California and Montana MLSs flip switch on Point2 public-facing websites

Portals are 'mobile-friendly' and prominently feature listing agents

Two multiple listing services — one in California and the other in Montana — are the latest to launch free, public-facing MLS websites from real estate marketing software firm Point2.

The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, which represents about 1,100 agents and brokers in Southern California, and the Billings Association of Realtors, which has about 600 members in Montana, each have their own MLSs. The Point2 portals allow the Realtor trade groups to show consumers all of their active for-sale MLS listings, and in the case of the Santa Barbara association, rental and off-market properties as well.

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“MLS and association public portals are in demand across the country for the value they provide to both real estate professionals and consumers,” said Saul Klein, industry principal at Point2, in a statement.

Point2’s public-facing MLS sites seem to be gaining traction. Last year, Realtor associations in San Francisco and El Paso, Texas, rolled out their own, Point2-powered sites. And in March, two Tennessee Realtor associations — the Great Smoky Mountains Association of Realtors and the Reelfoot Regional Association of Realtors — did the same. Point2 is planning a rollout for the San Diego Association of Realtors sometime in the next month.

Point2 announced its “white label” listing websites for MLSs and Realtor associations in May 2013, less than two weeks after the National Association of Realtors ruled that if Realtor associations and MLSs choose to operate public-facing sites, they are allowed to require that members pay for the costs of operating and promoting them as a “basic” service whether or not they want or use them, prompting criticism from some large brokers.

On SBAOR.com and at Billings.org, consumers can search for-sale properties by location, property type, price, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. They can further filter their search by neighborhood, ZIP code, specified radius and custom-drawn polygon. Each site also offers neighborhood information, demographics and open house pages, as well as a “Find a Realtor” tool. Point2 portals are designed to be “mobile-friendly,” according to the company.

“The Billings Association of Realtors is excited to offer a vibrant, consumer-centric website — with all the bells and whistles — that makes searching for your new home fun and enjoyable,” said BAR Executive Officer Mary R. Grant in a statement.

Listing agents are prominently featured alongside their listings without any other agents displayed. Listing agents appear with their contact information, a lead form, and a link to their brokerage website.

“Point2’s MLS and Association Consumer Portal solution connects buyers and sellers to our members without lead diversion,” said Ed Fuller, president of SBAOR, in a statement.

Each portal is tailored to each association’s preferences. For instance, the Santa Barbara association offers member news updates and a guide to affiliates, such as lenders and home inspectors. The Billings site also includes a “Quality of Life” tab that highlights nonprofits in the community.


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