A standard, like software, is never complete – it just goes on to the next version. But, the RETS standard has been going on for ten years – I think it’s time to take stock about how far it has come and talk about where it could or should go.
If you’re an MLS executive or an agent, why should YOU care about this RETS stuff moving forward quickly? Doesn’t it already facilitate your data feeds, syndications and MLS collaborations? Think about this – recently I was negotiating an MLS contract and wanted to know what data, created by my client and their subscribers could be moved from the old system to the new one:
- Listings? Of course.
- Roster? Of course.
- Contacts? That might be possible with custom work, not using RETS.
- Prospects? No.
- Saved searches? No.
- Custom columnar reports? No.
- Custom search screens? No.
More than half of the items that we wanted to move from system to system using RETS couldn’t be done. Each one we couldn’t move would mean pain (time/effort) for the MLS subscribers as they had to re-create the data in the new system manually. This isn’t just relevant to moving from one system to another – it’s relevant to offering a parallel system – or multiple MLS front-ends – or any number of potential MLS add-on products. And I could make similar points about the difficulty of moving between other real estate systems, such as association management and transaction management systems.
This difficulty in moving systems or adding systems (some would call this the “friction of the transaction”) does not encourage the most competitive marketplace for real estate technology – and this is bad for my MLS and Association executive clients and bad for their subscribers and members. Face it – most of the people driving the data standards are more established vendors – and they do not have incentive to improve standards to make it easier to move to another system. So, if you want the standards completed to the point where you can move *all* of your data from system to system, increasing real estate application innovation, increasing competition in the technology marketplace and making transitions between systems easier for your members – YOU have got to work with your peers to drive the standard forward.
If you want to contact the Chair of the RESO Outreach and Education committee, email Kristen Carr (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Fall RESO/RETS Conference is September 23rd – 25th, 2009 in Chicago, IL – more information is available here: http://www.rets.org/meeting
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