How new MLS features could change top producer lists

by Meg White

The inspiration for our feature story on solo top producers was the fact that our Real Data lists — and the lists of many others tracking production data in real estate around the country — are generally dominated by teams. But that might be changing.

Though teams have been able to self-identify in Midwest Real Estate Data’s connectMLS for years, the organization rolled out new enhancements last spring that offer more control and reporting capabilities for teams. The hope is that by augmenting their system for team leaders, more will sign up to be designated as such.

“Teams are looking to be marketed correctly on third-party platforms that rely on MLS data, which was driving MRED to create the option of logging transactions under a team identification number,” said Rebecca Pearson, MRED’s director of marketing and communications.

According to Denee Evans, CEO of the Nevada-based MLS trade association Council of Multiple Listing Services, team reporting is a topic of conversation for many of her group’s members, but MRED is one of the organizations at the head of the pack on the issue. “They’re always leading the way,” she said, noting that for most MLSs, the conversation is still in the initial stages. “It’s enough of a trend for the industry that we’re encouraging our members to talk about it.”

Meanwhile, MRED is in a position where getting the word out to teams is the group’s main goal. “We want team leads to know more features are available within the MLS to support their needs,” said Pearson. “Now our goal is to help more teams sign up to use these features.”

So, how’s the plan working? Before the changes rolled out in March 2019, MRED counted nearly 800 teams with almost 1,800 individual members in them. As of this past December, they’ve increased those numbers by around 5 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

“Team production accounts for a large portion of MRED’s marketplace production, which is why we want to help serve them as best we can,” Pearson said, noting that in past studies, the organization has found that teams represent roughly a quarter of all volume and transactions in the Chicagoland area. “With teams being a significant part of the marketplace, the topic of teams and team desires continues to be a focus for MRED.”

Pearson declined to comment on how close the organization is to getting a plurality of teams signed up. But if one assumes that team members make up around a fourth of all 45,000 MRED participants, that would mean 11,250 members would have to identify as being part of a team, which would put the organization’s December numbers at around 20 percent of the way there. (Of course, this is a very loose estimate, as volume and transactions can’t be compared one-to-one with individual members.)

Pearson added that for team leaders who are interested in signing up, it’s relatively simple to create a team in one’s profile settings in connectMLS, and that an FAQ and step-by-step training video are available on the organization’s training site. However, she suggested individual members confer with their designated managing broker when deciding how to identify themselves in the MLS.

No matter the measure of progress, it’s a delicate balance for MRED, which is looking to present the most accurate data possible while also offering the tools and flexibility that participants — which include solo agents, team members and broker-owners — want. “MRED keeps control first and foremost in the hands of the brokerage and supports the ability for teams to manage according to their business models,” Pearson said. “The launch is part of our goal to continually make life easier for teams to operate and our data as accurate as possible.”

Pearson also added that local Realtor associations have been keen on getting this data sorted out to make it easier to set up annual award ceremonies for top producers. As for pinpointing a time when team reporting will be accurate enough for the larger community — including both third-party platforms and publications like Chicago Agent magazine — to rely on, Pearson said it all depends on getting team leaders on board: “We’ve made progress in 2019 but still have a lot [to do] before we can support the accuracy of the data.”

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