Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS)
RETS is a framework that can be adopted by any computer system to receive data from the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®). Using this standard, developers can download the real estate listing database directly to “local” servers.
The RETS protocol has been the method of accessing MLS® System data for more than 20 years and is still used in solutions that serve REALTORS®.
In 2017, the technology has been sunset, and no further development is made by RESO and replaced by the Web API technology. Although the RAE offers both technologies, new subscribers to the RAE’s data feeds are advised to adopt the new technology and existing solutions are recommended to be transitioned to take advantage of the Web API.
Web Application Programming Interface (Web API)
RESO has released the RESO Web API standard as the current standard for distributing real estate data. The most significant difference between RETS and this new way of obtaining data is that the data is no longer required to be stored on various servers. Instead, the queries of data are live and talk to the Associations MLS® System database directly. Like most shifts in technology, this type of data access has different merits in comparison to RETS. Some of these include supporting a mobile environment and lightweight data packets that are transferred. Whereas a newer vendor may benefit from quicker development time by embracing the RESO Web API, for those providers already using RETS, their existing technology solution’s technical debt may be costly to switch to RESO Web API.
Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO)
Real Estate Standards Organization, or RESO, was incorporated in November 2011 as an independent, not-for-profit trade organization that was previously a section of the National Association of REALTORS®. RESO provides the foundation for streamlined real estate technology through the creation of standards. RESO provides an environment for the development and implementation of data standards and processes that facilitate software innovation, ensures portability, eliminates redundancies, and obtains maximum efficiencies for all parties participating in real estate transactions. Members of the organizations include MLS®, brokerage, REALTOR® associations and technology partners serving more than one million real estate professionals.
Syndication simply refers to the distribution of data and is a method for data subscribers to authorize the distribution of their listing data to third parties. In most cases, a subscriber (licensee) to the RAE’s MLS® System data is not allowed to syndicate.