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 Ron Stephan, CEO of Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service (NEFMLS). NEFMLS serves more than 7,000 agents across Northeast Florida. NEFMLS is also a member of the Broker Public Portal. Here’s what Ron had to say:
1.) What unique challenges does the NEFMLS market pose to agents?
The market in Northeast Florida is expansive. We cover six or seven primary counties extending out to 27 or more, including our six datashare partners. This is a huge amount of area to cover.
However, when a buyer is looking for waterfront including condominiums or they are interested in acreage or farmland, it often doesn’t matter what county it is in. Our members just need to find properties that match the buyer’s criteria quickly.
2.) How has the home search process changed for consumers in your market over the last 10 years?
Obviously there used to be only one source for consumers: the newspaper. Now consumers have access to so many web-based search options and are telling their agent about properties they have found.
Our members need to stay on top of properties that are available for sale in order to educate their buyers on the value, pros and cons of what they have found on the internet.
Homesnap Pro offers our members a quick and easy-to-use solution in our large geographic market area.
3.) NEFMLS joined the BPP this past year. What was the main motivation to become part of this initiative?
We were early participating founders in supporting the BPP but only last year did we come to the conclusion that we wanted to offer our members an advertising and cost-free national solution to promote their listings.
Homesnap provided both a successful website and mobile application without the advertising and expense associated with other national portals.
4.) What common mistakes do you see agents making?
I think the biggest mistake most agents make is failing to take advantage of the many products and services offered to them through our RealtyWEB.Net Family of Services.
The list is too long to mention here, but data from statistics to property tax and products from consumer portal options to mobile applications are often overlooked by members. We even hired a marketing person to promote the products and have escalated our in-person education programs, and they have been enormously successful.
A favorite saying of mine is, “Those who learn earn.”
5.) You live in an area that is popular with retirees. What other part of the country would you someday want to retire to?
I have traveled to many parts of our beautiful country and some foreign locations as well. However, retirement to me means the peace and tranquility of our own backyard. We purchased a river getaway a few years ago, and I’m guessing that is where we will call it a career.