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December 2016

Updates, upgrades and previews on full agenda at Northwest MLS member meetings

New Transaction Desk screen shotFall meetings for Northwest MLS member brokers featured a cornucopia of information ranging from nominations for board of director positions in various districts to systems updates, an overview of rules and forms revisions, and "coming attractions."

Bob Gent, director of business development and member relations at Northwest MLS, opened the updates segment of the meeting with a progress report on the new Transaction Desk, which was released in mid-August. Its features include a simplified wizard, better integration with Authentisign, new templates, and a customizable dashboard.

During the rollout, nearly 2,500 subscribers took advantage of in-person training opportunities and more than 5,100 others availed themselves of online training. Within the first six week of the newly released tool more than 25 percent of subscribers were using it.

Other updates included the addition of the INRIX Drive Time icon with map searches. Brokers can quickly find listings based on a client's commuting time preferences. "Once you start using this simple add-on, you'll find it's a good tool to have," Gent remarked.

Looking ahead, Gent demonstrated some new statistical products the MLS will be unveiling in the next few weeks. One of these is a statistical product that will provide user-friendly reports and graphs (FastStats). Also forthcoming is a customizable interactive data tool for performing trend analysis on up to four locations (InfoSparks). The information can then printed for inclusion in CMAs or shared online - and data in the charts is updated nightly.

HomeSpotter screen shotAlso on the horizon is HomeSpotter, the NWMLS mobile app. The new interface will have a chat feature, a mortgage calculator, and robust property-centric information, including neighborhood metrics, Walk Scores, and more.

Following the systems update, attorney Justin Haag provided an overview of recent rules and forms changes.  These included:

  • New requirements (covered in Legal Bulletin 208) affecting both offer review and presentations dates, and showing rules (which prohibit concurrent showings). Haag said the revisions were prompted in part by the hot market and are intended to clarify relationships between competing interests. Also clarified are requirements related to the "offer review date." Under the revised rules, a new required field for every listing is added that specifies the seller's intentions (including timeline) for reviewing offers.
  • The same legal bulletin also covers new requirements affecting Temporarily Off Market (TOMK) and directional signs. New Rule 127 states a listing must be TOMK at least 7 days and not more than 45 days, and that the sign and keybox must be removed, and that NWMLS must change the status.  New Rule 142 says directional signs are only permitted for listed properties, and such signs must be removed when the listing is off market.
  • A new system for compliance that includes an improved listing data checker.

Haag also outlined the most common issues involving rules and forms. The deficiencies he noted included legal descriptions, undisclosed owner name/number, untimely status change, failure to submit a primary photo within five days, and failure to select the correct supplement type.

The MLS attorney also previewed forthcoming forms revisions, which are expected to occur in late January or early February. They will cover Purchase and Sale Agreements (and various clauses and addenda) plus several new forms.

Bob Gent at the NWMLS Member MeetingTo conclude the meeting Tom Hurdelbrink, CEO at Northwest MLS, updated members on the remodeling project at its Kirkland office involving the lobby, member store and classroom. This is the first remodel since the early '90s - "back when the U.S. Senate passed a rule allowing women to wear pants in the Senate," he noted.

Hurdelbrink also invited brokers to suggest questions for the semi-annual member satisfaction survey that is planned for 2017.  In closing, he mentioned the recent DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, the largest cyber attack in history that affected NWMLS, along with Twitter, Netflix, Reddit, CNN and many other entities in Europe and the US. As part of his comments, he shared some of the amusing member feedback generated by that service disruption (e.g., "You guys are always making excuses; "  "Your sites should be immune from Internet Denial of Service attacks. It's what we pay you for;"and "NWMLS should demand that the Department of Homeland Security work with us on this.")