The multiple listing service system as we know it will not be around in the near future if drastic changes are not made immediately. This may sound bad at first, but I think in 10 years when we look back we will wonder how we ever got along with the MLS system as we know it today.

First of all, MLSs that are clustered in the same geographical areas need to be consolidated into larger regional MLSs or even statewide MLSs. With the current technology and local user-based customization there is no need to have the smaller MLSs.

By AMANDA M. ADAMS

Editor’s note: This guest contribution was submitted as a part of an essay competition focusing on MLS issues, trends and troubles. Click here to find out more about "A new look for MLS," an Inman News editorial project that will continue through the month of June.

The multiple listing service system as we know it will not be around in the near future if drastic changes are not made immediately. This may sound bad at first, but I think in 10 years when we look back we will wonder how we ever got along with the MLS system as we know it today.

First of all, MLSs that are clustered in the same geographical areas need to be consolidated into larger regional MLSs or even statewide MLSs. With the current technology and local user-based customization there is no need to have the smaller MLSs.

There are many areas where this is already taking place, but more needs to be done. This will be tough due to the political and financial situations that many MLSs are in. But it must be done in order for the good of all involved: both agents and their clients. Imagine knowing that you have access to ALL of the listings, and not just what was entered by the agents who are members of your local MLS.

I am not saying that we need a national MLS, but for most areas a statewide MLS would be better than having 10 or so regional MLSs. It would then be easier to "pool" the data from these statewide and regional MLSs into a national MLS database.

Once we have consolidated most of the smaller MLSs we need to go through the MLS rules and clean out all of the mundane rules. Many current MLSs have so many additions and changes to the NAR or state-model rules that it is difficult to understand them. There is no need for many of these rules, and they should be removed.

The best way to do this is to have a smart group of agents start fresh and write up what they feel the MLS rules should be, then adapt their ideas with what we currently have into a new set of MLS rules.

Then we need to think about the consumer. Many agents still have a backwards opinion on what the consumer should be allowed to see. I hear agents say, "I only want to show the most basic listing info on my Web site so that people will have to call me for more information."

What they don’t think about is that the consumer will find the information elsewhere if you don’t provide it to them. I want my Web site to be known for its detailed and accurate listing information.

That way people will keep returning to it and know that I am providing them a service and not just trying to "capture" their information by teasing them with the bare minimum.

As a young professional these ideas all seem so easy to me, but time will tell if the majority of real estate professionals step up and start thinking to the future instead of the past. It’s not about "what we have always done," but about "what we can and should be doing."

Amanda M. Adams
Realtor
RE/MAX Realty Today
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

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