The Realities of Working with MLS Data
By Chris Freeman on the WolfNet blog
Posted by: RE Technology
Guest contributor Chris Freeman of WolfNet Technologies says:
A couple years ago, I spoke at the Inman Connect real estate conference, in a session titled, “MLS Hell: Coping with Data Normalization in an Abnormal Industry.” From the title of the session alone, one can get a sense of the direction in which it went. WolfNet, being an IDX provider to the real estate industry, currently works with approximately 350 different MLSs, importing MLS data directly from each of the respective MLSs and making it searchable on the web for our Realtor clients. Other than a handful of MLSs which have merged, and two MLSs which share the same data format, all of the property data imports are completely different.
RETS, the Real Estate Transaction Standard (www.rets.org), as the name implies is a set of standards to which all MLSs make their information available to the real estate industry. Although the advent of RETS has been an improvement over the former method of FTPing flat data files, it has not resolved the primary issues of different data, data types and definitions between MLSs.
- RETS would make vendors’ data import scripts all the same
- All MLSs would use the same version of RETS
- All MLSs would use the same data column names and data types
- All MLS rules and regulations would be the same
- All MLSs would provide documentation for their data and data access
- All MLSs would notify vendors of changes before they occur
- RETS organization would provide very strong guidelines and recommendations
- We would have peace on Earth