MLS Changes Cause Uproar in Realtor Community

Apparently there is some dissension over the change to the new MLS system that has left both sides debating passionately their justification for their position. Recently the Bay County Association of Realtors (BCAR) switched their MLS system from Solid Earth to InnoVia. MLS is short for multiple listing service and is how real estate listings are organized electronically and on the web so people can search through them.

Problems with the new system

Since the new system has been rolled out, many agent and public users have had a variety if complaints.

A local Realtor, Daryle Burkey wrote a blog post and launched an “unofficial poll” to “test the waters of the feelings of the members on things being different”.  He’s clearly in opposition of the change and the post has garnered over 185 comments as of this writing and is growing.

Read the blog post here.

One of the commenters on the blog post, Cowboy Mike said, “The paradox for me as a beta tester of the InnoVia application is the system works like, looks like and feels like 1990s technology.”

Another user and commenter on the blog post, Jessie C said, “A basic premise in software development is testing – not only by the developers but more importantly by the user community. . . It is therefore imperative that a cross section of testers be comprised of all levels of experience.”

Some of the problems that users have been having include:

  • Property search
  • IDX integration
  • Non-user friendly for agents or public
  • Email capabilities
Some say the new system is really a better system

While some are passionate about their stance in opposition of the new MLS system, others are firmly standing their ground that moving to this new system was in the best interest of local Realtors. While some of the arguments against the new system include the BCAR members not having a say in the decision to make the move, supporters are adamant that fair warning and meetings were announced, planned and held.

“Everyone was notified and knew this was coming,” one commenter named Gwen said.  Dana Paramore Dunnigan said, “it’s different, you have to learn it – every time we’ve changed programs there has been people whining but we have to stick with the times.”

Here is a link to the public side of the new MLS system.

One of the supporters of the change, Ron Bigus explains there are several features InnoVia has over Solid Earth, including:

  • Mac OS and all newer Browser compatibility (Firefox, Safari & Chrome)
  • Map searches using range of distance or drawn shapes, with driving directions and routing
  • Multiple sessions of MLS can be open at once

Rosanne Orsini-Dees, the Association Executive of the Bay County Association of Realtors was contacted but didn’t respond for comment.

What are your thoughts on this?

Are you a Realtor?  If you’ve used the new system, what are your thoughts on this?  What about the public side, have you played with the public side of MLS searches?

31 thoughts on “MLS Changes Cause Uproar in Realtor Community

  1. I am a Realtor and I say the system sucks. Searches dont work. I send stuff to customers they only get some. It doesnt work with google chrome properly…you cant get the information we use to. It reminds me of my first apple computer in the 80’s.. Slow as can be..just a mess…

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  2. Whatever else is true when I tried to view the public site on my iPad it doesn’t work. Really? In 2011? Mobile compatibility would seem to be a given. Perhaps the naysayers are on to something.

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  3. I really can’t tell you how good or bad it is, since most of the realtors sites I used to visit are not working. I have purchased three condos in the last year and this has really put a damper on my research I do daily. I hope they get the bugs worked out soon, if I can’t do my research, I can’t buy anything!

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  4. Ilive in Atlanta and check for investment opportunites. I tried to log in, w/o success. Even turned settings so that all cookies were accepted, no luck.

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  5. I have tried to be patient with the new system, but it’s definitely a much more time consuming program than the Solid Earth system. There are too many steps for adding a new listing and pictures and searching for homes is not user-friendly.

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  6. Sorry, even the link in this PCB Daily post “Here is a link to the public side of the new MLS system.” does not work. Says my computer is not set to accept cookies. It is set to accept cookies, on Firefox.
    Michael.

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      1. Link doesn’t work for me either in chrome, firefox, ipad safari, or internet explorer 9. It appears you have to go to http://www.panamacityhomesonline.net then click “public site”. You can’t direct link to http://www.panamacityhomesonline.net/bco/pubmain.php like Jason has under “Here is a link to the public side of the new MLS system.” Using a direct link to http://www.panamacityhomesonline.net/bco/pubmain.php seems to cause the “accept cookies problem”. You must go to home page then go public site for some reason it appears.

