Breaking News: NAR/RPR + Cyberhomes =

November 6, 2009
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FBE656E9 D086 4F07 89E8 0518EEE4F720 Breaking News: NAR/RPR + Cyberhomes =

So much more …

First impression: The National Association of Realtors have done something really, really good, pertinent and valuable for its members.

Done well and right, the RPR (Realtor Property Resource) could be a tremendous value-add to Realtors, and could put a damper on ancillary real estate service companies – mapping, real estate data, IDX perhaps …

There have been some grumblings and speculations making their way through the real estate space, starting with Brian Boero’s post yesterday in which he cryptically posed:

I am hearing weird noises in the online real estate atmosphere. They are on a frequency few can register, and still fewer will acknowledge.

And Gregg Larson hinted:

You are correct-o-mundo, Brian. It is XXL and pretty clever. It will be interesting to see the industry’s reaction…(nda)

Is the RPR ready for launch?



Advertise at AG

Just about. The addition of Cyberhomes to the fray is a huge move forward. Launching in April 2010.

I wrote this three years ago:

Yet I have been wondering – what if Zillow’s reach becomes so great, their data become so vast and inclusive, that their Zestimates significantly impact what is fair market value? What if the purchasing and selling population refer to Zillow as the end-all, be-all estimator for their homes’ valuations? What if “close enough” is “good enough”? What if they become the de facto standard for home valuations?

Replace “Zillow” with “RPR”

100% owned by NAR.

Rich, deep and hopefully accurate information, data, maps, financing, mortgage records … this tool will make good Realtors better at what they do, and make not-so-good Realtors a bit less dangerous.

RPR key data component Breaking News: NAR/RPR + Cyberhomes =

What is the Realtor Property Resource? For starters:

1)
What is the REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR)? ((bolding mine))

The REALTORS® Property Resource is one of NAR’s Second Century Initiatives. The
goal of this project is to build a national database of robust, property centric information
covering every parcel of property in the country. This database is designed to be a
resource for NAR members and Institute Affiliates, creating single source access to data
which will add value to the information available for REALTORS® to use with their clients
and customers
.

2) Is it designed to be a national MLS?
No. The RPR will carry no offers of cooperation and compensation. Its design is to
provide a single source access for public record information such as tax assessments and
comparable data, liens, zoning, permits, environmental, neighborhoods, school districts
and community demographics. Its enhanced search features will allow nationwide depth
of property searches, as well as market to market comparisons and referral opportunities
not currently available.

6) What is the future role of an MLS or CIE if all data could be made available on a national platform?
The goal of the RPR is to complement, not compete with the MLS’s and CIE’s. The RPR’s
purpose is to enhance the quality of public records information and other data collections.
The RPR could also assist MLS’s and CIE’s in data acquisition to enhance the integrity of
the data at a price point possibly less than what they are able to do individually, and make
REALTORS® more efficient.

10) Will the public have access to the RPR?
There is no plan to create public access to the system. The goal of the RPR is to be a
REALTOR® based resource and member benefit for NAR members and Institute Affiliates.

What does this mean?

It means that the NAR recognized at least two things -

1 – They shouldn’t reinvent the wheel

2 – Cyberhomes offered a valuable proposition. They are similar in many ways to Zillow but offered something that Zillow does not have – more data and less baggage.

“I hate Zillow” – 426 results and “zillow sucks” = 8,750 results.

I hate Cyberhomes” – 0 results. and “cyberhomes sucks” – 733 results

The Cyberhomes database includes more than 100 million property, ownership, sales, and mortgage records, covering more than 85% of the United States population. We update more than 575,000 new ownership records every month, verified from the original source, and our data is also enhanced with more than ten years of appraisals and appraisal review information.

Zillow have:

Zillow.com is an online real estate community where users can find and share information about homes. With data on 92 million homes and estimates on another 70 million homes

Challenges:

- Cultural integration of Cyberhomes and NAR.

- What will be the Realtor reaction to the Realtor Valuation Model (RVR)? Think AVM but with really good data.

- More to come

Data:

- Combining the Cyberhomes/LPS data with the MLS data positions Realtors to have access to what could be the single best source of property information. At least for the short-term, and it’s good to see them finally making this product come to fruition.

How will Realtor.com factor into this?

God help me, I hope they don’t have the ability to publicly display the RPR’s data. And that Realtors are able to do so.

Summary:

What are Cyberhomes and NAR going to do with the data?

How can we (Realtors) use the information?

- Generate reports for clients or fellow Realtors

- Market Forecast Report

I think this is a good thing. The NAR recognized the need to be competitive. And, while it’s a long time since they first started the NAR MLS (Presidential Advisory Group) PAG, it seems that they are moving ing the right direction.

