Real estate search and marketing company Trulia has joined the Real Estate Standards Organization, a move both say is in step with their goals of fostering efficiency and software innovation in the real estate industry.

Alon Chaver, Trulia’s vice president of industry services, will join RESO’s board of directors for a one-year term, with an option to renew, starting Jan. 1. His role and responsibilities at San Francisco-based Trulia will not change.

Trulia has the second-most popular real estate website in the nation, receiving 30.1 million total visits from desktop computers in October, according to Experian Marketing Services.

“RESO’s mission is to standardize real estate data, so working with Trulia is a natural fit with our goal to make data accessible and interoperable for all,” said Rebecca Jensen, CEO of UtahRealEstate.com and chair of the RESO board, in a statement.

“Adding Alon to the board will help us lay the groundwork for further cooperation between MLSs, brokers and developers.”

Chaver is not the only high-profile board member RESO will be adding next year. Craig Cheatham, president and CEO of large brokerage network The Realty Alliance, accepted an invitation to join RESO’s board of directors in October.

RESO, which became incorporated as a nonprofit organization two years ago, reached out to Cheatham as a way to drum up support from the brokerage community. Only a few brokers have joined RESO and currently provide less than 1 percent of the nonprofit’s revenue.

Vendors and consultants make up 30 percent of RESO’s revenue, and multiple listing services make up 51 percent. At the moment, MLSs and vendors each have five representatives on RESO’s board, and the National Association of Realtors has three (one of which represents NAR subsidiary Realtors Property Resource). The organization has 64 charter members.

RESO aims to standardize real estate data to make it more accurate, consistent and accessible so that MLSs, vendors and third parties can develop better and faster real estate applications and platforms at lower cost.

Alon Chaver

Alon Chaver

“RESO is dedicated to aligning the real estate community towards a shared set of data standards and processes. This is clearly a worthwhile cause and will ensure listing data can be more accurately displayed wherever brokers choose to display it,” Chaver told Inman News.

“Lower data integration costs also allow everyone in the industry, including Trulia, to invest more resources in innovation to the benefit of the real estate community.”

RESO’s data standards include The Data Dictionary, which is a standardized set of data terms for the most common descriptions of property characteristics used by industry players, and an API the organization hopes to finalize by the end of the year.

Part of the impetus for the Data Dictionary, which RESO adopted last year and updated in November, was to make it easier for technology vendors to develop streamlined “plug and play” tools for use by any of the nation’s more than 900 MLSs that adopt the standards.

Today, an app that’s developed for one MLS may not be compatible for use by another without modifications. Vendors have an incentive to develop apps for the biggest MLSs first, because they have the largest customer base, leaving smaller MLSs with fewer options.

If MLSs adopt the standards, the reasoning goes, vendors will no longer have to spend additional time and money coding each product to match varying MLS data definitions.

Chaver said data standards would allow Trulia to more easily and quickly develop products that connect agents and brokers with consumers on the Web and on mobile devices.

“Standardization of data would reduce costs for current products and allow us to invest more resources in developing new products to help our industry partners grow their businesses,” he said.

Standardized data will also help Trulia improve its existing products to better serve its customer base, he added.

This is particularly true for Trulia’s mobile apps where “higher-quality listing data due to data standardization is especially helpful,” and the design constraints of small screens “make the immediacy and accuracy of information paramount,” Chaver said.

Trulia has several mobile apps across multiple mobile platforms for homebuyers, renters and real estate agents.

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