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Op/Ed

Brokers should join RESO if they want to control real estate data standards

Many don’t know that RESO manages real estate data standard, and is driven primarily by volunteers. Brokers that expect to impact change should be part of this solution.

Are you a broker who has IT people creating the software that helps you run your business? Or are you a broker who depends on software vendors for this? Either way, you should consider joining the “Real Estate Standards Organization” (RESO).

RESO is the organization that manages the development of data standards such as RETS.

Everywhere data standards are developed and adopted, they let you easily move your data from one software package to another rather than locking you into platforms you aren’t happy with.

That means you can change out your broker back-office, transaction management, lead management, CRM, website, and client collaboration tools and all your data can be in your new system without excessive cost or effort. It means you can get your data out of these systems and use your own programmer(s) to build innovative application that run your business more effectively and let you outdo your competition.

Your vendors aren’t doing it for you!

You may have already noticed that you don’t control your own data. Perhaps you have felt the grip of software “lock in,” where you can’t easily use new innovative software because your data is difficult (or impossible) to get out of your current software.

Perhaps you have also noticed that the RETS standard is pretty good for moving listings around (after all, it’s mostly been designed by people focused on MLS operations), but that it doesn’t handle most of the data that drives your business.

Whose fault is that?

The buck stops with brokers who haven’t advocated for their interests in the standards group and haven’t dedicated resources to getting changes made.

Funded by members, driven by volunteers

Though NAR helped get RESO off the ground, RESO is mostly funded by members – and that means you. It costs money to run the effort and staff the organization.

The better funded RESO is, the more resources can be brought to bear on your data standards problems and those problems can be solved more quickly. But, while money is important to the effort, it is volunteers who set the direction and priorities. That means you need to work inside the organization as a work group leader or participant, or as an elected member of the board of directors.

Data standards are not created by RESO – the standards are created by all of us – the volunteers. Again, if you’re a broker and data standards don’t do what you want today, the buck stops with you.

Get your software vendors to join RESO

Are your software vendors all members of RESO? Ask them. Make it a part of your vetting process. Vendors that help in the efforts with their dollars and time are the ones that have your best interests in mind.

Vendors that work to drive and adopt data standards that put brokers in control of their data are the ones you want to be dealing with.

You may have also noticed that many of your brokerage systems don’t get anything close to real-time updates using the existing data standards. Instead, many brokers and their software vendors are still using old-fashioned “FTP” to infrequently update MLS and other information in their systems.

Sometimes MLSs are not as cooperative as one might like in providing the RETS feeds brokers need, but that’s a challenge that can be overcome, as some vendors already have.

If you want to make sure your vendors are doing their part to give you and your other software vendors access to and control over all of your data using RESO data standards, make sure what you expect is reflected in your contracts. As everyone in this industry knows well, if it’s not in writing, you may not get what you want.

Embrace the opportunity

Having a standards organization that you and your software vendors can participate in and control is a wonderful thing.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to create standards that prevent product lock-in and which put you in control of your business’s data. Embrace this opportunity.

#RESO

Written By

Matt Cohen has been with Clareity Consulting for over 17 years, consulting for many of the real estate industry’s top Associations, MLSs, franchises, large brokerages and technology companies. Many clients look to Matt for help with system selection and negotiation. Technology providers look to Matt for assistance with product planning, software design, quality assurance, usability, and information security assessments. Matt has spoken at many industry events, has been published as an author in Stefan Swanepoel’s “Trends” report and many other publications, and has been honored by Inman News, being listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders.

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