MLS Tips Print

When copying a listing in FlexMLS:  The copy listing feature is used extensively by members to shorten the data entry time when listing a previously listed property, or when entering many listings that are very similar.  Although the copy listing feature is most valuable, the listing agents, MLS secretaries, and brokers should be aware of its limited use and shortcomings.

Copy Listing - Limited Use: In 2012 the MLS Rules & Regs were changed, allowing an MLS member to copy only listings that were listed by the MLS member's company (a member cannot copy a listing - a particular ML# - that was listed by another company). Furthermore, photos from such listings can only be copied with permission from the agent originally supplying the photos. 

Copy Listings - Shortcomings: When manually entering a listing, many built-in programming rules (called constraints) help to ensure that some basic requirements are adhered to as well as help to detect and avoid human error.  This can be observed as you enter content into the Area field and notice that the City field adjusts to what cities and towns are available in that Area.  These programming constraints control manual data entry to some degree, but have no effect when a listing is copied.  The end result is that new listings that were originally copied from an existing listing require more detailed scrutiny to ensure that the data is not only accurate, but that all requirements are met.

When entering a listing in FlexMLS - The Export Tab:  The purpose of the Export Tab is to accommodate the seller’s directive to block or limit the listing’s exposure to outside resources on the Internet.  By default listings will display on the Internet in accordance with RVAR policy.  Under the heading of Seller Opt Out, the four options are unselected by default, indicating that the seller has made no directives to block or limit the use of the listing’s data.  As long as the seller has made no such directives, these four boxes should remain unchecked.

The Information and Help symbols on the FlexMLS Input Screens:  While entering a listing into FlexMLS, you may have noticed the Information (i) and Help (?) symbols next to some fields.  Each of these provides information that may be helpful as you prepare to enter data into a particular field.  The Information (i) reveals the field constraints for that field and is generally self-explanatory, while the Help (?) provides custom help text that is provided by the MLS. 

Mapping your listings in FlexMLS – Mapping is Marketing:  Years ago, the property address was just a piece of benign information that would help a buyer or agent to view or preview a home.  Today the property address represents much more, as it is geocoded (Google the word “geocoding” for Wikipedia’s explanation of geocoding through interpolation).  Once geocoded, a listing is or can be linked to a variety of information (mapping, demographics, tax information, etc.) used in various data-driven internet services, such as our MLS system.  When an agent uses FlexMLS’s mapping features to find listings, and when the public uses FlexMLS’s mapping features (in FBS’s IDX, Client Portals, etc.), inaccurate geocoding of the property address may exclude listings from appearing in a property search (the property can appear on the wrong street, in the wrong county, or even in the wrong state).  In short, the agent and consumer may find your competitor’s listing while your listing located only one street over is virtually invisible.

To avoid your listing becoming invisible to FlexMLS map searches, show due diligence when entering data into the property address fields (street number, street direction prefix, street name, street suffix, street direction suffix).  Then take the extra step to ensure the property maps to the proper location.  In the case that the property address is not automatically mapped to the correct map location, FlexMLS allows you to manually assign the map position of the property.  Once you make this correction, the correct geocoding is assigned to the property.  For a video tutorial on placing a listing in the correct map location, from the FlexMLS menu, choose User Guides / FlexMLS Tutorials / Getting Started Tutorials / Change Listings.

Entering the correct value in the Acreage field – Acreage is Marketing:  As you decide whether or not to enter data into the Lot Dimensions field and/or the Acreage field, keep the following in mind.  The Lot Dimensions field is only good for disclosing information in a report, but has little value as a searching tool (an agent or buyer is not going to try to find a home by searching on the Lot Dimensions field).  You should enter the Lot Dimensions for a lot, but remember that it is the Acreage field that agents and buyers will use as a search tool.  When listing a property with 25 acres, the Lot Dimensions can be left blank.  However, it is extremely important to enter 25 into the Acreage field.  If you type “25 acres” in the Lot Dimensions field and leave the Acreage field blank, this listing will become virtually invisible when an agent or buyer searches the Acreage field for 10+ acres.

Entering concise and helpful directions – Driving Direction is Marketing:  Accuracy of the driving directions is critical.  Both agents and the consumer rely on the accuracy of a listing’s driving directions.  Do not guess at distances.  Also, when writing .3 miles, write it as 0.3 miles.  One possible approach to avoid poorly written directions is to allow the seller to review the directions at the point of writing the listing agreement.