Technology will continue to push Northwest Multiple Listing Service forward stated Tom Hurdelbrink, president and CEO, at the NWMLS spring membership meetings. Both in-house and external sources will be used to develop and support technology to strengthen member brokerages and the MLS itself.
Technology was listed as one of five strategic initiatives developed in 2019, along with growth and expansion, marketing and communications, staffing and resource capacity, and governance. Also developed that year was a strategic vision, mission, and core philosophies. NWMLS’s core philosophies include service, integrity, communication, and leadership.
As he reviewed the 2019 strategic initiatives, the MLS president/CEO noted ongoing efforts to develop more diverse, inclusive, and representative leadership, reminding members they can self-nominate for leadership positions. He also reported progress on the MLS’ growth & expansion initiative, with one highlight being last month’s announcement of an agreement between the North Central Washington Association of REALTORS® and NWMLS to centralize access to real estate data and other products, services, and tools via the NWMLS platform.
Looking ahead, Hurdelbrink told meeting participants that an updated strategic plan is expected to be completed this summer. That process includes info gathering sessions, one-on-one meetings with current and past board members, focus groups, a member satisfaction survey, and a board retreat.
NWMLS Director of Communications and Training, Tara Marino, updated members on initiatives focused on marketing and communications, and shared key findings from this year’s membership satisfaction survey.
Among recent projects Marino highlighted were the consolidation and revamp of the NWMLS.com website and a preview of a new listing search for consumers to replace NWRealEstate.com. The forthcoming listing search will be fully integrated with the public-facing part of NWMLS.com, and will be mobile friendly and map based, with options for adding search criteria. Marino emphasized that “Leads go to the listing firm.” Members can also enable a link on each of their listings, to direct consumers to view the full listing details on their firm’s own website. A launch date will be announced soon.
Marino also highlighted key findings from this year’s membership satisfaction survey. “Overall, the 2023 results were very positive,” she reported, noting this year’s questions focused on customer service, products, and systems. Marino said feedback also helps uncover areas needing improvement or enhancement, as well as desirable new products, services, and priorities. Detailed findings were summarized in the April 17th Monday Update.
One survey question asked participants to list the first word that comes to mind to describe NWMLS services. Excellent, information, and helpful were the most commonly used terms. The following “word cloud” visually depicts this year’s responses:
Font size of each word represents the frequency it was used to describe NWMLS
Next on the agenda was a legislative update and preview of upcoming forms revisions, presented by NWMLS General Counsel Justin Haag. He commended Washington Realtors for its efforts and many successes in the 2023 legislative session.
Among several bills passed by the Legislature that affect the real estate industry was Senate Bill 5191, which will reform real estate agency law. Its provisions include:
- A required written “services agreement” with buyers (and sellers);
- Consumers must separately consent to “limited dual agency;”
- Clarifying duties in RCW 18.86.030 owed to all parties;
- Modernizing the pamphlet to make it more consumer friendly.
Haag said the first item (“services agreement”) would require the biggest adjustment within the industry but stated “significant training opportunities” will be offered before the January 1, 2024 effective date.
Other housing-related bills that passed were:
- HB 1070 – exempting the short term (three months or less) leaseback of property by a seller after closing from the residential landlord-tenant act.
- HB 1110 – increasing middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing.
- HB 1293 – streamlining development regulations.
Haag also briefed members on upcoming forms revisions and several compliance and rules reminders.
The list of forms that will be revised includes Purchase and Sale Agreements, Financing Addendum, Inspection Addendum, Buyer’s Sale of Property Contingency Addendum, Well Addendum, and Seller Financing Addendum. The revised forms will be published for use in July and NWMLS will publish a legal bulletin explaining all of the revisions and offer training classes for members and subscribers.
NWMLS is unveiling a new mobile app, which was discussed by NWMLS Membership Manager and Business Analyst, Devin Bacon. Bacon shared a video highlighting several features and said work is underway on mapping fields. He described the app as very intuitive, noting it will be fully integrated with Matrix, and likely will not require any significant training.
The final update, on systems and services, was presented by Training Supervisor John Bozich. He reminded participants of myriad training options, ranging from instructor-led and self-paced classes to 30-minute virtual 1:1 Q&As with a trainer, plus more than 20 live webinars and custom trainings for offices. Bozich noted brokers may use a new fillable form in the Training & Education section of the NWMLS.com website to request office training workshops.