The Future of MLS Features - 2008
Why make the consumer open up a web browser and go to a web site to see their latest prospect matches? Why even expect they would check their email? Why not 'push' the results right to their computer desktop and get the information right in front of them when they start up their PC? This is both convenience to the consumer and value-add to the agent.
The illustration below shows two Widgets that I created back in 2005 – one designed for the consumer showing the results of a prospect search, the other for the real estate professional, showing listing activity in their market area, along with what emails, inquiries, and tasks would await them when they logged into the MLS.
Toolkits by companies such as Google and Yahoo!, as well as widget capabilities built into Windows and Mac OS, make widget creation fairly easy. Coldwell Banker added a very simple widget to their web site last year, but I'm imagining much more sophisticated widgets, especially for professionals. Recently, I've begun to see capabilities developed to allow even more bridging between the Internet and the desktop – where the widget can store some data locally and provide some functionality even if the user has gone offline. As this technology evolves, I expect that the opportunities opened up by its use will continue to grow.
Integration of Broker System Features
At some point I expect, or at least hope, that MLSs will have much deeper integration with broker back-office systems and/or build in more broker features. There would be significant broker data management and workflow advantages to building features into the MLS such as:
- Lead Generation / Management tools
- Marketing tools
- Competitive analysis for Recruit/Retention
- Content syndication tools (listing distribution to other web)
- Productivity / profitability measurement tool
To dig a bit deeper in one of these areas, an agent productivity / profitability measurement tool may include such elements as:
- Income and Expense Tracking
- List/sell/total production graph and chart
- Drilldown by month / week / day / date range
- Drilldown by enterprise / office / team / agent / listings
- Productivity modeler (Actual / What If)
The "what if" modeler may allow for adjustable components such as commission splits, selling office commissions, desk cost coverage %, closed to list ratio, average marketing time, transactions to list ratio, and more. The system would then be able to show total $, GCI, agent $, company $, market $, desk $, net $, and $ change (from previous and base scenarios).
These types of features have been in various different broker tools – but really depend on the MLS for the data to properly implement them. Again, either the key will be deeper integrations with existing products or building these types of tools right into the MLS.
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