You Can Beat The National Portals With This Strategy Today

[When NorthstarMLS staff and its Directors meet with brokers and agents, one of the most commonly heard complaints is the prevalence of third party real estate portals for consumers and what NorthstarMLS can do about it. The article below is a summary of what you, NorthstarMLS and the entire real estate industry can and are doing. It’s well worth the read and a print version is available here.]

Imagine a world where every real estate agent, broker and franchise in the nation promoted their real estate mobile app to consumers. The app is white-label branded to the agent, broker, and franchise offering direct access to every MLS listing without any competitive ads. That is the way it would need to work. Guess what, we have it. You have it. Our industry has it. Today.

There are two models of how the app works. If the consumer is working with a franchise, a firm, or an agent – that trusted relationship is honored. The professional service provider selected by the consumer is there with them at any time. That’s you. You remain connected to the consumer to help out with any questions they have. If the consumer is looking out of that service provider’s region, the provider can refer that business however they like.

The second model of the app is for a consumer who has not selected a real estate service provider. In that circumstance, every listing is branded to the listing broker and agent with no competitors advertised on the listing other than the seller’s representative. Your listing, your lead!

Some 850,000 agents (including all NorthstarMLS subscribers) have access to this app today, but many agents still do not know about it. It is offered by NorthstarMLS as a participant in the Broker Public Portal. The app is called Homesnap. It is ridiculously easy to use. Download the app, select NorthstarMLS, and your personal branded app is created.

Next, the app prompts you to send an invitation to everyone in your phone’s address book with one click. Why would any consumer use an app from an advertising company’s app if they had this service from their agent? Accurate listings. No advertising confusion found on those other apps. It’s the best app for real estate search.

And if your clients prefer a web-based search tool, have them check out It easily matches the national portals in features, functionality and, most importantly, quality of listing data because it comes directly from the MLS.

Our industry is at a crossroads. The advertising companies have intercepted the consumer, and try as you may, individual franchises, brokers, or agents will never have enough individual horsepower to beat the portals. However, with cooperation amongst the 670 MLSs, the 85,000 brokers, and the 1.3 million real estate professionals – we can offer an alternative. You have two choices. You can stand around and complain, or you can step up and lead. The hard work has already been done. It’s built.

Go to the Android Store or the Apple App Store and put Homesnap on your phone right now. Invite your clients right now. They will love it, and they will appreciate you more for pointing them to the best app and website the way it was meant to be for a home search experience.

Are you sick and tired of advertising portals and want to create an industry alternative that is motivated by cooperation and business rules that promote your relationship with consumers? You must engage. The app will not load itself.

By the way, it is important you know that there is no profit motive behind this. Nobody involved in the Broker Public Portal may ever receive a dividend or profit from your listings. In fact, the founding shareholders may not even redeem their unit shares. Those investments made by founding MLSs and Brokers only allow them to participate in guiding the company to make sure that the Broker Public Portal and Homesnap does not stray from its course, providing consumers with professional quality property information from you and your cooperating peers in the MLS.

Adapted from an article by the The WAV Group, consultants to the Broker Public Portal/Homesnap

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Did you know that the Realtors Property Resource (RPR) app can help answer some common consumer questions you probably hear frequently?

RPR (a NorthstarMLS core service) put together a list of the top 12 reported ways that agents are using the RPR app to educate their buyers. We’ve highlighted a few of them below. View the full list of RPR’s common consumer questions here.

“Can we see that house right now?”
While checking out the property on RPR’s app, look to the Listing Details section to find Showing instructions. Also to contact the listing agent, tap on the Call Agent button found at the bottom of the property details screen, which immediately initiates a call to the listing agent.

“Is this home in a flood zone?”
The data platform’s app displays flood zone data as designated by FEMA. A high-risk area has a 1 percent or greater annual chance of flooding and a 26 percent chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. A moderate-risk area is between risk limits of a 100-year and 500-year flood. See Location Details while in Property Details.

“There’s a for-sale-by-owner. Can we check it out?”
Before yielding to the instinctive Realtor® cringe we all get when presented with FSBOs, first, smile, then pull up the RPR app on your phone. Within seconds, your phone’s GPS will identify your location and specifically the FSBO home. Click on the property’s icon to reveal everything your client wants to know, including the RVM, sales history, photos, owner info, and more.

Download the RPR app on your smartphone, iPad or tablet today and be prepared to respond to your client’s questions tomorrow! Use your devices’s location to instantly view any property nearby, or search for properties to find listing, sales, valuation, assessment, deed, foreclosure, school, photos, maps, market trend info and more.

Did You Know Archive Want to check out older Did You Know articles? Click here to view the archive of previous Did You Know articles on the NorthstarMLS Blog & Archive.

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We are proud to announce that the consumer version of Homesnap, Powered by the Broker Public Portal, is now available to buyers and sellers who are now going to national real estate portals.

The Broker Public Portal (BPP) initiative grew out of a movement among brokers across the country to develop an industry-controlled real estate search experience for consumers.

The idea was to leverage the relationship between brokers and their agents with the MLS where they list and sell property so that agents could deliver the highest quality listing information directly to buyers and sellers.

NorthstarMLS was at the forefront of this national collaboration between brokers and MLS’s.

Homesnap is the business and technology partner chosen by the Broker Public Portal Board of Managers to realize its goal of providing agents with an alternative to the big portals. It is a Mobile-first solution that has already achieved extraordinary adoption on a national basis both by agents who can engage with their clients and prospects using Homesnap Pro and directly by consumers who have made Homesnap the #1 rated real estate app in the App store.

You won’t find any advertising on the app, nor will you be sold premium placement or zip codes. This is a “your listing – your lead” service that is provided to you as a benefit from your MLS.

Buyers and sellers will see all the homes for sale from every real estate company in our markets updated at the same frequency as IDX and with the same levels of quality and accuracy that are the hallmarks of MLS.

We believe that Homesnap, Powered by Broker Public Portal, will be especially appreciated by consumers for its superior content and direct connection to you, the real estate professional best able to help them with their buying and selling needs.

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Real estate experts say consumers focus on three major factors when searching for a home: Price, Beds and Baths.

But isn’t what most buyers are really looking for is a home they can afford? That’s the idea behind TLC or True Lifestyle Cost, an exciting core service from NorthstarMLS.

It helps you show consumers what it really can cost to own any home that’s listed on this MLS, and you can even give them side-by-side comparisons.

There’s a better, smarter way to search for homes using TLC and that means you have show consumers information that they can’t get from any other search, not even from Z-T-R!

Discover TLC: Sign in and click on “True Lifestyle Cost” on External Links today.

Want to learn more about True Lifestyle Costs (TLC)? 
Click here to check out a library of articles, videos and tutorials to help you get started using TLC, or to learn more about this great new MLS tool.

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