Tales from the Wild Part 4: The Local and Independent

Mar 3, 2022 Allie Flett

The Finish Line

We’ve arrived at the last blog in our four part series dedicated to MLSs who choose to stay local and independent. If you haven’t read the first three blogs in the series (introduction, data sharing and regionalization) it’s a great time to check them out. We share real-world examples of how we’ve helped MLSs of all sizes work through data sharing solutions or regionalization in their unique market, providing key details about decisions, obstacles, challenges, and desired outcomes. Through these blogs, hopefully we’ve demonstrated how and why we are the optimal technology and strategic partner to provide the guidance, support, change-management training, and superior technology to help you find success and growth on whichever path you / your MLS chooses.

When is Staying Local and Independent the Best Option?

Goal: To grow a strong local and independent MLS for regions where there are specific factors, such as geography and unique housing markets (driven by tourism or high-end luxury homes), that require agents in the MLS to have a distinct skill set and deep market knowledge. Providing hyper-custom products and services is necessary to meet the unique needs of the region. 


What Made Sense for Santa Barbara

After reading the above, you might be thinking, but what about when data sharing or regionalization don’t make sense for my MLS? No problem, we’ve still got you covered. We have many customers who’ve found that success for them means staying local and independent. During a time when many MLSs were looking into data sharing agreements, our customer, Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR), also looked at the option. Often referred to as the “Island of Santa Barbara” due to their unique location (an MLS region surrounded by Pacific Ocean, National Forest and rugged coastline), the region doesn’t allow for overlapping borders, and therefore data sharing didn’t make sense. While outsiders might have benefitted from a data share agreement, SBAOR’s Board of Directors decided that the benefits to their members of regionalization or data sharing were not there. At FBS, our team is proud to have worked with SBAOR for over two decades. Over that time, we have made ongoing adjustments to fields and tools within the system, keeping it efficient and meaningful  for their members. One example is how the unique needs of the SBAOR market drove us to develop customizable price ranges in some statistical reports. Ani Pollack, MLS Director at Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, shared, “Flexmls gives us a customized MLS system for our unique, local market. Third party integrations, privacy photo options, tailored broker tours, new property types, mapping and MLS districts are just a few of the features that work really well for our members and unique market.  With the help of FBS, we can stay strong and independent, and put the needs of our members first.”

From the Ocean to the Slopes

Park City, Utah is like Santa Barbara only in that local market and geographical dynamics are extremely unique to their surroundings. Inasmuch, it makes a lot of sense for them to celebrate that uniqueness and honor the market’s special and different qualities by remaining independent.  A big site for winter sports and tourism, Park City is a high-end luxury home market, where the median asking price is over $3 million. These differentiators make Park City a unique market compared to its neighboring regions in Utah. Because of this, selling real estate in Park City and similar markets requires intimate knowledge of the marketplace (current and past) and all of its nuances. And while all markets require REALTORS® to know the analytics and information behind the market (the asking price and why, property characteristics that go into that pricing, etc.), in Park City, there’s truly a unique depth of knowledge necessary. When Park City MLS users made the transition to the Flexmls Platform, adoption of the new product was no problem. The process was smooth. Subscribers welcomed the intuitive nature and additional robust  features provided by the Flexmls Platform. Because of Flexmls’s capacity for customization, Park City MLS users were able to get access to the precise tools needed to drill deeply into property details. In addition, the mobile app and client portal made agent-to-client communication and collaboration efficient, supporting out-of-town and out-of-state buyers common for the Park City market.  “Our agents can pull up stats useful to buyers or sellers with two or three clicks. The technology behind Flexmls allows for an incredibly customizable platform that can address the nuances of our local market,” explained Bob Bemis, MLS Director at Park City MLS

It’s All Our Jam

At FBS, our team is equally dedicated to fostering customer and subscriber success in local, autonomous markets as much as we are dedicated to supporting regionalization and data sharing initiatives. Why? Because our purpose is to help you make the market work… and that means different things to different MLSs.  In markets where MLS System customizations are a vital cornerstone for success, Flexmls continues to shine with technology that helps MLS Admins make lots of changes independently coupled with a team that’s just a phone call away to help understand and provide solutions for more complex challenges. Responsive, knowledgeable, and timely is our goal. “With Flexmls, every customer has custom fields and permissions to use to make the system work for their members. We serve MLSs with under 100 members and MLSs with more than 40,000 members, and they all have sustainable customization and the support and expertise of FBS staff built into their experience,” said Kendra O’Brien, FBS Director of Customer Success.

In Summary

If you know Matty Epstein, our Director of MLS Sales, you’ve probably heard him say, “MLSs are like snowflakes – each unique in their own way”. That’s a fact. At FBS, we’re well prepared to address each unique MLS with an experienced team and proven technology that’s always been ahead of the industry curve. Whether offering guidance to help you determine which path is best for your situation, helping navigate which fields to pick when consolidating, or implementing what’s needed within the Flexmls System to address what is most important and unique to your market and subscribers, we pride ourselves on bringing years of hands-on experience and insight, powerful technology, and reliability you can trust to ensure your success. CEO and President of FBS, Michael Wurzer, said it best, “FBS is and always will be a partner dedicated to the success of our MLS customers– no matter what that looks like. Whether data sharing, consolidating, or staying local and independent we have the team and technology to support your continued growth.” 

We’d love to hear from you and earn the opportunity to help you address your market’s needs and goals. Leave us a comment below. We welcome your thoughts, and we’d love to answer any questions you might have. 

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