In the coming weeks, the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors will complete an overhaul of its Multiple Listings Service website, which potential home buyers use to browse homes listed for sale in the eight-parish Capital Region. The site is currently down, and GBRAR does not yet have an exact date when the new site will be launched.
The update follows another that took place in September of the MLS software that agents use. GBRAR IT Director Ken Damann says the site has seen several updates since it was originally launched in the late 1990s, but never a complete revamp like the one it’s undergoing now.
In studies leading up to the decision to upgrade, GBRAR found that most public users access the site via their smartphone or tablet, which made searching the database on the old site a hassle due to its outdated code. The new site will be more user friendly for those accessing it on smartphones and tablets, Damann says.
“The [previous] code base was written in the late 90s before there were iPhones or tablets,” Damann says, adding the new code was “built from the ground up to be mobile friendly.”
The update to the agents’ database will allow for more customizable search forms to improve the way agents interact with and access data, according to Damann. The update has been in the works for a few years, he says. A review board previously recommended the association improve its search tools and evaluate different software products available.
Though the association declined to comment on how much it spent to renovate the system, Damann says the cost to operate it will be revenue neutral. Most importantly, he says, is what won’t change on the updated site—the data that users are searching out.
“It will always be the most complete data available,” Damann says, because the GBRAR draws the data from its members’ listings. —Kelly Connelly