The number of forms involved in a real estate transaction is daunting not only because of the sheer complexity, but because of the manual effort required to fill out the same information multiple times in the forms, the MLS, transaction management platforms and more. Entering the property and client information in numerous locations not only wastes valuable time, it can cause errors that may not be discovered until much later.
The promise of a true single-point-of-entry, in which you can enter property data in one location and have it sent to all your digital services, is just now starting to become a reality. The benefits of digital real estate forms have been around for many years now, and the tools are becoming even useful as vendors create data-sharing integrations with other real estate applications. For example, a REALTOR® can, right now, enter information at their MLS and have it automatically sent to every form needed in a transaction as well as to transaction management software.
Three vendors – MLSPIN
, and SettlementRoom
– have a data sharing system that allows a REALTOR® to enter information into the MLS and then export that data to a SettlementRoom transaction. From there you can export the data again into a Trueforms account. All this can be done in minutes without needing to re-enter anything more than login information to verify your account at each vendor.
Learn how to connect MLSPIN to your SettlementRoom accountDownload instructions.
Now let’s get philosophical for a minute. This is just a small taste of the power of data sharing. The Real Estate Transaction Standard
(RETS), developed by a volunteer group from major MLSs, real estate technology companies, and REALTOR® Associations, is creating a way for all vendors to more easily share listing data between their services. Simply put, these “standards” are a common language for computers that make it easy to use data in many ways. Software vendors use these standards to work with other software vendors because it is more beneficial to work with others than to try and go it alone.
A common example is “HTML”, a standardized way of creating web pages that can be displayed by any web browser; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and more. The Internet would not have evolved to its current form if you could only view certain websites in Internet Explorer, others in Firefox, and still others only in Safari. Because all websites can be viewed by all web browsers, the creators of those web browsers get to compete on the features and usefulness of their designs. The same will go for real estate electronic forms vendors, transaction management platforms, and the like.
Think about it this way. Vendors will adopt standards, like RETS, so their software will be more valuable to their users (as in the above example of MLSPIN, Trueforms, and SettlementRoom). Vendors that don’t adopt standards will lose subscribers to the vendors that do support these integrations. If a subscriber (that means you, the REALTOR®) can take their data to a different vendor at anytime using RETS, that vendor will be forced to work harder at creating a better product to keep you as a subscriber. Successful companies will be those with the best product and not simply those who were first-to-market and first to lock subscribers into their own software. And when software companies compete on the merits of their products, you win! Article written by:
Director of Technology Services
Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®