Is Commercial an Untapped Growth Opportunity for Your MLS?

A recent article from the WAV Group has the REALTOR® ecosystem buzzing about the potential to better service practitioners involved in commercial real estate transactions. After reading this article, the idea of Associations and MLSs attracting real estate professionals focusing on more than the buying and selling of residential properties got me thinking about my personal experience in the mid-2000s.

I was fresh out of college and my first role with a local REALTOR® Association tasked our commercial leadership with implementing a separate commercial listing solution. Back then you could turn to a couple of well-known Commercial Information Exchange (CIE) providers to build your own platform, or work with your MLS vendor. We went with the MLS provider option.

Nathan Graham

Nathan Graham

Director, Commercial Services at RPR

I can remember working for months with our MLS provider, interviewing local experts, and trying to build from scratch a well thought out Commercial MLS for our members. Good times! I will say that through all the hard work and countless hours devoted to the project, we created a system that our local commercial agents helped build, which led to their adoption and usage. It also improved member engagement not only within the CMLS, but at events held by our board as well as encouraged more participation with volunteer leadership positions. This stronger community of commercial agents allowed us to create pathways for residential agents interested in exploring commercial real estate to have more learning opportunities for expanding their careers.

Now, let’s fast forward to today with most of these vendor options still available and the notion about member buy-in remaining mission critical. If you want to build or expand a listing service to be more usable and appealing for commercial business, you need to make sure there is a need in the marketplace for the service and that the leaders will encourage adoption. If you have the local commercial membership buy-in and budget to offer a CIE through a company like Catylist or TotalCommercial, that’s likely a more straightforward way to go. If you are looking to improve the MLS experience for members working with the occasional commercial client, the task gets a bit more involved with research needed to ensure your MLS meets the needs for properly listing the commercial property. No matter which direction you choose, we want to make sure you know that RPR and NAR are here to help.

Here are some immediate actions for building programs to support your members’ commercial real estate interests:

  • Maximize your MLS or CIE services through an RPR Commercial integration. RPR Deeplinks help fill data gaps with public record data, economic and demographic details, investment analysis and much more.
  • Leverage NAR’s Commercial Services Accreditation program for guidance on building commercial real estate programs. The Accreditation program assists your association in developing commercial services, engaging members and building brand perception in your community.
  • Check out he RESO Data Dictionary for guidelines on the fields and lookups found in an MLS’s Listing Input Module benefitting commercial business.

Check out this infographic for a breakdown of costs plus more on what RPR Commercial has to offer.

Have questions or want to brainstorm about your MLS or Association expanding into commercial real estate? If so, please feel free to connect with me at I’m happy to talk through commercial member needs, discuss data available through RPR and bounce ideas around for supporting commercial business in your market.

5 replies
    • Nathan Graham
      Nathan Graham says:

      Hi Claudio,

      Currently you have access in RPR Commercial to 43 million public records of properties across the country. As long as the public records shows the sold date/amount you can see this information on the property detail page. You can even do a sold property search by date range to do some farming of owners that may be at the end of their hold period.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *