According to eXp’s Troy Palmquist, these professional organizations have a greater role to play in providing services to support agents.

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With slowdowns in the market and uncertainty around compensation in a post-NAR commission settlement environment, many brokerages are finding it harder to provide the resources and training their agents need. In addition, with more brokerages focusing on already high-performing agents and teams, providing support for those agents who are struggling can become less of a priority.

In the vacuum thus created, MLSs and Realtor associations have an opportunity and an obligation to evolve and offer more value to their members to stay relevant and competitive in the modern real estate landscape.

In his recent article, Stuart White argued that “MLSs will continue to provide the most up-to-date and accurate market data and property listings. They will also have expanded opportunities to provide the tools, support and training real estate professionals need to succeed.” I couldn’t agree more.

While much of what MLSs and associations provide in this context has to do with data and technology, there is an important professional development role they play as well that is needed now more than ever.

MLS consolidation and fragmentation

The trend toward either consolidation of smaller MLSs into larger entities or the fragmentation of existing MLSs into specialized niche MLSs can impact market dynamics and operational strategies. For agents and brokers who are serving multiple markets, consolidation provides cost savings that are especially important now, when everyone is worried about the possibility of falling commissions.

As I’ve written before, pooled resources go further, regional representation improves, and service and representation increases with meaningful and mindful consolidation. 

Member engagement and retention

Maintaining the relevance and value of MLSs to their members (real estate agents and brokers) is crucial. This involves continuous improvement of services and tools. The days of the stores selling sign riders, booties and combo lockboxes are gone. Revenue and value need to be created in other channels. 

Look at what some of the associations in Canada have done for members; one of them even has a mobility and internet services entity, Area Wireless. MLSs and associations need to think outside the box about how they can better care for member agents and help those agents care for consumers. 

Training and education

Keeping members updated on new technologies, market trends and compliance issues requires robust training and educational programs. This can be resource-intensive but is necessary for maintaining a competitive edge.

Helping to create agents who are more professional, more tuned-in and better-trained is good for the industry, and it’s good for the organizations that depend on a growing and productive agent population. MLSs and associations are uniquely positioned to provide up-to-the-minute market, economic and technological training.

Diversity and inclusion

Ensuring that MLS platforms and policies promote diversity and inclusion within the real estate market is becoming increasingly important. From hateful rhetoric to misinformation, the world is more fragmented and fractured than ever before. 

Ensuring understanding and application of the Code of Ethics, promoting fair housing, and providing content-based representation for marginalized consumer groups and Realtors is a natural fit for MLSs and associations.

In a time of enormous change, the growth of our industry depends on turning toward a proactive, solutions-oriented approach that helps agents, team leaders and brokers succeed and thrive. Everyone has a part to play in correcting misconceptions, generating value-added content and democratizing information so that everyone feels confident in responding to and representing buyers and sellers.

Troy Palmquist is the director of growth for eXp California. Follow him on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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