ORLANDO, Fla. – May 4, 2015 – A recent deal to bring more new-construction listings to real estate pros in Florida signals an expansion of data sharing between builders and MLSs.

My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS) – which services more than 43,000 subscribers in Central Florida – announced a partnership with Austin, Texas-based Builders Update, a new-home inventory source. The partnership that will provide members with data on new homes directly through their current MLS sign-on.

Builders Update says they have 2,800 floor plans and new homes available for sale in more than 550 subdivisions in the Central Florida area. Merri Jo Cowen, RCE, e-PRO, and CEO of MFRMLS says those listings will be especially helpful for MLS members working in inventory-constrained markets.

"When they're working with a buyer who is looking for new homes, or just interested in what the new home market has to offer – which is especially the case when inventory is low – they would have to do so much more research on every potential development that might be out there," Cowen says. "Our members' time is valuable, and this is definitely going to save them time."

Cowen says that her MLS researched their options when it came to expanding MLS services for subscribers.

"Our philosophy is to make sure that there's value there before we add a new product," she says. "Members had expressed interest in it. We have a committee that reviews new technology, and they thought it would be a good benefit."

Builders Update CEO Bill Gaul says the company has a similar agreement with the Austin Board of Realtors®and could announce another deal with the Jupiter-Tequesta-Hobe Sound Association of Realtors in South Florida next week.

"Adding these 43,000 agents in Central Florida was a significant move for us, in addition to the more than 10,000 agents here in central Texas and soon, South Florida," Gaul says. "We already have data from all over the country provided by builders, and new builders are joining every day. Now we need more agent eyeballs on that data to complete the process."

Cowen says that the service will not be a game-changer for everyone in her MLS, but that the Florida market, with several zones of relatively high home-building activity, is a good place to implement such a data strategy.

"I don't know that it will be as useful for agents working in really established communities," Cowen says. "But the new-home market is definitely taking off again here, as it is across the country."

Gaul says his company is ready to expand.

"We intend to grow nationwide, market by market, driven by demand, and we have the capacity to grow quickly," he says. "We hope to add MLS associations one after another, and we can do so in a week's time, fully vetting the product and making sure that agents can use single sign-on."

Other companies, such as Builders Digital Experience, have agreements with MLSs to feed new-home data to subscribers. Gaul says Builders Update differs in its concentration on the needs of real estate professionals.

"Our service was created by agents for agents," Gaul says. He says the ability to pre-register buyers with a builder protects agents' commissions, and that the service delivers leads to agents free-of-charge. "The biggest difference is that we bring together the agent, the buyer, and the builder to work toward a common goal, protecting the work that the agent does, and making it easier for the agent to sell new-home inventory."

Source: Meg White, Realtor® Magazine

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