I’m in NYC for the Inman Connect conference and I think this could be a lot of fun, and maybe a turning point for real estate data standards. One of my favorite ideas is to create a universal property ID, which would make it easier to use the web to connect information from different sites about the same property. Just last month at the RETS meetings in Miami, there was a good discussion on this possibility during a presentation from a representative of the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA).
Tomorrow, I’ve got a meeting with representatives from Google, Yahoo!, Zillow and Trulia to discuss syndication standards and I’m thinking the timing may be right to discuss the universal property ID concept as well. Just yesterday, the Data Portability Work Group announced that Google and Facebook both had represenatives join their effort. I’ve written before that the concepts of data portability (though most often written about in the context of social networks) are highly relevant to real estate data and multiple listing services. One of the building blocks for data portability is microformats, and there already are draft microformats for address and geo-data.
It seems pretty clear to me that these issues are all very related because discussions about real estate data standards really begin and end with identifying the property accurately. RESO, PRIA, Data Portability, and syndication portals like Google, Yahoo!, Trulia and Zillow all can connect on this one issue of property identification and, if that happens, that simple step could fundamentally change the way real estate data is shared.