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By Jeremy Crawford

Real estate standards are coming of age with the massive number of potential benefits to brokers, agents and consumers that both the RESO Web API and Data Dictionary 1.6 update are going to deliver. The time for real estate brokerages and brokerage franchise executives to seize the improvements that RESO standards can provide their customers is now – not years from now.

Keep in mind that all of our goals in real estate are aligned, whether you are an MLS executive, a technology partner, or a real estate brokerage firm: we all are about creating efficiency throughout the real estate industry. And at RESO, we know that real estate standards are what will drive real estate technology innovation that will create this much needed efficiency and drive down costs that will directly benefit everyone, especially real estate brokerages and, ultimately, consumers.

But the proof, as the saying goes, is in the pudding, and after thousands of volunteer hours over the last several years by dozens of the smartest tech minds in the business, with brilliant input and direction from industry business leaders – including many in the brokerage world – we can start talking about WIFM: what’s in it for me when it comes to real estate brokerages and RESO Data Standards.

Why in the heck should every major real estate brokerage in America join, and more importantly, become an active RESO member?

Let’s take a look at just some of the most recent improvements to the Data Dictionary 1.6, and five ways real estate brokerages can benefit, and I think it will be clear why.

Brokerage Opportunity #1: New RESO Accessibility Standards

We discovered that property listing data in most places has been missing a major market opportunity. People are living longer than ever before and, in fact, life expectancy is nearly double what it was 100 years ago. The Joint Center for Housing annual report recently acknowledged this and noted that the number of households headed by adults over the age of 65 will increase by 44 percent in 2015-2025 and 90 percent in 2025-2035. The demands that this is going to place on housing stock – and the need for ADA features and to provide that information to consumers – is going to grow exponentially. I believe this will be one of the biggest future market opportunities for real estate. Yet there literally were no standards in place to provide the data consumers want and need to serve this market consistently and accurately.

Fortunately, there is a new industry designation, HAPS, or Home Accessibility Property Specialist Designation, and RESO was able to get help from people who really know this space, the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (Senior and Disability Services), who helped us in developing these new standards. These new data fields and values are fully aligned with the HAPS efforts. They are also aligned with the efforts by both the California Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® to promote Accessibility Features in property listings. In short, RESO just helped to close a major gap to help foster a major market opportunity for every brokerage in America.

Brokerage Opportunity #2: Showing Data Standards

Agents in many markets often use more than one MLS. Not every MLS uses the same showing technology partner, so in practice, when an agent needed to schedule a client appointment, the agent often had to sign in and out of two different systems, enter information into two different calendars, and spend literally twice as much time to do one task.

With these new RESO showing data standards adopted by MLSs and showing companies, agents, for example, that use MLSs in two different markets where the MLSs have contracts with two different showing companies no longer have to log into two different systems to set appointments for their clients. And if the showing data is integrated into their Single Sign-On (SSO) system, they could just open a signal showing appointment calendar and book client appointments without having to worry about switching between vendor systems. This saves agents time and that’s a productivity win for brokerages.

Brokerage Opportunity #3: Internet Tracking Data

This may be the single most valuable business opportunity that RESO is delivering to brokerages with the most recent Data Dictionary update because it gives a brokerage the ability to leverage Big Data. You no longer have to wonder where your leads are coming from: you will know where all your traffic is coming from for every single listing in one consolidated location.

More importantly, you will be able to learn the behavior of online home shoppers by seeing what they do, how they do it, and how long they do what they do. Think of this as having Google Analytics on steroids by gaining insight into the online traffic of all of your listings everywhere they appear. Gaining internet tracking insight will allow you to perfect your marketing plans and spend, creating efficiencies that were not possible without the data you will be able to obtain through this new set of RESO data standards.

Brokerage Opportunity #4: Saved Searches

Now some brokerages may have some of these features, but with this standardization, this provides the ability to make the data portable across different devices for every brokerage, big and small. This is another big productivity win for brokerages, and is another big time saver for agents. It also will help agents provide a much better experience for their clients.

For example, with Saved Searches being standardized and portable across property search engines, a client could search on their phone on an agent’s website, and then go back later and search on their laptop and keep track of the properties they wanted. Their agents can see what the client was interested in and later suggest more homes as soon as they hit the market to improve the customer experience. The customer loves the agent more, loves their brokerage more, and everybody wins.

Brokerage Opportunity #5: Historical Transaction Information Standards

There is probably nothing more frustrating for your agents than to watch their clients use better tech tools than they are provided with by their brokerage. But by creating standards like we have with Historical Transaction Information Standards, it doesn’t have to be that way. It all comes down to giving your agents access to the data they need that keeps them in position of being the local expert they really are. By adding the ability to track inside the MLS historical sales data, we can empower agents with the data they need. These are the kinds of standards RESO can develop for the future with brokerage input: by telling us what the agents need to do their jobs better, to serve their clients better and to streamline and improve the transaction process, that’s what RESO is chartered to do.

By implementing standards, like Historical Transaction Information, we can help you, technology providers and the MLS build a better mousetrap. But we can only do it by getting the business input that will tell us what brokers really need to change the future of real estate. So if you are not involved in RESO, join here to become a member and volunteer for a couple of Workgroups, and you can help change real estate’s future.

Take a seat at the table

If you are still not convinced, the best way to see if RESO is the real deal for your brokerage is to join us in San Diego at our fall conference Oct. 17-19. It’s one of the most affordable real estate conferences – we even include breakfasts, a working lunch and well-stocked receptions. And because it’s limited to 350 people, it’s far more intimate than just about any other you’ll attend, with many of the brightest tech and business minds in our industry attending.

We’ve put together a full Broker Business track at the conference to take a deep dive into the issues that are most important to brokerages. We want input, we want participation, we want involvement from the brokerage community because the future of real estate depends on it. Real estate standards can’t be created in a tech vacuum: we need real world input and brokerage leaders are key to helping us in our mission. Please register now for San Diego, before we sell out. We’re counting on your brokerage’s participation.