Welcome to another edition of “Ask the MLS.” Here, we talk to people running innovative MLSs around the country and ask them questions about their markets, their members and what keeps them up at night.
Today’s post features Marsha Buice, COO of First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS). FMLS serves more than 44,000 real estate professionals in Georgia. FMLS is also a member of the Broker Public Portal. Here’s what Marsha had to say:
1. Atlanta is a hot market. Like your members, FMLS is also competing for market share. How does FMLS stand out as an MLS?
FMLS is the premier MLS and first in Georgia Real Estate with our data integrity, technology, products, CE-approved courses and customer support. Did you know we average 94% customer satisfaction from our member surveys, with hundreds of responses monthly?
Our data quality is much higher than that of other MLSs, and as an example, agents cannot move their listings into a closed (sold status). Our staff personally changes listings to “sold” status with documentation provided by our members to ensure data accuracy.
Our data is so clean, other MLSs use our data to “cleanse” their data as part of their own compliance efforts.
We offer unique and exclusive tools such as a down payment resource to help our members assist their clients with being able to find the home of their dreams. The FMLS Institute provides 11 free CE-accredited courses to provide 33 of the 36 required CE hours needed to maintain a Georgia real estate license.
2. How have your members’ needs changed over the last five years?
With so much information on the Internet for clients to digest, our broker and agent members — now more than ever — need to be perceived as their local market expert.
FMLS members can stay one step ahead using market intelligence tools such as ShowingTime’s Market Stats or Homesnap Pro.
We have expanded the data available to them — such as statewide tax data — and we have even converted to the RESO Data Dictionary at the native level. It is certified at the highest level of platinum on the most recent version certifiable to make data integration more efficient and make it easier for brokers and technology companies to integrate our data.
3. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing real estate agents in Atlanta today?
What we hear from the field is a lack of inventory coupled with a slowing of new construction. We have roughly 3 to 4 months of inventory and new home construction has slowed due to the increase in costs and the permitting aspects, including increased permit fees and slowdowns in issuing permits. At the same time, builders are more cautious to build compared to 2004-2007 time-frames.
We consider this a healthy balance of inventory and demand compared to the trends of the last housing market crash.
4. What home trends are you seeing in Atlanta?
The Atlanta residential real estate market continues to be relatively strong in 2019. Even though inventory has declined, home values continue to appreciate. We also see more rentals and increased pricing in rentals inside the perimeter area of Atlanta, which has led to growth and expansion further out from the city center for purchased homes.
The Atlanta housing market is competitive with major increases in iBuyer activity. Atlanta is currently one of the largest iBuyer housing markets in the nation since it offers both affordable and consistent housing inventory.
5. What’s your favorite season, and why?
That is a tough question because Georgia experiences all the wonderful season changes. The spring shows off all the variety of beautiful flowers in the state and is when the peak season for real estate kicks off.
We are in the throes of fall right now, and we get to experience leaves changing colors in the North Georgia Mountains, corn mazes and apple picking throughout the state. I am going to have to say fall right now, since it’s a great time to experience all the fall festivals.