What is CARETS?
How Does CARETS Work?
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What is CARETS?
Historically, consumers needed a licensed professional to gain access to the property information, to schedule a showing and to provide valuable counsel throughout the entire process. But now, they also have access to a considerable amount of online information about homes for sale, including pictures and videos, maps with driving directions, comparable properties and much more. Consumers increasingly are getting more of what they believe they need without the involvement of a real estate professional. Ironically, in many overlapping markets, the professionals don’t necessarily have access to everything they need to do their jobs unless they join more than one MLS and pay duplicate fees — just to do their jobs.
California Real Estate Technology Services Inc., or CARETS, is a major joint venture initiated by seven Southern California MLSs to address this challenge, beginning with the creation of a massive common database of listings. The CARETS MLSs — CLAW, CRISNet MLS, iTech MLS, CRMLS, DAMLS and VCRDS — share a vision to tear down arbitrary boundaries and make it easier and less expensive to access more of the information real estate professionals need to do their jobs, compete effectively and serve the consumers who pay for their services.
What Problems Is CARETS Solving?
Overlapping markets do not exist everywhere, but are evident in Southern California and dozens of other markets across the country. In order to compete, subscribers are forced to join multiple MLSs, enter the same listing into several different systems with customized forms and rules, pay duplicate fees and access separate systems. Simply stated overlapping markets are inefficient, inconvenient and costly. Further, they are riddled with missed opportunities for agents and their customers.
Consumers have access to a lot of free accumulated real estate information from Web sites and the companies that sponsor them. They often think they have access to all of the information and knowledge they need to make an informed decision -- but we know they don’t. The best information resides in and across MLS systems because it is much richer, more accurate and up to date compared with what consumers find on these other sites. Consumers logically don’t understand (or care) that professionals have to work their way through different systems every day, run multiple searches, cut and paste the reports, print- outs and emails in order to get what they want. The professional is then forced to work harder every day to try to remain relevant and keep up in markets where there are multiple overlapping MLSs that don’t work together by sharing the data.
MLSs are falling behind since much of the innovation is taking place outside of the MLSs. Look at the facts. There are more than 800 separate MLSs that strive to be different — (“Our market is different”). The current MLS vendors find it tough to serve so many masters and fulfill the unique requirements for different data, property types, forms and rules. In this environment, innovation suffers. As a result, much of the progress in data technology is taking place outside of the MLSs by other companies that are gaining ground with consumer-centric solutions.
Buyers and Sellers want it all — access and exposure to everything real estate. Sellers want to sell their houses at the highest price as quickly as possible and want their houses to be exposed to all potential buyers through the entire market area. Most sellers want their listings to be advertised everywhere. Buyers want to know about all of the homes for sale and remain unaware of what the professional has to go through to make it all seamless.
Benefits to CARETS Subscribers and their Clients and Customers
Here are some of the subscriber benefits that result from participation in CARETS:
- Access to growing number of accumulated listings by joining one local CARETS MLS
- No conversions or changes are required for the subscriber to benefit right away
- Uniform reports and communications between subscribers and their clients and customers from a single MLS system
- Add/change listings once that are automatically syndicated to other MLSs and Web sites
- Reduced costs to subscribers
- Uniform MLS and IDX rules and consistent enforcement
- Single data feed for broker Web sites and back-office systems
- Listings are available to many more professionals and potential buyers
- Opportunities for more sales to occur
- More options and choices for the subscribers
Text provided courtesy of Kevin McQueen and MRIS Inc.