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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