Data Standards

The room was filled with brokers, eager to hear how the real estate industry is beginning to make great strides in wrangling Big Data to the benefits of everyone: Brokers, agents and consumers. The three panelists on stage represented a broad spectrum of the industry: Rainy Hake, a well respected brokerage leader who oversees the Technology, Marketing, Training and Strategy departments for Alain Pinel Realtors; Trent Gardner, the CEO of ListTrac, known as the “Google Analytics for Listings;” and Jeremy Crawford, the dynamic MLS leader who heads up RESO (Real Estate Standards Organization) and the chief evangelist for the Data Dictionary, real estate’s “Rosetta Stone.” Rainy shared a very telling observation during this session at San Francisco’s Real Estate Connect: How the self-reporting data does not match up well with their own tracking data. This comment has been haunting me ever since, because the two other panelists represent organizations – RESO and ListTrac – are about data standards, transparency and unbiased, accurate information. Standards are vital RESO has gained real traction and its trailblazing effort to standardize data fields for property information will be a welcome Godsend to real estate brokerages and technology firms. Back by the NAR mandate of adoption by MLS firms that are connected to NAR (which is almost all of them), come January 1, 2016, the industry will be taking a bold step forward toward fostering accelerated innovation and cost savings. For a brokerage in multiple markets that works with a dozen or more MLS firms, the RESO Data Dictionary is a huge step in standardization. For the newer startups, a company like TLCengine, they gain both development costs savings and a new ability to expand into more markets faster. During the panel’s session, the majority of questions from the brokers and agents in the audience were centered on property listing standards. It became very clear that agents and brokers are incredibly frustrated because of the lack of standards among MLS firms. In fact, Jeremy said that after the session, he answered questions off stage for another hour and had to take business cards for those who were still waiting to talk to him so he could follow up with them and not miss his next appointment. The need for transparency If there is a hunger in the real estate industry for data standards, there is an unquenchable thirst for transparency and unbiased information. At the […]


MLS Data Standards

by Victor Lund on March 17, 2014

MLSListings is the MLS service provider in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, which includes; Silicon Valley, San Jose, Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, South San Francisco, and parts of the East Bay. It is a large region in the heart of the most daunting techno-consumers, techno-brokers, and techno-agents in America. Satisfying the needs of this audience is intense, but MLSListings has been doing it successfully for many years. They are a company that is constantly evolving to meet the ever-expanding demands of real estate information in their market place. MLSListings CEO, James Harrison published an excellent paper last week called MLS Standards: Can and do Exist. You can read the paper below.  One of the strong take-away points from the paper is the plea that more MLSs join MLSListings in adopting and adhering to the Real Estate Standards Organization or RESO standards. Here is the ugly truth about the issue of standards:  All NAR affiliated MLSs are supposed to adhere to the RESO standard according to their charter. That includes the Real Estate Transaction Standard or RETS. In other words, all MLSs are under an agreement that requires them to be RESO and RETS compliant. NAR is in the difficult position of having to enforce standards, but it has been challenging. As a result, few MLSs have data standards in America today. There are 850 different data standards and systems that do not talk to each other unless someone maps the data and maintains the mapping. It’s insane for the brokers and agents who need this level of consistency for their business practices. Of the 850+ MLSs in America today, only “64 are charter members of RESO,” according to Harrison’s paper. This is evidence that many MLSs are simply asleep at the wheel. There is absolutely no reason why every MLS and every RETS system cannot be compliant with the RESO standard. MLSListings is a leader. It is an MLS that is way ahead in adopting the RESO standards. In truth, most of the large MLSs in the nation are part of RESO and are RETS compliant. I give a lot of credit to the COVE Group for making this happen, especially Anne Bailey for her role as the facilitator. Where is the rest of the industry? Whenever large firms bring this issue to their local board or MLS they get rebuffed as bullies. Who else can make a […]