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2009-03-20 21:00:52

The Local MLS is not Dying... or The Emperor's New Clothes.

 

I recently had a phone conversation with a guy in Texas, he was calling because he wanted more information about our CRM system, RealeSeller.  As is very common, our conversation moved on to other things real estate related: the question was about Zillow.com and its exposure versus the MLS IDX system.

Guess who exposed more data to the consumer? 
 
It sure wasn't the local MLS IDX system.  I'm not going to pick on any one local MLS here, but pick a property on your MLS system, any property, then look it up on REALTOR.com and Zillow.  Compare the available information.  If you were a consumer where would you go to look for that new property?  Some local MLS?  Not me, and not anyone with a little internet savvy.  Oops... you didn't even find it out there?  Yikes! 

And who are the majority of your buyers these days?  That's right, those younger "internet savvy" buyers are not going to be satisfied with that tiny crumb of information exposed by that little local MLS IDX system... why should they? 
 
Even the older and more educated buyers go national.  The only thing that the man or woman on the street doesn't have access to easily is SOLD property information.  And, since that is public record, you can usually go down to the local tax office and look up any information you want.  So, while it isn't currently easy to get, it can be had by any citizen.  This is also changing and these secrets are not going to be secrets much longer.  Why should this information be kept a secret
 
Let's face it, this information is only a secret because it is a "politically motivated" secret!  This is the information age.  Knowledge is power, and the consumer is demanding more power... and they are getting it!  Information gives them choices.  Information makes them better informed so they can make better choices
 
As a sales person, a lack of secrets makes you feel impotent doesn't it?  It shouldn't, you are the professional.  A good sales person wants their customer to have as much knowledge as possible, but remember, you are the one with "experience."  Experience can beat knowledge hands down any day.  Just having access to information doesn't make you an "expert," and that is what you, as a real estate professional, have to offer.
 
Real estate consumers are no longer going to tolerate these "secrets" because the internet has forever changed the way we access and use information.  You can't "hide" in the MLS anymore.  All sales people are faced with the same issue... the customer has access to more information than ever, and as a sales person, you either adapt to the situation, or you die.  It's that simple. 

So, wake up Emperor, your MLS system "is naked and has no clothes" ... you are EXPOSED!  And once the genie is out of the bottle, you can't stuff it back in there again.  The customer doesn't care what you have behind door number 1, or door number 2... they can see behind the doors because they can't be kept in their seats like small school children raising their hands because they need to use the restroom. 
 
You are more and more "on stage" and naked... get used to it.  That little bit of information your local MLS wants you to "expose" to consumers... is driving them to the national listings... your MLS is making you dead!  You have no clothes!  Don't let your local MLS convince you that they have some "magical cloth" and that by limiting the amount of information made available to your customers they are helping
 

Larry Perry is President and CEO of Double Density Software. Larry is the creator of the popular real estate contact management system RealeSeller and is also responsible for creating Real Web Lead Manager, and the RealeSeller Yearly Planner spreadsheet for real estate agents. Larry teaches weekly RealeSeller and Outlook related classes, and is the group organizer for the popular All Things Outlook group on RealTown. Larry has over 30 years experience in software development, 10 years working with real estate software, and over 12 years working with Microsoft Outlook. Check out his RealTown Group -- All Things Outlook

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