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Will RPR kill the traditional commercial real estate data game?

RPR and Commercial Real Estate

I recently had a little conversation with the people at Realtors Property Resource (RPR), which many of you are likely familiar with.  If not, it is well worth your time to take a look at the RPR demo online. 

Of course it uses residential property in the demonstration, but believe me- commercial property is coming

Select initiatives that RPR will apply to commercial property:

The RPR database will include depth of data for all of the approximately 147 million parcels of property across the country.

Initially, the RPR database will include information available in the public domain, primarily tax assessment and property data, and licensed data from third parties, such as financial, lending, mapping, demographics, and school information. And, of course RPR will include licensed MLS data and photos.

On a more local level, the RPR will cross local market boundaries, providing consistent depth of data across historic market areas, and eliminate county to county differences in access to valued information.

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RPR will license all commercial property types from participating MLS/CIEs.

RPR will include a private community framework that promotes social interaction among members. Ranging from comment streams to Q & A, and expert forums, members will be able to determine who they share with and what they share. Members will also be able to annotate the information in RPR with their own comments, and choose whether to publish their comments or not.

Access to the RPR is free for NAR members, and the company will not provide it to any entities that wish to resell it to NAR’s members.

The Realtors Valuation Model™ (RVM™) is an automated valuation model (AVM) that will be developed by RPR using licensed listing data. The use of MLS data will create an estimated value which is said to be superior to the AVM products that are on the market today which are derived from public records data.

What does this mean? Here’s where it gets interesting:

Did you read the first part? 147 million properties. As in pretty much all properties.

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Of course initially it will be public data only. But here is where it gets really interesting… What other data should be included? I’ll start a list or as I think of it… layers:

  • Facilities Management: as in BOMA-like facilities data. The list of data available here is almost endless.
  • 3-D Animated Cad: every building with true and accurate layouts. Accessible in real time.
  • Analytics: not just a valuation model, real numbers.
  • Leasing Info: yes real lease info. It’s already being done.
  • Connected Buildings: as in Networked- old idea, maybe not so much.
  • Mobile or Geo-fencing: Look at Tagwhat. Just stick it on a building.
  • CRM: In real time with a backend support system.
  • Real time vendor bidding: think contractors, architects, designers etc. Real time access to true historical building info.
  • The Social Component: Interacting, sharing, seeking information from other CRE experts and giving advice. WOW!

These are just a few of the ideas I have for the layers of data for the RPR.

What happens next?

The RPR is in beta mode now. The commercial launch is targeted for the first quarter of next year. Did I mention that RPR is FREE?

Is this a chance for real collaboration within the commercial real estate industry to once and for all create a real true and accurate data standard? Will Co-Star and Loopnet suffer as a result?

There is a lot more to come on this subject. The RPR has a chance to change commercial real estate forever. Feel free to jump in with your thoughts.

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Written By

Broker/Owner in Lafayette, IN, whose passion is Commercial Real Estate with focus on Technology, Social Media, and Networking.

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Steven Ladin

    June 9, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Duke,

    From your words to my eyes…

    As the fog gently lifts from a suppressed Commercial Real Estate industry which has been smothered by the inability-to-evolve innovators of yesteryear; the now educated client (end user) and thought provokers (collaborative CRE folk) shall rise triumphantly hand-in-hand; while the Protozoa’s shall drift to absolute obscurity.

    In other words: Sign Me Up!

  2. Coy Davidson

    June 9, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Aggregating public data is one thing. Loop Net and CoStar are basically doing that now. Adding detailed property information, sales price, leasing info, photos is another…anything what is beyond public data, which is taking primarily from tax rolls.

    In order for a service for RPR to add those features one of two things have to happen.They have to have the staff and resources to add that data. If it is a free service that won’t be possible….where will the resources come from to add the infrastructure and layers or data….or it will have to be dependent on the CRE brokerage community to populate that data. If that is the case it will be hit and miss.

