Regional data sharing is a hot topic for at least two good reasons. First, where there is market overlap, Brokers are forced to pay for two MLSs memberships. Second, when consumers view properties on MLS sites, they only see part of the inventory since listings are segregated into the local markets.
Solid Earth has tackled the problem both technically and politically, and has had several early successes fixing both problems. Our approach is focused on empowering brokers and their MLSs. It seems many of our competitors are bent on using the broker’s data for their own purposes.
In this and the next several posts, we will talk about some of the projects either already published or about to be published on Solid Earth’s LIST-IT Network. In this post, we are talking about a project on the Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia border that is, so far, broker-focused. Plans are underway to expose a portion of the combined data on a consumer portal later this year.
Here’s what Keller Williams Broker Randy Durham had to say about the project: “My MLS really solved a problem for me with this one. With the addition of River Counties listings to the Chattanooga MLS I have been able to drop my second MLS membership. It’s going to save agents and brokers hundreds of dollars every year. Plus, the data is now in one bucket so my agents get market-wide access to MLS data with no extra work for them or me. Solid Earth and GCAR (Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS) totally delivered on this one.”
In Chattanooga Tennessee, the beautiful Tennessee River meets the end of the majestic Appalachians at Lookout Mountain. Nestled in the valley below is Chattanooga, a renewed Southern City enjoying a long economic spring with a successful new aquarium and downtown redevelopment. The city is served by the Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS who stages a Solid Earth-built consumer website called www.mlsarealistings.com.
The neighboring markets located up and down the river valley are smaller, but together make up a natural market area. They include nearby Dalton Georgia, covered by the Carpet Capital MLS; nearby Cleveland Tennessee, covered by the River Counties MLS; and to the west, the North Alabama Regional MLS. The North Alabama regional system reaches 120 miles to the west to Muscle Shoals and holds more than 12,000 active listings from six North Alabama Realtor Associations.
Realtors in Chattanooga now login to their existing Solid Earth LIST-IT MLS and have access to over 10,000 new listings from the surrounding MLSs.
Chattanooga <-> River Counties <-> NALMLS
5,965 2,382 8,615
Chattanooga <–> River Counties
The leadership in Chattanooga successfully broke through the political and technical challenges to create a “virtual” MLS in their region. In doing so, they have more than tripled the active inventory available to their broker members while eliminating costs and building efficiencies. With a Solid Earth solution, each MLS chooses to expose as much or as little of their data as they wish. So, there is never a problem releasing data your MLS is not comfortable releasing.
How did they accomplish so much? What should we do next with the cooperation? Post your comments and watch for more posts about other regional data sharing projects coming soon.