It’s no secret that few entities have resisted change quite like organized real estate. One reason for it? They haven’t had to.
With origins dating back to the nineteenth century, MLSs and associations have long been the gatekeepers of the property data on which millions of real estate deals hinge.
In their earliest iteration, MLSs were a kind of social swap-meet. Members would gather at board offices and exchange listing information. Over time, the methods of communication evolved, transitioning from in-person forums to printed books and digital distribution. While the presentation changed, the iron-clad exclusivity between the MLS board and property data did not.
Then came the dawn of the 21st century digital revolution, which democratized data in virtually every field — with Organized Real Estate being no exception. Listings on digital real estate marketplaces like Zillow publicly posted property data. Suddenly, everything from a property’s list price to its square footage was now in the common domain. It set a butterfly effect into motion, prompting a very real question: How does the MLS remain competitive in the modern age?
A smooth-sailing market throughout most of the 2010s followed by the white hot Pandemic market of 2020 and 2021, satiated experienced agents with easy-to-land listings and steady sales. The palatable market conditions also encouraged new agents to join the ranks. With sales solid, both groups were generally content to continue paying MLS dues, without any increased expectation.
The Pandemic wasn’t without side effects; when inflation and mounting interest rates ultimately broke the fever dream of motivated sellers and multiple offers, it caused agents to enter a new phase of cost mitigation. In 2023, agents are assessing the dues associated with their various industry organizations and asking — Is this essential? Is this something I can live without?
It’s a mindset that creates new challenges for organized real estate. Most emphatically: how can MLSs and associations sustain membership amid increasingly dynamic market conditions? Fortunately for them, it’s not a question they have to answer alone.
Currently in discussions with numerous organizations, SkySlope, one of the proptech industry’s leading innovators, is unveiling new solutions targeted specifically at boosting MLSs’ and associations’ value to their members. Their goal? To transform MLSs and associations into tech hubs that automatically direct data from one part of a real estate transaction to the next. Automation in turn drives down administrative tasks and puts time back in agents’ hands for relationship building, lead generation and other high-value activities.
“In this market, we’re seeing momentum around two ideas,” says SkySlope CEO, Tyler Smith. “One, is that brokerages, just like other companies, are undergoing a ‘tightening of the belt’ and are looking to consolidate and cut services. The second, is increased pressure for organized real estate to deliver more value to benefit their members. These two elements together provide an excellent opportunity for organizations to offer technical solutions to their membership bases.”
Part of the draw of partnering with SkySlope, specifically, is their team’s real-life real estate expertise and intrinsic understanding of agents’ workflow.
For instance, when interviews revealed that agents were investing extensive effort in organizing, curating, and reentering offers into complex spreadsheets for their home sellers to compare, SkySlope deployed its teams to deliver SkySlope Offers, a first-of-its-kind solution. Powered by smart technology, SkySlope Offers provides a bright, easy, and equitable way for real estate professionals to share and compare offers with clients.
In January 2023, SkySlope Offers was rolled out to Florida’s Stellar MLS’s 75,000 members. Within three days of its launch, the Offers solution had over 15,000 active listings.
The success of SkySlope Offers has prompted the world’s fastest growing association, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), to sign on as a member as well. As the potential of a blind bidding outlaw continues to take prominence in Canada’s real estate conversations, SkySlope Offers provides a future-forward solution for those jurisdictions who could one day soon mandate sharing.
“With member churn expected to rise if the market slowdown continues, it’s a pivotal time for organizations to ask themselves — How can they tailor their services to retain members and better support existing members? And what collaborations can they seek out to help them install those services?,” says Smith. “Here at SkySlope, we’re committed to helping organized real estate entities transform into an invaluable portion of the real estate transaction process.”