Largest MLS Launches Consumer-Facing Real Estate Portal

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Multiple Listing Services are generally seen as technologically backward sites restricted to Realtors. But this may change, if a new consumer-facing model takes off. Specifically, Local Matters, the social media vendor launched by MapQuest founder Perry Evans, has teamed with MRIS, the mega-MLS based in the D.C. metro area, to launch homesdatabase.com.

The fast-loading site is similar to major real estate portals such as Realtor.com. It enables users to browse all the listings for sale and rent on the market, get fresh data straight from the source, search using simple natural language phrases, and receive e-mail alerts on listings and open houses.

The latter is especially attractive, with houses featured in list views, or photo or map views, and easily zoomed on. Brokerages names and logos are also prominently featured.

In development for more than a year, the project signals “a new local consumer portal that leverages the content and brand of the local MLS, and presents a robust and useful tool for local consumers,” according to a memo from Evans, who said he has worked on real estate innovation since 2002.

“Does the market need another consumer real estate portal?” asks Evans. “I’d answer that with a resounding YES! The focus in online real estate has been national, national, national, while we all know the market is local, local, local. We believe the MLS can be empowered to operate a consumer portal that best serves the local consumer, and evolves into a thriving trusted local marketplace for qualified and quality interactions between consumers and agents.”

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