At the 2023 RESO Spring Conference, Troy Davis, CTO at Ocusell, moderated a panel about the Web API Add/Edit endorsement that included Olga Ermolin, Director of Engineering at MLSListings, Michael Wurzer, President at FBS, and Chris Haran, CTO at MRED. | WATCH VIDEO (21:31)
Add/Edit provides a standard mechanism for create, update and delete actions in the RESO Web API.
Creating and editing data, such as open houses, showings or member/office details, is an important part of the listing transaction. Add/Edit allows multiple different kinds of data into the MLS data stream from different vendors.
All of this work has been traditionally done in the MLS’s primary software interface. Add/Edit allows other software systems to also participate.
Agents and brokers have wanted the ability to enter data from their broker back office (BBO) systems for many years, and Add/Edit makes this possible.
What’s been added to the mix since those initial requests is the ability to make changes from a mobile app – like changing the order of photos on a listing or making changes in real time based on things witnessed onsite at the property. Cody Gustafson, Director of API Development at FBS, has written a Media Upload Alternative that could allow Add/Edit systems to update not only data fields but also photos and other media.
Ermolin and Haran both stated that productivity and efficiency should greatly improve with Add/Edit. Haran dispelled the common myth that new entrants into data input detracts from accuracy and consistency. He noted that brokers and agents are already rekeying the same information in MLSs, transaction management software and marketing services ordering forms for the brokerage. Add/Edit actually creates less data entry and fewer opportunities for errors.
Wurzer said that gathering home data is already a collaborative process involving agents, homeowners, photographers and other players. Each actor holds part of the data that should get contributed into the workflow and ultimately into the MLS system.
From a standards perspective, Wurzer said we should “decompose” each part so that different parties – BBO, photography, floor plans, etc. – should have fewer barriers to entry while agents retain final approval rights for what is published on their listings.
Wurzer believes that Add/Edit has the potential to solve overlapping market disorder, doing away with double, triple and quadruple data entry into multiple MLSs. Accuracy being critical to the MLS value proposition, he believes that Add/Edit makes it easier for the industry to collaborate and get efficient entry from multiple parties.
Wurzer said that starting with media for implementing Add/Edit is a logical first step because there are some available standards to work with.
Photography networks are ready to use alternative systems to publish into the MLS directly, so getting more established standards in place around media makes sense to Wurzer. Photographers who already have photos of a property ahead of its listing in an MLS currently have no standards-based mechanism to get those entered. Add/Edit can change that.
There are solutions available, like providing a URL to the agent that is connected to the property, but Wurzer said it would be better to provide a RESO standard that accounts for mobile apps, where many pieces of data can be updated at once.
Davis said that Ocusell has explored safety features as a use case. The National Association of REALTORS® suggested the addition of new safety fields into the Data Dictionary, and Ocusell thought it would be interesting if an agent could update the safety situation of a listing in real time for other REALTORS® as part of a showing software.
Ermolin said that the key technical considerations when implementing Add/Edit to ensure that developers create compliant applications include OData Library 4.0 or higher and OAuth 2.0 for authentication. She said that knowledge of the RESO Web API is also important, because Add/Edit and Web API should be running in the same environment.
Add/Edit also includes standard error message responses so, for example, interactive clients may inform users how to correct issues with business rules. It does not, however, provide formal business rule support. That is addressed in Validation Expressions, which is compatible with Add/Edit.
Haran noted that Add/Edit does not have to be incorporated into an entire business rules set; you could pick a small section of your rules to implement it. He also suggested looking outside of the MLS for implementations, like at transaction management, for processes that could use the new RESO Common Format.
Davis concurred, saying that the industry should be looking at data in terms of the lowest-hanging fruit – to see what is available today that would be less effort but high in value for an Add/Edit implementation – and start the journey there.
MRED and MLSListings are two MLSs that are actively trying Add/Edit. Knowing that brokerages want this to happen, more MLSs will need to jump into the pool, which is one reason why this will be a featured agenda item at the 2023 RESO Summer Developers Workshop, July 30–31, 2023.
Ermolin agreed that the more adoption, the better, and she believes that compliance is the first step.
MLSListings did two successful proof-of-concept projects with Homes.com and Zenlist. Through that process, they identified additional issues and corner cases, stressing the importance of adopting and integrating early.
Davis believes that with enough adoption, a new section of the industry could be invented, as was the case with mobile phones. He suggested that MLSs start with a pilot and vendors that they trust.
“It’s a tremendous technical lift to enable entire Add/Edit processes,” said Davis. “It’s going to take some time to get there. It’s going to be a lot of effort and energy. But it’s doable. We’re not going to boil the oceans all at once, but we can do it one Crock-Pot at a time.”