3-minute read Updated on December 1, 2023 Published on March 3, 2023

Multiple listing services (MLSs) are starting to seize the opportunities of a more digital, more connected, and more automated real estate industry. After all, they provide the data that powers billions of dollars in sales every year.

MLS and association portals are the online storefronts that present their brands, benefits, and expertise to the world. If you’re an MLS or association, there has never been a better time than today to update your portal. Let’s look at why.

The role of the MLS is changing

Consumer awareness and industry perception of MLSs are changing. In the past, brokers may have thought of MLSs as a sort of competitor, an entity distracting consumers from the brokers and agents who could actually close their real estate deals. MLS and association portals were originally designed with this in mind, and listing search was deemed a less important feature. Not anymore!

Today, brokers and agents are increasingly seeing MLSs as partners, not competitors, and they are eager to work together to improve both the buying and selling experience.

Members want more investment from their MLS

The WAV Group recently conducted a survey that asked brokers the following question: How interested are you in MLSs spending more on their websites? 75% of respondents said they wanted their MLS to invest more in consumer search. This is because consumer search portals are an incredible source of leads for members if they are set up to capture and route them properly. MLS members are also interested in being part of organizations that have a visible online presence and are recognized as authorities in the space. More investment is an effective way to demonstrate that.

Looking for the best in MLS portals?

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MLSs are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the current real estate market

Let’s be honest: 2023 has been a weird year so far. Even economists aren’t quite sure what to do with the data they’re seeing: high (but improving) inflation, high interest rates, but near-record low unemployment. Sales volume is down, but sale prices remain high. We’ve never seen all these factors at the same time before. Where are members and consumers looking for guidance? To the MLS!

Since MLSs don’t rely on commissions for their revenue, they are in an enviable position where they can seize the opportunity this market is presenting to boost their value to their members by starting to make some of the investments members want.

MLSs need to attract new users

Until recently, few people outside the industry knew what the MLS was. Even now, MLSs are not usually at the front of most consumers’ minds. It’s time to change that!

Traditionally, MLS users were either participants (brokers, agents) or informed, serious, and savvy consumers who knew what the MLS was for and how to use it, whether because they were already connected to a member or had used it during a previous transaction.

Now, with the wealth of technology and information at consumers’ fingertips, they can go almost anywhere to find what they’re looking for. With an SEO-optimized portal, MLSs and associations can attract all users to their portals, not just the savvy ones, thanks to organic search. This will increase eyes on listings, leads captured, the MLS’s value for members, and ultimately mean more money in members’ pockets.

Slower times are the perfect opportunity to make changes for the future

When business is strong and deals are closing all the time, it can be hard to even catch your breath. Slower periods bring extra time for clarity, reflection, and strategic thinking.

MLSs would do well to develop a data strategy if they haven’t already and think about how their portals play into it. They can also take the time to think about what they’ve always wanted their portal to be able to do and create a roadmap for making it happen. Do they want to be able to offer the most customizable property search filters imaginable? Do they want to integrate location insights? Do they want to take their SEO to the next level? A lull might give them time they otherwise wouldn’t have to take a 30,000-foot view and make the best decisions to reach their future goals.

Interested in why top MLSs are investing in location insights?
Watch the replay of this free webinar featuring our Director of Broker Sales Tom Demos


MLSs need to diversify their revenue

Lean times are also the perfect opportunity to think strategically about not just your value, but your revenue. It never hurts to add a line item to your income statement, and one way many MLSs have successfully been able to do that is through the strategic use of advertising on their websites.

Consumers and members are already coming to MLS portals for information. If they can also see relevant ads for the MLS’s partners in mortgage and title, home warranty, staging, contracting, maintenance, and more, they will ultimately get a better customer experience while benefitting the MLS and its partners at the same time. It really is an all-around win!

Learn how ValleyMLS.com took its business to the next level
and monetized its portal thanks to a mutually beneficial partnership with Constellation1

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Need help with your MLS or association portal? Constellation1 can help!

“In my 39 years of IT experience,
Constellation1 is one of the best
vendor partners I’ve ever worked with.”

– Tammy Owen, Technology Director, Valley MLS

The time to act is now, and Constellation1 is the perfect technology partner! We have the expertise in data, design, search engine optimization, and more to create a powerful portal for your MLS or association. Get in touch today to learn more.

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