Networking lines over map of Florida
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Collaboration is key for BeachesMLS 

The South Florida MLS is focused on greater collaboration "for the betterment of our collective brokers and agents."

January 13, 2023
4 minutes

Key points:

  • The Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors and BeachesMLS are prioritizing data sharing and partnerships with like-minded MLSs.
  • “Obviously, data is a currency in today's marketplace,” said CEO Dionna Hall, who leads the organizations.
  • BeachesMLS is an owner and member of MLS Aligned, a group of 6 MLSs serving 150,000 real estate professionals with a focus on data distribution.

If you want to peer into the future of multiple listing services, look at the collaborations and innovations underway in South Florida at Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors and BeachesMLS.

The activities at the South Florida organizations may well be a bellwether for the future, said CEO Dionna Hall, a 20-year association veteran who leads both groups.

Dionna Hall, CEO, Broward, Palm Beaches and St. Lucie Realtors and BeachesMLS

"Collaborating with forward-thinking multiple listing services focused on building industry-leading initiatives and technology for their brokers and agents has been one of our main focuses," Hall told Real Estate News in an interview that touched on her organization's latest initiatives — introducing proptech enhancements to simplify the job of agents and improve the consumer experience.

The organizations she oversees are among the MLSs partnering to leverage financing, scale data services and introduce tech-powered innovations for a more resilient digital marketplace — something many MLS leaders see as crucial to the future of MLSs.

For Hall, the initiatives are a natural extension of the traditional role of MLS organizations as local and regional marketplaces where homes are bought and sold. The efforts tap into the trust and goodwill built over the years by MLSs with agents and brokerages. 

Giving brokers more control over their data

One major goal for Hall and others is to put the control of data back in the hands of the broker, amid competition from tech companies to leverage listing and other MLS data. 

"Obviously, data is a currency in today's marketplace. And one of the most important things that we can do for the future of all brokers and agents is to make sure that we have secured their data, and that the groups that are using the data are licensed to use that data," Hall said.

BeachesMLS recently signed on with REdistribute, a joint venture of Bright MLS and CRMLS. REdistribute collects listing data from MLSs, distributes it to those who license it — such as lenders, insurers and government agencies — and returns revenue to participating brokers.

"REdistribute is a collaborative venture with MLS organizations across the country with the aim of simplifying licensing of MLS data and ensuring brokers are compensated at fair market value for their data," Hall said. 

Having MLSs overseeing large amounts of data provides a greater sense of security for agents and their brokerages, she noted. 

"We want to make sure that whatever is done with that data is in the best interest of our brokers and our agents — and that is in our own self-interest as MLSs," she said. 

Strength — and security — in numbers

BeachesMLS has also partnered with five MLSs to form MLS Aligned, a group of MLSs spanning Wisconsin, Utah, Arizona, Oregon and parts of Nevada and California.

MLS Aligned prioritizes secure data distribution and product development, including its newly debuted scheduling app, Aligned Showings.

"Owning our showing service eliminates future acquisition anxiety and allows us to meet the needs of our realtor members in the best way possible," Hall said. MLS Listings of Silicon Valley was the first organization to acquire the app with several others about to follow.

Hall sees Aligned Showings and REdistribute as the start of optimizing data in a way that "makes sense to brokers."

Data sharing gives agents a 'holistic experience'

The Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors and Beaches MLS are different from many other MLSs across the U.S., Hall said, because they have been collaborating with other local MLSs for 20 years. 

"South Florida is a densely populated and contiguous market that houses two of the largest MLSs in the nation," she said. "Each association and MLS is competitive, but long ago, for the betterment of our collective brokers and agents, we began deep data sharing where both MLSs' listings reside in each other's platform for ease of subscriber use," she said. 

Not only are the listings together, but markets are on the same lockbox system, so members can physically access each other's property listings. "The agents can have a holistic experience when they're looking at the listings that they need to get to. It's seamless for our subscribers," she said.

Added Hall: "Merging and data sharing in our MLSs and our key MLS products has been the comprehensive and meaningful way of best serving our brokers and agents in the busy South Florida market."

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