Be aware that Agents are working with “a major broken real estate tool” as the busy season approaches – It’s Not Your Agent’s Fault!

Quick, name your Real Estate Agent’s most important “work tool” to help you buy or sell a home. Is it their cell phone, tablet, lockbox, signs, camera, their personal contacts or negotiating skills?

All of these are important, but by far the most valuable resource tool for Realtors is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), where thousands of agents share available listings for both buyer, seller, and renter clients. The MLS system is the “lifeblood” database of current homes for sale or rent, as well as all historic information about homes that have sold or rented. It displays the terms of sale, home features, when properties can be shown, as well as agent compensation. It allows your listing agent to leverage your home by making it available to literally thousands of other agents who are representing potential buyers. This “sharing” is what creates demand and competition for homes.

Popular websites like Zillow, Trulia,, Redfin and all real estate company websites actually derive 97% or more of THEIR content by direct feed from the MLS system. This method allows current listings to be added on the local MLS level, and appear everywhere that buyers are likely to search. So, essentially, all home search related sites are DEPENDENT on the MLS to distribute descriptions, pictures and Open House info to the masses of potential buyers.

So where am I going with this? Last year, the powers that be in “Organized Realtor Land,” decided that we should merge our “then stable” MLS platform into a new system creating a “Super MLS” covering parts of about eight states. Those of you who have backgrounds in merging large data systems and combining disparate areas of business practices into one BRIGHT shiny new system can probably guess what has happened.

The new MLS system, called “BRIGHT” is now a “Brightmare” for many agents. It has been unstable, and has resulted in situations where critical data and pictures are simply missing and information that is available is incorrect, resulting in some agents being unable to perform their jobs to the best of their ability for their clients. It’s not their fault.

A Brighter future is promised “soon,” and those of us brokers and agents who have been around for some time and KNOW how to find misplaced data, can persevere through this period. Just understand that during this “not bright period,” it will be a good practice to ask your agent to verify comparable sales and other data before accepting what you see online as accurate and actionable. Also know that delays in your listing posting to certain sites, and incorrect online information about listings is not the fault of your Agent!

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