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The RESO Web API is the modern way that MLSs transport data to their brokers and their vendors. Many MLSs have non-standardized data in their internal systems. That data is mapped, or matched, to RESO’s Data Dictionary standards and delivered to customers via the MLS’s Web API services.

Standardized data is what technology companies and brokers are asking for from their MLSs. They want to build technology that works across many markets efficiently and quickly. So a RESO-certified Web API is the way these MLSs can provide “cleaned up” external access to standardized data on top of their native systems.

Standard Outside, Standard Inside

Is there also a reason to make an MLS’s internal systems natively RESO-compliant? In a word: absolutely.

Web API services transport MLS data outward to vendor and broker technology systems. But MLSs’ internal technology tools are expanding greatly, and having standardized data to fuel every direct interaction with a broker or agent greatly simplifies MLSs’ data relationships with them. An MLS’s native database, with a presentation layer that delivers standardized Data Dictionary content to all other MLS services provides that opportunity.

At the most basic level, it’s about clear communication between the MLS’s customers: brokers, agents, and their clients. 

Agent Experience: Setting up a search for a client in the MLS’s primary software system

MLSs have two sets of fields. The first are fields that are already in the RESO Data Dictionary and should be standardized. In many cases, they haven’t yet been standardized in the MLS’s internal systems. The second set contains unique custom fields that add local depth to that marketplace’s data. 

An agent in an MLS with internal non-standardized fields might use these as criteria to create a client’s listing alerts:

  • Ask price
  • On the ocean

These fields make sense to the agent because the agent uses them natively in the MLS’s primary application. But they’re not standardized. So when the agent wants to set up this same client with customized property preferences in their website partner’s portal app, or in their brokerage of franchisor’s agent/client collaboration app, the fields look like this:

  • List Price
  • Ocean Front

The fix may sound simple: the agent has to know that “ask price = list price”. But remember that MLSs have up to thousands of fields and picklists in their listings. And every agent, with every client, in every app that they intend to use, has to analyze which fields have changed for every client preference as they use different tools. The data being delivered to the broker’s partners doesn’t match the data the MLS is displaying to its agents directly in some cases. That inefficiency shouldn’t be ignored.

To be clear, MLSs first achieving a fully standardized, certified Web API is a massive leap forward for the real estate industry. This initial step allows for all data partners to access data in a common language across every MLS. Not all MLSs will be able to achieve native Data Dictionary compliance immediately, but all can achieve this outbound API of standardized data. The value of going a step further, though, is becoming clear.

The Added Efficiency Benefits of Natively Standardized Data

On top of the Web API’s value, an internal, native adoption of RESO standards expands the benefits to the MLS on a greater level. It becomes a platform for the MLS’s internal standardized data-driven services. 

CoreLogic’s session at the most recent RESO conference laid out how this philosophy can create efficiencies for all of an organization’s technology efforts going forward. “Standards as a platform,” is the mantra of an MLS organization making its external data sharing (Web API) and its internal data services standards-compliant. All future data-driven development can benefit from the upfront investment.

The Future of “Front End of Choice”: Listing Update

The industry’s been talking about “front end of choice” for a long time. It’s the ability for multiple different systems to display and update the data in the MLS’s primary database. 

That’s possible for organizations that have standardized Web API services and a non-standardized internal systems. But it does require significant data translation and custom work. In a natively compliant MLS database, listing update features will work with less development time and cost due to the upfront standardization work.

In the simplest terms, when all of the Web API services and all of the internal databases call “List Price” the same thing and nothing else, updating any system is easier. The universal language of standards makes interoperability more accessible.

The Work is Worth It

There’s no doubt that resources, time, and a bit of discomfort are part of the process of becoming not only outwardly standards compliant, but also internally standardized. Through the process of reengineering the MLS’s data foundation, though, a platform that enables faster integrations, broader interoperability, and more certainty for the MLS’s customers is well worth the investment.

It only takes a look at the list of MLS organizations who are standardizing their internal, native databases to see where leadership lies. Those MLSs that put data integrity and efficiency at the forefront of their strategy are working toward standards compliance top-to-bottom. Brokers, agents, and their customers are reaping the benefits.

MLSs Natively Standardizing their Internal Systems to the Data Dictionary
(Did we miss you? Send us a note! RESO certifies MLSs’ Web API services, not the native internal systems.)

  • ACTRIS (Austin)
  • Bright MLS (Eastern Seaboard)
  • California Regional MLS
  • First MLS (Atlanta)
  • REcolorado
  • Stellar MLS (FL)
  • More to come…
DLU November 23rd, 2020