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RESO workgroup meetings are an important aspect of in-person RESO conferences. The Broker Advisory Workgroup has taken on a fresh approach in recent years, focusing on interviews with working brokers about how RESO standards make a difference to their businesses.

At the 2022 RESO Fall Conference, workgroup chair Jeff Bosch, CEO IRES MLS, and vice-chair Nina Dosanjh, Chief Technology & Strategy Officer at Vanguard Properties, held a chat session with former RESO board member Jessica Edgerton, EVP Operations & Corporate Counsel at Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. They discussed how LeadingRE is using RESO technology to streamline the ingestion of data from 150 different methods down to three RESO-supported methods. | WATCH VIDEO (31:20)

Edgerton oversees education, learning development and industry relations at LeadingRE, among other duties, including budgeting and strategic planning for LeadingRE’s IT department. Current RESO board member Vandana Vohra, EVP & CIO at LeadingRE, joined the team in May of 2022.

LeadingRE’s roots are in invitation-only broker-to-broker referrals of top five independent firms by geography. They now serve 565 member companies in over 70 countries around the world. Beyond broker-to-broker referrals, they offer education services, consultative services, an extensive marketing portfolio and a robust luxury portfolio.

The way LeadingRE collects input on tech challenges is through various committees, subcommittees, task forces and subgroups. They have a Global Advisory Board that contains 14 international members and an IT Subadvisory Workgroup contained within that board. It is tasked to find universal solutions that improve business in three areas:

  1. Speed
  2. Accuracy
  3. Access to Services

As LeadingRE integrates more fully into RESO, standardization has become a top focus. They currently receive data in multiple languages in multiple formats, a result of growing organically with a white glove, “bespoke” culture. It has been a challenge to take in 150 different forms of data, but RESO has been a part of an effort to take those 150 intake processes down to just three:

  1. RESO-based API (beta testing with six companies)
  2. RESO-based XML feed
  3. RESO-based manual entry process for outlier organizations

International Standards
RESO added Spanish and French-Canadian layers to the Data Dictionary, and Edgerton was asked what she saw as the next languages and other international considerations to work on. Her suggestions included:

  • Put focus on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region, including the languages of Mandarin Chinese, Standard Chinese, Hindi and Indonesian.
  • Expand the French-Canadian translations into traditional French, as it is a common language in much of Europe, parts of Africa and even part of South America.
  • Consider German, which is the most commonly spoken language in Europe after Russian.
  • The Data Dictionary should account for global measurements and currencies.
  • Be aware of General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) across Europe. GDPR goes beyond cookies into data intake and privacy for personal data. When it comes to home addresses, for example, you might not be able to take in address feeds. Rather, you might have to look at geographic landmarks and work your way to locations from there.

Working with Brokers on IT Issues
Administrative-minded brokers will not always understand what they can do with data. MLSs can help independent brokers know what options are available to them.

For example, some brokers may not know if pulling data every 5 minutes, 30 minutes or 2 days makes sense, but they will be able to make a decision with proper guidance.

CTOs/CIOs in the brokerage community often wear multiple hats, especially for small to midsize brokers. They might be dealing with website design and social media just as much as data feeds and other technical issues.

Sometimes the most tech-forward person at a brokerage is not at all technical! The “IT department” of a small brokerage may amount to a relative of the administrative assistant serving in a part-time capacity. But if there is a C-suite, said Edgerton, all data-related questions should start there, because they will want oversight on technical conversations.

Make No Assumptions
LeadingRE represents independent entities in many countries and has taken on a learn-before-assuming approach to understanding local business practices and regulations.

In Europe, there is no MLS or IDX. So although there is no brokerage-to-brokerage tech in place, it does not necessarily mean that it is a need to be filled. Focusing on the existing tech on hand is more important than introducing solutions without a cultural anchor point.

For instance, there are non-exclusive listings across broad swaths of Europe and the world. A listing broker will lose a sale to another broker down the street because that’s where the buyer happened to go first. And there are definitely duplication issues well beyond what we deal with in the U.S.

Resolving troubles with existing XML data feeds might be the most immediate matter of importance in these types of situations, and the international response to RESO-based standards has been very positive.

LeadingRE explains to its members why standards are important for efficiency and competition. The end result for independent brokerages is that they are allowed to have the same data efficiencies that the big brokers have.

In fact, the LeadingRE 2023 business plan includes a proprietary management platform that assures that all real estate education from RESO, including the Working with Real Estate Data course, is being taken advantage of by LeadingRE.

“Education and consultation is huge.” Edgerton did not mince words when stating how important it is to inform stakeholders about standards and how they can be implemented. When it comes to working within a network like LeadingRE, Edgerton said it is 90 percent education.

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