I recently attended the RESO (Real Estate Standards Organization) 2015 Fall conference in Austin, TX. It was cool to be back in the “live music capital of the world” and one of my favorite cities in the United States. This was my first time attending a RESO Conference and I was quite impressed. The event featured 2 ½ action packed days.

RESO develops and promotes the adoption of standards throughout the real estate industry. The organization was initially a section of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) but incorporated as an independent, not-for-profit trade organization in 2011.

Standards are critical in the real estate industry. They ensure that MLSs (Multiple Listing Services) communicate seamlessly, applications are cross-platform, data sets are consistent for advertising and more. To help make this a reality, NAR introduced policy that requires MLSs to comply with RESO’s Data Dictionary in 2016. As stated on the RESO website:

The Data Dictionary serves as the real estate industry’s “Rosetta Stone” for real estate data. Hundreds of MLS, and other source providers, gather data. But what good is it if the data cannot be shared or understood? The Data Dictionary ensures that each system “speaks” the same language. It is the common standard that defines real estate data in consistent terms and data structures; a template data providers may follow to format its most common fields.

The RESO Dictionary has two purposes.

1: Serve as a non-RETS guideline for a national standard for the fields and look-ups (enumerations) in the MLS.
2: Common center for all expressions of fields and enumerations.

There were a ton of great sessions that covered everything from home energy to MLS policy. There were also workshops and panels. I participated on a panel entitled: “How RESO Standards enables innovation for the new brokerage models.” We had a lively discussion that covered such topics as:

  • What it means to be a ‘broker-centric’ MLS
  • The challenges of working with multiple MLSs in a marketplace
  • How RESO is empowering broker innovation

However, my favorite session of the week was PlugFest. PlugFest is a hack-a-thon and product showcase. Dan Troup, Director of Information Technology for RE/MAX of Michigan, lead the winning team. Dan build a clever app that enables a user to simply text an address and be pinged back with additional information about the home including price, number of beds and baths and even a Zestimate. He utilized 4 API’s to create the app:

  1. The Zillow Zestimate API
  2. The Google Address Correction API
  3. The Retsly API
  4. The Twillio API

It’s also worth noting that CRT Labs (Center for REALTOR® Technology) placed 2nd with a project that is near and dear to my heart. The CRT team recorded environmental data captured by a netatmo station and streamlined the data onto a property details page utilizing an interactive chart. The proof of concept was rock solid. Real estate websites currently display crime statistics, community data, tax information, etc. Including environmental and energy data is a natural progression and the next wave of real estate technology.

For a detailed break-down of the sessions, check out Matt Cohen’s extensive Report.

Finally, I’m happy to report that I have been appointed to the RESO Board of Directors. The position is a two-year term and my role will be to represent the brokerage community within RESO. I’m excited to be part of the team and look forward to moving the needle.