A Tale of 8 MLSs Committed To Making Customer Needs Their #1 Priority

From the RPR Blog. IRES recently joined RPR View as well!

MLSs, an indispensable part of the multi-faceted real estate industry, are gaining more and more ground when it comes to adoption of innovative data share options. The trend is fueled by increasing demand for greater accuracy, efficiency, standardization, and widespread access across multiple jurisdictions. In doing so, MLSs are helping their primary customer, REALTORS®, to solidify an agent’s true value proposition in the age of information—that of interpreter, advocate, market expert, and solutions provider.

Through cooperative data sharing, MLSs combat Overlapping Market Disorder (OMD), a condition that requires agents and brokers to enter listings into multiple systems and pay dues to each of those systems. This multiplicity of effort drives up expenses for subscribers and doubles or even triples workload for all. Related inefficiencies also skew market reports, narrow promotion of properties, and limit property searches on IDX powered websites.

In this regard, Minnesota is listening to their REALTOR® subscribers who, when recently surveyed by Clareity Consulting, said access to multiple MLSs is essential to adequately facilitating their businesses—a whopping 87 percent agreed.

This September, eight Minnesota MLSs entered into a reciprocal data share agreement that will provide more than 17,600 REALTORS® with access to data from neighboring MLSs. RPR View™, one of the many features offered through the Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®’s) Partner Integrations Department, administers the agreement.

RPR View™ is a set of sharing permissions which allow partnering MLSs to make listings viewable by REALTORS® in other markets, all via the RPR Platform. Permissions within RPR View™ are segmented into On Market/Active, Off Market and Confidential. And by choosing which fields to share, MLSs remain compliant with their local business rules.

Currently, there are over 360 MLSs representing nearly 650,000 REALTORS® using RPR View™ to share Active listings with other participating MLSs, and more than 430,000 REALTORS® sharing Off Market/historical listings with one or more MLSs. On a broader level, over 200 MLSs representing 230,000 REALTORS® share their active listings with all 1.1 million REALTORS® nationwide.

As with all features of the RPR Platform, there are no fees, charges, or contracts associated with RPR View™.

So how and why did Minnesota make the leap to RPR View™? To find out, we interviewed two executives from one of Minnesota’s leading multiple listing services, NorthstarMLS® (subscriber base: 15,700). Here’s what President and CEO John Mosey and Director of Marketing and Communications Tom Flaherty had to say about the decision.

Q: Thanks for taking time to share with us today. Looking back, tell us why you chose RPR View™ as Northstar’s data share solution.
A: John: I could say that the fundamental reason for choosing RPR is that there are no fees or contracts, but that would be an oversimplification. I will say that the fact that it’s free takes a lot of dialogue out of the political environment. Everybody is on the same page, focusing on the mission, rather than political or personal agendas. Also, at the time RPR View™ seemed like an underutilized asset in the industry. It looked simple to implement and, most importantly, it fulfilled a need for our customers, which is paramount to anything else we do.The easiest part was being able to communicate data from our respective systems that did not include confidential fields. As for the confidential fields issue, we anticipated, and RPR worked hard to, find a way to expose those fields among REALTORS® that use that data. We didn’t want data that could be harmful to the seller’s interest to go into the wild, so to speak. Thankfully, everybody who uses RPR is within the REALTOR® family and therefore licensed. So, together we found ways to assure consistency across all boundaries.

Tom: When we first learned about RPR View™, we knew immediately that it would make things easier for our users. They are already familiar with RPR, which helps offset any learning curve. And features like single sign-on are added benefits. In all, we knew that if there was something we were able to do, then we could do it with RPR. Of course, RPR View™ is offered as part of our NAR member benefits so there are no costs or contracts.

Q: What does RPR View™ offer NorthstarMLS® that other solutions did not?
A: John: We had been involved in a data sharing agreement for several years … a coalition of parties who contributed data to a vendor who homogenized it and sent it back to the parties. We called it a ‘crockpot.’ It was expensive and not entirely accurate. What RPR’s been doing for a long time now is being able to pull in all this data and make it digestible, while still being accurate.Tom: Ease of implementation. It’s also easier to find the data. And like I said, more agents are using RPR every day so they’re more familiar and know how to use it. Agents appreciate how user friendly the system is.
Q: Tell us more about the implementation process.
A: Tom: John led that effort so I’ll pass the baton to him.
John: It was painless. Plain and simple.
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