    IMHO CoStar and LoopNet will continue to dominate the real estate data game for CRE at least in the major markets. A new player may come along, but it will have to be a for profit enterprise that will charge fees similar to CoStar and LoopNet…Those two players are light years ahead of anyone else in the game. You will probably see some of those layers of data or features…on CoStar and LoopNet

    • Duke Long

      June 9, 2010 at 8:39 am

      Coy, First off..do you ever sleep? Second, I think your points and comments are very valid. I’m not sure if these are true and accurate but I have read that RPR was funded at the start with 25 mil and has a budget of 2-4 mil per year.Will they have the resources and staff to execute? Multi- million dollar question!

    • Benn Rosales

      June 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

      Coy, if the vertical is profitable, resources are afforded by that vertical with a simple investment. Unfortunately, and nothing on Loop or anyone else, the commercial space is not immune from disruption and make no mistake about it, it’s coming. Even RPR has its share of competition, and RPR has set a pretty high bar.

      We’ve seen this movie before… 🙂 I’ve ordered popcorn.

  3. Chris

    June 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    My guess is they’ll be getting a lot of the commercial listing data from Commercial Source, the NAR run listing aggregator with ePropertyData. I was wondering why they were doing that since NAR support for commercial brokers has never been very good. Now I know. And think of the additional revenue they’ll get from commercial brokers who typically eschew NAR membership.

    Regarding commercial data from municipal/CIS/commercial MLS sources, that’s going to be ugly (all those different formats, lack of common data standards nation-wide – and even within the same system if other public sources are anything like the ones in my state) , though it certainly can be done. The residential aggregation is easy since they all use IDX.

  4. Tom Levitt

    June 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    RPR, in my opinion, is one of the best things NAR has done in a long while. As a REALTOR(R), I expect to have a National database of properties available to me and my clients. RPR is a great solution. As a matter of fact, I favor having one MLS nationwide, and one REALTOR(R) association nationwide. Think of the economies of scale and the branding advantage stemming from it!

  5. Jeff Rosen

    June 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Information is continuously easier to access – but deal-making is benefitted by smart, hard-working, well-connected local people delivering real solutions. We have access to the information as well as the deeper connection on the ground in our areas of expertise.

  6. Ken Brand

    June 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    The present is on fire. RPR or something like it, is going to burn it down and rebuild it. The theory is sound, execution is the tricky. If they don’t, eventually someone will.

    Cheers.

  7. Coy Davidson

    June 9, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    “Initially, the RPR database will include information available in the public domain, primarily tax assessment and property data, and licensed data from third parties, such as financial, lending, mapping, demographics, and school information. And, of course RPR will include licensed MLS data and photos.”

    What Duke describes as RPR brings to the table initially isn’t something new that isn’t already available in the large urban markets, where the majority dollar volume of commercial property transactions take place. If the NAR wants to play in that sandbox, I don’t see it happening during my career. The Local CIE’s have not had the staff or resources to compete with the existing players….I am not sure how they change that dynamic. By the time they get up to speed to where the leading data providers currently are, they will have already taken it to a new level. I am speaking solely on the large markets. It would seem to be very valuable in smaller markets.

    Our CIE in Houston does a great job serving the small independent brokers and residential realtors who dabble in small commercial deals, but the bottom line is the big brokerage firms who dominate the market don’t use it and what is described as coming, isn’t something we don’t already have access to. The role of good data has and always will be important, but as technology has made access to that data easier it only puts more focus on why companies and individuals here cre brokers today begin with, a successful commercial broker has to do so much more than provide detailed and accurate property data.

    The title to this post is ” Will RPR kill the traditional commercial real estate data game?” My opinion or answer is No

    • Duke Long

      June 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm

      Coy,
      You certainly are entitled to your opinion. Thanks for commenting.

      • Benjamin Bach

        June 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm

        Hmmmm…. I think we all can see you and Coy both have educated opinions and differ on your thoughts.

        Why not address his points? Great ideas often come from dialogue.

  8. Nadina Cole-Potter

    June 9, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I am a beta tester of RPR through the Arizona Regional MLS (ARMLS). I am a commercial real estate agent in Scottsdale, Arizona. So, far, from a commercial broker point of view, I am not impressed (actually, I am depressed at the phantom-ware that is being touted). What is represented to be available to commercial agents is, for now, proforma — a figment of someone’s imagination.

