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RETS: Small Name, Big Possibilities

What is RETS? At first glance it sounds like something you may want to avoid, but for the professional Realtor and their web developer itís like gold. It helps Realtors update property information on the MLS server, saving time and keeping listings current. It can all be done through PHP and a good database.

  1. RETS: Small Name, Big Possibilities
  2. How it Works
  3. The Basic Login in Detail
  4. The Login Script
  5. Authentication
  6. Benefits of RETS
  7. Final Thoughts
By: Ron Goff
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October 25, 2004

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Currently my hometown has been getting a huge influx of people moving to our small community from the expensive big city. Our local Realtors our trying to capture these prospective clients as they move in, and one way they are doing this is by highlighting the properties they are selling through their website. However most of their websites are static and could use some updating, but they, like many others, are too busy with business to worry about website updates. They need to have their home and property listings pulled to the web automatically to save time and money.

This is where RETS can help.

Realtors who understand RETS love the idea, but many have not heard of it or what it can mean for them. Most of the time they input their property information on the MLS server and will continue to update this information through the sale of the house. Although, many times the Realtor will list the same property on their own website, but it will usually go unchanged for months and may even remain on their own site after it has been sold, only to cause confusion by potential buyers. RETS can alleviate the double input. Once the Realtor has added or updated their property information on the MLS server, their website can be updated without having to lift a finger, and it can all be done through PHP and a good database.

The History of RETS

RETS is a set of standards developed by the NAR (National Association of Realtors) in 1999 to access MLS information from a computer, based on a single set of standards and a common language. This gives the Realtor the ability to pull any information stored in an MLS server. There are many MLS service providers across the nation; now with this set of standards, the Realtor is able to pull information for their own purposes from any MLS in the nation -- talk about open.

This is why it is so useful. Hundreds of thousands of homes may be for sale, and you could go to one site to see current information on any house or property in any state that is for sale, much like homestore.com. Sites like the one I just mentioned can use this technology to constantly update their databases of property for sale and keep content fresh for property across the nation.

The standards used are XML based, which makes them easy to read and parse by a program to store in a database for later use.

RETS Defined: Real Estate Transaction Specification 

The Real Estate Transaction Specification is a document that defines a series of computer interactions called "transactions" and serves as the definitive reference source for developers who implement them. It establishes the parameters for each specified transaction, both upload and download, as well as the expected behaviors and results that compliant hosts and clients must be able to manage, including error codes.

For more information go to http://www.rets-wg.org/faq.html.

>>> More PHP Articles          >>> More By Ron Goff

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