The race is on for real estate web APIs

What questions MLSs and industry leaders need to ask right now

After a period of slow adoption of Web APIs in real estate, there’s finally been a turning point in the industry. This is good news for tech-conscious brokers, their vendors, and the MLSs who have long known that Web APIs offer a faster, more secure and more modern way to manage data in the real estate industry.

There are many benefits to adopting a Web API. MLSs enjoy meticulous control over data feeds that are simple to manage. And brokers and vendors get data in a format that’s friendly and easily integrated into many of their technology platforms.

Choosing the right API partner

API adoption and utilization is coming. It’s critical for MLSs to make smart choices now so they have the right API partner when the technology goes mainstream. MLSs may even want to offer members more than one API option, and there are lots to consider.

So, how do MLSs compare APIs? Here are five critical areas to examine.

#1: RESO Certification

RESO Certification — and its various levels — means the API has been tested and meets the standards set out by RESO for sending and receiving real estate data. RESO maintains levels of certification, with Platinum being the highest. Certification is an easy way to identify the API that’s going to be able to do all the things you need it to from day one.

#2: Cost to the MLS and members

Certification is necessary and some API providers may charge, while others may not. Also, providers’ fees to MLS members for access to the API vary. BridgeAPI is set up to offer certification for Web API and Data Dictionary free to MLSs and also make access to data recipients free.

#3: Flexibility and control

Will the API lock the MLS into a certain platform or lockout other technologies they may want to integrate today or in the future? This is a critical aspect to explore and understand when researching options. There may be repercussions for all members if MLSs are simply choosing the most convenient API to get the decision made, without considering future implications. This is worth spending time on.

#4: Speed

Obviously, the speed and health of the technology are key to operating smoothly. No one wants to start off in this new reality with lag times that will impact members’ businesses and the MLSs’ core value. But not all APIs perform the same. Take the time to speak with current MLS customers of each API you are considering.

#5: Partner viability

As with any technology relationship, it’s imperative to choose a partner that is built for today’s realities and prepared to grow with the MLS and its members in the future. What kind of support can they offer in the early days? What is their average time to get a Web API up and running in an MLS? What is their response rate? How are they preparing for future industry innovations that will require data to flow efficiently, accurately and securely?

The opportunity is now

The path to certification today will lay the foundation for an amazing new reality for MLSs that is full of innovation, independence, and value for members.

About Bridge Interactive
Bridge Interactive, owned by Zillow Group, offers certification for Web API and Data Dictionary FREE to MLSs, and FREE access to their members.