What is Real Estate Transaction Standard? And its Benefits?

Real Estate Transaction Standard

When it comes to finding a home, our older generation like to ask neighbours and experienced persons.  But when we ask the millennials or the young generation, we can say that real estate search is all about digital search. We create IT solutions to help real estate businesses adapt and thrive in this industry.

So, in this. blog we are going to discuss RETS – a technology crucial for building a robust real estate app.

Real Estate Transaction Standard acts as a special translator app for the real estate world. We use it to make software programs talk to each other easily. Buyers now are tech-savvy. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, typically search for homes online for 10 weeks and view a median of 7 homes, and view 4 homes online only,

In light of this, it is essential to have a real estate app that is latest and easy to use. Real Estate Transaction Standard enables your app to directly access Multiple Listing Services databases. This provides buyers access to current details of all the properties. They can easily narrow down their search and find the perfect home faster saving them valuable time and frustration.

You may wonder what is the importance of real estate transaction standard. Data feeds in various channels work smoothly with the help of RETS. Estate agents MLS property listings on a daily basis.

An Multiple Listing Service in real estate is a giant database containing property listings from various estate brokers and agents. Your app needs RETS to get real estate info. With RETS, your app can get photos, descriptions, and prices in real-time.

Imagine clients using your app to seamlessly navigate estate transactions. No more switching platforms or getting stuck with old kinds of data.

Your app has become their favourite source for real estate searches. It allows them to search, view, and manage potential properties efficiently.

This showcases your company’s commitment to innovation in the industry. We will now explore real estate transaction standard in detail and learn how to use it for an app.

What is RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standard)?

RETS is an acronym for Real Estate Transaction Standard. Developed by the National Association of Realtors, RETS is the translator app for real estate software. 

There was a time in the real estate industry when different technology systems couldn’t talk to each other. Scattered estate data and inconsistent property listings were a real headache. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) came up with a revolutionary solution over 20 years ago in the form of the Real Estate Transaction Standard. 

It’s not a program itself but a set of rules and regulations that act like a translator app that allows various software systems to understand each other. This innovation has facilitated stakeholders to access standardized information. RETS has been the silent hero that keeps the real estate data highway running smoothly.

What Is Purpose Of RETS?

Standardization: Maintaining consistency in how RETS data is formatted is its main purpose. It defines how details like estate listings and agent profiles with office information should be structured. This eliminates confusion and makes data transfer seamless.

Efficiency: Real Estate Transaction Standard access makes sharing of information easy. This translates to faster updates and improved collaboration. Agents and brokers get accurate property details for clients.

Interoperability: Imagine you have a phone that only works with specific chargers or a computer that can’t read files from other devices. That would be frustrating for everyone. Interoperability solves this problem by making different systems understand and utilize each other’s data.

What Are Functions Of Real Estate Transaction Standard?

Standardized Data Format

You have noticed the same patterns of ingredients list or nutritional values in a food packet. This is because the food authority and various organizations have strict rules for showing information in a standard format. Likewise, RETS feeds real estate data into platforms using a standardized format. A consistent presentation of property details across different websites and applications is possible through it.

Querying Capabilities

Real Estate Transaction Standard allows for targeted searches and this feature was absent in FTP. The stakeholders can request specific subsets of data based on pre-defined criteria like location or property type with specific price range. It saves time and resources by not needing to download entire datasets.

Incremental Updates 

RETS is like having a smart library system. It only updates the catalog with the new arrivals and borrowed books with replacements. This saves you time and you get accurate information without unnecessary data transfers.  Similarly, RETS only transmits changes in real estate listings. It will check new properties and updates in existing ones instead of the entire dataset every time. To reduces redundancy and keep the data transfer time minimal, this function is crucial.

Metadata and Schemas

RETS includes metadata that explains what different fields represent like square footage and number of bedrooms. Also, data dictionaries set the structure of property data that makes it the same across systems including IDX in real estate.

Authentication and Security

Security is paramount when dealing with real estate data. An RETS connector comes with authentication procedure to make sure only authorized users can access or update data.

Benefits of RETS in Real Estate Businesses with Websites and Mobile Apps

Multiple Listing Services have traditionally held real estate data. However, retrieving and displaying listings on their websites and mobile apps posed a challenge.

