A week ago, the California Association of REALTORS held a very interesting panel discussion on the MLS, and live-streamed it. I hope I’m embedding this correctly below.
Seriously, watch the whole thing if you haven’t already. It’s really good.
I’m sure there are other things to talk about from this panel, but for now, I want to highlight one issue that Joel Singer, CEO of CAR, brought up.
Then I want to ask a question and get your answers and thoughts.
What Happened to the Tech Leadership of the MLS?
The issue is how the MLS used to be a technology leader, but then lost that leadership.
At 1:25:00 mark or so, Joel asks whether the MLS is “missing the ballpark” when it comes to giving the broker and the agent the ability to compete.
He then tells a story about how he recently bought a house, and used the Redfin app. He had a terrific broker (I assume he means agent), then says that his agent — and other agents — started sending him data from the MLS. Then he says, it didn’t compare very well to what he received from Redfin.
Joel then asks: “The data was great; the presentation was great. Is this a problem for us?”
He goes on:
Do we need to give our agents the same type of value when they’re dealing with their customers as their customer gets directly from Redfin, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia?
He then says, “This is the embarrassing part for me” before talking about how the MLS used to be technologically innovative and superior. The MLS was at the vanguard of technology; it was “one of the few small businesses who used elite technology to create informational advantage for our members.”
Great discussion ensues afterwards.
My question is a simple one: Why did the MLS lose the technology leadership?
I don’t need a history lesson. Nor am I looking to “blame” somebody, as so many low-information Realtors are wont to do: “NAR soldz us outz!!!11BBQ!11!”
I’m asking what your opinion is on the fundamental reason the MLS lost that tech leadership that it once had.
If you don’t think there was a fundamental reason, so it was just bad luck, happenstance, etc., then go ahead and provide your answer. I’m curious what it might be.
I’ll leave it there for now. I have my opinions, but wanted to see what the best informed audience in real estate has to say about that question.