Guest post by Jim Vogel
The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) is an independent, not-for-profit trade organization previously part of the National Association of REALTORS. RESO works to develop, adopt, and implement data standards and processes for all real estate transactions. RESO seeks to streamline real estate technology to benefit agents and consumers alike. In fact, both agents and consumers must have access to reliable data for real estate transactions to build trust, ensure the consistency of information, and access financing options, especially for people with disabilities or special needs or for elderly people.
- Building Trust
Purchasing a home is a big step for consumers because it requires a significant financial commitment. Consumers must be able to trust the agents who assist in the sale or purchase of a home because they put so much time and money on the line. When consumers search online for a property, they see MLS reports and displays. They have more trust in agencies and individual agents when they see common terminology that springs from RESO Standards.
They will be more likely to choose an agent who uses professional standards and meets other criteria, such as having adequate experience, being familiar with the area in which they want to buy, and understanding their unique situation. In short, clients who trust agents choose them for their real estate needs, so agents are wise to use standard definitions in all communications with clients, both online and in person.
- Ensuring Consistency of Information for Buyers and Sellers
Real estate agents have the task of sharing information with buyers and sellers and giving them the most accurate data possible. Difficulty arises when agents do not use consistent definitions, measurements, or data when communicating with their clients. The solution is using listing standardization and standard definitions that enable everyone to speak the same language and understand exactly what is for sale, the terms of the deal, etc.
Agents who work with people with disabilities and special needs especially need to be mindful of the standards they use because these people can qualify for certain loans and grants if homes meet specific criteria. The last thing a buyer or seller wants to deal with is a deal that falls through because an agent did not give them the correct information about a property. It is the consistency and accuracy of information that ensures real estate transactions benefit both agents and consumers. The best way to achieve these goals is to use technology like the RESO Data Dictionary and standardized listings.
- Accessing Financing Options for People with Disabilities or Special Needs
Once consumers find a potential home, they need to ensure they can afford the property. Real estate agents must have reliable data, including tax estimates, acreage, square footage, the age of home systems, etc. to help potential buyers decide whether to sign on the line. This data also enables buyers with disabilities or special needs to find alternative financing options or home modification grants to make the home more accessible or better suited to their needs.
Sometimes, elderly clients also need reliable home data in order to be awarded accessibility grants to update homes to meet their needs. Seniors may receive financial assistance for home modifications via low-interest financial loans, grants, free labor, or equipment loans.
Low-interest loans often are available through the government for seniors needing assistance in modifying their home, and some government programs reduce the restrictions lending institutions place on senior borrowers. If the senior cannot afford a low-interest loan, home improvement grants often are available for home modification purposes and do not require repayment.
Other home improvement assistance programs for seniors include Medicaid waivers, state and local programs, federal HUD Home Improvement Loans, and veteran benefits. You also may find a non-profit organization with the help of your Area Aging Agency that offers financial assistance or free labor to complete your home modifications.
Technology and standard definitions help deliver reliable data to realtors who then pass along more accurate information about properties to their clients. This is crucial for building trust, ensuring consistency of information for all parties involved, and helping consumers access financial options for purchasing a home or making necessary modifications to it.