Different platforms used varying formats that created inconsistencies and inefficiencies.

RETS bridges this gap by establishing a standardized delivery of data. It defines a common structure for how property details and estate listings information should be presented.

Advantages of Using RETS

The impact of RETS extends far beyond simply standardizing data formats. Here’s how it empowers real estate websites and mobile apps:

1. Increased Efficiency and Automation

Website owners and developers in the past had to manually update listings or rely on tedious data transfer methods. RETS automates this process. Real estate platforms can leverage RETS to automatically query the MLS organization for changes in listings and streamlining data updates. You could, therefore, concentrate on adding engaging features and enhancing user experience, as data in the real estate industry is extremely dynamic.

2. Improved Data Accuracy and Consistency in Results

Standardization is the core of real estate transaction standard. Imagine browsing on multiple real estate websites and then suddenly coming across nonstandard abbreviations or vagueness regarding the property. Information about the square footage, number of bathrooms, and so on should be displayed in a standardized way across the websites.

This means users will be able to compare listings easily and also minimize all the potentialities of errors. Provision of the right kind of data builds trust and confidence with the potential buyers, hence the RETS transaction process will be smooth.

3. Enhanced User Experience with Real-Time Information

And in that way, days of property search with old listings are gone. With the help of Real Estate Transaction Standard, the freshest property information is available on real estate websites. In such a way, potential buyers are apprised of the recent changes and make sure not to miss out on their dream homes.

Real Estate Transaction Standard permits a more targeted data retrieval system through advanced searching capabilities. This will thus help in filtering the listings based on some criterion, hence customizing the search process.

RESO Web API is the successor to RETS

The real estate thrives on smooth data exchange. It connects buyers with sellers and empowers estate professionals. While RETS was the backbone to facilitate the exchange of data for years, the industry is moving to the RESO Web API.

Understanding the Evolution

Before RETS, the real estate data was chaotic. Program formats were in a myriad of forms, in most cases mixed to a point at which different kinds of data were almost incompatible. It’s like having several programs, each talking in a different language. RETS changed all of that. The RETS connector acted like a translator that created a standard format into which all users could fit all these different kinds of data. RETS also enabled internet data exchange to be more efficient by sending only updates to the data and makes it a time and resource-saver.

The Real Estate Transaction Standard, more familiarly known as RETS, has been viewed by many to have radically changed the way real estate data is exchanged and accessed in the industry. However, like any technological innovation, it also had its downside and presented several challenges. Two common drawbacks were storage overhead and development complexity.

Storage overhead:

According to Real Estate Transaction Standard specifications, the MLS agents should maintain the local copy of the database of the MLS organizations on the computer systems at the local location. This way, in essence, the local copy provided one central repository for the listing data and the information about the agent, combined with other important details that are required while transacting in real estate. 

Though this local storage helped in faster retrieval and worked offline, it had a lot of overhead: that of storage. This led to the increased challenge of having many of these enormous databases of MLSs accommodated in the limited disk spaces for many real estate professionals. 

This needed big resources of the computer, whereby the agents had to accommodate most of these local copies and resources that could have been put in place for other important business tasks.

Developmental Complexities:

Software developers who use RETS would required to literally duplicate the whole database of MLS in their local RETS servers. This means duplicating the whole structure of the central MLS database in such a way that each detail about estate listings, agent information, or any other point of data is perfectly replicated.

The mechanisms for handling updates on these local RETS servers further required a way to keep data integrity. There were additions of new estates, revisions made to old listings, and some changes and upgrading of the agent information.

All this choreography of database replication and update management called for a high degree of technical expertise on the side of software developers. The whole process was time- and resource-consuming, while any mismatch or error in any step could give rise to inconsistencies between the local RETS server and the central MLS database. Such inconsistency could be fatal and compromise the trust of the whole system to RETS clients dependent on correct data.

Why RESO Web API is Preferred?

The RESO Web API addresses these limitations and paves the way for a more efficient future.  It has features that can make the estate transactions better.

Built on Modern Standards

RESO leverages RESTful design principles that are widely adopted across various industries. This simplifies integration and promotes wider access to real estate data via web and social media applications.

Direct MLS Queries

RESO allows real-time, specific queries directly to the MLS. Users see up-to-the-minute data without lag to ensure the highest level of accuracy.

