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So today, we have Richard Gibbons with the Southwest MLS. Uh you’re the director, right?
Yeah, MLS director’s official title. Perfect. January? Yup. This year, january 25th when I joined Gaar. Came from North Florida previously.
Oh, wow. Yeah. A bit different climate?
Very much so. Very much so. I joke with people that I went green and humid and brown and too brown and dry.
Yup. Yeah. I’m from Upstate New York originally. So, I kinda get that whole, you know, green everything. You know, you can’t get rid of the grass and to here you you can’t grow grass.
So, we did a presentation earlier this week and you know, you went over a bunch of, you know, the the rules that that you guys have at the uh MLS for uploading photos and what needs to be there and then that you’ve got a bunch of new rules that are coming out which are gonna be very beneficial to the members and those looking through the MLS as well, right?
Oh yeah, absolutely.
So, so what are the the current rules?
So, the current rule is the the the short version is if you have a minimum one photo and it has to be of the outside front of the of the dwelling if there’s a dwelling in the property. Okay. Because in the daylight. So, as long as you meet those three, that’s the rule right now. Um and then for land, there’s some caveats like, you know, it either has to be from the road or if it’s not accessible from the road, you can have a um uh bird’s eye. Um. Okay. But that’s the, that’s the short version.
Which is good. I mean, so you get a front shot of the house or you know, uh a drone shot for the for for vacant land listings and whatnot.
Okay. Why did they wanna change the rules and what are the rules changing too?
Yeah. So, we’ll Start off with why cuz that’s important. Um the MLS is more than a marketing platform. It’s a data platform. And uh appraisers and members trying to run CMAs and things like that. We’re running into issues where you have two houses next to each other uh same neighborhood.
One sells for $50,000 more or doesn’t have any photos and you can’t tell why. Cuz uh a major part of what an appraiser does is fixtures. Upgrades.
You know, what’s been done to the house on the inside and that can determine value and if you can’t see those, you have no idea why I did that.
So, the new rule is going to be that you have to have at minimum one photo of the living room the front of the house the backyard the kitchen and all bathrooms um so if you have two bathrooms you have to have two bathroom photos so on and so forth um and uh so so that way you know people can see the fixtures you can see what appliances there you can see what fixtures are there and can make those valuations yeah and and so that’s one of the things that
I’m finding a lot too is you know people saying well I just need a floor plan or I just need the virtual tour I don’t need the photos you know cuz you know I already have it sold or whatnot and and I into a lot of the clients as you know while I’m on the phone with them. It’s like, you do cuz it’s not just, you know, for this listing right now. It’s, you know, it’s also for the marketing for yourself for the, you know, future clients and let everybody know what it is that that you do for your marketing but then, of course, it’s also for the appraisers like you said, you know, so that they know what, how to appraise something.
You know, and it’s not even just for, you know, other properties, it’s also for that property. So, a lot of times, the appraisers are looking at the photos and seeing, you know, what what the quality is in the current house, right?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah and so, cuz you remember, an appraiser once they’re going in, they usually don’t get to go into the house.
You know, they’re they’re they’re just completely reliant on um on the MLS photos a lot of times especially, you know, especially when they’re pulling CMAs. Now, you know, the house they’re doing right now, yeah, they get to go in but they’re pulling over CMAs before 100% rely on MLS photos.
Yeah. So, and then, another point you brought up that I think is a good one is there’s a lot more uses of it. Like, um for example, when we bought our house,
I’m I’m actually relatively sure you did it.
Um it was uh a virtual tour, floor plan, photos, it was a whole package and um we hired a interior designer off of Fiverr and we were able to provide her with virtual tours so she could see the layout of the home cuz photos don’t always actually almost never really relay the layout of a home.
Exactly. So, there’s and that’s where floor plans and virtual tours and all of that come in into place so you can see, you know, what the layout is and be able to, you know, even take measurements on on some floor plans.
Absolutely. Yeah. So that that was a huge help even even as a consumer post sale. That was nice to have. So how are you going to uh enforce the the new rule? Is there gonna be enforcement on the new rule?
Yeah. So, we get about 16 thousand listings a year. On average about twenty per listings. So, that’s 320 thousand photos a year through our MLS. So, obviously, humans are not looking at every one of those.
