As the technology provider and support for its own MLS® system and MLS® throughout the entire province, the WinnipegREALTORS® Association knows all too well the need to keep up with technology or be left behind. This spring, it recently went through a major upgrade of its own MLS® system and will be going through another one later in the year.
WinnipegREALTORS® technology representatives just returned from a four-day summit with other real estate associations across North America sharing the same technology platform. Their goal is to offer REALTOR® members powerful tools to greatly assist consumers in the buying and selling of real estate.
There will be more enabling features, including statistical reports on the market (e.g. days on market report and price range analysis), improved alignment of search criteria fields and advances in mapping capability.
At the meeting of technology specialists, there was already talk of the next generation of MLS® technology that will usher in more changes in years to come.
Another positive development alongside the improvements the WinnipegREALTORS® residential database is the widespread adoption of special software that allows direct instant messaging on MLS® listings between member REALTORS®. The messaging allows them to act quickly on leads for prospective home buyers and deal more expeditiously on other matters such as appointments and showings. It is all being done with the intention of providing faster and more effective ways of communicating with the local network of over 1200 REALTORS®. Ultimately, the consumer is the beneficiary of REALTORS® adopting new technology and innovative messaging software.
ICX.CA and mls.ca enhancements
Not to be outdone by one of its local association members, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has just released new versions of its mls.ca and ICX.CA websites, two of Canada’s most popular real estate websites.
The mls.ca and ICX.CA websites were revamped to incorporate new National Data Standards and for the addition of several new features. Changes went live on both sites on June 26.
“mls.ca is one of Canada’s most popular websites, and is the place Canadian consumers most frequently turn to when they are looking for information about residential property,” said CREA president Ann Bosley.
“The new mls.ca includes a number of innovative tools and resources for consumers, including enhanced search functionality and open house information,” added Bosley.
New targeted search tabs allow consumers to search for residential, recreational, vacant land and agricultural properties. These search tabs replace the “advanced search” feature. A new search tab for open houses has also been added to mls.ca, giving consumers the ability to search for open houses in their area of interest. The REALTOR® search feature has also been improved.
A number of useful online calculators have been added to mls.ca for consumers. These include an affordability calculator, land transfer tax calculator, and rent vs. own calculator. The site has featured a mortgage calculator since it was launched in 1996.
The property ad listing pages have also been redesigned, providing consumers with a more compact and streamlined display. Now if there is no data in a display field, it will disappear rather than show “NA” as it did with the previous site. Agents will also have the flexibility to upload more photos to the property Web pages.
CREA also launched a number of enhancements to the ICX.CA web site for industrial, commercial and investment listing information on June 26.
Commercial REALTORS® will especially benefit from the new data fields dealing with member information, such as designations or languages spoken. This information is displayed through the REALTOR® search feature.
Another change is the elimination of “NA,” which means only information uploaded will appear on a property listing page. If there is no data in a display field, it will disappear rather than show “NA.”
The new version of ICX.CA allows users to start their search from the moment they access the website with a new splash page. The search options have been expanded to include a variety of real estate types including office, multi-family, business, agricultural, land, retail, and institutional.
The individual property pages have been redesigned to display information specific to the real estate type. For example, vacant land has different features than a multi-storey office building. REALTORS® can also upload an unlimited number of photos to appear with their ads.