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Agent Networking Outside the MLS

The local MLS is by far the most comprehensive networking tool for real estate agents to match buyers with sellers.  Last year more than 40,000 sales were recorded in the MLS for just the thirteen county Twin Cities Metro area.  While the MLS is a fantastic resource, it can’t serve the needs of all buyers and sellers.

For example, with today’s rapidly declining supply of homes for sale and surging buyer demand, many buyers are being left on the sidelines because they cannot find a home to purchase.  This market has changed so much in just the last nine months!

On the other side, thousands of potential sellers sit paralyzed wondering if their home would sell today at a price they could accept.  They don’t want to list their home due to the inconveniences of having to change their lifestyles while the home is for sale unless they are sure it will sell, but if an offer came forward at the right price and terms, they would happily sell.  In fact, in pockets all across the Twin Cities we’re starting to see home prices tick up… something most homeowners are still unaware of.

Effectively, many potential sellers today are worried about being market rejected.  Let’s face it, none of us want to be rejected and with the declines in Twin Cities home prices the last few years it is very understandable that many of these homeowners are hesitant.  There are also other sellers out there that are preparing their home for sale but for numerous reasons are not yet ready to list it on the open market.  Enter Edina Realty’s solution:

Network ONE was first developed over a decade ago but with all the changes in our market, it has been significantly been revamped over the last year to become far more effective.  I was lucky enough to participate in some of the initial redesign plans and am proud of what was accomplished.

Network ONE allows Edina Realty agents to enter in their buyer’s criteria and be matched with Edina Realty agents that have prospective sellers.  I like to think of this as The Buyer MLS, something I first heard Stefan Swanepoel discuss about four years ago.  This tool allows an agent to reach all of their Edina Realty coworkers – invaluable when today agents are covering larger market areas than ever before.

Instead of just being able to network a buyer need amongst their office of 50-100 agents and agents they know across other brokerages, they can now touch all 2000+ Edina Realty agents.  To use a cliche, this is networking on steroids.  Over 1000 buyer & seller needs are currently active in the system.

At the same time, this registry of buyer needs can be used to show prospective sellers the demand for a home like theirs.  Now all of a sudden the potential to sell their home becomes far less fantasy and far more real.  If they want to “dip their toes in the water” and gauge actual interest, their agent can act as matchmaker with the buyer agents and if a match still looks good after further discussion, the seller and their agent sign a Network One Contract and then the buyer can be shown the home.  Matches do happen and are happening with greater frequency as the market gets hotter and more needs are entered into Network ONE.

For sellers that are confident in their desire to sell, Network ONE is often just a stepping stone and if a buyer does not come forward before they are ready for full market exposure, the home is listed on the MLS anyways.

There are many other ways in which this system has already been used and I know I’ve only heard a small portion of the successes we’ve generated through this tool in just the last few months.

Network ONE is not meant to replace the MLS but rather act as a complement to it.  By filling in the unserved gaps left by the MLS, Edina Realty has created a system that will bring buyers and sellers together to create additional sales that would not have happened otherwise and turn our matchmaking agents into real estate rock stars in the eyes of those clients.  And in case you were wondering, this feature is only available through Edina Realty agents :)

There is no one single fix for the housing market but creative solutions like this that solve fundamental market inefficiencies can help further the housing market recovery that I believe we are already entering.

Hat tip to Ross Kaplan for his blog post about this same subject, which encouraged me to expound on the as well.

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TwinCitiesRealEstateBlog.com is not a Multiple Listing Service MLS, nor does it offer MLS access.
This website is a service of Aaron Dickinson of Edina Realty, a broker Participant of the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc.