A conversation With Product Expert Nikki Morgan of CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite
When it comes to property data, most real estate agents are able to access a wide variety of tools and rich map features through their MLS, which partners with a property tax data vendor. These tools can run the gamut, offering everything from prospecting support to neighborhood statistics and comparables. With so much at your fingertips, how do you get the most from your system quickly? We sat down, virtually, with Nikki Morgan from CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite platform. The CRS Data team has been servicing property tax data for more than thirty years, and she is a wealth of insight and information.
Nikki, you’ve been working with CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite for more than a decade. What are the most commonly missed tools and features?
Nikki Morgan: One of the tools I see overlooked consistently is the Refined Values feature. This interactive calculator helps you determine the cost versus value of an improvement that’s been completed, such as a bathroom or kitchen remodel. You can also use it to assist your client in determining options to attract buyers and decrease time on the market. This tool is so easy to use. You simply add in the type of update and budget level information and the system offers an estimated value based on local data. You can leverage these estimates when reviewing closing costs. For example, you could weigh the pros and cons of installing a new roof or HVAC on a home versus offering additional closing costs. These decisions can be pivotal to decreasing time on market and ensuring that your client has the information they need to help optimize the sales experience.
Where do maps come in? How are they most often used and how should we be using them?
NM: Maps offer an amazing array of insights, tools and support for your buyers. For buyers looking to explore points of interest, such as nearby hospitals, libraries or parks, a map view can be extremely useful in delivering the right perspective. I always recommend that agents leverage location as a starting point and then start to use a “layering” tool to show homes for sale, off-market listings, acreage, distance to a certain location and so much more. Maps offer a way to answer your buyers’ and sellers’ questions by visualizing the data details. You can often answer a client’s questions by simply “turning on” a map layer in your property tax data platform. Whenever you can, consider if your data and technology can simplify your client’s experience and bring clarity to their questions.
We are in the midst of a fast-paced market right now. Agents are still needing to prospect though. What should they do to make this a better, smarter experience?
NM: Think outside the box. As simple as it sounds, this is what I tell MLSs when they are talking to me about the process and teaching users how to use the product. We recently updated our Prospecting section to ensure that this important area is optimized. Did you know you can target or search for buyers/sellers starting from a property or a point on the map? You can then filter your search further by selecting additional criteria, such as mortgage age or ownership types.
There are so many new filters you can use to discover properties using these filters and maps. I get excited when I consider how easy it is to exclude or include properties. I encourage real estate professionals to uncover additional inventory through our map view for buyers or sellers. You can then start a conversation with your mailing list by sending a postcard with tips and tricks for working in this virtual world. Be sure to save your list and stay in touch over the coming years to both establish and nurture new relationships.
Customizing our tools is so important right now, especially while we are still needing to social distance and remain cognizant of how we interact with clients. How can we create a better, more personalized experience while working virtually?
NM: I urge our users to leverage the Profile and Settings tools, which allow them to customize the way they search and the way the data is displayed. They can also customize and personalize a report by adding a message about the property or an important note. Also, consider changing your photo for the season or the specific client to grab attention and keep your work fresh. Updating the branding section is quick and easy—so easy you can do it often and provide client-specific property reports and demographic reports. Wherever you can, take every opportunity to make sure it is clear that the data and information you’ve gathered is unique and created just for your client.
Any last tips or words of wisdom from the world of property tax data?
NM: There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to using data and maps to service your clients. It’s not just about the system. It’s about the people behind the system. If you’re running into challenges or just need someone to talk through options and find exactly what you need, email or call your property tax data vendor. We know these tools better than anyone (we should since we’ve built them!) and we want to make sure our users are successful.
Nikki Morgan is a sales executive and product expert at CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite. She helps MLSs and associations of all sizes find a property tax data partner and support their members in successfully adopting and leveraging their intuitive platform.