Bright MLS, the second-largest multiple listing service in the U.S., was one of the earliest believers in the importance of rentals. Rentals are not only a critical form of housing for consumers, but also are an income staple for many agents and brokers. When considering how to handle rentals within an MLS, Bright MLS has done all the right things and, most importantly, started down that path years ago.
Today, Bright MLS has among the most rental listings per subscriber out of all MLSs, with much of that having to do with the rental strategy they’ve implemented:
- Creating a mindset of embracing rentals
- Consolidating as much rental data as possible
- Streamlining the rental listing input process
- Automating key steps of rental transactions
Richard McDonald, VP of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Bright MLS sees the focus on rentals as particularly timely considering the current economic climate.
“Rising mortgage rates and high home prices have made it more challenging for would-be homebuyers, particularly first-timers,” said McDonald. “As a result, we saw rental listings on our system jump significantly as demand for rental housing increased. With mortgage rates remaining elevated and home prices showing no signs of coming down, expect the number of rental listings across the Bright footprint to continue to increase in 2023.”
Bright MLS successfully implemented this strategy by tracking rental data trends for years and tailored their front-end software with the input of rental listings in mind.
But rather than copy the for-sale experience and data fields, Bright MLS customized the listing input process to only require data relevant to rentals. This reduced the time and effort needed to add a rental listing and thus resulted in more rentals being input into the MLS.
Another common issue with rentals is the effort required to manage the listing. That’s why Bright’s rental strategy involved implementing RentSpree more than four years ago. This had the impact of reducing the time and effort to complete a rental listing and market it to a wide audience.
Since the implementation, rental listings on the Bright MLS system have increased exponentially, indicating the success of this seamless approach and the demand for effective rental tools.
Bright MLS’s rental strategy is paying off
Rental listings on the Bright MLS system increased nearly 11 percent in 2022 to 85,202 after declining between 2020 and 2021 due to the surge in home buying triggered by low interest rates.
Bright MLS subscribers utilizing RentSpree skyrocketed from 169 at the beginning of 2019 to over 15,000 today. Likewise, successful rental transaction volume jumped from 47 at the start of 2019 to over 145,000 processed as of May 2023.
Perhaps most importantly, the average number of days on the market (DOM) for a rental listing has dropped from 30 days to 23 days when subscribers have used RentSpree.
“Time is money, and we still sometimes see agents hesitating to get into the rental side of things because of the perceived labor intensity and time commitment,” said McDonald. “With the implementation of RentSpree on the Bright system, the number of days on market has been effectively cut as well as the time investment into the rental application logistics. We consistently hear from our agents that they spend much less time on a rental deal when using RentSpree tools.”
Effective rental tools, such as those RentSpree offers, allow agents to easily automate the tenant verification process and provide a complete rental application, credit report, and background check. This saves agents time and allows them to serve their clients more efficiently. Premium subscription service RentSpree PRO further provides agents the opportunity to exponentially expedite and streamline the entire leasing process.
“Providing an open, clear and competitive marketplace is at the heart of what Bright MLS does every day for our over 100,000 subscribers and the millions of customers they serve,” said McDonald. “A rental property can be a key and timely option for home buyers and sellers for a variety of reasons during their homeownership journey. Bright MLS appreciates working with RentSpree to offer their easy-to-use, rental management platform for agents and consumers alike.”
He added, “A renter of today has the potential to be a homeowner of tomorrow. Now, more than ever, we need to empower our subscribers. RentSpree does just that. As one of the first adopters, we have been providing our members with this cutting-edge tool allowing them to show their renting clients the possibility of future homeownership.”