The MLS Committee is looking forward to a busy and productive 2019, and has already accomplished a few goals in Q1, including the Homesnap rollout in February and the release of eProperty Watch in January. At the start of the year, the Committee identified several additional goals: Completing Safe Harbor implementation, standardizing image copyright documentation and vendor agreements, and addressing Flex functionality to meet market needs. We believe we have a strong and diverse group of REALTORS® poised to make improvements in a number of areas to help our members better service their clients.
At the end of February and the first part of March, Homesnap, in partnership with the MLS, hosted three days of informational seminars around Columbus as part of the new platform integration. Homesnap is the public-facing brand of the Broker Public Portal, a national home search portal for consumers that follows Fair Display Guidelines. Homesnap Pro is the industry-facing version of the Homesnap platform built specifically for real estate agents to access their MLS data and work from their mobile phones. Homesnap’s mission is to offer innovative tech solutions that benefit all parties through one unified platform. Ultimately, the tool is designed to protect member listings and facilitate accurate information being provided to the consumer.
Efforts to push forward Safe Harbor implementation are ongoing, and the MLS Committee considers this a priority as we move further into 2019. Safe Harbor effectively provides protection to REALTORS® by allowing the MLS to remove photos from listings that may violate copyright laws. We continue to research how other MLS organizations are handling this and are working closely with the MLS Board of Directors to put proper procedures in place.
Closely aligned with Safe Harbor efforts, the Committee is reviewing options to create/standardize copyright documentation. The goal is to provide members a simple document that could be used to disclose the type of copyright permissions associated with the photos they are uploading to the MLS. It’s likely that the MLS and Standard Forms committees will work jointly to create the necessary form.
As new technologies are born, the MLS Committee is focused on addressing requested updates while simplifying complexities and the volume of changes faced by our members. Further, we’re striving to leverage technology to become more efficient while improving the accuracy of data that flows through our system. While technology has allowed us to do more, more quickly, the speed of change has necessitated we consider both short- and long-term impacts as we further improve Flexmls to meet market needs.
As we work on improving data accuracy, the Committee has rolled out the Listing Data Checker, software designed to identify inaccuracies in listing information. The Listing Data Checker entered trial mode in early April. The MLS staff used the trial to make sure the system is working as expected and to make sure that the level of policy monitoring is correct. Educational opportunities and corrective measures that include Data Maintenance Fees and fines as needed continue to be an area of focus to protect the integrity and accuracy of our data. The implementation of the Listing Data Checker will expedite catching inaccurate data and make the entire fining process less subjective.
The MLS Committee is dedicated to proactively educating our members on upcoming changes, and we look to simplify and clarify the tools we are implementing that will provide efficiencies and improvement in the ways our members service their clients. We have a number of important goals in place and a committee and staff support to see them through to completion.
I am confident 2019 will be a fantastic year for our committee as we continue to support our 8,000+ members.