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In September 2019 at RESO’s conference in St. Louis, the Broker Advisory Workgroup coalesced around a big idea: What if MLSs could take all of the different data feeds they send to brokers today and combine them into one feed? And what if this new singular data feed had just one set of rules?

The brokers, vendors and MLS executives in the room agreed: with the right set of rules surrounding it, this model would be easier for everyone. With RESO’s mission to drive streamlined efficiency through standards, the vision of a single standard for these data relationships struck a nerve.

This spark of hope for a more efficient data landscape has become a major industry storyline since that meeting. The idea was initially framed out as a potential policy that could be adopted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) for REALTOR®-owned MLSs.

MLSs would combine what are traditionally siloed data sets (IDX, VOW, back office) and turn them into one feed with a combined rules set for all usage rights. Originally dubbed the Networked Office and Web (NOW) concept, RESO invited feedback from all industry brokerages and trade organizations, like the Realty Alliance and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

Efficiency Efforts Align

Coincidentally, NAR’s MLS Standards Workgroup was simultaneously going through an exercise on reimagining a real estate world where the MLS started over from scratch. The focus was on a model where the primary goals of MLS are met: accuracy, efficiency, transparency and cooperation. 

Workgroup participants who had insights into both organizations’ progress could see where the NOW concepts fit with a streamlined MLS data management model. The stars seemed to align around the current industry conversations, and it became clear that it was time to get the industry’s MLS trade organization involved in vetting the idea.

From NOW to LEAP

The Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) took on what was known as NOW and fleshed out more details in its Data Access Concepts Workgroup. A draft proposal was formed, now known to the industry as Listing Exchange and Access Policy (LEAP). The LEAP development process is now in an industry feedback phase, and RESO’s brokers once again came together this past month to provide a task force that could provide concise feedback to CMLS and NAR.

Through a weekly series of meetings, this group of brokerage leaders fleshed out the most critical concepts for the MLS and brokerage community to include in a LEAP policy at the national level. They also documented additional important concepts for CMLS and NAR to consider moving forward in an effort to bring more efficiency to organized real estate’s data landscape. 

Broker Feedback Delivers Focused Motivation to the Industry

The consensus concepts from the broker task force resulted in this: the RESO Broker Advisory Workgroup LEAP Task Force Feedback. This document has been distributed to CMLS and NAR for review. While this is not a position statement from RESO or its board, it is clear evidence of the value of RESO’s workgroup volunteers and their ability to deliver valuable insights to members and industry trade organizations in an expedient manner.

These consensus LEAP concepts will be presented to meetings of NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board and Real Estate Services group this summer for additional broker input. Consideration of these policies will likely begin with the Advisory Board in September and, if approved, would move to NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policy Committee and potentially the Board of Directors in November.

In the meantime, RESO, CMLS and NAR invite all feedback to ensure the achievement of a solution that brings more efficiency to the brokerage and MLS marketplace.

RESO Broker Advisory LEAP Task Force Participants
  1. CMLS, RESO: Jeff Bosch, COO of MARIS, RESO Broker Advisory Workgroup Vice Chair and CMLS Data Access Concepts Workgroup (LEAP) Vice Chair
  2. Compass: Bill Fowler, Sr Director of Industry Relations (RESO Director)
  3. HomeServices of America: Jon Coile, VP – MLS & Industry Relations
  4. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World: Jessica Edgerton, EVP Operations
  5. Realogy: Tom Morgan, Chief Data Officer
  6. Realogy: Michael Embersit, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy
  7. Redfin: Caitlin McCrory, Head of Industry Relations
  8. RE/MAX: Dan Troup, Director of Data Operations & Strategy (RESO Director)
  9. The Realty Alliance: Craig Cheatham, CEO
  10. Zillow Group: Errol Samuelson, Chief Industry Development Officer
  11. Zillow Group: Turan Tekin, Director of MLS and Industry Relations (RESO Director)
  12. RESO: Sam DeBord, CEO
Critical Components of LEAP Identified by Brokers
  1. All broker fields are available in LEAP to MLS participants
  2. Brokers must participate in LEAP to receive its benefits
  3. LEAP is mandatorily available to all participants, but IDX and VOW may remain for certain uses at local MLS discretion
  4. Usage designations (PUBLIC, CUSTOMER, BROKER) are applied to fields to guide brokers and vendors to which fields they can display publicly and those with sharing restrictions
  5. MLSs will assign the designations they currently use for fields into LEAP (e.g., IDX public display field = “PUBLIC” LEAP field)
  6. MLSs can deliver these designations in a static format to begin, while transporting the designations directly in the data payload will be possible in the near future
  7. Broker participants are not limited by LEAP in what they can do with their own listing data (still subject to licensing and other regulations)
  8. Participants are allowed to commingle LEAP listings with properties from multiple sources (other MLSs)
  9. LEAP data usage rules should be consistent nationwide
  10. Just as in current policy provisions, brokers have the right to use LEAP data for automated valuations (AVMs)
Additional Important Policy Considerations for NAR (Not LEAP-Specific)
  1. Consider the potential benefits of expanding the capabilities of participating brokers to advertise each other’s listings along with more detailed attribution to the listing broker/agent
  2. Prescribe a standard “shape” to listing broker/agent attribution to create consistency for creation and viewing of listing displays
  3. Describe specific forbidden uses of MLS data and provide more flexibility for brokers to leverage the value of the MLS by creatively competing on ancillary uses of data
  4. Create a standardized model for MLSs to notify participants of listings which have been removed from data feeds
  5. Consider policy that forbids restricting or penalizing participants based on their technical choices for implementation, such as subdomains or directories for broker/agent web displays