MATRIX MLS® System UPDATE
I know you have been wondering when RAHB is going to change over to fully use the new Regional Matrix MLS® System … we’ve certainly been talking about it, and working on it, for a long time. The reality is there are two major interdependent projects, underway simultaneously. The first is upgrading our Fusion MLS® system to Matrix. The second is defining and putting into place an acceptable working arrangement amongst eight regional real estate associations to manage a common MLS® system providing listings data across the eight association areas, a system I think you agree is critical to the business success of each and every one of you.
We are getting very close to providing a transition date from Fusion to Matrix. Remember you can currently access in Matrix all active and sold listings within the regional areas of all eight participating real estate associations which includes Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge, Oakville/Milton, Niagara, Simcoe, Brantford and, of course Hamilton-Burlington. But until we go fully live on the new Matrix system, you must continue to load into our existing Fusion MLS® system new listings as well as any amendments or status changes. Those listings, and any subsequent changes, are automatically uploaded to Matrix every 15 minutes. So although you can use Matrix today to both view and search all listings, you cannot use Matrix yet to load new listings. I know this is not ideal, but I believe it is better than rushing the system into production while ignoring issues that would affect your livelihood.
Since the time we started in September to perform Matrix quality and functional assurance reviews from the perspective of RAHB members’ anticipated usage, 392 test cases identified issues our testing team and I felt would not be acceptable to you. The good news now is that the vast majority of those issues have been resolved, with only around a dozen outstanding. The remaining items fall into three broad categories: items RAHB identified and the other regional associations now all agree need fixing and we are working to resolve; items RAHB identified and not all of the regional associations currently agree they need changing and so we are trying to negotiate a common acceptable solution; and governance/business-model related concerns, meaning how we, as eight associations of varying sizes and market experiences, will operate together to manage and share the same business system that is so critical to you, our members. Working together as a group of eight means each and every system change, from a simple rewording of a pick menu item, to more substantial business and MLS® rules and how listings data are displayed, must be negotiated until we have agreement from all of the eight associations. One significant outstanding issue is updating and then accepting the current Regional MLS® Rules document – the same rules must apply and be adopted by all eight associations in order for the regional Matrix system to function effectively.
Upgrading to the new Matrix MLS® system, coupled with implementing an effective MLS® governance/business-model across eight real estate associations, is not a task to be underestimated, because it impacts the ability of each and every one of you to make a living. The single driver for me to continue to make this happen is the expected benefit accruing to all of you, our members, who choose to take advantage of access to a broader pool of listings across the Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge, Oakville/Milton, Niagara, Simcoe, Brantford and, of course Hamilton-Burlington areas. Enabling you to be more effective in your chosen market is what your association is all about.
In February I hope to be able to announce the exact date we will fully go live with Matrix. Please watch your e-mail, and thank you for your patience as we try to get this system and the regional working arrangement right for you.
You may already be aware that just a few days ago, on January 26, we celebrated RAHB’s 95th anniversary. That’s quite a milestone! If you were at our Gala this year on January 23, you have already heard a bit about this special occasion.
To put the date into perspective, in 1921 King George V was on the throne, and William Lyon McKenzie King was Prime Minister. Canadians Banting and Best discovered insulin and Albert Einstein received his Nobel Prize in physics. Canadian women were finally allowed to vote and run for office, and the first woman, Agnes MacPhail from Ontario, was elected to Parliament. The Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the World Series, and to this day we remember the name Shoeless Joe.
A lot has changed in our world since these events. RAHB has grown and changed as well to become the modern association of members it is today. Our association is the third largest real association in Ontario with about 2890 members – around 100 members fewer than the second largest association in Ottawa.
What hasn’t changed over time is our association’s and members’ commitment to establish high standards of real estate practice, encourage cooperation among members, foster civic action and provide education and training programs. RAHB’s founders had a vision that is timeless, and we today reap the rewards of what began in 1921.
Congratulations on our 95th anniversary! I hope this is your best year ever, and your association is here to help you make that happen. Let me know what more we can do to help. I can be reached directly via email at George.ONeill@RAHB.ca or via phone at 905.529.8101 ext. 230.