Flexibility and Scalability

No local database duplication is required with RESO. Developers can target precise data requests that enhance efficiency and reduce development complexity.

Enhanced Security

RESO Web API service offers robust security protocols that safeguard critical real estate data.

Industry-Wide Adoption

The industry is actively transitioning towards RESO. MLS providers are retiring RETS in favor of the API to ensure standardized communication across the real estate ecosystem.

Real Estate Transaction Standard

Source: https://www.anyrgb.com/

RETS v/s RESO Comparison Table



Standardize real estate data exchange for efficient communication.Modernize data transfer for efficiency and scalability with current data access.
Year Introduced
Proprietary protocolsOpen data standards with RESTful design
Data Format
Data Access
Requires local database duplication in client sideNo local storage required

Less robustMore robust security protocols
Development Complexity
Widely used in the past and considered deprecatedIncreasing adoption and replacing RETS
Less robustMore robust security protocols
Industry Adoption
Widely used in the past and considered deprecatedIncreasing adoption and replacing RETS
Benefitsa. Standardized data format
b. Efficient data transfer (reduced redundancy)
a. All benefits of RETs
b. Real-time data access
c. Flexibility and scalability
d. Wider accessibility (web, mobile, social media)
e. Enhanced security
Drawbacksa. Storage overhead 
b. Development complexity
c. Limited querying capabilities
May require updates for existing systems
Additional NotesDeveloped by National Association of Realtors (NAR)Developed by Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO)
Comparison Table of RETS v/s RESO in Real Estate

This table is for,

  • Real estate professionals
  • Website Developers & Mobile App Developers
  • Anyone curious about how real estate data exchange has developed.

The Future of  RESO is Promising

The sharing of real estate data has advanced significantly with the launch of the RESO Web API. It is the industry’s best option for the future because of its exceptional qualities. While RESO offers a more flexible and efficient solution, Real Estate Transaction Standard accomplished its mission admirably. The importance of the RESO Web API won’t diminish as the market shifts. It facilitates effective data sharing and communication.


What is RESO Web API?

The RESO Web API is the modern successor to RETS. It utilizes open standards and allows real-time, specific queries directly to the MLS server, offering greater flexibility and scalability.

What are the drawbacks of RESO Web API?

The most important thing is the updation of real estate transaction standard. You may require updates for existing systems previously built for RETS.

Is RETS still used?

While some MLS providers may still use RETS, the industry is transitioning towards RESO Web API due to its modern architecture and advantages.

How does RETS transfer data?

RETS relies on a client-server model, where the real estate platform downloads changes (new listings, updates, deletions) from the MLS server at regular intervals.

How does RESO Web API transfer data?

RESO Web API utilizes a server-side model. Real estate platforms can make specific data requests directly to the MLS server in real-time and  retrieve only the information they need.

Is RESO Web API difficult to implement compared to RETS?

While RETS involves managing a local database, RESO Web API simplifies development by focusing on data requests. However, developers familiar with RETS may need to adapt to the new approach.

Is RESO Web API more secure than RETS?

RESO Web API offers more robust security features compared to the basic authentication used in RETS.

What if I’m a real estate professional using a platform built with RETS?

Many platforms are transitioning to RESO Web API. Check with your platform provider for updates and their migration plans.

I’m building a real estate website/app. Should I use RETS or RESO Web API?

For future-proofing and taking advantage of real-time data access and scalability, RESO Web API is the recommended choice.


Real Estate Transaction Standard and especially RESO Web API have become essential tools in the modern real estate industry.

They guarantee a steady flow of accurate property data which is fundamental for real estate businesses that create websites and mobile apps. 

Real estate businesses can provide an exceptional user experience with current listings and powerful search features through this API.

So, make the best out of RESO Web API to build a future-proof real estate app. Partner with an industry-leading real estate app development company to leverage cutting-edge tech and create a unique platform that empowers you and your clients.

Starting as an iOS developer and moving up to lead a mobile team at a startup, I've expanded my expertise into Project Management, DevOps and eventually becoming a COO in the IT sector. As a COO, I excel in team leadership, technical advice, and managing complex business functions, focusing on combining technology and operations to drive growth. I'm keen to connect for collaborations or to exchange insights in the tech world!



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