I don’t know how I got the job of MLS data cop. I guess ever since the whole thing happened with HouseCanary, I get MLS providers and Vendors asking me what I think about this and that.
Enter “the new Remine.com”. At first glance it appears that they have just taken public record data and matched it with Google Street Views. No active listings. But……there is a callout box that says “Curious about listings in your area? Match With An Agent”
So I clicked on the “Match With An Agent” box (Even I’m not brave enough to click on the box that said “Claim Your Home”).
I go through a process where I’m asked a series of questions and then presented with a few “top local” agents to choose from. Not sure what Remine does to qualify them as “Top”. The first time I did this I got agents from all over, not where I was looking to buy. After trying it a few times I saw an agent from Huntington Beach.
So I choose that agent.
I am then directed to create an account. Not with an agent, not with a broker, but with Remine.com.
So I created an account.
Bingo! Now I can see all active listings on the MLS!
Everything goes downhill from there. The site is just awful. It seems like every page reload prompts a message box asking “The website “remine.com” would like to use…”. I swear I must have given permission 50 times.
I also get spinners that last forever when I try and view photos and some photos don’t display. And for some reason there is no way that I can modify/change/add a new area on a saved search. I have to start every search all over again. Maddening. Remine have your QA guy call me. Seriously.
All of which is fine; they can fix these things. I get it…I make software for living; it’s a version one product.
But the thing is, I wasn’t taken to a personalized agent page. So, did I really create the sort of VOW required relationship? Is Remine a broker? Did the agent even know about this or me?
So I called the agent.
I got voicemail, so I left a message. He called right back. I told him that I was on a website and I was “matched” with him (this was about 24 hours after I created the account), and I asked if he knew anything about me. He said no, he had never heard of me. Based on his voicemail I think he was at another brokerage than the one listed on Remine.com, too. Yikes.
On one level I can see some real innovation here from Remine. Start with public record data and bait site visitors to see real listings. Cool, right? I recently recorded a podcast with Mark Schacknies , CEO of Remine. This guy is a serious cat, and they are definitely in it to win it. I can also appreciate the need to push boundaries. I’m all for it.
But I just can’t say that it’s completely kosher. Maybe, but if this is possible then why do other listing portals need agreements with MLS Providers? I mean Homes.com could just put a list of random agents on their site and get visitors to click on a button that says “match me with an agent” and Bingo, MLS listings!
This gets back to what many Vendors have been saying lately…Many MLS Providers give newer Vendors more leeway, and existing vendors get slapped on the wrist or denied for every….little….thing. Sour grapes? Whining? Maybe.
It’s a tough balance and competition is getting rough. But here’s the thing, and those who attended the CMLS conference will understand.
Chip had a point.
[Quick side note HouseCanary has done a complete mea culpa and have been very diligent on following proper MLS data licensing rules. Big shout out to Russell and team]
[UPDATE: Remine has decided to disable the Agent Match feature on their website. It will revisit the feature at a later time. Here is their statement.]