Originally Published on Wavgroup.Com
October 20, 2020
Now widely regarded as a sleeping giant, the multi-billion-dollar rental market was bound to make it to the multiple listing service radar one day. Rentals are often considered the baby sister of the housing market and the first step on the pathway to homeownership. MLSs and rental tools have not been usual companions, but innovative alliances, such as the one forged by industry leader, Bright MLS and rental “re-imaginer,” RentSpree are proving why the MLS should embrace rental tools for subscribers.
Bright MLS is known for carving unique, successful spaces
Bright MLS aims to drive their subscribers’ business forward. With such a progressive mantra, it’s no surprise that the company has been on the forefront of more than one real estate frontier. In 2015, Bright MLS made national headlines when it announced the union of two prominent East Coast MLSs and 43 REALTORS® Associations with the objective of creating an efficient MLS of the future.
Part of successful change in real estate is in recognizing where consumers allocate their dollars and meeting them there with quality service. Even though roughly 1/3 of the US population currently rents, relatively little thought has been given to how agent activity intersects with the rental market. This is especially surprising considering the wide variety of the American rental landscape: new college grads, newly divorced adults, seasoned homeowners ready to downsize, and pre-homeowners saving up deposits are all common renter profiles.
Historically, the multiple listing service focused its attention and resources on properties for sale and the tools to support brokers and agents in those transactions. But recent estimates from RentSpree show that every agent in the US works on over 6 screening transactions each year on average. With this in mind, the leaders at Bright MLS believe in pioneering solutions that position everyone for the future.
The combining of two innovators
Last year, the executives at Bright MLS deployed RentSpree’s cutting-edge rental tool and were the first MLS to fully integrate the technology into the MLS system earlier this year. Within months, nearly 3,000 of their subscribers had joined to take advantage of the newly-streamlined rental process. Over the course of 2020, the number of rental transactions successfully processed through the rental integration has grown by an average of 50% month over month. As use of the RentSpree integration continues to grow, it proves that subscribers of one of the nation’s most innovative MLSs have an increasing need to handle rentals in addition to sales.
“We consider it our mission to find and vet innovative tools that make life easier for our subscribers and their clients. A one-stop, sophisticated technology solution for the rental process was a no-brainer,” said Andrew Strauch, Vice President of Premium Services and Broker Rewards.
“When planning the roll-out with Bright MLS, we looked at consolidating many steps into one,” said Michael Lucarelli, CEO of RentSpree. “One streamlined process can take subscribers from listing to lease agreement with none of the wasted effort associated with the historically fragmented rental process.”
Fundamental to the RentSpree philosophy is good partnership. “As good partners, we want to ensure that we are meeting specific needs by providing a smooth integration and world-class support. We make a concerted effort to provide a simple API while standing behind virtually all aspects of every roll-out. We know that the MLS experience must be high quality for brokers and agents, and we understand the importance of non-dues revenue in the MLS business model,” said Lucarelli.
RentSpree boasts a rare 1,000+ online reviews, upwards of 4.7 out of 5 on Google and Trustpilot. Lucarelli says they don’t rest on their successes, but continue to learn from agents/brokers and innovate accordingly.
Access to RentSpree is integrated directly within the Add/Edit workflow of the Bright MLS platform. “The placement of the leasing tool is deliberate and conforms to exactly where subscribers would organically utilize such a tool. And the real-time metrics from the company provides us tangible data of the software’s performance and its adoption rates,” said Strauch.
There is no evidence that the U.S. rental market will slow. In fact, there are forecasts from multiple sources that predict continued growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. And because nearly all renters can be considered future first-time home buyers, an agent who handles rentals skillfully will often receive calls from past renters who are now ready to buy.
For MLSs and Associations, the equation is relatively simple: support brokers and agents in every aspect of their business needs and create partnerships that pay off for all involved.