MLS® System review

The Central Alberta REALTORS® Association recently changed MLS® systems.  More specifically the software that enables us to share listings among members and publish them to websites such as was changed.

Big Deal?

Well actually it is a big deal.  We’ve been using the same software for the past 10 years.  As a result our members were very comfortable and familiar with the program and now have moved into learning mode again, and a state of new and uncomfortable.  Not surprisingly many members have expressed their frustration and annoyance with this change.  Like any system there are pros and cons.

The Old system called “Interface” was a traditional software platform like a Microsoft Office.  The software is downloaded and installed on your computer.  Then it connects upon log in and down loads the new listings and photos and stores this information on your computer.  Over time the file size grows, and like many other similar they can become unstable as pieces of data get moved around.  In addition to this program in order to accomplish our daily and weekly real estate tasks we were required to use two other programs.  One for uploading new listings, and one for booking appointments and other listing enhancements.

The advantage of this system was that it is a distributed database.  You did not need an active internet connection to use it.  A real estate agent could down load and update the database prior to leaving the office and use it as is in various capacities.  With remote dial-up or limited internet access this is a plus.  The reality is once we book our viewings and print our list of properties to view, the need to bring the listings with buyers on a lap top can be limited.

Personally I found that the program would have increasing instability and I would have the “not responding” message appear before th software crashed.  It seemed to do this more with no internet connection than with.  It is also the type of software that only works on a PC.  In today’s world having software designed for independent mobile real estate agents this is a barrier to them doing business.

Over the past 10 years the company behind Interface have been quite responsive and helpful in addressing our needs, but in the end the inability to be cross browser compatible and operating system compatible is an issue.  More and More agents want to use a Mac, and iPad or other tablet devices.

Enter The Matrix.

The Matrix is a MLS® system or software program that is completely web-based.  That’s right we’re moving into the cloud.  The immediate con that comes to mind is “I have to always have an internet connection?”  Yes, yes you do.  Is this really a barrier?  Not so much today.  With a smart phone we have internet almost anywhere.  This is a huge leap forward from 10 years ago when in 2000 or 2002 dial-up was still widely used.  Now we have wi-fi connections all over the place and in most of the homes we go to and offices we work at.  So definitely a declining barrier in my opinion.

One of the key benefits I appreciate is the multi operating system, cross browser compatibility of the system.  The Matrix® system works on a Mac a PC an iPad, an Android, on internet explorer, on Chrome, Safari and Firefox.  Basically it is a system for what ever tool I choose to work with.  That multi platform ability allows me to begin entering a listing on my iPad, and then later at pC at the office complete the entry if I want.  Both experiences are basically the same.  In addition to that I no longer need to down load one program to load my listing and another to view and print.  I can do all that in one spot.

While there is no doubt that the change requires some learning and patience once you get the hang of it, the Matrix® is quite robust and easy to use.

Other key factors with the Association (CARA) making the switch is the gradual move to a provincial system on the same platform.  If the provincial association AREA is moving towards providing an MLS® database  for the province using Matrix® then it makes sense to be there as well.

What does this mean to you the buyer or seller?

Not a whole lot really.  the websites your familiar with searching on remain the same.  Your home still gets listed, and you can still write and offer.  If you have an agent sending you listings via email or through a client email system that will look different but you’ll still be able to get the info.  Sellers, well you may have a tech minded agent that will pull out their iPad to input your listing while at your home.  Most probably wont do that.

It might be interesting to ask your real estate agent what they think of the change.  Are they resistant to change or are they open to learning and trying new things.


One Response to “MLS® System review”

  1. Carol Breakell

    Great post Patrick. You are quite right, it is hard to change when you are used to something but sometimes it is to your advantage. I hope everyone sees that. In this day and age change is evident in everything we do. We best get used to it.

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