MLS systems, in many ways, are the backbone upon which the industry runs. Agents use them to enter and search for listings and generate reports. Brokers and local markets rely on them for verified, secure real estate data while they provide the mechanism that underlies the industry’s cooperation and compensation agreement.
In late 2019, T3 Sixty conducted a thorough study of the nation’s MLS system providers, which included a survey of MLS leaders about their satisfaction with their current systems, to give MLS leaders and others deeper insight into the MLS system providers available.
The U.S. MLS System Landscape
The U.S. has 12 primary third-party MLS system providers, and eight documented proprietary MLS systems administered directly by MLSs themselves. Of the 12 third-party MLS system providers available, T3 Sixty identified four leading systems, which serve at least 100,000 agents each. The remaining eight MLS systems have either limited service scope or do not have the capability to provide great service to MLSs with over 500 subscribers.
Overwhelmingly, CoreLogic’s Matrix system, used by 99 MLSs across the nation, serves more agents in the U.S. -- an estimated 59 percent of total Realtors -- than any other MLS system. More MLSs use systems from Black Knight and FBS (163 and 122 MLSs, respectively), but they have smaller subscriber bases so less agents overall use those systems (see chart below).
Most-used MLS systems in the U.S.Note: User counts estimated by T3 Sixty based on its 2019 MLS Survey and Realtor count as of Dec. 31, 2019. User percentages add up to more than 100% due to MLS organizations or brokers using more than one MSL system.
MLSs have different needs so no two MLS systems are identical. To determine overall customer satisfaction, T3 Sixty conducted a survey of executives leading the nation’s 579 MLSs from August 19, 2019, through November 1, 2019. Leaders from 149 MLSs responded for a response rate of 25.7 percent.
FBS’ Flexmls system received the highest overall satisfaction score of the four MLS systems surveyed with an overall performance score of 3.57 out of 4.0 (averaged across a total of 23 categories). Black Knight’s Paragon system came in second with an overall performance score of 3.45, followed by CoreLogic’s Matrix 360 at 3.14 and Rapattoni’s Rapattoni MLS at 2.67.
Leading MLS system satisfaction scores
*Score based on a 1.0-4.0 scale, averaged across 23 categories.
Source: T3 Sixty 2019 MLS Survey
Other notable survey results include:
A vast majority of respondents (93 percent; 64 percent very satisfied, 29 percent satisfied) expressed overall satisfaction with their current MLS system.
MLS leaders indicated they most liked the familiarity, reliability, and stability of their current systems.
Respondents felt their MLS systems most needed to upgrade outdated user interfaces and improve poor client portal and mobile experiences.
Respondents were most satisfied with the key MLS system features of Search and Add/Edit.
An overwhelming majority of respondents (95 percent) felt their MLS systems enable them to provide quality services to their subscribers.
Choosing an MLS System
Choosing an MLS system is a significant undertaking. It requires a careful assessment of costs, services provided, the MLS system provider’s commitment to complying with RESO standards and its willingness to constantly innovate.
T3 Sixty has developed some core best practices for MLSs to use when choosing a new MLS system provider. They are:
Get familiar with your current data offerings and consider what additional data, especially buyer data, and new resources might add immediate value for your organization and users. This will help you assess the willingness and ability of different MLS system providers to comply with your needs.
Begin having clear conversations about the long-term success of your MLS and game-plan for how to leverage and monetize your data in new ways, which will become important if the long-standing MLS value proposition of guaranteeing cooperation and compensation erodes.
Develop a data strategies plan with a long-term vision that includes the steps your organization will take to get there. Make sure you choose an MLS system provider that supports this.
T3 Sixty encourages MLS organizations to explore all options available as they have many viable promising options at their fingertips, especially those that support expanded data offerings.
For detailed information, participate in T3 Sixty’s next MLS System Survey to get full access to survey results and a deeper profile of each MLS system provider. Clint Skutchan leads T3 Sixty’s association and MLS division. He can be reached at email@example.com.