When working or preparing a project for a real estate investor, freelancers often ask this question. Unfortunately, most clients are ignorant of the differences between IDX, MLS, and RETS, and use them interchangeably in conversation (if they are aware of the words at all). Checkout CRMLS IDX. Let me try to break down the meanings as best I can as I understand them.
Multiple Listing Operation (MLS)
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a collection of resources that helps brokerages in a local real estate board to fairly collaborate and exchange property details, as well as organize and disseminate information about area properties to clients.Cooperation among real estate brokerages predates the internet and can be traced all the way back to the 1800s.
The MLS was created as a means for brokerages to be compensated for assisting in the sale of a home. According to the National Association of Realtors in the United States, there is no single or regional MLS in the United States; instead, each MLS is managed by a local association of brokerages and realtors.
Private tech companies (MLS vendors) typically supply the database and software for accessing MLS data; the two most popular are CoreLogic and FlexMLS. There is no shared data format between different boards due to inconsistencies in real estate boards and the lack of a standard authoritative MLS. Certain data specifications are gaining momentum, which takes us to IDX and RETS.
Data Exchange on the Internet (IDX)
An Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is a website that enables the general public to search for MLS assets in a specific region.IDX, also known as Broker Reciprocity, refers to the laws, rules, and applications that regulate how listings are exchanged with the public online. Checkout CRMLS IDX.
The MLS was limited to real estate brokers and brokerages prior to IDX (members of the real estate board). As the Internet’s popularity increased, there was a huge demand for everyday consumers to be able to conduct their own MLS searches without the help of an official.IDX implementation ranges from one board to the next. The following are the most popular IDX options:
The search tools and property listings run on the IDX software vendor’s site and are posted on brokerage and agent pages with an iFrame or widget.CSV / flat file data feed: The MLS lists are available as comma-separated or other formatted text files on an FTP server. To link and download the listings nightly, the program must be written.
RETS: A specialized platform for downloading MLS data quickly
The norm for Real Estate Transactions (RETS)
The Real Estate Standards Organization launched RETS to help standardize the way the software communicates with MLS info. Prior to RETS, listing data was stored in flat files on FTP servers, making it difficult to run queries or receive only nightly updates. Furthermore, the data types and file positions will differ from board to board, making applications uniformly accessible incredibly difficult.RETS is built on XML, and there are various resources and libraries available to work with RETS info.