The National Association of Realtors, along with representatives of multiple listing services, brokerages, real estate vendors and search companies on Friday announced the approval of a draft standardized data format for the widespread distribution of real estate listing information.

"By collaborating with our (standards organization) partners to standardize the data formats, we are making it easier for Realtors to feed their clients’ property listings to multiple real estate sites in one format, saving them time and money," said Mark Lesswing, NAR chief technology officer and senior vice president, in a Friday statement.

The announcement culminates earlier efforts and builds momentum for the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) movement, an effort spurred by NAR to create and adopt industry-wise data standards. RETS-compliant data systems are already widely used within the industry.

Broader adoption of real estate standards could facilitate more data-sharing and other collaborative efforts within the real estate industry and with third-party companies and Web sites.

For example, there are a range of third-party Web sites that accept property listings information but require data feeds to be supplied in different ways.

In January, a group of nearly a dozen Web sites that accept and display for-sale real estate information supplied by agents, brokers and MLSs agreed to adopt common data standards compatible with RETS.

And all Realtor-affiliated MLS must adopt RETS by June 2009, National Association of Realtors directors decided in a November vote. An estimated 63 percent of all MLSs had adopted RETS as of late 2007, according to a study by a work group of the governing organization for RETS.

The RETS mandate provides that Realtor-affiliated MLSs, which represent the lion’s share of all MLSs in the nation, must also keep current with new releases of RETS by upgrading to the latest versions within a year of their release.

NAR began pushing for data standardization in 1999, and last year NAR backed the creation of the governing organization, the Real Estate Standards Organization, to oversee RETS.

Members of the RESO working group that approved adoption of the draft RETS standard include: MLS Assistant, MLS Listings Inc., MLSPIN, New Jersey MLS, TREND MLS, Move Inc., Bridge Interactive, Bainbridge, Cevado Technologies, CLRsearch, eNeighborhoods, eShowings, FBS Data Systems, Google, Homescape, Marketlinx, Oodle, Point2, PropBot, Prudential Preferred CRE,, Realtracs, ThreeWide, Trulia, Vast, Yahoo and Zillow.

Several of the RESO partners will implement the approved draft RETS "immediately," according to the NAR announcement. "Following their feedback, a final draft will be presented and voted on during a meeting of the partners in August."


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