Improving Your MLS with Better Property Data
What happens when a vital tool that supports your members is discontinued?
That’s the dilemma that Intermountain MLS (IMLS) faced in 2016 when their MLS system vendor stopped producing its integrated tax platform. Fortunately, their vendor had recently formed a partnership with a new tax system provider, CRS Data, and offered IMLS the opportunity to transition to the new partner’s product.
Switching to a new product of any kind is a challenge, but as IMLS would discover, within that challenge is an opportunity to offer a solution that greatly improves on what came before.
We talked to Glenn Christoph, CEO of IMLS, to learn more about the transition and how the switch made things better for their members.
One of the biggest hurdles in changing tax systems is ensuring the quality of data matches or improves upon the data in the old system. Rather than relying solely on CRS Data to acquire this data, CRS Data and IMLS work together to make the data the best it can be.
“CRS Data seems to have a wealth of knowledge of data depository from their relationships with various counties,” says Christoph. “In addition to that, we have relationships with the counties we serve and we pull a tax data file and supplement or add to what we currently receive from CRS Data. So it’s both of us working on enriching the data.”
In order to ease the transition for their members, IMLS worked with CRS Data to ensure that the data is displayed in a manner similar to their old system. “Most of it’s around data, which CRS Data has, so it’s fairly easy to say, ‘Hey, you don’t have field X,’ or ‘We don’t have a display for our members,’ and they’ll come back and say, ‘Yeah, we have the data. We can turn it live for you,'” says Christoph. “They’re very accommodating in making those changes.”
Once CRS Data was ready to go live with IMLS, representatives from the company came down for in-person training. “They introduced the product to our members and explained what it does,” says Christoph. “The data fields are the larger difference between our previous system and CRS Data—some are one-to-one, and in some places you may not have the fields you had prior, but you also have a load of other fields. The training helped our members understand this.”
Improving the MLS with Statewide Coverage
With the transition to CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite came the opportunity for IMLS to offer statewide coverage to their membership.
“Our goal is to bring on all the counties that we don’t have,” says Christoph. “We have most in the state of Idaho, but there are a handful we don’t. We want to provide that to our members because we’re seeing members list property in other areas, so having a full set of tax data would just be more beneficial to them.”
IMLS is currently in the process of building statewide coverage in partnership with CRS Data. “We’ve been meeting with CRS Data and outlining the different counties that we don’t have within the state,” says Christoph. “The process has been smooth. We’re mapping out the counties that we need and the data elements are pretty close across from county to county. CRS Data has done most of the majority of the heavy lifting on getting us there.”
Christoph expects that coverage across the state of Idaho will be completed this year.
For IMLS, better data comes from a better partnership with their tax system provider. “Everyone I’ve spoken to at CRS Data is extremely helpful and has the customer in mind,” says Christoph. “It’s a high level of customer service that they provide.”
According to Christoph, CRS Data has not only been open to changes that IMLS requests, but enthusiastic about making those changes to better serve IMLS’ members.
“CRS Data is a robust program. It’s a value-add if you can offer it for your membership.”