An Introduction to RPR

by Kelley Koehler on August 17, 2010

Did you get an email to take a survey from AAR last week?  I did!

And like a good little member, I completed the survey.  However, there were some descriptions on there that were kinda phrased oddly, and some questions I didn’t really understand, especially where I was asked to differentiate between a statewide MLS and some other options.

One thing mentioned on the survey that I felt wasn’t well explained was RPR.  Have you heard of RPR?

RPR is the Realtors Property Resource. NAR has this venture capital fund called Second Century Ventures.  From this fund, NAR invests in new technologies and initiatives to support their REALTOR® membership.  One of those projects is RPR.

The idea behind RPR is to make this HUGE library of information about property as an ultimate research resource for REALTORS®.  (Try saying that 3x fast…)  We’re talking a mashup of public records, tax information, mortgage and lien information, zoning information, flood maps, details of prior transactions, neighborhood data, demographic and psychographic information, school districts, maps, trends, reports – and they’d love to include all the information from all the MLSes across the country as well.

Can you imagine all that information in one place?  You log in once and have all of that at your fingertips.  No more having to go to five different sites to do your property research.  Everything you want to know about a house is all in one place.  You can get more and better information to your clients about houses quickly, all from one single website.  Fast.  Easy.

And don’t confuse RPR with a national MLS.  There are no offers of compensation in the system.  It’s just a gigantic collection of data.

And free.

Did I mention free?  Yes, free.  And only available to members of the National Association of REALTORS®, of course.

Like any big new idea, there is controversy.

First is about access.  The RPR folks say this resource is intended for REALTORS®, not for the general public.  The more cynical among us think RPR will give access to the public eventually.  RPR says no.  This is a REALTOR® resource only.

Second is about participation of MLSes.  Not every MLS is wanting to give their data to RPR at this point.  One of the big fears from MLSes is that RPR will make the MLS less necessary, which makes an MLS a little scared for their survival.  And historically, MLSes aren’t big fans of giving away their data and information – something that is changing slowly in this new online information age.

Third is about money.  RPR is intended to be free to members of NAR, but collecting all that data and maintaining the program costs money.  The fear is that eventually RPR will have to find other funds – like asking for an increase in member dues or selling access to the data.  Right now, RPR plans to stay afloat by selling reports about the data – by selling analytics and trend information to people like lenders, servicers, insurance companies and government entities.

Dale Ross of RPR addressed some of those issues, which was covered on the AAR blog earlier.

RPR is in beta right now, and not yet fully complete or released.  You can keep track of RPR’s progress on its Facebook page or blog.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ulises Romo August 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

I am not sure about the RPR.

Sage Dillon August 18, 2010 at 11:54 am

Ulises, tell us more! :) What are your main concerns?

Ted Mackel August 23, 2010 at 8:11 am

NAR gave us REALTOR.com, probably the worst home search tool out there and left the door wide open for Zillow & Redfin.

I don’t hold much hope for anything cutting edge or functional.

If you have ever seen the “Quick” search screen on Tempo – So Cal MLS, that is the usual rubbish we get from software vendors and a realtor committee filled with 50-60 somethings. ;)

I could go down the list. e-pro is a good example. NAR approves these Programs and let’s them run with the most outdated information. No follow up or reviews of these programs from NAR.

Kelley Koehler August 23, 2010 at 8:52 am

Hiya Ted!

R.com is from Move, not NAR. Yeah, they outsourced it, but I wouldn’t say they gave it to us directly. And I’m not going to go back how many decades and tell NAR that outsourcing was the wrong decision at the time. It may have been the exact right one. We just aren’t fans anymore, but there’s existing agreements and obligations to be honored. My rumor mill says updates are coming.

And ironically, I just got back from a meeting of a NAR committee that I’m on – and I’m certainly not a 50-60 something. There are changes afoot… have a little hope. :) It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen – if those of us that desire change get involved and make it happen.

El Brant September 3, 2010 at 11:00 am

Here’s the thing… say this happens and all REALTORS® start relying on the data, but the data isn’t accurate (poor data entry, failure to update records – whatever), and then we start seeing multiple lawsuits popping up for due diligence failure… then what? Is it responsible or (even) appropriate for REALTORS® to rely on one source for all of their data?

Kelley Koehler September 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Hi El! Thanks for commenting!

If you consider it, those are the same risks we have now. The MLS is only as good as the data entry. As are any online records. RPR only takes that data and puts it in one place. In the Tucson MLS, we can click on ‘tax info’ for a property and it pulls up a record from CRS. That CRS information is just an aggregate of other public records. RPR does that same thing on a larger scale.

If you wanted to check the RPR data against the original public record or MLS, you certainly could.

Francces Flynn Thorsen October 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Kelley says, “Did I mention free? Yes, free. And only available to members of the National Association of REALTORS®, of course.”

This article does not mention the resale of MLS data … creating AVM products and other third-party applications. RPR is NOT about collecting MLS data and giving FREE stuff to Realtors. Will they throw bones to Realtors? I’m sure they will.

Reggie Nicolay of RPR put together a great video demonstrating FREE reports to Realtors (latest bone). My guess about the next step with that little bone? Move.com (parent company of Realtor.com) will take that data and create a better-than-ever CMA product for Top Producer (another Move.com company) that it will SELL to Realtors … The PAID product will offer adjustments to value and other neat features not available with the FREE package everyone is hot and bothered about today.

What will RPR pay MLSs for that data? Nada. They’re dispensing bones, not dollars.

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