Online real estate companies Yahoo! Real Estate, Zillow.com and Trulia.com announced this month that they have adopted a new standard data format for the distribution of online real estate listings. By providing the one format, the companies hope to make distributing listings data easier for the real estate community comprised of real estate franchisors, brokers, multiple listing services and other listing providers.
The companies believe that the standard will help these real estate professionals reach consumers more quickly and efficiently, especially as more and more consumers are utilizing the Internet to search for homes. Other real estate sites that will adopt the new standard include Homes.com, Homescape, Oodle, Point2 Technologies, RealEstate.com, Vast.com and vFlyer.
According to a statement announcing the news, all of the companies will work with the Real Estate Standards Organization to ensure that the data interoperates with the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS). The data feed specification will be based on an XML format and will contain the typical components of a housing listing, such as address, price, square feet, beds, baths and additional descriptions of home features. The standard is expected to help real estate professional save time when creating online content. Before the standard was in place, they had to create about 12 different formats for one listing. The standard feed format is expected to launch later in 2008.
This seems like a great solution for all involved. All of the participating online real estate companies will likely receive more listings from real estate professionals as they recognize the ease in the standard will enable them to create listing content. An increase in listings will only help the online companies continue to build their credibility in the marketplace and possibly help the real estate professionals sell more properties as they increase the exposure of their listings across a myriad of sites.
It's interesting, however, that Realtor.com (the web site of the National Association of Realtors) is not involved in this development. Realtor.com certainly possesses the name recognition and credibility in the real estate market. Obtaining listings from real estate professionals is not likely a problem. However, will those professionals eventually forget to include Realtor.com as they work with these other companies in this new format? It seems like this could put some real pressure on Realtor.com in the near future.