Questions:

- Will Realtors be able to widgetize this information?
- How are “RPR users” defined? (Answer: “NAR members with a NRDS id and in the future, all MLS subscriber participants with participating MLSs”)

Update 6 November 2009:

1) I reserve the right to re-visit this post next year if NAR/RPR screw up.
2) More at 1000WattBlog.


Related reading:

- Future of MLS Features – 2008

- What is the future of the MLS?

- Getting ready for another MLS PAG

- Preliminary NAR Gateway Report released

Photo credit.

Dad, Husband, Charlottesville Realtor, real estate Blogger, occasional speaker - Inman Connects, NAR Conferences - based in Charlottesville, Virginia. A native Virginian, I graduated from VMI in 1998, am a third generation Realtor (since 2001) and have been "publishing" as a real estate blogger since January 2005. I've chosen to get involved in Realtor Associations on the local, state & national levels, having served on the NAR's RPR & MLS groups. Find me in Charlottesville, Crozet and Twitter.



Weigh in...

  • Bob Wilson

    Any NAR director that votes to share this with R.com should be tarred and feathered, boiled in oil, and then drawn and quartered.

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com Rob Hahn

    Jim -

    Do you think that Move just stepped aside gracefully as LPS/Cyberhomes took over the project?

    I rather think that we’ll be seeing all of this data on Realtor.com, along with many of these features on RPR, on Realtor.com before the end of 2010.

    -rsh

  • Bob Wilson

    @RobHahn, will the end result be greater NAR control of R.com, or just the monetization of the data?

  • http://www.arizonarealestatenotebook.com John Wake

    Absolutely right, Bob! I’m absolutely, positively against NAR doing anything to strengthen Realtor.com and it’s vendor-for-life, Move Inc. NAR should promote the heck out of RPR to consumers on a website separate from Realtor.com. Watch the enhancement fees Realtor.com charges us plummet! Competition is a beautiful thing. Hopefully, it could evolve into a replacement for Realtor.com and so avoid Move’s vendor-for-life status.

    Cyberhomes was a great website in search of a business proposition. They didn’t know how to monetize it. The programmers did a great job. The business managers were completely clueless.

  • http://www.rerockstar.com Matt Stigliano

    Jim – If the data is sold back to the local MLS, what would be the advantage of continuing to use the MLS? I have everything I need straight from the source (RPR) in terms of data. The MLS in effect becomes a middle man between me and RPR, yet I have direct access to RPR. I fail to see how this can be a good thing for any MLS.

    Surely Move would have something in their contract that keeps NAR from building a public facing website off of this. At least I would think they would. I don’t think we’ll see the death of Realtor.com because of this. I’d like to, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

    It will be interesting to see how it works. I’m definitely a “hands on” kind of learner, so when they let me toy with it, I’ll really be able to form some opinions.

    I’m still wrapping my head around it all, so please feel free to point out anything obvious I’ve overlooked.

  • http://www.GigHarborUndressed.com Matt Thomson

    Matt, won’t the MLS still be necessary for real estate agents? How will non-Realtors have access to this information? How will Realtors have access to information about which homes are for sale, showing info, etc if all RPR is is a property information database?
    I think this sounds like a very exciting proposal and a very good tool for NAR to 1) increase their membership and 2) gain control of a prominent website.

  • http://www.rerockstar.com Matt Stigliano

    Matt – Good question about non-Realtors®. Perhaps this is a bit of a move on NAR’s part to increase the need to be a Realtor® as well. From what I understood it will contain status information (active, sold, etc.), but I could be completely wrong there.

    Something in my head tells me that this is a slow charted course for domination. Get it out there, get people using it, get them to love it and leave other tools behind, bring in more membership, and eventually make all other tools obsolete. If they can pull it off (and it is their long term plan), it would be pretty impressive and sheer genius on NAR’s part.

  • http://realcentralva.com Jim Duncan

    Jim – If the data is sold back to the local MLS, what would be the advantage of continuing to use the MLS? I have everything I need straight from the source (RPR) in terms of data. The MLS in effect becomes a middle man between me and RPR, yet I have direct access to RPR. I fail to see how this can be a good thing for any MLS.

    My understanding is that the data will be coming from Realtor to MLS to RPR.

    The non-Realtor question is one I’m working through. This absolutely is a value-add that seems to imperial the non-Realtors. Hell, people pay for RealtyTrac, why wouldn’t they become a Realtor (which is easy and will hopefully soon be harder*) so that they can access what could be the best property database available?

