Tales From the Wild Part 2: Data Sharing

Feb 16, 2022 Allie Flett

When is Data Sharing The Best Option?

GOAL: Expand access and reach beyond local; maintain local MLS autonomy and identity.

MLSs in large metropolitan areas seek data sharing between local MLSs to ensure that subscribers gain maximum listing exposure and listing access across the entire region while improving efficiency (eliminating duplicate listing entry, multi-MLS membership, etc.). Data shares create a more boundaryless subscriber experience while empowering all individual MLS parties to maintain their autonomy, enforce their own rules and run their own MLS system.

South Florida: Multiple MLSs and MLS Vendors

Such was the case in Southern Florida, where we (FBS) implemented a data share for our Flexmls® Platform customers between Miami Association of Realtors®, Martin County Realtors® and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Board of Realtors®, all of whom utilize different MLS vendors. Once the desire was established, the FBS team took action, providing input and advice on best practices, drawn on 20+ years of hands-on experience implementing complex data shares.

Greg Manship (@gregmanship), Senior Vice President of MLS and Data Integrations at Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors® explains, “In South Florida there was a need to lower the MLS boundaries that agents were up against when working with their clients. Once we had data sharing agreements in place with our neighboring MLSs, FBS expertly worked with us, our neighbors and their vendors to combine the data and make it available to our members in Flexmls. South Florida is an active market, making accuracy and timeliness of data critical. FBS and Flexmls provide that for us.”

Some of the unique elements associated with this particular data share project were: different MLS vendors, leadership from multiple MLSs, accurate replication of data and redistribution of that data in a standard format conforming with local business rules. To facilitate the data share, the Data Engineering and Customer Success Teams worked together to scope the project and outline the path forward, creating an established timeline. Then, the real work took place: analyzing data feeds from other vendors, working with our customer(s) to map the fields to their Flexmls database and then performing a data conversion. Work like this can take weeks (or more, sometimes, given the process and number of people/entities involved).

Beyond South Florida – Data Sharing Expertise

South Florida is one of many examples of FBS working closely with their Flexmls customers within a large geography, amidst many other MLSs (and MLS technologies), to implement data sharing for the benefit of subscribers (and their customers). To name just a few substantial initiatives, FBS implemented data sharing in Southern California, importing data from CRMLS into Flexmls and in another multi-vendor data share that stretches from Georgia to Michigan.

Data Sharing Between Flexmls Customers? Super Easy

FBS provides a unique (and free) data sharing feature built right into the Flexmls Platform. For two or more Flexmls customers sharing data with each other, the Flexmls Data Share is easy to turn on and is customizable by the MLS so MLS administrators can control which fields they want to share with the other MLSs. Real-time searching on the user side is simple and intuitive, and agents can easily select which MLS’s data they want to search from a dropdown menu. This solution easily and efficiently meets the needs of the participating MLSs. One of many Flexmls customers utilizing the Flexmls Data Share is a group of six MLSs in Pennsylvania that includes the Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors®. “Our MLS has been taking advantage of the Flexmls Data Share functionality for upwards of 20 years. Our members can see data from six neighboring Flexmls systems quickly and easily right in their familiar Flexmls system. This is a huge benefit to our members as it enables them to represent their clients across multiple MLS markets without needing to join multiple MLS organizations. It is also great to know that listings entered into our MLS will have exposure to agents in those other markets in the same manner,” said Nicole Murray, Association Executive at Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors.

The Bottom Line

Data sharing implementations have a lot of moving parts: people, data, technology systems. There are numerous technical-backend options that can be implemented to create a data share and each has its own unique challenges. FBS has a long history of successfully implementing complex data shares. Both team and technology ensure MLSs receive sound guidance and a well executed plan to support their needs, managed by professionals who communicate and collaborate along the way. The outcome? Thoughtfully customized solutions and happy customers. FBS Vice President of Sales, Dave Rifkin is often on the front lines of these conversations as they start to take shape with MLS leadership of Flexmls customers. He shares his confidence in FBS’s ability to help any MLS achieve their goals: “At this point, I know there’s truly nothing we can’t overcome with our team and technology. We do this a lot. Everyone works together to do what is best for our customers, supporting them through the process.” Thinking of a data share and want to talk through ideas and options? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us or leave a comment below!

As we’ve said above, each MLS is different and each solution unique. Check out our other blogs from our Tales from the Wild series where we focus on regionalization and local and independent MLSs to learn how FBS serves each customer’s individual needs.