In a CRS Real Estate course taught by Chuck Bodie his goal was: "To get you Real Estate Agents to think more like business people." Lerner and Loewe and Prof Henry Higgins might ask: "Why can't an agent be more like a businessman?"
On 1/10/08 Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo and 8 other Real Estate listing aggregators joined together announcing their agreement to use a common data standard for Real Estate listing. (Google doesn't comment about plans for features while they are in production) This standard will finally allow a single listings feed from an agent or broker to go to multiple Websites.
The small boys just got a lot bigger and the big boys just got a lot smaller.
Realogy, the nation's biggest Real Estate holding company, with Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA in its stable, also announced they'll be using the standard.
What standard you ask? A standard based on the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) launched by the NAR in 1999 and mandated for all state, regional and local Realtor sponsored MLSs by 6/09, 10 years after the initial offering. (Who ever said dealing with us Realtors was like herding cats?)
Will the NAR again be a dollar short, after being a day late?
Will Trulia, Zillow and Yahoo and the rest of the enterprise channel take our data standard and beat us to our customers, as they're doing with our listing data?
In a forum at Inman's Real Estate Connect (back in the Wild Wild East of Manhattan Real Estate) Lloyd Frink (#2 at Zillow) responded to a question about Zillow's becoming a national MLS: "We don't plan to become a National MLS." (Zillow has very purposely been Realtor friendly and has avoided scaring Realtors in any way).
Well, Zillow may not plan on it, but a National MLS might be forced on them. Or, if Zillow abdicates (like the NAR has done so far) its leadership role in the pursuit of the Holy Grail of a National MLS, will Trulia (whose traffic just surpassed Zillow's) pick up the battle flag? Trulia push-pins to property Web-pages? Pete Flint might be using his great British accent to charm a Zillow-sized VC round ($87MM/3 = $29MM)out of those West Coast, media-friendly VC's like Benchmark Capital.
Mark Lesswing the Chief Technology Officer of the NAR has been the most vocal proponent for the RETS standard. It's been a 10 year fight, almost all uphill. Mark is also the technology adviser to the NAR's Second Century Ventures Fund, started 1/1/08 (hopefully not more cats).
Might the NAR, through Second Century, invest in a Real Estate technology which uses its own data to make even more money? Might RETS fit in with the NAR's Gateway concept of a data base for every property in the US?
Hooray for the RETS, White and Blue!
And the National MLS and an open Gateway.
Posted by: Cliff Jacobson
Adapt Or Die! Happy Searching.
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