Sunday, November 4, 2007

Marketlinx's RETS Connector - a huge step forward.

As RETS continues to achieve greater and greater levels of adoption, the uses of the data retrieved will continue to expand. As I see it, RETS has 3 main sources of use in the data retrieval arena:

1. Client Tool access
2. IDX vendor access for daily website refresh
3. Ad-Hoc data needs.

Client Tool Access
Many of the client tools out there (WyldFyre, Top Producer, HP Real Estate Marketing Assistant) have a connection tool built in them to access data via RETS. Which makes using those products that much easier, eliminating to pull the data externally, format the file appropriately, and then import into each application.

IDX vendor access
This by far is the most popular use of RETS. The more traditional method for data access has been FTP. But RETS has several advantages over FTP:

1. RETS is near real time, you get the data with updates often just a few minutes before, whereas FTP is usually a static file from the night before.

2. RETS is only what you ask for. If you want the $10 million homes, then you get just those records. With FTP, you have to pull ALL the listings, then extract the ones you want.

Historically, RETS has been more difficult to schedule. FTP has several software packages that allow for you to schedule a daily data pull. Since RETS is real estate specific, you usually needed to construct your own (often complex) method to schedule a periodic data pull that does not require you to manually start.

Ad-Hoc data needs
This is the newest type of data access. As more and more agents/brokers/etc. get more tech-savvy, they will need more specific and immediate data needs. Being able to pull a specific set of records from the MLS, and analyze them using spreadsheet software such as Excel, will allow them to gain insight about the market that they would not have been able to in the past. In fact, CRT even has a RETS-to-Excel tool that does this job very nicely.

So... what does all of this have to do with Marketlinx's RETS Connector? Marketlinx has produced a RETS download client that provides a very easy to use, reliable, and robust method to access the data within your MLS. It has a "Metadata-aware" interface, which means it can interpret what fields and values an MLS has available to you by reading in the RETS Metadata.

And, more importantly, you can schedule this to run however often you need it to (and forget it). And yes, if you install this on a server, it will run as a service and not need to be run under a user session.

Bottom Line, if you are an agent/broker who is a member of an MLS that offers RETS, download this and give it a shot. RETS Connector is primarily designed for customers of the MLXchange or TEMPO systems, but is written to comply with the specification, so should concievably work with any RETS server.

Alternatively, MRIS (the largest MLS in the country) has developed an equally powerful RETS client called Conduit. Try them both out, and see which you like better...

30 comments:

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  3. I do truly think that RETS Connector should be considered part of the RETS Framework. It might sound a bit spammy but It's not. Here is an article I wrote about RETS and the Roll of RETS Connector in. Why the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) is a Framework, NOT a Language

    - cheers,

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