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Can I Get A RETS Feed?

I got some great news the other day. One of my local MLS’s finally became RETS compliant. I could now get new properties updated to my site every few hours. I was stoked.

The call to the MLS was made shortly after hearing the news, hoping to have RETS up and running within the week. My sales rep picked up the phone and I asked if I could cancel my FTP and XML feeds, and replace it with RETS.

“But we don’t offer a RETS feed,” replied the sales person.

“What do you mean you don’t offer a RETS feed,” I laughed, “I just got an email that said you were RETS compliant.”

“Yes, we’re RETS compliant,” the sales rep explained, “but that doesn’t mean we have to offer you the feed.”

As you might imagine, this led to an email to compliance@rets.org. The first response I received was positive.

“I am pretty sure that they (MLS’s) need to provide the feed to brokers as well as just having a database that supports RETS,” was what the email said, and I was pleased, thinking I would get that RETS feed after all. Until…I received a second response,

“I asked and it appears that all the policy does is require that they have a RETS compliant interface, it does (not) say who they have to provide it to.”

So the rep at my local MLS was right. MLS’s are required to have a RETS compliant interface, but are not required to provide that feed to brokers.

OK, let’s take a look at some RETS policy created by the NAR Internet Strategy/Technology Work Group back in 2007:

“Adopting an industry-wide standard for data exchanges between participants and the MLS will enable REALTORS® to utilize information with either in-house or commercially available tools and will further establish REALTOR® data as the trusted source..”

But my Realtors don’t get access to RETS, so what information will they be utilizing?

“The Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS) provide a vendor neutral, secure approach to exchanging listing information between the broker and the MLS.

How can brokers exchange this secure, vendor neutral data if they don’t have access to it?

Oh well, I guess for now I don’t get RETS, but I’m confident that this little oversight will be fixed in the near future. I’m sure for many of you, it doesn’t pose a problem, but for anyone interested in requiring MLS’s to provide RETS to Realtors and Brokers please comment here.

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About Justin Britt

Justin Britt (justin@hawaiilife.com) is Head of Innovation and Co-Founder of a little Hawaii Real Estate company. Britt oversees user interface design, SEO, programming, public relations and social media for Hawaii's 6th largest and fastest growing real estate brokerage.

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  • http://www.karlhafer.com/ Karl

    This is obnoxious – the hodgepodge of standards and feed syntax holding up real estate data is almost embarassing. Good luck!

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  • http://www.bradofficer.com/ Jacksonville real estate agent

    One call to the local mls and I fully understand what is holding up forward progress. Slow to respond to basic request, maybe 1 guy there with true tech knowledge, answer for everything is no……this has been my experience thus far.

  • http://www.prestonguyton.com Preston Guyton

    Nice post and something new to know about RETS. Good that you had contacted RETS and found the exact status…Would like to request you to post the article here or contact me directly if you have found RETS implemented perfectly fine on your website…

    Great post indeed!

    Regards,
    Preston Guyton

  • http://www.randyvanderpool.com Johnson County KS Real Estate

    Thanks for the post. I am glad to know that I am not alone. Hope that this all gets sorted out sooner than later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Justin-Britt/540707035 Justin Britt

    I'll continue to keep everyone posted here in the comments. Right now the next step is to submit a request to the NAR.

  • anitakoppens

    Each MLS acts as its own country. Some friendly, others hostile. Maddening in an ever advancing technologically savvy world.

  • http://www.goreoagent.com Mike Snapes

    At Gohoming, http://www.gohoming.com, we utilize RETS feeds and find that we are still running into fragmentation across the industry regarding all types of feeds and inconsistency. I used to work in the auto industry and they had it figured out ten years ago. I am not sure what is driving this lack of collaboration to unify as it would only breed success across the board. Any thoughts?

  • http://www.goreoagent.com Mike Snapes

    At Gohoming, http://www.gohoming.com, we utilize RETS feeds and find that we are still running into fragmentation across the industry regarding all types of feeds and inconsistency. I used to work in the auto industry and they had it figured out ten years ago. I am not sure what is driving this lack of collaboration to unify as it would only breed success across the board. Any thoughts?

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