CMLS is an acronym for the Council of MLS. It is an organization that allows MLSs to share best practices in their pursuit of delighting the brokers and agents that subscribe to MLS services. A few years ago, they began the successful practice of having a primer conference the Tuesday before the NAR Midyear Legislative meetings. This year’s meetings were held at the City Club of Washington D.C. with 130 in attendance.
Diamond sponsors for the event included MLS vendors Black Knight Financial and CoreLogic. They were joined by Homes.com, realtor.com, Zillow.com, and Trulia.com, all of whom overtly recognize and support the role of the MLS in delivering data to their publications.
Agenda: RESO Data Dictionary Certification, 1.5 hours. Certified Best Practices, 1.5 Hours.
RESO Data Dictionary Certification
WAV Group has written pretty extensively on the topic of RESO Data Dictionary Certification. CRMLS CEO, Art Carter, introduced five panelists, each of whom represent MLSs using different vendors:
- Sean Murphy, TARMLS (FBS Data)
- Mike Cotrill, CTAR/NORES (CoreLogic)
- Lauren Hansen, IRES (self-developed MLS system)
- Dave Howe, MetroList (Rapattoni)
- Greg Manship, Intermountain MLS (Black Knight)
There is an assumption that the MLS vendor is going to take care of MLS certification for their customers. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of this work must be done by Jan. 1, 2016. You must be certified! Your server must go through a certification process before the end of the year.
Why Data Standards?
Data Standards are the set of rules that must be followed to ensure compatibility and interoperability between all of the different parties in a real estate transaction. It is incumbent on MLSs and brokers to join RESO to stay informed of these important standards. According to Jeremy Crawford, CEO of RESO, “the beauty of RESO standards is that data feeds in every MLS will be identical so there is no engineering required by application developers to enter different MLS markets.”
Step 1 – Contact your vendor’s RETS implementation team. RETS is “real estate transaction standard.” It is a structured data format that allows vendors to access MLS data for the purpose of serving technology applications for use by agents and brokers. Keynote: MLSs should contact their vendor ASAP.
Step 2 – Data mapping. Every MLS has a unique set of fields. Mapping is a process of aligning MLS data fields to the Data Dictionary standard. The standard not only names fields, but also applies business rules to the data. For example, a zip code needs to be five characters and must be a numeric integer. Another example may be acreage, where the property lot size is only expressed in acreage and not in square footage. Keynote: Nothing needs to change in the MLS system to become RESO certified.
RESO has published a Migration Starter Kit at http://reso.org/data-dictionary
Best Advice: Start Now!
Timing is everything, and if you wait too long, you will hit a logjam with RESO. Today they can certify five servers per week at their current staff levels. That capacity would only certify 200 of the 800 MLSs. Clearly, they will be adding staff, but if you don’t plan your work and work your plan, it’s possible that even if you get it done, you may not meet the certification deadline. The queue is open today. The faster you get ready, the better off you will be.
- Contract Addendums: 1-2 months for legal work
- MLS Staff Work: 2 weeks to 2 months
- Certification: RESO can only certify five per week at current capacity. Where you fall in the queue makes a difference. (P.S. There is a fee that needs to be considered in your budget.)
Certified Best Practicing MLS
This session was moderated by Shelley Specchio, CEO of Nevada based NNRMLS and current CMLS President. Joining her were Steve Byrd of Carolina MLS, Stephanie Hill of GLVAR, and Denee Evans, CEO of CMLS.
A certified MLS aims to answer the question, “What should I expect from my MLS?” The term MLS is pretty loosely defined. There are somewhere around 800-850 MLSs in the nation, but the services and practices are significantly different. There are seven disciplines of certified MLSs that express the value of an MLS. It is also a benchmarking tool that allows MLSs to reach peak performance.
The seven best practices are Human Resources, Leadership & Governance, Marketing & Communications, Customer Service, Technology, Legal, Data Compliance, Policies, and Finance. Many MLSs today are building their MLS strategic plans around these documents.
CMLX is a designation that indicates that an MLS staff or leader has gone through some form of training. It’s an accreditation program. Las Vegas MLS is one of the only MLSs in the nation that is pursuing CMLX, Commercial Alliance, and Global Achievement Program. Per Stephanie Hill: “In Las Vegas, these certifications are ways of instrumenting the service delivery to our subscribers and maintaining a roadmap for the ongoing delivery of service excellence.”
CMLS is considering the development of certification levels. The lowest level is Not Certified. Above that, there is Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each of the seven areas will not be a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ There is a consideration to recognize MLSs that will need to take steps, supported by budget and staff resources, to get to the levels.
Information about certification is available at: http://www.councilofMLS.com/resource-center
CMLS Conference Details
CMLS annual conference registration opens Monday. The event is scheduled for October 7th – 9th conference in Kansas City. Register now!
- Tuesday: Finance Day
- Wednesday: Legal Day with a BBQ tour that night