Please re-elect FBS to the RESO Board

Nov 3, 2021 Michael Wurzer

RESO is conducting elections for open seats on the Board of Directors, and I’ve submitted my candidacy to be FBS’s representative on the Board, and I’d very much appreciate the vote of all RESO members! I’m currently the Vice Chair of the Board and very much want to continue the work we’ve been doing, which recently was recognized by Inman as an Inman Innovator and the MLS, Association, or Industry Organization of the Year.

The RESO team, led by CEO Sam DeBord, certainly deserves the credit for the recognition by Inman and the success of the organization over the last several years. The RESO team is one of the biggest reasons I’d like to continue as a Board member, because I firmly believe the work they’ve been doing is helping our industry to make the real estate market work better every day.

As I’ve said in my candidacy statement, “Standards work takes time, focus, and collaboration, and I’m committed to providing all three to RESO and the broader standards community if I’m elected.” I know all too well everyone wants (and needs) standards implementation to move faster, and I and FBS are very committed to making that happen, but I also think it’s important to celebrate successes along the way and to be realistic about the breadth of change and benefits standards are bringing to the industry. Standards work requires patience and perseverance as much as vision and strategy, and I hope I bring all those to the RESO Board.

In addition to experience with and commitment to standards, FBS brings a pretty unique perspective to the RESO Board as a MLS software vendor exclusively focused on the core mission of MLS organizations. FBS is owned 100% by our employees and our business model is clear and simple: Provide the best MLS software and service to our customers. We’ve been in this industry for over 40 years and have consistently grown to now serve over 300,000 agents in 156 MLS organizations across the country and internationally. We serve MLSs of every size and have a broad understanding of the needs of both MLS organizations and the many different organizations that need data from MLSs. As a RESO Board member, I hope to continue to bring this perspective and experience to the effort to make RESO standards better.

In my candidacy statement, I suggested three priorities for RESO for the coming two years:

  • Real-time updates for replication,
  • Increased utilization of Web API for use cases beyond replication, and
  • Media management standards.

I’ll elaborate on these priorities a bit more here than I did in my candidacy statement, which I wanted to keep short.

First, let’s talk about replication, which is the dominant use of the RESO Web API today and likely will be in the future as well. Even though the Web API is a RESTful API intended for more real-time queries rather than replication or copying of the database, the Web API also can be and, in the vast majority of cases, is being used for replication, similar to how the legacy RETS standard has been used. That’s all fine but one of the challenges with any replication strategy is latency, and the reality is agents, brokers, and, most importantly, home buyers and sellers live in a real-time world today. Many vendors have done an awesome job of reducing latency, but I think it would be great if the community could collaborate on how to move everyone as much toward real-time data updates as practical.

Related to this, I’d also like to see the RESO community continue to explore ways to use the Web API for cases beyond replication. This was and is the original reason for a RESTful API and I believe there are many more cases where live queries can be very beneficial to the end-user experience. I understand the responsibility for the end-user experience is on those implementing the standards, and not on RESO itself, but I believe there is work the RESO community could do to identify, educate, and promote non-replication use cases that help improve the experience for MLSs, agents, brokers, and their respective customers.

Lastly, I believe RESO should prioritize what we’ve been calling a “listing update” standard, specifying a protocol for how third party software can add and edit listings in the MLS or other listing system. There’s already been quite a bit of work done on this front, but more work remains and adoption and utlization of the Web API has been the priority for the last few years. Now is the time, however, to increase the priority of listing update, and, to that end, I’ve been advocating to the RESO Board and the broader community that we can lay a strong foundation in relatively short order if we focus first on media management.

Many vendors, including FBS, already have APIs for media management, including photos, videos, virtual tours, floor plans, etc., but those APIs are not yet standardized. Perhaps more importantly, I believe the lack of standards has contributed to uncertainty by MLS organizations on how or if they should approve third parties to be able to use these APIs. The pandemic has shown us all unequivocally how important media is to marking the market work, and the MLS and RESO standards are critical to that effort. Now also is an awesome time to start with something like media, because it generally is easier to standardize than the deeper listing data set and success with media will help  us learn a lot and prepare for tackling other parts of the listing.

I’ll close on this last point by saying that, overall, I’d love to see RESO defining more narrowly focused outcomes important to customers that deliver results faster to the industry. If I’m re-elected to the Board, I will continue to push for results focused on outcomes important to the industry. This is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the vibrant and productive RESO community and I hope you will vote for FBS to continue our leadership and advocacy as part of the RESO Board.