Measuring Success for MLS Executives

Kathy CMLS Portrait.jpg

By: Kathy Condon, President and CEO


Much has been written about the changing landscape of the residential real estate market and the need for brokerages and MLS organizations to embrace technology collaboratively.  We talk about it all the time. And sometimes we actually do something about it! As for me, I whole-heartedly agree MLS’s must continually embrace technology provided it maps to the brokers interests. We cannot leave our most important constituent out of the equation.

Decisions in and around technology must ensure that MLS’s acknowledge the investments its brokers have made and will continue to make. So my first question. How do your actions compliment their efforts?

Like many of you, I am passionate about my shareholders, my brokers, and my job.  For MLS PIN, I am acutely aware of my fiduciary duty to my broker-shareholders. I know you care as well. At the very least, brokers represent the primary stakeholder in yours regardless of your ownership model.

My assignment at MLS PIN includes continually addressing the pain points of brokers, implementing solutions AND showing a measurable return on shareholder investment.  And this return doesn’t always need to be about money. Yes, MLS PIN is a for-profit, privately-owned company.  But there are loads of ways to measure success. Our company’s mission statement demands that we offer state-of-the-art, cost-effective services.  Everything we do must compliment my broker’s efforts. The RESO Web API further ensures this. (Be sure to review the “Solving Broker Pain Points” article posted on this site as adoption of it will demonstrate measurable returns).

As it relates to RETS and RESO, we all agree RETS is not going anywhere in the short term.  It would be foolhardy to believe that all the brokers of MLS PIN will make a change on the same date, just as it would be foolhardy for any of you to make a change that arbitrarily affects the brokers in your market.  Different business models, competing brokers, each with different wants and needs will determine their adoption. But folks RETS has a limited life span. And waiting until it’s on life support, waiting until the need becomes a siren call also doesn’t make sense. Not when there is so much business at stake.

This example of “looking ahead” is what is so helpful to those of us in the MLS Roundtable. Hopefully, it benefits you as well. Like you, we all have different organizations. Yet we all agree on the goals of advancing our broker success and assisting in their agents’ and subscribers’ successes as well.  And we will accomplish this in a responsible and timely manner. The important thing is that we keep moving the needle forward. Standing still is just not a viable option.

On a related topic and to those MLS organizations who feel they are “niche” markets or adhere to the dated “only a local MLS can adequately represent its brokers,” I say: Have you talked to your brokers lately?  What do they think about arbitrary borders that were established decades ago? Better still, what do their agents and clients think?  Do they care that absent an expanded marketplace, the listing is only going to be visible in a smaller sphere?  Is the seller okay with this?

To those technology partners who argue that we don’t need to be working on the RESO API now, I say: Seriously? Help us all be more proactive in addressing the need for positive, proactive and responsible change. We are your customers. Help us to help ours.

To those brokers who are uncertain about what exactly is happening in your market(s) I say: Ask the MLS Exec (annually) to sit down with you and explain their technology road map. Where are the areas of synergy? Importantly where are the intersections that have potential to impact your own technology spend?

Still not convinced? Take the total dollar volume of residential real estate transactions in your market in the last year. Divide it by 365 to get the daily volume. What is your percentage? What commission and company dollars are in play? Regardless whether it’s a lot or a little, it begs for a discussion.

So it could be the RESO API, it could be responsible market expansion, it could be integration of new technology tools or something else entirely. Just do it. In fact make it a critical part of your success metrics every year. Start right now and place all of these on your list of objectives for 2019.

Last question: One year from now, how will you measure up?

Tinus Swanepoel