Improved MLS system to benefit local Realtors

The Sunshine Multiple Listing Service feeds data to credible real estate websites for a fee. Some credible sites include www.realtor.com, www.trulia.com, www.zillow.com and www.homes.com.

Realtors in Naples, Bonita and Estero have stepped into the future.

Last week they got access to a new and improved internal Multiple Listing Service, which allows Realtors to share property information with one another. Realtors can use this service on Mac computers or iPads, whereas previously they had to use PC computers. They can show their clients up to 24 photos of a home online instead of eight and email information on multiple homes as opposed to one.

“You’ll be able to get your information quicker and easier,” said Bob Hewes board member of Naples Area Board of Realtors.

The improved public search engine, www.naplesarea.com, gives people who sign up for a free username and password, the ability to save, email or print custom searches. Realtors can also set up automatic email updates for their customers as homes that match their needs become available.

“The more info we give them the more empowered they are,” said Rick Bransky Chairman of the Multiple Listing Service committee for Naples.

This was the first major change to the multimillion-dollar system in six or seven years, Bransky said. The complete rebuild took two years and cost between a quarter and a half million dollars, Hewes said.

“Now from this point forward we can make smaller changes,” Bransky said.

This service operated by Sunshine MLS, for Naples, Bonita and Estero is one of the few remaining multiple listing services that is “home grown” and owned by local boards, Bransky said. There are over 900 multiple listing services in the U.S. and most are run by outside vendors.

“We like having the control to make changes we want to make on the fly,” Bransky said. In an industry that is constantly changing that is an important ability to have, he said.

Realtor boards range from 50 people to over 24,000 in size, Bransky said. Naples Area Board of Realtors and Bonita-Estero Association of Realtors have 5,000 members combined.

“You have to be at least as big as us to do it (in house),” he said. Larger boards make it easier to spread costs among Multiple Listing Service users.

The website, www.naplesarea.com, is “the most up to date in Naples real estate,” said Brenda Fioretti, Naples Area Board of Realtors President. If someone wants to be sure of the availability of a house they should start there, Bransky said.

The Sunshine Multiple Listing Service feeds data to credible real estate websites for a fee. Some credible sites include www.realtor.com, www.trulia.com, www.zillow.com and www.homes.com, she said.

Hewes said he hasn’t faced any challenges with the new system. It might take some members a month to be comfortable with the new navigation, he said.

“Once you get used to it, you’ll be able to use it in a snap,” Hewes said.

The Multiple Listing Service helps the client and the Realtor narrow their search. But the Realtor helps the customer understand the personality of each community. Bransky specializes in golfing communities.

“I take them out golfing and tell them, this golf course is too easy for you, you will be tiered after 10 games,” he said.

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