Bridging the Gap Between MLSs and Proptech Companies: Insights from the 2023 RESO Fall Conference header image

Bridging the Gap Between MLSs and Proptech Companies: Insights from the 2023 RESO Fall Conference

By Bill Fowler | October 30, 2023


Today, I want to dive into the exciting world of Proptech and MLS partnerships. It’s among the more vital relationships of our industry; where innovation meets tradition, and where dreams of seamless integration often clash with the reality of administrative barriers. Let’s embark on this journey together, exploring the challenges, hopes, and (often incompatible) expectations of both sides.


Trust: The Heart of the Matter
First and foremost, let’s address the elephant in the room - trust. MLSs, understandably, are a cautious bunch. They’ve built their foundations on trust and reliability, and any new player entering the conversation is met with skepticism. This inherent distrust might seem like a roadblock, but it’s also a testament to the MLSs’ commitment to maintaining the high standards they’re known for.


Proptech’s Perseverance
In the face of these trust barriers, Proptech companies are making every attempt to meet MLSs where they are. They’re offering real and truly unprecedented levels of partnerships to address this lack of trust within their client base. Revenue sharing is, of course, an obvious factor, but it’s not just about the money. The key is to make it effortless for MLSs. The less a new Proptech partner asks of the MLS and its Staff, the better. Proptech companies understand this, and they are striving to minimize their asks, especially when it comes to outreach or any actual coding required by the MLS vendor. It’s a delicate dance, but one that Proptech is determined to master.


The Quest for Seamless Integration
MLSs are also increasingly ambitious when it comes to learning about new Proptech opportunities. They eagerly want to see new products and technology. However, the challenge lies in understanding how to implement, and then adopt, these innovations seamlessly. Maintaining control over the relationship (e.g. minimizing disruption)  is paramount for MLSs, and this struggle often becomes a stumbling block. It’s not just about seeing the future; it’s about embracing it without compromising the trust and reliability that keeps the membership calm and workflows uninterrupted.


Data: The Golden Ticket
Trust aside, there’s another hot topic on the table - data. MLSs are intrigued by the data and analytics provided by their tech partners. However, many find themselves in uncharted waters when it comes to understanding and utilizing the wealth of information flowing in and out of the MLS daily. It’s a talking point, a puzzle waiting to be solved, and both sides are keen to find the missing pieces to maximize value for everyone from Broker to Consumer.


A Positive Outlook: Building Bridges, Not Walls
Despite the challenges, there’s a positive vibe in the air. Panels featuring both Proptech companies and MLSs have been constructive; filled with good-natured dialogue and healthy complaints. Both sides are learning from each other, understanding the nuances of their respective worlds, and finding common ground. It’s not just about complaining, it’s about building bridges, fostering understanding, and creating a future where Proptech and MLSs can thrive together. We're all on the same team, after all.


In conclusion, the journey of Proptech companies and MLSs is not without its hurdles, but it’s a journey worth taking. As trust continues to be the cornerstone of this relationship, both sides are working hard to bridge the gap. With persistence, open communication, and a dash of innovation, the future looks bright for these partnerships. So, here’s to trust, data, and the endless possibilities they bring. Together, we’ll navigate this evolving landscape and create a real estate world that’s truly revolutionary.


Thanks again to my friends at RESO for the opportunity. See you next year. Until next time, stay curious and keep innovating!


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