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RESO Web API v. RETS

Real estate technology is in the middle of its largest transformation in decades.

MLS and developers are racing to transition away from RETS before the December 2018 deadline.

Long considered the gold standard for IDX, the framework is now all but obsolete.

The Real Estate Standards Organization has announced RETS will be retired in June.

The replacement?

RESO Web API.

It’s a faster, more flexible data standard that RESO promises will push real estate deeper in to mobile and social applications.

In this moment of transition its important to remember where we are going and from where we came.

So we put together RESO Web API v. RETS to highlight the differences and commonalities between the two standards.

Let’s start in the past.

RETS HISTORY

The Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) was created in 1999,  by the National Association of Realtors. As one of the largest standardizations efforts in history, RETS was a major force in shaping the industry we know today.

For the first time under RETS, MLS and technology partners could transfer property listing data with a level of predictability.

This was a massive step toward addressing decentralization problems among the nation’s 700+ MLS.

HOW EXACTLTY DID RETS WORK?

RETS provided a framework for property listing data transfers.

It allowed IDX software to query an MLS database and synchronize updates.

These queries provided the same results across MLS (with some minor differences).

This streamlining spawned dozens of real estate technology companies, like Realtyna, who now could serve clients around the country with minimal coding.

It also meant agents and brokers could display properties from multiple MLS,  on the same website without too much trouble.

SO WHY REPLACE RETS?

RETS included a number of tradeoffs. Based on XML, the framework required anyone with a feed to download the entire listing database to their local servers and then to run updates progressively.

Many MLS contain 100 GBs or more of listing data. To handle all of this data, agents and brokers, had to have large and expensive hosting plans.

Further, with copies of their listing data scattered across the web, the MLS never could be sure of security.

INTRODUCING RESO WEB API

So in 2016, RESO started rolling out RESO Web API.

Like RETS, RESO Web API is designed to conform real estate technology practices in the absence of a nationwide MLS.

Unlike RETS, RESO Web API greatly streamlines the transfer process.

THE RESO API DIFFERENCE

As an API (application programming interface), the new RESO standard allows IDX software to call MLS directly.

It’s hard to underestimate the impact of this change.

Imagine a user that runs a property search on an IDX website. Under RETS that search would query a database on the IDX site’s servers and return results.

Under RESO Web API, the search queries and returns results directly from the MLS servers.

This eliminates the need for large local hosting purchases and reduces security concerns from the MLS.

But that’s not the only benefit of RESO Web API.

The new standard is also based on OData, a global technology protocol. This gives developers a familiar platform to build, software, applications, and plugins.

RESO says these innovations will save agents and accelerate the development of new real estate technology products.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

Because of these advantages, RESO considers the Web API to be the superior standard.

It says RESO Web API, “makes everyone’s life simpler.”

So MLS and real estate technology companies, including Realtyna, are racing to make the switch.

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