moderated by Marilyn Wilson of the WAV Group. One of the biggest topics broached during this webinar was the ways MLSs can stay relevant in the years to come, and not just survive, but thrive. Let’s look at some of the tips they shared.
What is an MLS or association without its members, and who are its members without home buyers and sellers? MLSs rely on a chain of happy internal and external customers, and when your customers give their feedback, it’s good to listen.
Real estate consulting firm WAV Group recently shared an interesting insight: as part of their Customer Experience Index, they asked brokers whether they agreed MLSs should invest more in their consumer-facing websites. 75% of respondents said they should. In fact, website investments are one of the best ways to boost value for members. Why?
None of these wants are mutually exclusive! By working together, everyone can get exactly what they want—and more. And the place to get started is a portal built just for your MLS.
For over a hundred years in North America, real estate associations have been facilitating the buying and selling of property. That’s a long time to develop a specialty and a value proposition in this industry.
But like all industries, technology is changing things. Since the beginning of the industry, MLSs, brokers, and agents have primarily been involved in transacting. But advancements in information technology and automation mean that computers are taking over many of the tasks humans once had to do. To remain relevant, MLSs need to start specializing in what machines can’t do:
The list goes on. But the bottom line is that real estate professionals who care will be the successful real estate professionals of tomorrow.
Even with machines replacing repetitive, time-consuming, and process-driven tasks (and in the end, that’s probably a good thing!), there are still lots of ways to leverage technology that were never possible before.
There have never been more robust integrations, proptech tools, and technology partners to help MLSs find novel ways to use and monetize their data or give their members an extra edge in their markets. MLSs are also finding novel ways to collaborate with each other, a trend we will likely see continue. Technology is only moving forward. Many brokers quote the saying, “The best time to buy a house was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” The same goes for technology. If you didn’t jump on the tech bandwagon back before Y2K, then this is your year!
During the webinar, all the experts agreed that the breadth and depth of MLS data is going to define their relevance and success moving forward, and they weren’t just referring to listing data (as important as that will continue to be!).
The industry will gradually move more and more towards insights, rather than just data. The number of bedrooms is a data point, but a heat map of neighborhood walkability is an insight. One type of insight that is gaining more and more traction is location insights. Location insights tell the story of a property outside of its four walls, showing you what its really like to live there. As more people are working hybrid roles, spending more time in their houses, and relocating with an emphasis on lifestyle, the insights that tell you what makes a house a home and a neighborhood somewhere you really want to live will be increasingly important.
When consumers can use their smartphones to find almost any data point imaginable, location insights will help attract more visitors, keep their attention longer, empower agents, and ultimately sell properties faster.
When it comes to data, more is more, and more is better!
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a great way to look at your MLS. Whatever you’re doing well that’s working for you—keep it up! Change is hard, and so maintaining a few pillars of normalcy will be comforting, both for you and your members.
Benjamin Franklin said that, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The most successful businesses are the ones that make smart goals, stick to them, and plan for the years to come. The same goes for MLSs.
Slower, leaner times like the ones we are in now are actually the perfect time to plan for the future, because you have the breathing room to map out where you want to go and how to get there. You also hopefully have a rainy day fund to help put those plans in motion. That said, there’s also future planning you can do that doesn’t cost any money, like developing a formal data strategy for your MLS.
The point is, planning to stay relevant now is one of the best ways to ensure you stay relevant 5, 10, 15, or 50 years from now.
“Constellation1 is one of the best
vendor partners I’ve ever worked with.”
Technology Director, Valley MLS
Invest in the future of your MLS by working with an experienced partner to boost your SEO, elevate your brand, generate high-quality leads for your members, showcase your expertise in your market, monetize your website, and create a value-driven customer experience. If you can dream it, we can help you build it.
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