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Stitch Export 16by G. Sax, Head of Communications, RESO

Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards. The goal of the series is to humanize the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week’s interview is with Saul Klein, San Diego MLS CEO and so much more to the industry. In part one of two, we talked about bringing the MLS concept to the world, the evolution of RESO and longevity.

Q1: Having a long history in real estate has some perks, because you now get to call yourself a real estate technology pioneer and historian. That’s how you were billed as a speaker at the International MLS Forum in Paris in 2023.

Ultimately, do you think that Europe and the rest of the world is ready to do real estate transactions the U.S. way via the MLS with RESO standards? 

Saul: I don’t know if they’re ready to do it the U.S. way, but Europe and the rest of the world is primed to understand how the U.S. way benefits consumers and brokers and makes real estate more marketable and liquid, thus creating greater opportunity.

A system should be built on standards, something understood and attempted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and RIN dating as far back as 1994. So many benefits can be derived from a standards-based system, including more innovation, less expensive software solutions, increased participation and greater adoption.

Standards make every aspect of technology development and application in the real estate industry run more smoothly.

For the rest of the world to effectively adopt and grow the concepts and benefits of what we in North America refer to as MLS, it will require learning from our mistakes and utilizing the things we have done correctly – tailoring our concepts for businesses and business practices around the world and not cloning what we have done incorrectly.

A big mistake we made early on is not thinking about standards in a more global way. With the help and guidance of RESO, we are poised to rectify that.

Q2: You were there at the start of, you created e-PRO, you were early and successful in the data syndication game. It’s safe to say that you’ve earned your stripes as a tech pioneer.

What can you say about the early days of RESO compared to where it is today and where it should be going?

Saul: I’m really impressed with the progress of RESO in recent years.

At this point, if you are involved in MLS and beyond MLS, RESO has a stake in the ground, and MLS has a stake in RESO. To see the progress is amazing and encouraging.

I think you’re on the right track. RESO’s participation in a global conference gets us talking about opportunities beyond North America. And this idea just sort of popped up with a groundswell of support by governments, not-for-profits, MLSs and technology companies.

There is an urgency to be discussing things like transparency and privacy now at the formation of a movement rather than 125 years later.

I am really impressed with what the whole RESO staff is doing for such a small team with limited financial backing combined with the exceptional volunteer effort from the real estate community.

To be able to harness the power of volunteers is a real skill, and RESO is doing the great work of community building. It is the power of networking, à la Robert Metcalfe and Metcalfe’s Law.

Q3: Do you keep your real estate license active and why?

I do. My broker license and experience as a practicing broker has been the foundation of my career since I left the U.S. Navy. I keep it active because it has allowed me to do so many different things and to create a career path that has never been boring and is truly unique.

I am proud of my membership in NAR. I stopped selling real estate in 2000, but the fact that I am a broker and will be until I die is something I feel very strongly about.

I will renew my license in perpetuity.

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