Joining the Real Estate Standards Organization, or RESO, may be one of the smartest tactical moves that a real estate startup can make, according to the leaders of two hot real estate tech startups.
Both Krishna Mayala, co-founder and CEO of TLCengine, and Charles El-Moussa, Principal and COO of ImageIndxr, each view RESO as an important enabler of their companies’ business strategies. In fact, common advantages gained by real estate startups that become RESO members early on are the tactical benefits that industry standards provide them. Both TLCengine and ImageIndxr leaders highly recommend joining RESO as a must do for any real estate technology firm that intersects with listing data.
“RESO is a great organization to join because this is really where standards are heading for the real estate community,” Mayala says. His TLCengine offers next generation search based on RESO Data Dictionary Standardized data delivered via RETS to solve the three largest costs of home ownership: mortgage, utilities and commuting, or True Lifestyle Cost ( TLC ). Recently, Mayala was invited to become a RESO Ambassador, a new effort to share the benefits of RESO more deeply throughout the real estate industry. “This is an amazing opportunity for a startup,” he said.
For El-Moussa, his firm participation as a startup in RESO Fall PlugFest 2015 in Austin catapulted his firm’s awareness among real estate technology decision makers. “We not only had the chance chance to network with the real estate tech community, but also an opportunity to engage with the policy makers that will craft industry standards in the future,” El-Moussa said.
By becoming a RESO member, startups benefit by gaining an immediate prestige factor, and being a RESO member also gives credibility to a startup when they have conversations with brokerage and MLS executives. “They take you seriously,” Mayala says.
ImageIndxr, which creates metadata for photos of homes to improve on site search, create new visual search applications, and supplement SEO strategies, got an immediate boost from adopting RESO standards. “Due to the nature of our data – and the number of ways it can be leveraged – industry-wide data standards will directly impact our efficiency in deploying our technology with new clients.”
Mayala suggests that any startup that is trying to connect with Multiple Listing Services or MLSs needs to be part of RESO. “By adopting the RESO standards, you can automate your database into a singular systems that nearly everyone is using,” he says. Involvement with RESO through Membership, Standards development and even standards certification provides local Multiple Listing Services the comfort that technology partners understand how to pull MLS Data correctly. Many MLSs now require some level of RESO involvement before approving data licensing agreements and underlying RETS based data feeds out to start-up technology companies.
For developers, Mayala notes “that actually helps within your extract, transform and load process – or ETL process – as it links the whole transform process for you as you only have one standard to look at.”
With more than 800 MLSs in the real estate industry, if a startup had to deal with dozens or potentially hundreds of different data transport processes, it would be cost prohibitive for a new firm to enter this space and have the kind of success that RESO standard for data provide, Mayala adds.
“Because of RESO, startups can enter new markets very quickly,” he says. “Once you develop one product for one market, you can then easily transport that to another market.”
For his own company, TLCengine, this industry standardization has allowed his firm to create a “white label” solution for agents and Software as a Service or a SaaS solution for MLSs. This is allowing TLCengine to more rapidly expand after first launching and perfecting his solution with Minneapolis based-NorthstarMLS, considered a leader in delivering the newest tech tools to its member subscribers. “We can do this (add on a new MLS) in less week, and it’s all thanks to the RESO standards,” Mayala says. “Because the data is synchronizing, we can get our products to the market faster and at a lower cost.”
Mayala says these standard also helps his team to focus on the right things. “We don’t have to worry about different data types, it allows us to focus on getting the data,” he says. With more entities “adding to the standards through RESO – such as energy data and costs from the DoE (Department of Energy) –and that has allowed us at TLC to use those extra data fields to help Realtors help people buying homes understand utility costs,” Mayala adds.
Even when it comes to tech support, RESO standards help startups. “When you are on a Help Desk, it makes it easier to assist people at any MLS when everyone is talking the same language, in terms of the (listing data) fields, because they are all using the RESO standards,” he notes.
Mayala says “RESO really does help make the life of a startup simpler.”
Being a RESO member provides even more advantages to startups, Mayala points out. “You get to be a part of a hands-on Workgroup that creates standards for the future. We can help suggest new ideas and help shape the discussion, and for a startup, that kind of opportunity in real estate is rare,” he adds.
El-Moussa agrees. “Every RESO member can join a Workgroup and that’s where the future of the industry is,” he says. “As a young company, it’s exciting to have a seat at the table where the future of the real estate industry is help being crafted.”
Real estate startups and others interested in joining RESO, more information is at www.reso.org, or to register for this spring’s RESO Conference in Chicago April 19-21, go to http://www.reso.org/spring-mtg.