Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's with the new

Recently while surfing the Real estate bulletin boards, I found this...

What's with the new MLS website?

I regularly search Toronto properties on the MLS at and have always used the simple interface to choose my region (W01,C01 etc), price, type of dwelling and the number of listings per page. Well, it seems I can't do that anymore.

The site has changed to '' and all of a sudden, there's this hard-to-use map interface that requires you to zoom in on an area (you can't really choose specifically - you have to vaguely zoom in and hope for the best; the map wobbles all over the place and zooms in and then way out's a mess.

Plus: viewing my selection, at my convenience, seems impossible now. Is this a deliberate attempt by realtors to make it hard for folks who want to search without a realtor, to do so online? If so, isn't this really unfair: after all, MLS listings are for everybody, not just realtors or those represented by realtors. Does anyone know what's going on?

Some responses; The new MLS site was an attempt to address concerns that the public had about the old site. Google Mapping was now available and was intergrated into the display to show what homes/condos are nearby. It is however, not as user friendly as the old site. is a much better name vs but there are some unresolved ownership issues about who has rights to the use of the trademark MLS.

There were public consultations and focus groups done before this site was launched. Unfortunately with any new technology there are some growing pains and there will have to be changes made. The MLS site is owned and run by the Canadian Real Estate Association on behalf of Realtors for the public's use. (via the cooperation of each real estate board in Canada.) It is no different than any other form of classified advertising.

The information available is only a portion of what is available on Realtors MLS version of the site. This is more about privacy issues than trying to hide information from the public. Realtor's pay for the overall MLS service and for the MLS "public" site. The idea of a conspiracy is absurd. Do we want to have people use Realtors? Of course we do, but we use the site as advertising, plain and simple. The MLS system is good for consumers and Agents. You just to compare other metropolitan areas that do not have an open MLS system and you will see that it is much more difficult to find information about available properties. Viewing available homes for sale does not discuss or evaluate the neighbourhoods or Home Buying Process. The site clearly indicates how many listing are mapped and how many are NOT included.

Many have talked about FSBO's posting onto the MLS system; This creates a variety of challenges. If ad revenue is earned from the posting of listings on the site then everyone should be able to advertise. Why not also Insurance Companies, Lawyers and Home Inspectors? How will these revenues be shared? Will the realtors only (as shareholders of the MLS system) share in this revenue stream? How will it be divided geographically?

If you would like to search for a home by MLS District numbers then you should consider registering at an agent's website portal that permits complete access to the MLS system. Registered clients will still receive a daily email quicker containing complete data with address'.

I welcome your questions and comments.

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