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by CareyBot

Tools offered by multiple listing services are not generally known for their slick interfaces. MLSs are great at compiling accurate, comprehensive listing data, but the tools to access that data are often clunky and, well, unattractive.

Real estate software firm W&R Studios hopes to change that with its MLS listing alert tool, Cloud Streams. The largest MLS in the nation, California Regional MLS, has become the first MLS to site license the tool, offering it to the 73,000 agents and brokers it serves at no additional cost.

Cloud Streams allows agents to set up a client portal, or “stream,” for their clients based on search criteria such as ZIP code, list price, bed and bath count, and other filters, or lets clients set up their own criteria.

When a home matching the search criteria hits the MLS or a home’s listing status or price changes, clients get an email or text alert branded to the agent.

“‘Listing alerts’ and what MLS systems call ‘client portals’ are very popular with agents. But, except for the quality of data, they all suck,” said W&R Studios co-founder Greg Robertson.

Top portals Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com provide a better interface with their alerts and websites, “but the data sucks,” he said. “What we are trying to give agents is the best of both worlds.”

Screen shot comparing a Cloud Streams listing alert with one from an MLS.

Screen shot comparing a Cloud Streams listing alert with one from an MLS.

Cloud Streams listing alerts put photos front and center and link to mobile-responsive client portals. Clients can use the portals to provide feedback, on homes such as “likes” or comments that agents can use to narrow their home search.

“We wanted to create something that gave agents an edge over the listing portals. Cloud Streams is fun to use (and) provides the best property information there is while keeping (agents) engaged with their clients,” Robertson said in a statement.

Although W&R Studios’ comparative market analysis tool, Cloud CMA, pulls data from more than 240 MLSs, the company must negotiate separate feed agreements with each MLS for Cloud Streams.

Cloud Streams is currently available in 12 MLSs representing 215,000 real estate professionals nationwide. About five other agreements with MLSs are “in the pipeline,” including a large MLS that is also considering offering the tool as a free member benefit for its members, Robertson said.

So far, 2,000 agents have subscribed to Cloud Streams, he said. The site license with CRMLS will likely boost that figure. CRMLS was the first MLS to make the tool available to its members when Cloud Streams launched in the spring, but agents had to pay for their own subscriptions.

CRMLS CEO Art Carter said the MLS vetted the tool via focus groups and its operational committee.

“We are partnering with W&R Studios because we wanted to align ourselves with a proven provider that can deliver a product that will strengthen collaboration between real estate professionals and their clients,” Carter said in a statement.

CRMLS will continue to add products that help make agents and brokers relevant to today’s consumer, he added.

Since Cloud Streams launched, agents have created over 1,100 streams and sent out over 74,000 listing alerts, W&R Studios said in a blog post. That’s about double the number of streams and alerts that had been created as of September.

The 12 MLSs that have given Cloud Streams permission to use their data are:

  • San Dimas-based California Regional MLS
  • Shrewsbury, Massachusetts-based MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN)
  • Arizona Regional MLS
  • Denver-area-based REcolorado
  • Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors MLS
  • Portland, Oregon-based RMLS
  • Northeast Florida MLS (NEFMLS)
  • Silicon Valley-based MLSListings Inc.
  • The MLS of Long Island (MLSLI)
  • Northwest MLS (NWMLS)
  • The Spokane Association of Realtors MLS
  • San Francisco Bay Area-based Maxebrdi