Member brokers gathered in late March for the Northwest Multiple Listing Service spring meeting, held virtually, to hear updates on MLS services, products and rules, along with legal and industry updates.
Tom Hurdelbrink, NWMLS president and CEO, told attendees the MLS offices are scheduled to be fully opened on May 16. For the Kirkland office, which houses around 60 employees, a hybrid model of in-office and remote support will be used, while satellite offices will have in-person staff available.
The multiple listing service plans to resume in-person classes, workshops and office visits, but will continue offering virtual classes and webinars.
Justin Haag presented the “legal and industry” segment of the meeting. He briefed member-brokers on several class action lawsuits affecting the industry, noting he is in regular communication with industry attorneys to discuss these cases and related issues. In general, the litigation is centered on rules related to compensation.
Commenting on this year’s short session by state legislators, Haag complimented Washington Realtors for its work in opposing HB 1951 concerning seller disclosure statements. WR described the proposal as a “dangerous bill that will have the unintended consequences of giving buyers less protection instead of more.” Haag also mentioned another bill that did not pass, but expects to be reintroduced next session pertaining to the agency law.
One bill that passed, HB 1793, concerns electric vehicle charging stations in condominium developments and common interest communities. As a result, NWMLS will add a question covering this issue in Form 27 and Form 27CIC.
Another bill that passed in 2021 becomes effective in June. It requires Fair Housing education and training for real estate brokers and managing brokers in order to renew their licenses.
Brokers were reminded to review Legal Bulletin 221, published on nwmls.com, which covers upcoming revisions of several rules. The bulletin includes sections on updated terminology, substantive revisions, and “clean-up” revisions that become effective April 27.
To conclude his remarks, Haag summarized disruptions in Department of Licensing services that affected the professional and business licensing system. Brokers should expect notification letters from the DOL with details on free credit monitoring. NWMLS will continue to track this issue and provides updates as necessary.
Next on the agenda was an overview of product updates. Devin Bacon, membership manager and business analyst, summarized enhancements to:
- OneHome client portal and its “fresher features and a cleaner, more contemporary interface.” He noted almost 38,000 consumers have registered to activate advanced features.
- Digital Home Warranty, a new integration in TransactionDesk with nine different home warranty companies in Washington State. Members were invited to contact email@example.com to add other companies.
- Showing Beacon, which provides new safety features in ShowingTime.
- Increases in listing photo sizes (to 1600 x 1200 pixels).
- RESTB.AI, artificial intelligence that enables the MLS quality assurance team to better monitor listing photos to uncover items that are not permitted such as people, phone numbers, license plates and watermarks.
Madeline Feder, the communications supervisor at NWMLS, continued the presentation with summaries of upcoming projects and events.
Staff is working on complete redesigns of both the member site and corporate site. Expected to launch later this year, the sites will be more mobile friendly and offer streamlined navigation and search functions, as well as better access to products.
Feder also announced dates for this year’s golf tournaments (June 30, August 4, and September 1), noting a third location in Eastern Washington has been added. Brokers who work with banks, title/escrow companies, insurance brokers and other affiliated businesses that might be potential sponsors were encouraged to submit leads to firstname.lastname@example.org. (NWMLS members are ineligible for sponsorships.)
Attendees were also reminded about competitively-priced print and design services NWMLS offers for a variety of promotional materials.
To conclude the spring meeting, John Bozich, training supervisor, outlined an array of training opportunities, ranging from instructor-led classes with optional clock hours, self-paced classes, virtual one-on-one sessions, more than 25 live webinars, and custom office trainings that may be scheduled by emailing email@example.com. All opportunities are described in the “Classes” tab on the NWMLS website.
In a “Just for Fun” poll, brokers were asked to speculate on the Seahawks starting quarterback, the most used web browser, the most violated MLS rule, and favorite wine tasting areas in the state.