        Noel

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      2. The way innovia works for cookies is confusing to most. Even though you may be set to accept cookies and even have them listed as a “trusted site”, if you are using internet explorer or firefox, there are additional steps that need to be taken. I used a coworkers computer yesterday and I needed to turn off the inprivate browsing function. I do not like the fact that we must lower our security settings so much to access this site. Especially when we use it every day. It puts our computers at risk for any other site or email we open. Not cool. My personal opinion for Innovia is that I feel swindled by them. We were raised up to believe that this would be for the better, more user friendly, get our work done quicker and with a fresher look. Not true on any cases. The only good thing I can say about it is that I am in favor of having the additional tabs feature. That way you don’t loose the project you were working on for the past two hours when some curious neighbor wants to know the listed price of the house on the corner. InnoVia has a long way to come before I am willing to be in favor of it.

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  7. new system doesn’t work that well. My wife and I are wanting to buy a new house and the research is not up to par. I liked how e-mails coming from realtor had different reserach options with names to them and now all comes in one which its pain in the butt when you are just looking for one thing. I think they need to fix lots of bugs or I’m going to see another way to look for a new home.

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  8. As an ECAR member my biggest problem is that we no longer have access and I do a lot of work in the west end of the beach. A BCAR member did let me see the system and I do not like it. It is not very intuitive. We had to keep using the “Help” to figure out how to do things. When we did find out how to do things we were not impressed. Very difficult to use.

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  9. The Board of realtors made a huge mistake in approving the new MLS system.

    1) APPROVING A SYSTEM THAT COST MORE THAN SOLID EARTH.

    2) ANY MAJOR CHANGES SHOULD BE PUT TO A VOTE BY REALTOR MEMBERS.

    3) THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS IS GEARED TO TO PROTECTING OUR MEMBERS INTERESTS WITH GOOD BUSINESS JUDGEMENT,

    4) THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS IS DEALING WITH MONEY…MEMBER’S MONEY!

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  10. No doubt that there are issues with Innovia System,,,, you can only select one property at a time after the search results, clients did not get the information sent from email, not compatible with Ipad,,,, definitely inefficient.

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  11. I am a Bay County Realtor and business owner, who in previous lives has had extensive experience in implementing and changing software systems and databases on state, regional and national scales, including for what was HRS in the State of Florida.

    I have not decided whether or not I like the new system, but there is one thing that is very obvious in the current turmoil is that the Bay County Board of Realtors violated one of the most simple, basic principles and laws of software evaluation and implemention in any organization:

    Have a committee comprised of various users from across the spectrum evaluate and then help implement any new, broadly used software system.

    That is the only way to determine which is the better system and to get support for any new software system from the people who use it on a day-by-day basis.

    Apparently that did not happen in this case.

    Steve File

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    1. Steven I am a Realtor and have talked to several of the agents that beta tested this software and they told the board it was aweful and if they go with it there would be an uprising. Here we are…

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      1. Yes. I agree now BM! This system is very “user unfriendly”. I have now had five clients call me that they cannot do searches easily and that it is not “user friendly” in as that there are too many clicks, like ten times as many.

        I have also now talked to several Realtors in St. Augustine that have been on Innovia for several years and that say they have lost numerous customers when they changed over and that still do not like the system. The interesting thing here is that the current CEO of Bay County Realtor apparently instigated the change.

        Were references called before this software was implemented?

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  12. As a e-mail subscriber for 7 years, I enjoyed the daily e-mails to gauge the market everytime a property either changed price or new…back on the market. The system requires me to login and the cart is awful way to manage my broad searches.
    Deleting hundreds of listings in the cart ONE by ONE is extremely inefficient. The detailed pop up view is horrible and doesn’t utilize the whole screen and you have to scoll to see the bottom of the listing. Absolutely terrible idea.

