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Mergers and acquisitions of Multiple Listing Services (MLS) continue to occur across the country. When a merger is not the desired answer to the problem of overlapping market disorder – which occurs when brokers are forced to list properties in multiple MLSs for wider exposure – other options for sharing data are possible through the use of RESO standards.

At last spring’s RESO conference in Tucson, Arizona, Lori Coburn, VP of Information Technology at MetroList, and Jay Pepper-Martens, CTO at the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® (SFAR), described their creative approach to maintaining listing input features unique to individual MLSs while also displaying universally efficient and accurate listing output. | WATCH VIDEO (12:05 minutes)

Through RE California, a partnership between MetroList, SFAR and Bay Area Real Estate Information Services (BAREIS), these three Northern California MLSs that normally compete with each other have overcome technical and governance complexities to create a meaningful data share. They’ve rebuilt their databases with the RESO Data Dictionary at the core and the RESO Web API as the means in which to transport data.

The experiment that began in 2007 eliminated the need for multiple subscription fees and separate logins just to see the breadth of homes available in the region. During 2016–2017, the cooperating organizations decided to improve ease of use, system seamlessness and instant synchronization.

Since they wanted to maintain autonomy and local points of contact, they decided to use the RESO Data Dictionary over a single, monolithic database. They spent two years mapping data in a manner that allowed for unique user interfaces for local customs and support for local fields on top of the Data Dictionary standard.

An engine that routes users to a county-specific listing input system covering 26 counties was created by the Rapattoni MLS system. Upon submission, the system uses the Rapattoni API to push the listing to all RE California databases in real time.

Through it all, regional MLS subscribers have been allowed to choose their preferred home MLS of choice, area MLSs and associations have been able to retain their independence, and the data share has only gotten faster and richer in detail over time.

Through the NORCAL MLS® Alliance, four more MLSs joined the effort: Bay East Association of REALTORS®, bridgeMLS, Contra Costa Association of REALTORS® and MLSListings. The alliance allows MLS users to access data from multiple MLSs within their home MLS system, giving real estate professionals and their clients the most comprehensive access to listing data in Northern California.