CEO’s Message: The Evolving MLS Challenge

Jim Harrison: MLSListings Inc CEO and President

Jim Harrison
President and CEO, MLSListings

One of the most important dialogues occurring in today’s real estate industry and market environment is about the status, mission and destination of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Real estate industry trade media are regularly writing stories about the MLS, whether it has changed and what changes will come. This movement is also made manifest in this year’s real estate conferences as MLS-related presentations are on nearly every agenda.

Over the past few years, enlightened MLSs have begun transitioning from the traditional market control focus to more contemporary work.

So, what does this mean for MLSs, the evolutionary challenge, and the customers we serve?

Since the dawn of the MLS book, one of the most critical elements in the real estate marketplace has been information about properties for sale, and who would have the rights to provide services to buy or sell them. The other important function has been surrounding which rules and/or procedures would support these transactions.

The prevailing thought was that real estate professionals who practiced their trade in a specific geographic area should work properties in that area, and those borders and boundaries would be maintained by MLSs. Unfortunately, as I write this in the past tense, the reality is many of the 700+ MLSs in operation today continue to support and patrol their borders.

Predictably, life happened. Things changed. Demographic and governmental realities are impacting this traditional approach. You can guess many of those realities:

  • Populations began to overflow from cities into formerly rural areas creating new markets with new boundaries and new governmental entities.
  • Real estate brokerages evolved from a neighborhood focus to a regional focus.
  • Consumers gained access to property information.

At MLSListings, we have used these changes to fuel our service delivery and innovation. Rather than “border patrol,” we use our time and talents reaching out to our MLS neighbors to work toward data access. We know that it is important for all of you as real estate professionals to have the same access to property data that your clients enjoy, and more. Furthermore, we make the method in which you receive that data our technological commitment to finding ways to make your work seamless and efficient.  To use the cliché, we consider challenges, opportunities.

In the coming months, I urge you to keep a close eye on the information we will be sending to you. We have tasked our product vendors and ourselves with increasing the value of tools and service. We are raising the standard on ways in which we support your business. Our evolution should provide better solutions for all of you.



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