Many companies offer certified RESO Web API services, including MLS software providers and some homegrown MLS APIs.
As part of a panel discussion at the 2022 RESO Fall Conference, we asked Joseph Szurgyi, CEO at MLS Grid, and Turan Tekin, Senior Director, MLS and Industry Relations at Zillow Group and Co-Founder of Bridge Interactive, to explain how they are adapting as API vendors to support the need for holistic data feeds for brokers from MLSs.
The discussion revolved around the ability for data producers to provide a single data feed that includes all of a data consumer’s needs, including information about usage instructions for the data being delivered. This is something already used by some companies in the industry, but it has gained more attention because of the recent passage of a policy requirement for many MLSs: MLS Policy Statement 8.6, One Data Source from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) | WATCH VIDEO (28:03):
- MLSs must offer a participant a single data feed in accordance with a participant’s licensed authorized uses.
- At the request of a participant, MLS must provide the single data feed for that participant’s licensed uses to that participant’s designee. The designee may use the single data feed only to facilitate that participant’s licensed uses on behalf of that participant.
According to Tekin, the policy came with a fairly tight turnaround that required vendors to move quickly. The first thing Bridge did was pull together a focus group of constituents from the MLS, brokerage and vendor communities. MLS Grid immediately engaged with policy decision makers to clear up expectations.
Tekin and Szurgyi agreed that whenever a policy has a technical implementation or integration tied to it, different trade groups, organizations and stakeholders should be at the table. More frequent official update calls between MLS providers, downstream vendors and NAR engagement/MLS staff have ensued over the past year to increase transparency.
This kind of communication and collaboration are the primary keys to success.
With Web API services becoming the primary way for customers to get data, the business community’s response has been positive. Engagement is spiking, not just at Bridge and MLS Grid, but across the industry.
Said Tekin, “Things are going really, really well in API land.”
Adoption of the Web API was slow at first because it was hard to convince data providers and consumers that the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) was no longer as viable as an API. It required coaching MLSs that this data transport protocol would be better for the industry as a whole.
Likewise, concerns about the single feed needed to be overcome. MLSs wanted to know how others would implement it. They wanted confidence that compliance to their rules would still apply under a one-feed scenario.
MLS vendors helped guide MLS staff into this new methodology. By providing clear plans and communication, these groups worked together to minimize operational and technical costs to make the transition.
In addition to combining what are traditionally multiple feeds (IDX, VOW, BBO) into a single feed, there was a need for a data resource that includes information about display and use rights for individual fields. Today, those fields and their uses are defined in a paper or digital license agreement.
For example, if an MLS feed includes the BathroomsFull field, it must be noted that it is suitable for public and private display. But MLSs don’t allow public display for fields like PrivateRemarks, and those need to be identified as being only for the brokerage to view.
The Data Dictionary Lookup and Field resource models continue to improve to support these business cases via the RESO Transport Workgroup.
RESO’s mission touches upon this need for an efficient solution for all stakeholders in real estate transactions. Technical professionals will want to be part of the ongoing technical discussion about defining multiple uses in a single payload (RESO member-only content).
To maintain forward progress, data providers and consumers should continue to engage directly in MLS data policy with people like Rodney Gansho, Director of Engagement, and Jason Sanchez, Director of MLS Engagement at NAR, who meet regularly with industry technology vendor groups.
At the time of the panel discussion, more than 50 data consumers had migrated to a single feed at Bridge. Brokers are largely the first to migrate. MoxiWorks was one of the early adopters for MLS Grid, and they were up and running with nine of MLS Grid’s MLS clients in no time. Redfin and Compass were not far behind.
Education and documentation are key to quality collaboration that brings results, and RESO’s Web API standards and specifications are available for feedback at transport.reso.org. We welcome your involvement in the development.
The number one question we get asked at RESO about Web API is “How do I get started?” Many industry professionals have requested a vendor-agnostic guide to move customers forward, and we delivered with a Web API Transition Guide.
We also offer support from email@example.com for technical questions and firstname.lastname@example.org for general ones.
RESO members continue to find workgroups and conferences as some of their most valuable venues to unify around solutions that benefit them all. According to Szurgyi, “RESO absolutely has to be that voice on behalf of those who are in this realm – this part of the industry. We need to have a voice, and RESO should be that voice.”