Searching for listings is often a separate activity for real estate agents and consumers. Agents have the multiple listing service. Consumers often prefer to use third-party services like Zillow and realtor.com. Now a deal struck between the nation’s largest MLS system vendor and a real estate tech startup may bring the MLS and consumer search experience together.
Real estate software and data giant CoreLogic has formed a strategic partnership with BoxMLS, a startup that offers a common search platform for agents and consumers, which can be branded under an agent’s or broker’s name and logos. The search tool can “plug and play” across MLS boundaries, according to sources familiar with the matter who asked not to be named.
As part of the multiyear agreement, CoreLogic will be able to offer its MLS customers a custom integration of BoxMLS starting this fall. BoxMLS ensures strict adherence to MLS rules by accessing the MLS system’s native database and rules engine directly, sources said.
More than 800,000 agents and brokers in 128 MLSs nationwide use CoreLogic’s Matrix platform. This deal will allow those MLSs to offer their subscribers an MLS “front end of choice” — or an alternative interface for agents to search for listings, which a growing number of MLSs provide.
Agents and brokers whose MLSs integrate with BoxMLS will also have the ability to set up an agent- or broker-branded, MLS rules-compliant Virtual Office Website (VOW) and branded mobile apps. Agents and brokers can use these websites and apps to communicate with consumers and collaborate over real-time MLS data and share activities such as search results, favorite properties, showing requests, detailed market reports, tours, and automated valuation models (AVMs).
No CoreLogic MLSs currently use BoxMLS, but five MLSs in the San Francisco Bay Area who share data with each other have implemented the tool, giving agents and consumers in the area a single, easy-to-use interface to search across multiple markets. The Prescott Association of Realtors MLS in Arizona and the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors’ MLS in Oklahoma will soon launch BoxMLS.
Whether a data share agreement must be in place between MLSs to offer cross-MLS search depends on how agents and brokers are accessing BoxMLS, according to BoxMLS CEO Kevin Hughes.
“If independent, neighboring MLSs wanted to offer BoxMLS at a site license level (to their subscriber base as an alternative front end search) and allow agents to utilize BoxMLS as a singular search for both [databases], an MLS data share agreement would be required,” he told Inman via email.
“If a broker practices real estate in multiple markets constricted by MLS boundaries, the BoxMLS broker would simply require an authorized VOW feed so that BoxMLS would search across MLS boundaries for the participating agents.”
Direct listing input into the MLS is not something that BoxMLS offers at this time, Hughes said. Therefore, agents and brokers whose MLS integrates BoxMLS for all subscribers will still have to enter their listings through Matrix.
However, BoxMLS does offer a listing management tool for brokers which allows brokers to have their agents input listings within their white-labeled BoxMLS system, according to Hughes.
“The Broker Listing Management tool is capable of pushing the data to any MLS the broker subscribes to. The Broker Listing Management tool can also push data to many additional broker destinations such as their website or internal tools,” he said.
Asked how much it will cost CoreLogic MLSs to integrate with BoxMLS, Hughes said integrations are offered on a case-by-case basis.
“CoreLogic is a well-respected technology leader within the industry. We are excited to have the support of CoreLogic behind us as we continue to bring innovative tools designed to bridge collaboration between the MLS, the agent and the consumer,” he said.