    Surely Move would have something in their contract that keeps NAR from building a public facing website off of this. At least I would think they would. I don’t think we’ll see the death of Realtor.com because of this. I’d like to, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

    I’m pretty sure that they do, but this isn’t a public-facing website. If it’s purely for Realtor use, and the Realtors themselves are publishing on their sites this information, (not looking at the Contract) it would seem that Move would be 1) helpless and 2) severely marginalized.

    * This may very well be in the works; NAR has just finished a Professionalism workgroup on which I sat that addresses this very issue. Maybe one day, we’ll look back at these two things and think about just how prescient they were.

  • http://www.rerockstar.com Matt Stigliano

    Jim – In my “selling data back to MLS” comment, I was referring to the possibility of RPR selling the data other than listings. If they have all this demographic info, school info, consumer spending habits info…and sell it back to the MLS (which I think would be one of the angles they could use to monetize this project) – that’s where I see the problem. If I can get it at RPR, why use my local MLS to look at the same data?

    Great point about how if we are able to publish the info on our sites that Move could easily be marginalized. Of course, we’d need to look at how many will actually work to add this info to their sites. Think of all the tools available that many people just don’t “get” or use.

    Thanks for the info about the Professionalism work group. I’ll be very interested in seeing where that leads. I’m all for it – even if it means I need some more training.

  • http://www.ericbramlett.com Eric Bramlett

    If done properly, this could be an extremely beneficial move for all Realtors. The current system is ridiculously inefficient. Standardizing the data, and using one system, will allow technology to improve, and to become cheaper (which is the natural progress for technology.)

    Right now, the technology providers have incredibly poor products. If NAR builds a better system, I’m all for it. I do hope that they will allow third party vendors access to the data, in order to build competing products. A nice API would be nice.

    And Bob, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’ll be at NAR headquarters with a bucket if that happens. You can bring the feathers.

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  • http://www.senasellsvegas.com Tony Sena

    My biggest concern would be what they might charge for the data feed. From what I am reading, it appears free for real estate agents to use the platform but I didn’t read anywhere about the data feed being free.

    I would have to imagine there will be a fee for this and if local MLSs get fazed out, due to their lack of cooperation, the cost of the feed could be to high for the average real estate agent.

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  • http://www.calgarysrealestate.ca/sitemap.php Calgary Real Estate by Chris

    I heard through the grapevine that Move.com’s agreement is coming to an end with them. Exactly how this is going to play out remains to be seen, however, I think this is going to be a major step forward for REALTOR.com and a very useful for Joe Homeowner. The question in my mind is how does it benefit the agent directly?

  • http://www.gregcooper.tv Greg Cooper

    Overly simplified but A) Can’t help but wonder if NAR will screw it up. B) I suspect the innovators will have long since stolen the keys to the kingdom and ‘out NAR’, NAR before this thing ever hits. GREAT piece Jim.

  • http://www.realcentralva.com Jim Duncan

    Thanks, Greg. Regarding your #1 – That’s why I edited my post in order to protect myself should they screw up. :)

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  • http://www.mnhome.org Stillwater Real Estate

    Let me get this straight – the RPR is a database of properties based on information gathered from tax records (which can be horribly inaccurate and/or inadequate in some areas), MLS data (which can be horribly inaccurate and/or inadequate in all areas), and appraisal data from First American (insert your own appraisal joke here) ??

    I’m not saying I can think of a better way…..yet. I’m just sayin’

  • http://None Mario Antretter

    The NAR and their so-called members or better yet “realtors” should be worried and here’s why:

    1. Not all but most saw the end of the tunnel (Technology) and didn’t adapt

    2. Did the NAR and their “realtors” really think this monopoly would be forever? I am no history major but monopolies hence Microsoft get broken up all the time.

    3. If the NAR and their “realtors” do not come to terms with the (DOJ) Department of Justice the internet and discount brokers will put them out of a home.

    4. The MLS may have started out as a good idea but the internet is the way to reach many more consumers or potential home buyers and sellers. A public MLS system needs to be in place.

    Agents should be worried, people are smarter than ever.
    I for one don’t have a realtors license however I know exactly how to go about buying and selling a home. I have a very good lawyer as well. The need for an agent has declined rapidly. It’s sad I know more than some agents do and I work in the IT industry.

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  • http://BuckingtheRealEstateTrend.com Susie Blackmon

    Of all the comments, Mario’s might have been the most realistic. Time will tell.

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  • Roger

    Cyber homes is inaccurate by a whole @100K for a $400K home. Address: 290 Iroquois, Boulder, co. The geniuses as Cyberhomes have it listed for a full $100-$150K higher than the market rate.

    What good id a rating company when it gets the sqft. wrong. Actual is 2070. Cyberhomes lists it at 3050! How close is that?!

    Then the brilliant experts provide no way to get it corrected? Arrogant or unintelligent?

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