In the mindset of creating a simple solution this question should have a simple answer!
“The core of the MLS should be to interconnect the inventory of real estate professionals and enable each member to collaborate and sell each other’s listings.”
I know, there’s a whole lot of other services than can be added to an MLS but again … let’s reinvent a simple solution.
So how can one system do this on a global scale? Not an easy answer.
What is it that we want to share and collaborate on? Information about properties, members and actions. Ok, sounds simple enough …
In analyzing the data that needs to be shared I managed to identify 3 core elements.
1/ LISTINGS: Exclusive listings
2/ CONTACTS: Every person or entity is a contact: sellers, buyers, agents, brokers, loan officers, title company’s, groups, franchises… By giving a contact a ‘role’ and/or connecting the contact to one or more listings you can further create a unique dataset.
3/ ACTIONS: between each and every contact and/or listing, actions are possible.
These 3 core elements are the base ingredients of the MLS and any combination is possible.
So now we have the base ingredients, let’s start cooking … but wait, we are talking about ‘Data’ and data comes in different structures? A data standard is needed, luckily there is the (American) ‘RETS – Real Estate Transaction Standard’, slowly but surely this data standard is being implemented in more and more real estate software in the USA and Canada.
Now what about the rest of the world? In other parts of the world there is no standard, and if the RETS standard was used it would not be sufficient, the reason being that more/other data fields are needed. Off course there are a lot of similarities but there’s also country, regional and company specific fields that aren’t included in the RETS.
I decided to use the RETS standard and add other fields that were missing. In fact it is impossible to know on a global scale what other fields are needed. So the MLS platform needs to be able to add data fields when needed! Data fields can always be added but the UI (user interface) would have to be changed every time a field was added, now this was a major challenge… More on this subject in later posts.
Another issue is the interface language, the MLS needs to be multi language. Each user should have the UI in their own language.
It also needs to be user friendly, with a close to zero learning curve. Users young and old must be able to use the MLS software with the same ease. It must be fun to work with and with a minimum of input create a maximum of output. The focus must be on the user, their listings and their clients, not on the system.