Realtor.com operator Move Inc. announced today it will be able to show consumers in the Chicago, Boston and San Francisco markets sold listings data — including who represented the buyer and seller — thanks to agreements with three multiple listing services.
In return, Move is providing the three MLSs — Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) in Chicago, MLS Property Information Network Inc. (MLS PIN) in Boston, and the San Francisco Association of Realtors — with its “Find” application, a “natural language” search tool that provides access to data aggregated by Move, including property records, neighborhood and school information, and local amenities.
The “Find” application is designed to provide Realtors with a more sophisticated interface for mining the data Move has put together, the company said when it first offered it to MLSs more than three years ago.
In return, Move gets to publish “sold” listing data on realtor.com, a feature that’s made “Virtual Office Websites” (VOWs) — like those operated by Seattle-based brokerage Redfin — popular with consumers.
MRED announced in July 2011 that its members would gain access to the Find tool. But a spokesman for the MLS said at the time that MRED had not agreed to provide sold listings data for display on realtor.com.
Move said today that MRED members gained access to the Find tool in May, and that Boston and San Francisco will be implemented “soon.”
Asked why the MRED “Find” agreement announced in 2011 was not implemented until this year, Move spokeswoman Lexie Puckett said timing “was based on the queue of products and services MRED was introducing to their members over the past 18 months. The important thing is this member benefit is now live, and receiving high accolades from the MLS participants and subscribers.”
MRED spokesman Jeff Lasky confirmed that implementing Find required reviewing “all the data elements that were going from our system to Find. The Find product is more robust than the public version so there was a certain level of data conversions we had to get squared away.”
He said MRED also wanted to make sure that the FIND product was used often by agents, so the MLS took “extra steps” to make sure that it was integrated within the connectMLS system.
“This process ran up against higher priority items that were already in our queue — new products and services and system enhancements,” Lasky said.
The sold listings found on the Find tool available to Realtors only go back about five years, he said. The public can only see the last six months of MRED sold data, he said.
“The sold conundrum has become less of an issue since sold listings on the Internet have become ubiquitous,” Lasky said.
He said “Find” has been “very well received” by MRED members, with nearly 8,000 users within the first few weeks.
Move said today it now provides access to between 5 million and 6 million sold records per year — including more than 3 million that are MLS-sourced — and 113 million property records from various public record providers. The Find tool also provides access to nationwide school and neighborhood information, plus information on amenities like shopping and restaurants.
MRED represents nearly 40,000 brokers and agents with more than 75,500 listings; MLS PIN has 28,700 members and more than 38,500 active listings; SFAR has more than 2,839 members who represent more than 3,500 listings.
“Real estate professionals around the country and particularly in extremely competitive markets like Chicago, Boston and San Francisco depend on quick and easy access to robust neighborhood information in order to make recommendations to their clients,” said Move CEO Steve Berkowitz in a statement. “MRED, MLS PIN and SFAR represent three highly sought-after markets with strong competition among real estate professionals.”
MRED CEO Russ Bergeron said in a statement that the Find tool “offers a powerful, robust and intuitive search engine that delivers unfettered, unrestricted views of all Move data sets. The result is that MRED practitioners should never be at a disadvantage to the consumer audience.”
Move operates realtor.com under the terms of an agreement with the National Association of Realtors. Next month, NAR’s board of directors will hold a special meeting to explore whether to give Move more freedom to compete with other websites like Zillow and Trulia.
At the trade group’s midyear meeting in May, NAR CEO Dale Stinton said the information available to consumers on realtor.com and third-party sites is “wildly different” because the realtor.com operating agreement restricts Move from providing some content to consumers.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from Move Inc. and MRED on the timing of implementation of the MRED “Find” agreement.
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