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 Sheila Dodson, CEO of Baldwin County Association of Realtors (BCAR). BCAR serves more than 2,000 real estate agents in Baldwin County, Alabama. BCAR launched Homesnap Pro in September 2017. Here’s what Sheila had to say:
1. What will 2019 bring for Baldwin Realtors?
We will be concentrating on improving our public-facing website to highlight our new branding campaign – BaldwinRealtors – the local source for real estate data.
2. What are some specific challenges that midsize MLSs face in this era of consolidation?
Our challenge is to serve across the market areas. Working with different MLSs makes their lives more difficult for data entry when different rules and regulations change between the entities. Trying to make it easy for everyone is the challenge.
In addition, it is tough to keep members and employees up-to-date with the ever-changing face of technology.
3. The Baldwin County Association of Realtors just became the first in the nation to offer group health, dental and vision insurance plans that treat its members like employees. Tell us more about that.
We are so very fortunate to be able to offer this to our members. Not only can our brokers and agents have these benefits, but also our affiliate members and their employees.
Fortunately Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has been very open to expanding their service and working with us through all of the new regulations, without a clear road path to where we are going. Being the first has its challenges for sure.
4. What mistakes do you see agents in your market making when it comes to marketing?
Marketing is a challenge in the digital world. Often they believe they have to spend thousands of dollars and forget it is a people business.
It takes years to develop clients and it can’t happen overnight.
I hope everyone is analyzing their spend verses return to see where their money is returning the best investment.
5. You were formerly the Executive Director of the Coastal Association of Realtors of Maryland. How does Alabama compare to Maryland?
I never would have thought I would have moved from one eastern shore to another, but that is what I did. The two areas are extremely similar – resort, traditional and rural.
In Coastal Maryland, our area was spread over three counties. Here in Alabama, all of this is found in one county – Baldwin County. Even though they are 1,000 miles apart, similarities abound.