I’m sure you’ve seen in the press that Upstream has launched. So what? What does that mean to me?
It means you have access to one of the most instantly valuable broker platforms in the country. It’s your data. It’s one of your brokerages most valuable assets. And your data is critical to your current and future business.
That’s why every vendor and portal wants it
Learn how pioneering brokerages across the country are both streamlining and protecting their business with Upstream. Sign up to receive specific information about the benefits to your brokerage, how you can participate, and how your brokerage might be affected.
Bottom-line, there’s been a lot of noise and misinformation being peddled about Upstream. Most of it focused on listings and simple syndication. But Upstream empowers you far beyond traditional listing management.
You might be saying, “I can already do this in my MLS today!” And in some locations, you can. But how are you handling:
It took a cooperative of brokerages to build Upstream, and it’s the only platform managed by you and your peers… practicing brokers. Click here to get the guide. There’s no obligation.
Wait… I take that back. You have an obligation. It’s to your firm and your agents. Savvy brokerages representing over 150K agents have already signed up for Upstream because they want better control of their future. Click here to learn more. Understanding your options costs nothing.
P.S. One final item you should know. We’re rolling out 5-6 MLSs per month. We are prioritizing our MLS list based on broker demand so sign up now to ensure your MLS isn’t at the back of the line.
Today’s array of property marketing options used by real estate professionals are boundless. For marketing your properties for sale, Upstream provides you with some extended advantages you may need.
One key advantage of Upstream is the ability to store and utilize high-resolution photos. For many real estate pros, professional photography distilled through the MLS may be unsatisfactory in resolution for high-quality print (flyers, brochures, magazine ads). Sometimes, you may also want high-quality photos without the MLS watermark on them. You and/or your authorized photographers can load the original high-resolution images provided to all of your marketing platforms. The best part is the easy to use drag and drop functionality and the awesome upload speed.
Another way that real estate agents can add more punch to their marketing is with enhanced property descriptions. More often than not, real estate agents want the opportunity to write longer descriptions with promotional text that may be limited by the MLS rules. With Upstream, you can enhance your property descriptions with no limitations. Upstream even support the capability of providing photo credits and photo descriptions missing from many MLS systems.
Digital marketing in real estate has also expanded the use of links that market the company, the agent, the property, and a host of social media applications. There is no limitation to the number of links you can use to market yourself and your property. With Upstream, you can syndicate your links however you like.
Upstream is owned by brokerage companies that seek a database solution that matches the demands of real estate professionals. When you enhance your listings in Upstream, the information is instantly distributed to the software and marketing partners you use in your business. You no longer must wait hours for your enhanced listings to be available on portals, virtual tours, or other marketing solutions.
Upstream has officially opened its door to MLSs in America. Savvy MLSs serve on Upstream’s advisory groups and they and every MLS are invited to be the first to collaborate on integrations that allow brokers to transmit data into the MLS electronically rather than using wasteful, redundant keystrokes.
I’m sure electronic submission sounds like a simple change, one previously supported by MLSs like North Texas Real Estate Information Systems (NTREIS), TREND MLS (now Bright MLS), and others. The truth is, MLSs have shared data between their systems with varying degrees of success for some time and simply put, there is no technical barrier to data sharing with Upstream. It merely takes a willing MLS to accept data from their broker through a feed.
MLS Listings in San Jose and RMLS in Portland are leaders in integrating with Upstream. Portland is the first market to go into a live production. Brokers of any size can tap into the benefits of Upstream in that market today. In other markets like NTREIS, Arizona Regional MLS (ARMLS in Phoenix), RealComp (Detroit), Northstar MLS (Minnesota), California Regional MLS, West Penn in Pennsylvania, ABOR (Austin), and Ann Arbor (Michigan), Upstream is downloading the broker’s data from the MLS until those MLSs can accept a feed from brokers. More to come as Upstream integrates up to six MLSs per month.
The MLS Roundtable is a group of visionary MLS executives collaborating to form a perfect union among stakeholders in our industry. The MLS Roundtable set forth these four covenants:
Upstream embraces many of these covenants:
The RESO platform and API are table stakes for any real estate technology today. And there is effort no greater in our industry than the broker initiative in Upstream to move toward a common data platform that enables collaboration, connection, and competitiveness.
The MLS Grid is outside of the purview of Upstream. Upstream is a platform for each broker to manage their records – roster records, customer records, property records, vendor records, etc. Upstream is not an IDX platform like the MLS Grid. It is a broker data repository.
Let’s unpack goal four, which is the strongest call to action by the MLS Roundtable.
Upstream is a “common data platform” for brokers, franchises, and MLSs. It was built from the ground up to connect to any MLS system or any broker’s technology solution. Most of all, it is flexible. It does not require the MLS or a broker’s vendor to change their data schema or data rules. Just tell Upstream what data is needed and how it is formatted. Upstream transform the data to meets the requirements.
There isn’t a business case for blocking a broker’s ability to deliver their data to an MLS or technology vendor. This leads to the next statement about “cooperation,” but it refers to collaboration. MLSs are an organization of Participants which is the MLS designated name for brokers. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, brokers have been clear about the challenges they face with data management, and manually entering data into multiple software applications.
MLSs can’t fix broker data management problems universally. MLSs can, however, accept a data feed from their broker through a common data platform like Upstream. That is collaboration at its highest. Every MLS system in America – Matrix, Rapattoni, Paragon, FlexMLS, Navica, etc. conduct data sharing. Data sharing means they pull in a feed from other MLS systems and display that data. If you peel back the layers, that is what Upstream is proposing. Collaboration between MLSs and Brokers is measured by Upstream integration. It will take time, and must be done carefully, but it must be done.
Does it matter if the broker participant in the MLS delivers data via a data feed vs. manual input?
“Connection” is a broad term, but in the context of the MLS Roundtable, they intend for the MLS application to be an operable component within the brokerage stack. Today, an MLS doesn’t have two-way data integration into the brokerage operating system. MLSs deliver a one-way feed to the broker which often comes without roster data. However, when done right, brokerage systems integrators can deliver massive improvements in workflow, analytics, and innovation but it requires a tighter two-way integration between brokerage systems and their MLS.
Regarding “competitiveness,” a more integrated MLS system benefits all brokerages in a market equally. This is a major shared covenant of Upstream. It is developed as a solution that will benefit all brokerages – large, medium, and small. Even the governance of the company is structured to mandate representation by these three segments. Upstream has no profit incentive, just an ambition to deliver a more efficient solution for the entire industry.
Once again, we see the emergence of a group of likeminded MLSs with a shared vision of the future of technology that supports the real estate industry. We commend the leaders at MLS Roundtable for stepping up their efforts to initiate the positive change needed for real estate to frame its future. Again, as MLS Roundtable suggests, “These are not just words on a paper. Failure to achieve these goals is not an option. We must work toward these goals, united together, both Brokers and MLSs.”
We seek to create efficiencies by reducing redundant entry, help brokers distribute deliberately by giving them control over who can access their data and inspire innovation by removing artificial barriers when the broker allows.