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RESO’s Identifier Products Prepped to Make a Splash (Part 1 of 3, UPI)

Providing identification is a basic aspect of moving about in the world, and we all have several pieces of important ID to manage. In the real estate world alone, there are a series of identifiers to manage, including things like tax ID, agent license ID and the NRDS (National REALTOR® Database System) ID number assigned by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).*

To top it off, RESO is in the middle of building or upgrading three more IDs to streamline your real estate technology. More IDs?!? Bear with us as we explain the important reasons why these three IDs will make data easier to navigate in the nouns of real estate: persons, places and things.

The basic answer is to simplify how you, your business and, get this, all the properties in the world operate within the real estate space.

The three identifiers in RESO’s wheelhouse include:

  • Universal Property Identifier (UPI)
  • Unique Organization Identifier (UOI)
  • Unique Licensee Identifier (ULI)

RESO identifiers are being designed to help businesses maintain their systems in a more simplified, deduplicated manner. Identifiers are invaluable tools that can be used to track source data to a specific MLS for vendors, locate agents across multiple states and MLSs for associations, and manage properties in a fixed way across multiple MLSs.

We will begin with the UPI in Part 1 of our three-part series on RESO identifiers.

Universal Property Identifier (UPI)

Introduction
The UPI (Universal Property Identifier), formerly known as the PUID and UPID, is the most established of RESO’s identifier products, and the product has its own workgroup. The group meets monthly to review governmental, public records and other organizational standards in order to build upon the standard. The UPI is meant to unify records from multiple sources in one display or database, allowing for faster and more informative updates to physical property characteristics across market boundaries.

History
The initial goal of the project was to achieve a model with a uniqueness pattern greater than 90% for properties across the U.S. and to be viable worldwide. When the formula of public records information is sufficient to uniquely identify properties, services can be implemented to search for properties, results can be given and a property can be represented by a UPI. 

Purpose
Since the ID itself is based on public records, any data steward should be able to provide the same ID for the same property. Ultimately, the UPI would be used in the Data Dictionary and could be used in services across the real estate ecosystem to provide deeper information on a property, freeing up the need to implement advanced searching for properties and UPI construction.

Where the UPI is akin to a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) number for properties, the UPI Registry is a place to contain records identifying related details to that UPI from a variety of data sources.

The UPI Registry and Why It Matters
The UPI Registry is intended to be an event-logging system that collects evidence of facts related to UPIs.

For example, a company that sources data about property taxes or permits could produce a reference on the registry each time it registers a new fact about a UPI. This data producer wouldn’t put its full data in the registry, just a reference that it has facts about that UPI. As the number of data producers creating references to UPI facts grows, the confidence scores in the UPI Registry grow.

There are now several options for registry development and support from vendors, MLSs and the Distributed Ledger Workgroup, all at no cost to participants.

Although the UPI and its registry seem well-defined after years of hard work, the usefulness of these concepts to the real estate industry and beyond has yet to be fully realized, thus the UPI Registry is a major focus at this time.

CRS Data, CoreLogic and other vendors have recently offered to help build out the registry with UPI facts from public records, and FBS has volunteered to build a production registry implementation.

At a recent UPI Workgroup meeting, Michael Wurzer, CEO of FBS, expressed the importance of the UPI and its potential for applications such as tracking history.

Going Forward
From a vendor perspective, integrating with an MLS for UPI will create efficiencies as it’s common for there to be different listings of the same property from two (or more) MLSs. Solving that use case and facilitating international adoption with inroads into Canada via more concerted effort from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) are also high on the UPI list of items to address.

The UPI Workgroup is building an action plan to show utilization and promotion of the business value for a UPI. Additionally, you can look for visual updates and more instructions around the existing UPI Builder tool later this year.

UPI development is open source. You can find a service container on DockerHub and much more on RESO’s GitHub.

Conclusion
Unique IDs can be as valuable as passports, credit cards and the last four digits of your social for everything you need on an island vacation.

It’s the dawn of a new day for RESO ID standards, and your involvement will make the real estate industry run more efficiently than ever before.

Look for more information to be presented about the UPI at the 2022 RESO Spring Conference.

* Note: REALTORS® M1 or Members First, a new member engagement system, is being introduced by NAR this year to eventually replace NRDS.