So, we are uh we’ve contracted a company called RestV.AI uh and they are a computer vision, artificial intelligence software that scans the photos and um it’s what it does is it can determine the room type. It can say, okay, this photo is a living room. This photo is a bathroom. This photo is a kitchen. And then we can tie that in with our other compliance software called DataChecker that checks, okay. So, this listing says it has two bathrooms. Is there two bathroom pictures? Yes, okay, you’re good. If not, it flags it no. Member automatically gets an Email. Um So the only thing that staff has to do is if members respond to the emails and have questions, we answer those but it’s so it’s gonna proactively check every single listing regardless of status too.
So like it like even when it goes into sold, it still has to keep those five photos. You can’t delete more than those.
Oh wow. So that that’s another issue we have is people deleting photos off of listings after it sells.
Um so appraisers can’t use them. Yeah. Bingo.
So even even once it’s sold, you still have to meet those minimums. So, kind of proactive enforcement.
So currently, the the rule is that you could, you could delete them or at least down to that one photo and and you’d be good. And going forward, you just still need all of these photos. Six, six minimum, right?
Yeah. If it’s if it’s a two-bathroom house, it ends up being six photos, yeah. Right. Okay. Yeah. So you just, it’s really trying to raise the floor. You know, it’s um it also helps professionalism in the industry. As a consumer, you know, if you look at uh uh a house that has one photo, you’re less likely to wanna go look at it.
You know, it’s it’s there’s a lot of benefits.
Yeah. II tell the people this all the time you know. There is value in in professional photos. Um is there is there gonna be enforcement beyond just uh uh an Email or is there currently enforcement? Yeah, yeah. So, so anything that runs through data checker has a fine process.
So, if if you get, if you get a data checker notification uh for any of our rules and it’s not within forty-eight hours, there’s a fine for it. Um so, this is gonna fall into the category of the minor fines.
So, we’ll start at $50 uh and then you have another 48 hours and then it goes up to $100 and then you have another 48 hours and it goes up to 200 dollars. So, um so there there are fines backing this up and you the members are gonna have to abide by it to not get those.
So, the the AI has come a long way. I mean, we used to be, you know, just hearing about it in the movies and whatnot. Now, it’s it’s it’s an daily lives. It’s checking, checking to make sure you have the right photos in the in the listing which is crazy. Absolutely. Yeah. So, I mean, some other cool things that AI can do. Now, they just be clear, these aren’t ones that we’re implementing but just looking towards the future. Um they have, they have a uh solution that does property quality.
So, like it’ll it’ll look at a home and say, okay, is this a nicely updated home or is this a needs work home? And they have like this scale of one to five that measures the quality of the property um and uh places that do estimated values via algorithms are using that technology to make their algorithms better.
Another one, a big issue with real estate is ADA compliance like people who use screen readers, most of the time, when people upload a photo, the title of the photo is IMG underscore one, two, three, four, dot JPEG and when somebody who who can’t see hovers over a picture, that’s what the reader reads. It’s IMG dot one, 234 dot Jpeg. That doesn’t help him at all. But with AI, it can scan it and say this is a kitchen with white cabinets and granite countertops and then we’ll eventually at one point be able to auto tag those um descriptions into the ADA compliance.
So, when the reader reads it, it reads kitchen with white cabinets and granite countertops. So, it’s a lot more useful for ADA as well. Um. Wow. Lot of cool stuff coming out there. That that is crazy how that how far that can go. Yeah, absolutely and then um one of the thing that we are implementing is it can also detect signs and contact information in in photos for us. Which is right now, we’re active only but that’s gonna become proactive as well. So,lots of great stuff coming from that.
Very cool. Yeah, we don’t ever have signs in our photos. We make sure that they’re taking down but. Yeah. Another reason he’s a professional photographer. They know that they know our rules and they know to look for stuff like that. And that’s why I wanted you to have to have you on because you know, as the rules change, I wanna make sure that everybody’s aware and and you know, having it come right from uh Southwest MLS rather than from me saying, hey, you know,here’s the rules.
When I say it doesn’t, have any weight to it but when you say it, people tend to listen. Yeah. And it introduce you to to the members too cuz you know, like you said, you’ve only been here for since January. Definitely, definitely, thanks for having me on.
You know, I’m always down for things like this. Anybody else who watches this, you want me to come to your office or jump into a meeting? Let me know. I’ll be there. So, um you know, the the other thing I believe in communication is is the best way is always gonna be face to face.
You know, it’s it’s I would rather meet all 4,300 members one at a time face to face over a two-year period than try to them all via a thousand Emails. You know, I just. Yeah. I wanna shake some hands.
Or maybe, you know, fist bump or bump or whatever you’re comfortable with. Very nice. Very nice. Well, thanks for coming on and uh I’m sure we’ll have you back when then uh you update some more things.
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me. Thanks.
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