Jim Harrison

Historically, the words, “location, location, location,” have guided the real estate industry; but today, a strong argument can be made to suggest that, “portal, portal, portal” has replaced location as a symbol of mysterious change and almost certain disruption. Forecasters and trend watchers such as Stephan Swanepoel, Jeremy Conaway, and Steve Murray have, for several years, warned us we were witnessing the final unraveling of our increasingly dysfunctional status quo. Our collective tone-deafness to broker concerns, including their desire to own profitable businesses and control their listings, the endless wave of new third party portal competitors and the ever present innovative teen in his parent’s basement all have contributed to this new reality. Over and above these factors is our increasing connection with Wall Street and the life of American big business with its constant pressures, change and high competition. This is our new world. One of the most impressive “shots across the bow” in this transition came from our own National Association of REALTORS® in May of this year. In a series of stunning moves starting with the 2014 Core Standards strategy, NAR broke the mold on 100 years of cozy rela- tions with REALTOR® associations and multiple listing services and moved organized real estate directly onto a path that will promote everyone’s best business interests. Following the stellar leadership of CEO Dale Stinton the NAR Board approved $12M in funding over the next three years to undertake two exciting initiatives, Project Upstream and AMP. Project Upstream is a direct and positive response to the broker community; it creates: A private database of real estate-related information designed to give RE practitioners control over their data A data entry and collection platform between real estate firms and recipients of their data – will change flow of data, making Upstream the starting point Upstream takes away the MLSs’ need to syndicate and broker’s ability to protest. Upstream means MLSs will continue to provide the cooperation and compensation rules, while brokers are free to experiment with their consumer-direct advertising Upstream will complement and leverage the Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) project in the works called Advanced Multilist Platform (AMP) As we watch the emergence of these two critical projects over the next year look for rules and roles to change. They must and they will. On other fronts, watch another project called the Broker Public Portal project. This project is designed to provide […]

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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 […]