Home buyers want to easily see all of their available options in one place when they search online. At Zillow, we’ve always believed that the best way to help buyers find their dream home is to make all available listings readily available to homebuyers – or, as we say at Zillow, “turn on lights” by bringing transparency to the research process. .
So what’s stopping this from happening now? As those in the real estate industry know, the National Association of Realtors’ Internet Data Exchange (IDX) Policy, which governs online home searches on brokerage sites, includes an optional rule that Multiple Listings (MLS) may choose to require certain categories of non-MLS listings to appear separately from MLS listings.
When MLS adopts this rule, housing options such as buildable home plans, manufactured homes, and homes sold by owner cannot be displayed next to MLS listings. This limits the ability to provide a full home search where all listings appear together.
This policy is almost 20 years old and was created at the beginning of the internet age, when even search engines like Google were in their infancy. The authors of the IDX rules, while well-meaning, did not foresee the evolution of Internet search. In almost every shopping category, consumers expect easy access to comprehensive search results.
Although there is a lot of work to be done to make the lists easily accessible to everyone, there is reason to be encouraged by recent developments.
Last week, REcolorado, Colorado’s largest MLS with nearly 28,000 professional subscribers, announced its decision to allow all ads to appear together on brokerage sites. Why is this important? Well, the REcolorado board voted to remove the old policy preventing shoppers from seeing all of their options together in order to provide a better home shopping experience for customers.
This is a big win for consumers and their agents, and we applaud REcolorado’s decision. Being able to see all types of properties for sale together is what consumers expect. If other MLSs across the country follow REcolorado’s lead, buyers will have easy access to all listings together, and listings from sellers (and their agents) will appear alongside all other listings.
Zillow strongly supports updating policies like these because they empower consumers and provide a more accessible and transparent picture of what’s on the market, helping them make better-informed real estate decisions.
We hope to see more MLS follow REcolorado’s lead and take meaningful steps to remove this rule – especially at a time when more options could be life changing for buyers and sellers looking to move into their loved ones’ homes. dreams.
Matt Hendricks is Senior Director of Brokerage Operations at Zillow.