Why MLSs should care about APIs

APIs, simply put, are a modern way to move data from one program to another. They’ve had a profound impact on technology, enabling us to do things we never could’ve imagined even 10 years ago…

…like pay our mortgage using an app on our phone, turn on the lights of our house by saying “Hey Google, turn on the kitchen lights”, or order more laundry detergent by pressing a button that sticks to the washer.

All of these things and more were made possible because of APIs.

But we’ve been slow to adopt them in real estate. And that’s partly because our data is massive, complex and localized.

But we can’t keep waiting to jump on the API train. APIs will play a key role in propelling innovation forward in real estate if we let them.

APIs will enable software and app developers to more easily enter our industry and build the type of innovation brokers are starved for.

APIs will fundamentally minimize the effort involved in moving critical data between your MLS and the increasing number of places your brokers want it to go.

RETS was a critical first step in moving standardization of data forward in real estate. But RETS is slowly fading away – mainly because the rest of the technology world is using APIs, which can move data, in a standardized fashion, in much the same way.

This is why the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) is moving to Web API, and creating levels of certification for APIs that can handle various levels of data complexity that previously were handled via RETS.

For an MLS, an API can:

  • Reduce support and management costs
  • Distribute Data Dictionary and native MLS fields in one feed
  • Simplify the listing access process for authorized users
  • Facilitate bringing new vendors into your market
  • Help you monitor data access and usage

 

Bottom line: a well-documented, modern API that is RESO certified can take your MLS organization and your broker members into the future faster and more efficiently.

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