See original RE Technology article here.
By Jeremy Crawford, CEO of RESO.
One of the big challenges that any MLS organization faces is implementing change. No one likes to rock the boat, especially in an industry that has fueled more than one million independent contractors.
It’s hard enough telling someone who is on your payroll that change is about to happen, but when you have to break the news to someone who is contracted to work for you, that’s a whole different story. It’s not easy. Particularly in real estate when you try to make a change in technology that real estate agents use every day to do their jobs.
RMLS, one of the most forward-thinking MLSs in America today, took a bold move when it announced that every one of their IDX suppliers would now only be able to use their 100 percent RESO-compliant officially certified data feed. And RESO isn’t the only one applauding this move—so are brokers and other forward-thinking technology companies.
What we’re learning from RMLS
There are some great lessons for the MLS industry about what RMLS has done, much of which runs against industry conventional wisdom. At RESO, we often hear that one of the reasons MLSs are not willing to “flip the switch” like RMLS did is that it would be too hard. RMLS found just the opposite.
As one of the first MLSs in the country to only offer a RESO-compliant IDX feed, they were able to make the transition in just four weeks. They found the move to offering only a RESO-compliant IDX wasn’t that difficult.
Promotion was key to success
They started the transition by launching a campaign to their brokerages and IDX providers that showed which fields would need to be transitioned to their 100 percent RESO-compliant IDX feed. By keeping their brokerages and IDX providers well informed well in advance of the move, they were successful in creating a smooth transition.
RMLS also realized that technology deadlines for change often become a moving target, so they set a concrete deadline for the switchover, building in a reasonable timeframe that allowed every one of their brokerages and IDX providers to meet the deadline.
Here’s the good news for the rest of the MLS world: Because many of the larger IDX providers and brokers that cross MLS regions have already done the work with RMLS and have transitioned to using a 100 percent RESO-compliant IDX feed, it will be much easier for them to plug in and consume the data for additional MLSs nationwide that have adopted RESO standards.
Crucial piece to the puzzle: Brokers
Brokerages are one of the biggest benefactors when it comes to making IDX feeds RESO-compliant. It makes it easier for brokers to collect and distribute information from multiple MLSs to their website and mobile apps. This saves them both time and money; plus, it allows brokers – and their technology partners – to expand into new markets more quickly. Standards really take care of the “heavy lifting” of data transport and brokers reap these rewards almost immediately.
Christina Smestad, Vice President of Operations at RMLS, explains that the move really was designed to benefit brokers. “We know that IDX feeds are highly valued by our brokers, so we wanted to make it easier for them to aggregate data from our MLS and others for their online marketing efforts,” she said.
Movoto Real Estate: A broker’s perspective
When your brokerage is a hybrid like Movoto Real Estate, which is both an online portal and brokerage, you’re inclined to think ahead with a deep appreciation of the power of technology – and understand the value of standards. It’s really not too surprising that Movoto immediately embraced the opportunity to access the RMLS RESO-compliant IDX feed.
In just one short engineering sprint, they mapped the data, tested the reliability of the data fee to ensure their site was populating effectively and consistently, and were ready to go. Was there an expense involved? Yes, all software sprints cost time and money, but Movoto will tell you it was worth the effort for this one simple reason: They believe that for future MLS markets they add, they will be able to cut their development time in half.
Laura Dansbury, Head of Product Management, explains the motivation for Movoto. “This move ensures that our data will be more comprehensive and consistent, helping us to improve our online marketing effectiveness, which is key to our success. We also believe that it will help make the information more reliable and allow us to innovate as new fields get added to the RESO Data Dictionary (just like the recent Data Dictionary 1.6 update, which added more than 900 new fields and values). We welcome a focus on standardization like this and hope to see more MLSs do the same thing.”
RESO did not pay Laura to say that last sentence, but agree 100 percent and also hope that many, many more MLSs—in fact, we hope someday that ALL MLSs—do the exact same thing and require RESO-compliant data feeds for all their technology providers.
The road ahead
RMLS and Movoto both are to be congratulated for their progressive approach to push the industry forward. We need more to follow their leadership examples and we need more brokers and brokerages, in particular, to join and become more involved in RESO.
There’s a great opportunity less than 60 days from now when RESO meets in San Diego for our fall conference. For brokers and their technology partners, this is a crucial conference and one we are aggressively seeking brokers to participate in. You can find out more about the special broker programming that we’ve packed the agenda with and registration information here.
We encourage you to learn more about RESO, to take your seat at the table and help guide the future of real estate by shaping the standards we need to streamline the real estate industry.