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Mobile MLS visits to improve

By Allen Norwood
Allen Norwood
Allen Norwood writes on Home design, do-it-yourself and real estate for The Charlotte Observer. His column appears each Saturday.

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Early next year, agents and brokers will be better able to access the regional MLS from their tablets and smartphones. The images on mobile devices will more closely resemble those on desktop computers. Functions will be similar, too.

It’s called “functional parity,” said Steve Byrd, vice president and chief technology officer for Carolina Multiple Listing Services: “It will look the same on any device, and work the same.”

In a recent release, Byrd announced upgrades for the full professional MLS that members use to serve buyers and sellers.

Managers also plan similar improvements for the rest of us, he said in a phone interview, changes that we’ll appreciate when we use our tablets and smartphones to poke around in the public corner of the MLS ( Upgrades for professionals, and for buyers and sellers – or just curious visitors – should come in the first quarter of next year.

Here’s why the improvements are hugely important: As the regional MLS announced its changes, said most home searches nationwide are on mobile devices. Overwhelmingly, by the way, mobile visits are by iPhone and iPad. said visitors are three times more likely to use an iPhone than an Android.

MLS’s across the country are scrambling to catch up.

In the release, Byrd said Charlotte’s regional MLS had signed a new multiyear agreement to continue using products from data and technology giant CoreLogic.

Here’s what the release said: “The product suite of Matrix, Realist and GoMLS offers a compelling combination of mobile functionality and in-depth property data that our members have been clamoring for.” Broadly, here’s what it means: CoreLogic products will replace some older portions of the MLS.

“The biggest problems we had ... were that some of the systems we have now were designed pre-smartphone,” Byrd said. “What happened is the (technology) company created a kind of patchwork.”

Part of the system is fairly new, not quite 2 years old. But another portion is 10 years old. With all the technological changes over the past decade, that’s almost ancient.

“(Agents and brokers) could do some of their work, but not all, on their smartphones,” Byrd said. “For instance ... they couldn’t edit remarks (in online listings) or upload pictures (to the MLS) from their smartphones.

“Are you going to do a full CMA (comparative market analysis) on your phone? Probably not. But (with the improvements) you can take a picture with your iPad and upload it to the MLS.”

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