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A RESO Guest Blog by HouseCanary



As repositories and truth sources for real estate data all over the country, MLSs carry enormous responsibility – to their agent and broker members, and to the buyers, sellers, renters and homeowners who live in the community.

But in today’s technology-driven world, that responsibility doesn’t stop at MLS borders. Sellers own houses remotely, buyers purchase homes without stepping inside and the entire population has become more mobile, making standardized data – and specifically the RESO Data Dictionary – increasingly critical to maintaining consumer trust in our industry’s most important institutions.

HouseCanary has worked with hundreds of MLSs across the country to power our products, and we’ve noticed a few more significant benefits of the RESO Data Dictionary. One is the fact that we can onboard MLSs using RESO’s Data Dictionary more than three times faster than MLSs that don’t use the Data Dictionary. This is possible because RESO provides a normalization layer for conceptual consistency.

Why does that matter? For any tech company, the most resource-intensive task involved in partnering with an MLS is field mapping, establishing connections between different (but related) fields.

Some MLSs have upwards of 800 distinct fields that have to be mapped and managed, which can take days and days. This might not seem like a big deal, but things can quickly become troublesome when an MLS with 800 distinct fields has partnerships with several tech companies. Every engineer working with MLS data has a different level of understanding of that data and how it should map to other fields.

Remember that there is often no documentation for these data fields. In this situation, do you think you’ll see consistency across the MLS’s listings in those assorted tech platforms, or will those platforms likely use different labels and nuances for many of those fields?

RESO standards ensure that when a technology company integrates with MLS data, they are delivering an accurate snapshot of the data.

On the other hand, when an MLS has adopted RESO’s Data Dictionary, onboarding is effectively a plug-and-play operation, and the data will remain consistent no matter which platform is displaying it.

Using the Data Dictionary also allows tech vendors to provide native support for MLS products and services, making troubleshooting faster and more effective, and giving MLSs wide-open access to useful new tech products. Furthermore, as consumers become more and more acquainted with standardized data, they’ll also become increasingly confused by fields and terms that don’t match the standard.

The population of our country is more mobile than ever. Standardizing the real estate data everyone encounters will result in more educated consumers, more effective real estate agents and long-term health for the real estate industry. MLS partnerships with tech vendors will become progressively more common, which is a huge opportunity for MLSs to utilize some of the most cutting-edge tools available on the market today.

Tech vendors are unlikely to seek out MLS partnerships that can’t be iterated beyond the borders of that individual MLS. They don’t want to invest heavily in a product if they can only release it in one market.

Using RESO’s Data Dictionary gives MLSs flexibility and more precise control over how their data is displayed and communicated to everybody, gives consumers standard and easy-to-absorb language around properties, and will help MLSs extend their reach beyond current boundaries to touch buyers and sellers where they live.

As HouseCanary works toward providing every player in the real estate space with better, more reliable data, we’re particularly excited to see the changes taking place in the MLS world.

DLU January 27th, 2020