A National Realtors® database is coming soon – RPR™

RPR - logo-low res
There has been a lot of buzz about the formation of a national database that NAR (National Association of Realtors®) announced last November called the Realtors® Property Resource. NAR acquired the technology to create RPR including a database of licensed data and secured data aggregation services from LPS Real Estate Group in November of last year. Everyone has been asking if it’s going to make the MLS obsolete or if it intends to be a Zillow-killer. Well, yesterday a blog was launched to help explain and educate agents and the public about what it will feature, and how it will be used. RPRBlog has some great demo videos and FAQs that detail what’s under the hood and how NAR envisions it will be used.

The amount of data RPR™ intends to incorporate is massive and the tools they are developing to assist Realtors® in utilizing this information are amazing. If it lives up to the hype, it could be the single most important tool that has been developed for real estate agents since the development of MLS boards around the country. This will be a massive online real estate library and archive that will provide real estate professionals with data on every property in the United States.

RPR will include in-depth information on every parcel of real property including public record information, details of prior transactions, MLS information (when provided), zoning info, tax data, and a variety other relevant information that has never been correlated in one place before.

Zestimate on Steroids
Many homeowners and agents have used Zillow’s Zestimator to refine the AVM (automated value model) that Zillow uses to come up with and estimated market value. While this was a clever and advanced tool when it was introduced, it is far from perfect. Zillow still recommends getting a real estate professional to help fine-tune the results. RPR’s valuation method, called RVM (Realtors® valuation model) takes it much further. It draws on the Realtors® own market knowledge to take into consideration local market factors.

One data source that is being integrated into the database to help with home evaluations is the Realtor® and Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report. This report has been compiled for a number of years by a variety of industry experts for a number of the main national real estate markets to see how different improvements affect value based on location and value of the  home. This shows, for example, how a deck in Miami overlooking the ocean will add more value than a deck in an inner-city location with no view. This helps dial in more accurate valuations.

Localized Marked Updates
Agents will log on to a localized homepage that is customizable with scrolling news bar to keep up to date on both national and local news. They will also see maps of all the changes in listings in their area, including price changes and foreclosure properties. All NAR agents will have access to the website, regardless of whether the local MLS participates or not. I’ve not heard from the NWMLS and there is no information on their website that says if they will be among the MLS organizations participating nationally. Obviously most Realtors® would love to have these tools and be a part of this. But NWMLS is broker owned so they may have a different perspective.

The estimated launch of the site is 2nd quarter of 2010, so I am sure we will be hearing much more about this.

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28 thoughts on “A National Realtors® database is coming soon – RPR™

  1. Great post Jim,

    Do you have any sense on which direction the local MLS will go on this? Appears that the trend for providing open data in real estate is taking a turn in another direction.

  2. I’ve heard that the NWMLS owners are still discussing it right now and haven’t made up their minds. If anyone knows more or has input about this, please speak up. I would love to see a lively debate and conversation about this.

    If you haven’t seen the demo video by Mona Steen (see link below), by all means do. It’s kind of long (28 min), but it’s worth it!


  3. If the Northwest MLS intends to participate, they should give their own brokers the same rights with the data that they’re giving the RPR. RPR allows user-submitted content on properties and areas and AVMs to name a few.

    It breaks a lot of IDX rules in areas where local MLSes are more restrictive.

  4. I’m sure this will be an interesting software engineering exercise, but I’m not sure what the unique selling proposition of this site will be? If it’s a NAR members only site, it’d be off limits from the public (and do nothing to dull Zillow’s or any other prominent public facing site’s momentum). So, it’s value as lead gen, branding or advertising platform is nadda, and would only be useful as a professional productivity tool (or empower professionals). Nothing wrong with that, but doesn’t that serve the same market that an MLS is supposed to serve? If the NWMLS doesn’t play ball (since they pulled their realtor.com feed a few years ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t), I’m wondering what this will accomplish? Maybe it’ll force MLS vendors to develop more compelling products? Aside from that, I think the NAR is just trying to do something, anything to justify the money they’ve collected in membership fees over the years. I’m unsure how RPRs RVM is going to be better than a Zestimate, (with better being defined as being more accurate, faster AND less expensive). Assuming Zillow has (or can acquire) all the same data available that the NAR’s wonder site will have and assuming it’s software engineers & statisticians are of the same caliber, I think that it’d only be different not better. (Unless of course they are going send somebody to physically inspect my home at 10 PM on a Sunday, all software suffers from GIGO) Zillow, Eppraisal, and Cyberhomes were all within 5% of my home’s appraised value when I refinanced my home last year. Of the consumer facing AVMs, Cyberhomes was the least accurate. What’s really interesting is the management team of RPR includes many of the same folks behind Cyberhomes and the RPR appears to be using the same data / technology from the same company that owns Cyberhomes, Lender Processing Services (LPS). Maybe it’s the first steps in a power play for the NAR to negotiate a better deal with Move/Realtor.com, since it appears they are now getting cozy with LPS / Cyberhomes?

  5. Hi Robbie! – In theory RPR’s RVM should be substantially better than a Zestimate or other AVMs if they are given access to the local MLS data and then layer that to RPR’s proprietary data acquired from from LPS Real Estate Group last November along with all the other data points they are talking about.

    RPR also plans to integrate a lot of social media community functionality that will make sharing of generated reports with prospective Buyers and Sellers. So that could bring marketing value to agents too.

    I guess we’ll learn a lot more in April when they plan to launch.

  6. I don’t know if there is anyone local who can speak in detail about it. I do know of one Broker who is with the Washington Realtors who is discussing it with the NWMLS. Perhaps I can contact them and see if they can or know of someone who can.

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