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May 2015

Systems enhancements, member feedback highlighted at Northwest MLS member meetings

"Innovation is moving at a scarily fast pace."  That quote, attributed to Bill Gates, definitely applies to the real estate industry - and it was on full display during the latest meetings for member-brokers of Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

As examples, the MLS staff highlighted various accomplishments during 2014. Among the undertakings, they implemented a keybox upgrade, exchanging more than 90,000 boxes featuring upgrades to a Bluetooth enabled system, they launched Transaction Desk, which allows use of mobile devices to create transactions, fill forms, and send electronic signings.

Among several mobile app enhancements the MLS managers highlighted were maps with larger, clearer images and easier-to use navigation, integration with Realist, and updates of data and images at 15-minute intervals.

Northwest MLS also rolled out Matrix 6.7 last year. It includes various mapping and system. Staff handed more than 180,000 call center calls during the year, and provided in-person training to more than 15,000 participants.

Also during 2014, the MLS revised several forms and rules (including ones pertaining to virtual media) and created a Seller Representation Agreement.

MLS managers also announced and demonstrated ongoing enhancements scheduled for 2015, including a new Realist auto-fill feature for listing transactions. The option will allow brokers to fill tax data into the listing forms. A listing upload feature is being finalized to allow members to send listing data from Transaction Desk to Matrix as an incomplete listing. MLS staff reminded brokers of the availability of online tutorials, user guides and classes.

A disaster recovery project is expected to be completed that entails backing up Northwest MLS in the cloud at locations around the U.S. and Canada.

Members were also updated on the latest results of the MLS member satisfaction survey. It showed overall increases in members' positive impressions when asked to describe Northwest MLS.  With the phased introduction of Transaction Desk, survey respondents confirmed their desire for detailed training and interaction with technology professionals to gain better understanding of the enhancements.

As in earlier surveys, members were also asked to evaluate the importance and satisfaction of satellite offices, printing & design services, the call center, tech support and training - with all garnering year-over-year improvements in meeting or exceeding expectations.

Another part of the survey measured members' interest in proposed services. The feedback is used to set priorities. Online clock-hour classes topped the list. Members and subscribers alike also expressed high interest in having an appointment scheduling service and listing syndication.

As part of its ongoing quest to innovate, Northwest MLS relies on System Advisory Groups. These brokers meet quarterly and provide valuable input and ideas that assist the MLS in evolving and enhancing various systems and services.

Another part of the agenda at the member meetings is devoted to current topics and legislative issues. Among topics at the most recent sessions were listing syndication and industry-related bills being considered by the State Legislature.

As is customary at these meetings, staff also reviewed top disciplinary issues and rules questions or infractions.