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  13. I appreciate the comments of Steve File, he hit the nail on the head. While this may have been casually introduced something so systemic to our everyday lives in the real estate community should have been “deeply” and “widely researched” and polled by all despite what was permissible to squeak through according to the by laws, etc. by a BOD vote and other support.If this can happen without a general membership vote then maybe the rules should be changed. Kinda feels like the new national health plan but thats another topic all together. While I do see some improvment on the map search capability and perhaps the immediate ability to pull my inventory and office and firm lisitngs, I have thus far found it much more cumbersome almost everywhere else. I will also say that the Innovia help line is responsive and helpful. I have loaded several new listings and by the second or third I had it down. It still takes a lot more time in Innovia. Only thing better about that process is the school zones being handy. So far the tax info auto filler is not working. We do not need technology that takes longer to work with at a higher level of complication to do the same thing. I have sent listings and links to customers and they complain they cannot open them. I tried to call a colleague today from the agent roster and it would not come up. I tried several times at different times and nothing. You have to pull all agents as far as I can tell rather than targeting one. Went back to Solid Earth to get the phone number. Anyone figure out stats for company and agents? Maybe on down the road we will change our opinion about this and we will think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, however, while I am open to change that makes sense I am not sure this does and I am really dissappointed at how much systemic change can happen with so little input.

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  14. I am like most of us when I say that the verdict is still out for me. If you know me then you know that I really can not wax negative so the only thing that I know to do is try to go with the flow. I am concerned however with the impact that it is having on the public. I have also had people call me and complain about what they are receiving from me so I just shut my prospecting feature off till we get the bugs out.
    WE have the most brilliant kind Realtors in this community and I am sure that whatever ends up happening we will all make the best of it.

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  15. I have just got one of my 100+ web sites reprogrammed so customers can do one click searches on agout 20 different predefined categories. Will take up to a year to finish then all.
    http://www.PCBForeclosures.com check it out it is working good but had to go to a 3rd party and purchase a software to get the mls search programing.

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  16. This is the third time I have been through an MLS change and it is always difficult because we don’t prepare for the change until the last minute. The Board has been telling us about the change for a year and they have provided meetings and discussions about the new system. Unfortunately most of us including myself did not take advantage of all the opportunities that were given us to learn the new system and to have input into its design.

    I have found the new system to have several advantages over the old system. Most of our agents are doing just fine with the new system and after about three weeks everyone will have mastered it. I am 69 and if I can handle the change I am sure you younger guys can do it.

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  17. What do you expect? It is change! No one likes to change and some people just don’t want to try it out. They just want to bitch!

    The MLS had listing books years ago and when we changed to an internet site and discontinued books, there was plenty of unhappy customers! Now we are used to Solid Earth and “love” it! Within a few months, if Realtors will only try, they will “love” the new system. It is cheaper for the Realtor and seems to be a better system.

    Yes, I have had some issues, but nothing that I don’t think can be resolved. Patience and adjustment are required!

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    1. The system should be more user friendly. Period. The last MLS system was just that. I purchased a condo this Summer and I relied on that MLS system to do lots of research. It was very easy and there was no learning curve. In this day and age, there are good MLS systems out there that don’t take weeks or months for people to get used too. Without the ease of the past MLS system, I for one would never have bought the condo. This new system is a joke. It has nothing to do with change or the old MLS books. Its just junk and it will end up costing sellers and real estate brokers money due to less real estate sales. I am not from Panama City Beach, but if I was, I would be screaming to get the old MLS back.

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    2. Cherry, how is it cheaper, are my dues going to go down? Please explain that one to me. Some of us have too much going on for change like this, we have business to run.

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  18. As a hopeful home buyer I have been using the MLS for a year and like the new version better overall.
    I find it easier to pick out specific details and the larger photos collectively create a. truer picture of the house layout. Since I live in Pa. I need all the help I can get in my search. Thanks!!!!

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  19. It is not compatible with iPad2. Yes, I can log on but tapping any search button like closing date, or condo name, or just to select a property to send to someone, causes the system to highlight other areas. Even if I want to clck through photos of a property, I click next, but get the message to submit a listing violation. Cant see all the photos It’s not compatible. But neither is FormsSimplicity. I pay my FAR/NAR dues, and I’m amazed that booths at the conventions give away free iPads to realtors. They’re not compatible. This is 2011 and not 1998 right? Maybe our pricing has gone back to 1998 but our technology should continue to soar ahead. I shouldn’t say iPads are not compatible. It’s the other way. Innovia is not compatible with the tablet that realtors want to use on the go. How sad. Funny that you can log onto the first page of Forms Simplicity to urchase the upgrade on the iPad, but from that point forget it. You can’t look at he forms , edit the forms. nothing. They are aware of it. But no one, innovia nor Forms Simplicity is doing anything about it.

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