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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.

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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