Inman Connect Reflection: Back to the Future

Jan 15, 2010  |  Michael Wurzer

Here’s another thought from the Inman Connect conference.  This morning, I first heard several people on stage bemoaning the existence of 800 MLSs.  Next I heard a guy from Meetup say he thought Realtors should get together locally — you know, meetup.  What a crazy idea!  That made me think of a post I wrote quite awhile ago that seems quite relevant today.  Here’s the part I love the most, my version of the history of MLS:

Step back and consider the history and future of the MLS through the eyes of Joe and his progeny:

A long, long time ago, two real estate guys are sitting in a coffee shop:

“Hey, Joe, I hear the Smith place is up for sale.”

“Yep, know anyone who might be interested?”

“Maybe.”

“I’ve been trying to get that place sold for awhile. If you bring me a buyer, I’ll split my commission with you.”

“Deal.”

A week later, back at the coffee shop:

“Joe, this is Mary from our office, she’s got a few listings, too.”

“Great, I brought Ann, who’s been working with lots of buyers lately.”

A month later, still at the coffee shop, but a much bigger table:

Mary says, “I couldn’t sleep last night so I wrote down all of our listings on these recipe cards and organized them in this shoe box. Pretty cool, huh?”
“Awesome, can I copy those?”
“Sure, if I can copy yours.”
“No problem.”

A few years later, no longer at the coffee shop, because there isn’t a table big enough for all the people participating:

“Hey, I ran into Peter at the Print Shop the other day, and he saw my shoe box and said he could print them up in a book for us if we want.”
“That sounds great!”

And several years later, at a meeting of the Board of REALTORS:

“Joe, have you seen these new computers some of the folks are using?”
“Yeah, those are pretty handy. But man, who’s in charge of that anyway? I hardly know anyone involved in this any more.”

Many years later, on a Usenet news group for real estate, Joe’s son types:

“I’m working on a web site to show all the listings in the MLS system.”
“You’re what? Are you sure you can do that? Will the MLS allow it?”
“Hey, I’m doing it. I don’t care about those idiots at the MLS; they’re all old school, just trying to protect their turf!”

A decade later, Joe’s grandson, Joe III, posts on his Facebook wall:

“Joe III is sick of the stoopid rules of the national MLS and so has created a Real Estate Sharing Group for like-minded people.”

A few weeks later:

“Joe III is holding a meetup at Starbucks for RESG, see you there!”

At Starbucks:

“Hey, Joe, I hear the Smith place is for sale . . . “

2 Responses to “Inman Connect Reflection: Back to the Future”

  1. Troy Rech says:

    Thank you for the strong laugh!

  2. John Mijac says:

    A laugh, yes, but I appreciate the point. In every area of human endeavor the best efforts are those that build on what has come before, the human race rarely advances through a total break from the past.

    Real Estate, like the weather, is local. However, I am a big proponent of Social Media, in fact, most of my clients come from Internet/Social Media connections. Yet, what they want from me is a way into the local community. They want local knowledge, local connections, local rules, local customs and local listings with information pertinant to the local area. I can’t provide all that about the thousands of properties (even in my area) on my own, without cooperation, communication and conversation.

    The local MLS provides a venue for this conversation. A national MLS without local MLS, I don’t think so – who would insure the data is correct? No MLS? Neither of these futures are a benefit to Sellers or Buyers or their agents.

    Share the shoe boxes, sure, just don’t toss em out.