The Tale Of The Ferrari & The Yugo


Ever seen a Ferrari cruising down the street and wondered “why would you buy that car and drive it here?  A car like that needs a freeway!”  Later, as you’re heading down the freeway, making great time and enjoying the breeze, you come up on a Yugo in the left hand lane going 20 miles slower than everyone else – “get out of the way!”, you yell.  “I’ve got places to go, things to do!”

Welcome to the Multiple Listing Service saga of the New River Valley right now.  Our old product was the Ferrari – robust yetrestrained on our quiet residential streets – while our new product is the Yugo – overwhelmed and outdated from the get go.

It’s been a few months since we switched MLS systems, and I’ve got to say that I’m without a doubt more frustrated than ever.  My list of problems with this new system is long, and I had the opportunity several weeks ago to address them, directly, with the president of this new vendor, but I didn’t walk out of that meeting encouraged.  Sure, he was nice enough, and he took notes on what were the problems members were having, but at the end of the day we made a switch from a product that did everything I needed it to do – with plenty of features I wanted but weren’t accessible in my local market – to a product that’s outdated, unstable and slow.

Take this limitation I ran across yesterday … I was evaluating four properties for a buyer who’s moving to the area.  When doing Opinions of Value, I’m trying to make adjustments of value on properties that are similar to my “subject” property – I want these adjustments to give me as close to an “apples-to-apples comparison” as possible.  All four properties are in the same neighborhood, and I had good sales data to work with.  One of the properties my buyer is considering also sold last year, and is on the market again due to a job transfer; a great opportunity to get a great comparison, right? Wrong. The system won’t let me compare a property against itself, even if it’s a sold property.  Think an appraiser’s going to have an issue with this?  It severely restricts the accuracy of their reporting to a lender, just as it restricts the accuracy of the data I can provide my buyers and sellers.  Add that to the list of problems and concerns that were presented by agents and appraisers to the president of this vendor over a two day period, and I’m surprised if he wasn’t thrilled to be leaving the New River Valley.

Then comes an article in The Roanoke Times yesterday entitled “NRV Real Estate Community Weighs In On The New MLS System” – written by Sarah Cox, I’ll post it in its’ entirety later this week while asking The Roanoke Times again, would you please make ALL articles written in your paper searchable on your website?  Anyway, as much as I like Sarah, I have to say I think she missed the mark with this story – the New River Valley real estate community HAS weighed in on the new MLS system, and the reviews are not good.  It’s safe to say that more than 30% of agents in the New River Valley are very unhappy with the limitations of this system, and I can say that in my personal experience there are many buyers and sellers who are frustrated, as well.  As I wrote in May, it’s important we get this MLS stuff right.  As an agent, this is one of the most important tools that I have in my toolbox; having access to the plethora of data that the MLS should be able to provide me is crucial to the process of consulting with clients, and yet


I’mhamstrung.  Case in point?  On two occasions last week, I tried to log in to my account and instead of

being taken to the login screen, I was instead directed to the Yahoo homepage.  If I was in the market for entertainment and sports news that might be a good place to go, but not when I need direct, real-time market statistics for the New River Valley.

I had a Ferrari, but it was stolen and now I’ve got a Yugo.   To my clients, past, present and future – I will do my best to make it the best Yugo in the New River Valley, but it’s still gonna be a Yugo.  We’ll dress it up, though, and do what we can to make it feel like that Ferrari you’re used to.

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