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Interoperability Workgroup

The RESO Interoperability Workgroup’s purpose is to identify, through relevant business challenges and needs, solutions that will bring together disparate systems to better serve the real estate industry, especially the practitioners and brokerages.

The group studies submitted business cases, partners with affected stakeholders and coordinates solutions to produce ease and efficiency of business through the creation, maintenance and evolution of RESO Interoperability standards for the community.

The Transaction Management Challenge

Transaction Management System (TMS) adoption rates are low among real estate agents. Numerous TMS systems fragment the market and discourage consistent and broad use. Agents from one brokerage are often using a different platform than the agent representing the other side of the transaction. Documents are often emailed from one agent to another and then uploaded into that agent’s TMS. This limits the speed and efficiency of the real estate transaction and poses a significant security risk when documents frequently contain client financial information.

While the transaction is comprised of multiple data components, this document will focus specifically on document management. In parallel, transaction record data may be added as a new resource to the RESO Data Dictionary and follow existing patterns therein. However, unlike photos, floorplans and other visual representations accounted for in the Media Resource, transaction documents often include metadata and objects representing electronic signatures. This additional data is not supported by the Media Resource and additionally requires a high level of security. A more specialized approach is required.

The existing topography of TMS options and the proprietary nature of those systems has led to several adoption, usability and security challenges:

  • There are too many steps in the workflow as a result of exporting / emailing documents and then having to import documents into other TMSs.
  • The sending of documents by email combined with aggressive social engineering attacks expose a significant security risk.
  • Consumers want to use the system of their agent (who can help them with it if needed) and not be expected to use more than one system during a transaction. Agents don’t want to have to teach their client to use a TMS system from an unfamiliar agent.
  • Initial and signature blocks are not maintained between systems when emailing documents out, then importing into another system.

Security

Before the digital age, there was an implied belief in personal privacy in the U.S. As technology has evolved, it has become easier to collect and mine user data. Previously private information is now available to more third parties than ever before, often without the explicit knowledge or permission of the consumer.

The standardized and secure exchange of transaction data must consider these key points:

  • Consumers have a growing expectation of privacy even when sharing information online.
  • Thieves and scammers are aggressively targeting the real estate transaction and real estate clients (wire fraud, social engineering).
  • State and national regulation is significantly increasing.
  • Franchise and broker security demands are greater than what most current implementations are capable of.
  • Public opinion of the real estate industry may be directly affected by any apparent lack of security.

The Goal

The real estate industry needs a standard for the discovery and description of transaction documents. Further, a standard describing the data of the transaction that could be requested and exchanged between disparate systems should be added to the RESO Data Dictionary. The standard should, at minimum, also support these requirements:

  • Easily share documents across TMS platforms.
  • Easily add additional people to a transaction from the MLS roster.
  • Retain the participants in the transaction, their roles and permissions and other document metadata when documents are shared between platforms.

A Proposed Solution

Ideally, the user will have the ability to view in one location, a combined list of documents related to a transaction, no matter which platform originated the document or which other system may have been used to sign the document. This would require each TMS platform to request the list of relevant documents from another TMS platform and display information and links to those documents as part of the complete transaction document set.

It is important to emphasize that this document is not advocating for a replication or duplication of transaction documents across platforms but to share the information, or metadata, describing the documents across platforms. Document replication between TMS platforms may be a viable option that the RESO community investigates.

By creating a standardized JSON payload that describes the documents and uses standard Web API practices, a Transaction Simple Syndication (TSS) process can be created and adopted by multiple vendors that imposes a smaller amount of effort on the vendors while still providing a large value to the customers and users.

 

The Interoperability Workgroup meets the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT. | JOIN A RESO WORKGROUP!

 

Interoperability Workgroup Chair – Chris Haran, CTO, Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED)

As CTO for MRED, an MLS based near Chicago, Illinois, Chris Haran is responsible for driving strategic vision by bringing people, ideas and resources together for innovation.

Prior to joining MRED, Haran worked in the marketing and operations departments at a leading residential brokerage. In supporting agents in their quest to adopt new technologies, Haran broke down disruptive concepts into why they matter to future business and helped overcome the fear of the new.

Haran finds the out-of-office message to be the most effective way to display personality online, by showing that you have a life offline. Try and catch him not in the office someday!

Contact Information: chris.haran@mredllc.com

 

Interoperability Workgroup Vice-Chair – Catharine MacIntosh, Founder/CEO, Listed

Catharine MacIntosh is the CEO of Listed, a company a company that provides a single-agent app to help agents retain clients and attract business. To make a better product and contribute to the real estate industry, MacIntosh became a licensed broker and began volunteering her time in Organized Real Estate.

Over the years she’s served on the MLS and Condo Committees at the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), is a member of the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) and enjoys participating in a number of RESO workgroups.

As Vice-Chair, of the RESO Interoperability Workgroup, MacIntosh is pleased to be working with Chris Haran to explore and highlight the important role of the consumer experience within the real estate ecosystem. As a strong believer in the interoperability of systems, she is honored to be working alongside esteemed colleagues, rich in diversity and located across North America and globally, through RESO. She’s proudly Canadian, loves her neighbors to the south and enjoys sharing music playlists.

Contact Information: catharine@listed.inc