MLSs struggle with standards, consolidation

Experts: If we can't count bathrooms, how can we move forward?

NEW YORK — Using bathroom humor to sum up an undying problem with data standards, Joel Macintosh, CEO for real estate tech company WolfNet, shared a request from a programmer at his company.

"Could you do me a favor? Could you have (the industry) fix ‘bathrooms’?" the programmer asked when he learned that Macintosh would be speaking about data standards to an audience of multiple listing service officials and vendors during the Real Estate Connect conference.

Figuring out how to best calculate and represent the intricacies in the data field for representing a home’s number of bathrooms — halves and quarters, fractions and decimals — is among the flashpoints in the ongoing discussion and debate over the best practices in standardizing property data.

During a series of MLS panels at the conference, industry experts discussed workarounds for the industry’s slow implementation of data standards; consolidation; an "MLS App Store"; stronger connections between consumers and MLSs; and building a larger pool of MLS data, among other topics.