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2011-12-20 00:57:07

The Importance of MLS Data

Call me crazy but the last time I looked, the primary purpose of MLS Data was to help real estate agents get their homes sold…end of story. MLS’ that are current (so that they are truly reflective of the local market) are indispensible in this day and age.  Competent local MLS’ that put out quality data are essential. Moreover, syndicators who have helped get that MLS data introduced on a world-wide basis have helped significantly in facilitating sales in the world of real estate commerce. Imagine our ability to list a property on the Central Coast of California where a French winemaker might be able to purchase to open a California facility! Or, what about tens-of-thousands of people who want to re-locate across states and can zero-in markets they like and properties within those markets! We’ve come a long way.

What about after the sale? Remember, job #1 was accomplished when the property was sold. That was the biggest job, unless you agents and brokers disagree. After the sale, there is ongoing value in the data. It can be used by many industries. For real estate professionals, it can help predict the future. Wouldn’t we all like to look into the crystal ball? It can help insurance companies do a better job of quoting homeowner premiums. How many horror stories have you heard about people getting 80% of what it will cost to re-construct their home that burned to the ground…too many.

Here’s our view of it. There are a lot of companies that can “monetize” this data and that can inure to the benefit of brokers and agents. However, some of these companies seek to control it so they have a competitive advantage, or something of a monopoly. We believe that modified versions of this data in the hands of a few companies can create the right competitive environment for proper pricing in the market. Further, if some of the revenue is shared back with Boards it might decrease dues, or allow the Boards to provide value-added services to their membership.

A little data here and a little data there do not serve the interest of the essential players in the after-market uses of data. It needs to be aggregated so there is enough critical mass to make it worth the while of a national company to use it. If everyone is willing to share in the reward and to allow the rewards to be shared, every party will gain from it. If the parties are unwilling, use of MLS data will be fractured and yield very little to those who deserve it.

We’d love to hear your view on this subject.


Michael Ela was formerly president of C&S Valuation Technologies, Inc and also president of DataQuick Information Systems, covering a 15-year period with over 28 years in the real estate information business. He helped architect the U.S.’s first national online property database. Co-founder Steve Morgan, with 19 years in the business, was senior vice president at both of these organizations before joining Home Smart Reports.

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