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If you have never seen how sausage is made, as the saying goes, you don’t want to, or you’ll never eat another sausage. The truth is we really don’t think about what goes into creating a lot of things, and like industry standards, once they are available, we kind of take them for granted.

Rob Larson, who serves a dual role as head of the RESO Data Dictionary Workgroup and as Chief Information Officer of the nation’s largest MLS, the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS), gets to see up close and personal, all the little challenges that go into creating new standards.

One of the things his Data Dictionary Workgroup has been wrestling with is providing brokers with Days on Market (DOM) information.

Brokers requesting a DOM standard may sound like a simple request, but what Rob and the workgroup discovered is that creating a standard DOM isn’t straightforward at all.

Like ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, DOM comes in a lot of different flavors. How MLSs define the measurement of Days on Market varies tremendously.


The Survey

To get his arms around the challenges with DOM, Rob sent out a survey to his workgroup members to poll them on how they define DOM. The responses did more than illustrate that DOM means different things in different markets, it also opened up new ideas and ways to tackle the DOM dilemma.

The survey respondents represented a nice balance of users from all of the major MLS system providers, including those that build and maintain their own solutions.

More than 80% of respondents had DOM data and more than 60% track cumulative Days on Market (CDOM).

DOM is called many different things, including:

  • Days on Market
  • Active Days on Market
  • Days in MLS
  • Cumulative Days on Market
  • Days on Site
  • Agent DOM

Fewer than 20% track Active Days on Market or Days in the MLS. And there are a wide variety of other DOM-type measurements that some track, but most do not, including Agent DOM, List to Close, Days to Offer, Days to Sale and more.

But even when to begin the DOM date drew a split response. While more than 60% said the DOM date should begin on the Listing Contract Date, about 1 in 4 said the DOM start date should be the date it is input in the MLS. And there were others (more than 5%) who suggested a different start date.

When the survey went deeper into the weeds, you could see how creating a DOM standard was not as simple as one might think. Just polling how different MLSs treat a “Hold” or “Withdrawn” status shows the complexity of this process.

In some MLSs, it stops for Hold and Withdrawn. Sometimes, it stops for a Hold but not Withdrawn. In others, it stops for Withdrawn but not Hold. Then there is the fact that nearly 40% of all MLSs only have either Hold or Withdrawn and the DOM stops, while others with only one allow the DOM to keep going!

The survey looked at how DOM is affected by Under Contract statuses, again, whether DOM stops or continues for Pending or Under Contract statuses. And once again, there was no consensus to current practices across MLSs.

The same thing was true, the survey found, when a listing was sold. The DOM stopped on different triggers depending on the MLS. For some, it was the Purchase Contract Date; for others, it was the Close of Escrow date. Some stopped the DOM when it went into Pending status, while others stopped when the status was changed to Sold in the MLS.

Layer in events like what happens to DOM when a listing expires or when it is canceled.

Four different answers were given to the question: “You sign a listing contract on Saturday and you input the listing on Monday, the DOM on Monday shows as…”

Respondents were given these choices: 0, 1, 2, 3, Not Sure and Other. None of the responses received a majority among those polled.

Similar questions were asked to illustrate the DOM measurement variances among MLSs, with the major takeaway being that this is exactly why a standard for DOM would be valuable.


Next Steps

Rob is leading a discussion among Data Dictionary members trying to narrow down the issues and complexities that need to be addressed in developing RESO standards for DOM.

Issues being discussed are the differences between Days on Market and Days in MLS, where the former focuses on contract-related dates and other changes made inside the MLS.

All RESO members have access to the survey results, and there is a discussion piece about DOM in Confluence, the RESO collaboration platform. If you want to join the discussion, feel free to chime in on Confluence or join the Data Dictionary Workgroup.


At the RESO 2019 Fall Conference

The DOM survey and additional DOM work was reviewed. The additions of Days on Site, Simple Days on Market and Days in MLS to the Data Dictionary were reviewed, voted on and passed.


Bottom Line

It’s not always a pretty thing to watch how the sausage is made, but it is a fascinating process. Looking at the labor that goes into ferreting out a single issue like Days on Market makes one appreciate the Herculean effort that workgroup leaders like Rob and other volunteers do to create RESO standards that help everyone.

DLU January 22nd, 2020