7 Time- and Labor-Saving Practices for Any Small MLS
By fine-tuning your daily MLS responsibilities and eliminating the activities that take a large amount of your time, you’ll discover you have more time to work on new products and services for your members. Here’s how to do it:
1. Put everything online.
Any administrative document that can go online should go online, especially MLS forms that you’d typically fax or mail upon request, such as: reporting forms for violations, subscriber agreements, end-user agreements, profile sheets, self-help FAQs, and schedules.
2. Establish a self-policing policy.
Stop reviewing listing agreements and profile sheets for MLS rule compliance and accuracy. Make sure your MLS rules state that you can request copies of documents in the event of a complaint, but as a general practice, MLS users are responsible for policing each other.
3. Curtail the courtesy calls.
When MLS data violations occur, fax or e-mail a notice to participants. Although it’s nice to have the AE make courtesy calls when there’s a problem with the accuracy of a listing, it’s not the best use of your time.
4. Stick to your deadlines.
Many associations establish one public deadline for listing changes or dues payments while internally maintaining another date as the real deadline. If you habitually allow deadlines to pass without penalties or provide four to six notices (rather than one to two) prior to a penalty, you’re costing yourself time and the association money.
5. Eliminate meetings.
Frequent meetings cut into the time that staff have to actually implement the association’s goals. Reassess whether regularly scheduled monthly meetings are still productive or necessary for your organization. The intent isn’t to eliminate information or communication, but to better use staff and volunteer time.
6. Use volunteers more.
Some tasks, such as completing MLS fee billing, involve a huge time commitment. Why not ask members to help stuff the bill envelopes? Also, resolve to buy a folding machine; it’s a surprising time-saver.
7. Implement e-commerce.
With NAR’s secure e-commerce system, small associations can interface a bill payment program on their Web site to collect MLS fees and deposit them into the MLS’s bank account. The National Association of Realtors®’ e-commerce system, which processes electronic payments, significantly reduces the typical rate credit card companies charge associations and MLSs.
8. Employ listing review software.
NAR’s Center for REALTOR technology offers, free of charge, a software program called PolicyPage that reviews MLS listings for compliance with MLS rules.
by Cindy Butts, CAE, EVP of the Maine Association of Realtors® and its statewide MLS, is the vice-chair of NAR’s 2003 AE Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.