In recent years, RESO has grown from a largely American effort to a membership spanning many continents. At the 2023 RESO Fall Conference, leaders from three international organizations shared how data standards are benefiting them.
The discussion, “Crossing Continents: Global Standards Expansion,” featured Giselle Abadi, Cofounder and CTO at Realtyna; Ross Buck, CEO at Omni MLS and RESO Board Advisor; and Patrick Pichette, RESO Board Member, VP at REALTOR.ca, Strategic Business and Innovation at The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). | WATCH VIDEO (18:27)
Realtyna’s International Perspective
Realtyna is a technology company focused on website SEO lead generation for the past 15 years. They work with many brokers and agents in the U.S. and abroad, as well as emerging MLS organizations in Latin America and Europe. Giselle Abadi, based in Paris, flew in from Tbilisi, Georgia, for the RESO event.
Working with clients from 96 countries on their platform, the company immediately saw the value of a universal technology language. Their products have support for over 30 languages, and they were recently the first organization to have standardized multi-language capability validated by RESO.
In every country that they work in, they have seen a growing need for MLS structures where none currently exist, so they have also been delivering MLS solutions in these markets. This included not just websites and lead generation for brokers and agents, but also replication services for MLS data customers.
Realtyna has seen that in markets where no MLS exists, systems can be started from scratch with standards as the foundation. Without the friction of replacing legacy systems, they can form new MLSs with Web API capabilities, Data Dictionary compliance and even cutting-edge RESO Add/Edit functionality.
While Realtyna has seen some regions consider starting their own localized data standards efforts, they knew that the fast growth of RESO across continents and the very nature of data standards as a global language meant that adopting the proven international model would be the most successful plan.
Omni MLS’s Latin American Perspective
Omni MLS has been busy bringing the MLS concept to Latin America. CEO Ross Buck traveled to the RESO event from Mexico City.
Most of Omni’s customers have heard the term MLS but haven’t had the experience of what a real MLS is or does. So the challenge has been to educate their customers about how an MLS can positively affect their business.
Just as in the United States, Latin America has been doing real estate transactions for hundreds of years.
There is a great deal of proptech money in Latin America to build portals and other products, but efforts have been without standards thus far. Omni MLS is bringing the RESO standard to Latin America and introducing it to developers to build tools that can easily connect with quality data.
Many Latin American real estate professionals are unhappy with the current landscape of property portals, and Omni MLS is showing them that an MLS, in combination with an association and a strict code of ethics, may offer them the marketplace benefits that they are looking for.
Where one property might show many times at different price points across unregulated property portals, depending on where the data came from, it shows consistently at one price point with Omni MLS through standardized data.
“We could not do what we are doing today without standards being in place,” said Buck. “It makes our job so much easier. We don’t have to think about what standard to adopt. It’s already there.”
CREA’s Canadian Perspective
CREA is the national trade organization in Canada akin to the National Association of REALTORS® in the United States. CREA also builds technology products, and two of them are key on a national level: realtor.ca and DDF. Patrick Pichette traveled to the RESO event from Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.
The leading listing portal in Canada is realtor.ca. It displays what is in every MLS system in the country, and it is run and operated by CREA. Operational costs are built into member dues. Every agent has a profile page, and all leads generated from realtor.ca go back to the listing agent.
The DDF is a national listing syndication service with two major components. The first component is a national shared pool of listings that power about 10,000 different agent and brokerage websites. The second component is an advertisement angle where listings can be sent to about 20 third-party sites. Agents are in control of how their listings are syndicated.
The DDF creates consistency in ecosystem information. So whether a listing is on realtor.ca, on a brokerage site, on an agent site or on a third-party website, information is accurate across the board. Standards allow that to be the case.
CREA is dependent on their relationship with their local boards and MLSs, which are often one and the same. And many of them had already mapped their data to Canada’s National Data Standard (NDS). This allowed CREA to receive data from boards in a structured way for realtor.ca in DDF, making it an underpinning of their success with the portal.
Now CREA is taking that success and mapping the NDS to the global standard of the RESO Data Dictionary. This, in turn, will help the entire country make the transition to the RESO Web API, which CREA has already done with DDF in 2023.
MLS on an International Stage
Most countries do not have a real MLS system in place yet, so the time is right to build this from scratch with the right standards in place. The main challenge is not technical; it is political.
In portal-focused or CRM-focused markets, organizations need to be educated and break free from the restraints of presupposition. Convincing people that an organized real estate ecosystem is beneficial takes time and patience. Eventually, the value of standardized technology becomes evident when duplication of effort and erroneous data seeps into day-to-day business.
The most important thing right now in international markets is that the data is not reliable on the portals that exist. So there is no single source of truth and no controls in place. Some of these portals wield a lot of power, but the power of standardized data is greater.
Having a multi-language standard is also important. More than 13 percent of the U.S. speaks Spanish, and Canada officially operates in English and French. The European Union wants to be able to exchange data between countries in all EU languages. Being able to rely on standards allows for greater interoperability, no matter the tech or the language of the tech.
Realtyna was a leader on the multi-language front, and they were instrumental in gathering a group of real estate leaders from across the globe at the International MLS Forum in Paris in December 2023.
Throughout 2024, RESO will share insights from that conference, and we begin by sharing the event co-keynote by RESO CEO Sam DeBord and CMLS CEO Denee Evans. | WATCH VIDEO (44:00)
It is an important time for organized real estate, both locally and on the global stage. Stellar MLS shared an excellent recap of the event and their involvement in it. | READ MORE