Joe Schneider Shines Spotlight on Global MLS Standards

Expanding global consumer transparency, broker collaboration & industry innovation: A simple answer 

An OpEd by Joe Schneider in

In December 2023, over 100 MLS, association, proptech and brokerage leaders from 32 countries embarked upon Paris, France, for the inaugural International MLS Forum.

Spearheaded by the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) and the European Association of Real Estate Professions (CEPI), the forum was organized to discuss the future of global real estate but primarily focused on the starting block for this transition: a common data standard creating a unified “language” of real estate regardless of borders.

That standard, of course, is the RESO Data Dictionary, which is the standard in North America and has expanded into over 20 countries.

Current global data landscape

In most countries besides the US and Canada, real estate markets are loosely regulated and have virtually no centralized data repositories or standards. Generally speaking, most brokers focus on hyper-local markets that cover neighborhoods rather than cities. That local focus, coupled with the fact that buyer and seller broker cooperation is the exception, not the norm, limits the need for robust data repositories.

However, as it tends to do and has been proven by other industries, the internet has rewritten the dynamics of the real estate profession by empowering the consumer with more information and the desire to have as much information as possible to make the best decision.

With consumers demanding more market data and information and the opportunity to leverage new technologies to scale a broker’s business, the global real estate industry is waking up to the idea of data-powered tools and resources as a critical component of their business.

Building with a unified global mindset

With real estate consumers demanding more insights into the biggest purchase of their lives, and the emergence of proptech companies bringing valuable process and efficiency improvements for both consumers and agents, MLSs and associations across the globe are taking essential steps to ensure that their respective markets are organized in a way that benefits all stakeholders.

As those conversations ramp up, the natural tendency is to build these MLSs with standards that best fit their hyper-local market, without thinking about how they fit into the “bigger picture” of integrating into regional, provincial/state, national and international data systems. Building highly bespoke and disparate MLSs will bring about highly disparate and isolated markets, leaving stakeholders to navigate many different platforms, interfaces and systems to shop and find real estate.

Building an MLS using a comprehensive and globally accepted data standard creates an agile framework that allows even the smallest real estate markets to plug into the global property search landscape and take advantage of leading innovations in the industry.

The importance of a single data standard

First and foremost, a single data standard fosters transparency. Imagine a world where a property’s specifications, transaction history and market trends seamlessly flow across borders, accessible to consumers and professionals alike. Such transparency breeds trust, empowering buyers and sellers with the insights they need to navigate complex markets confidently.

A unified standard propels broker-to-broker collaboration. By speaking the same “language of real estate data,” brokers can effortlessly share information, streamline transactions and expand their networks across geographic boundaries. This collaboration transcends competition, enriching the industry’s collective knowledge and enhancing the client experience.

Perhaps most importantly, a single data standard catalyzes industry innovation. With a solid foundation of accessible and standardized data, proptech companies can efficiently develop cutting-edge solutions that revolutionize real estate, further empowering consumers and real estate professionals. In other words, with all real estate data built under the same standard, proptech companies can build a single product with identical inputs in every market abiding by the standard.

Adopting a single data standard is the surprisingly simple answer to the complex challenges facing the global real estate industry. It’s a necessary first step in guiding us toward a future where real estate borders blur, collaboration flourishes and innovation knows no bounds. As MLSs, associations and stakeholders embrace this paradigm shift, they pave the way for a more transparent, interconnected and dynamic real estate ecosystem that empowers consumer transparency while opening up new business opportunities for brokers around the world.

If you’re interested in learning more about the work to create a single standard, visit the International MLS Forum’s website and stay tuned for the 2024 International MLS Forum announcement.


Joe’s Bio is found here

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