    ARMLS contracts with a 3rd party vendor, iMapp, which already collects the data (parcel-by-parcel) that RPR says it will be collecting. On iMapp, data is posted within 24 hours of recording. If it weren’t for iMapp, I would not subscribe to ARMLS. No commercial properties of any substance are ever listed on ARMLS. The brokers at the major corporate brokerage houses do not use ARMLS to market listings and few of us who work at smaller houses or independently do so either — particularly with the rise of LoopNet. So, in order for RPR to beat out LoopNet and CoStar, it would have to turn around our MLS’s abominable record on commercial listings in order to attract enough commercial listings to compete (translation: insufficient “eyes”). In order to compete with iMapp, RPR would have to implement a search engine in which one has the capacity to narrow or widen a search using AND or OR in 10 fields at once, choosing from over 30 potential fields, plus search types such as “greater than”, “less than”, “starts with”, “contains”. iMapp’s flexibility is practically infinite. Plus, each parcel contains a choice of maps at various resolutions: street, zoning, aerial plus a link to BING’s “birds eye” map for each property, as well as icons regarding listing status and complete foreclosure information for each parcel actively in foreclosure.

    I use iMapp, LoopNet, CoStar, and REIS. Occasionally, I look for properties on CommercialSource.com. It, like the MLS, is pretty thin. Each of the first 4 has strengths and gaps; among the 4, I can do excellent property-level (and with iMapp, parcel level) research. None are comprehensive: iMapp and REIS have no listings (except iMapp has links by parcel to current and former listings on the MLS); LoopNet, CoStar and REIS do hot have property sale histories beyond the most recent sale nor the ability to search by owner name or lender name as does iMapp.

    RPR will probably best serve commercial agents in secondary and tertiary markets where the major property information aggregators (CoStar and REIS) don’t have coverage. I hope that is where RPR is aggregating its first pass of data.

    As for REIS and CoStar-like date on multifamily properties, has anyone used the data provided by Logan-Pierce-Eislen? And if so, I would appreciate your comments.

    • Duke Long

      June 9, 2010 at 10:58 pm

      WELL NADIA…HELLO,
      Thanks so much for the here it is ..I’m doing it today…and here is what I think comments!!! PPR has the aspirations to change the Data/mls/cie/ multi-pay/listing billboards/reports/ field forever. Your feedback is exactly what’s needed to change/help/scare/motivate/inspire the players. Hey girl…friend me up !!!!

  9. Coy Davidson

    June 9, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    yes, just an opinion, but another data provider providing comparable service or a level or service that motivates the existing players to bring a higher level of service or more affordable pricing…I am all for, competition is good!

  10. Linda Day Harrison, CPM, CCIM

    June 11, 2010 at 9:51 am

    When reading what Duke described, it sounded like my dream has come true. When reading Nadia’s awesome insider information, I came back down to earth. What was I thinking? NAR has not a single tiny bone in its body to really do what Google will eventually do! I think Google is more on track to delivering what we need than anybody else. I think that is what they are doing and why they are in Las Vegas right now, at Realcomm with Jim Young. I had been in Las Vegas recently and was not able to make the turn around trip, but I, of course regret that. I am there in spirit. I will also probe to get the take aways from others and hopefully Jim Young himself. I am really glad to hear Nadia’s report because I was really thinking someone beat me to it. I am relieved to know, it is a long way from the “cup to the lip”.

    Thanks for this awesome article and exposure of this subject. It is my passion and I am just thrilled to even talk about it.

  11. Duke Long

    June 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Linda,
    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  12. John Ziemba

    June 14, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Interesting conversation on this post. I see several things happening in Commercial Real Estate right now and I do not believe the RPR is any type of threat. I serve the Chicagoland area, and I think it is important to understand several things that are going on here. First off our mls Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC will not subscribe to the RPR due to the fact they are not sure what will happen with their data.

    Therefore, it appears that all information will be populated from tax records. This is a big problem on several fronts, first off complex CRE transactions do not always show the accurate information when recorded at the, recorder of deeds or assessors office.

    Secondly for agents who primary role as a tenant rep most of the above services mentioned, RPR, CoStar, Loopnet offer very little in the way of past rental rate information.

    Lastly, I think this thought might be a little of topic, but I think it is an important item. I think the CRE Consumer has yet to significantly embrace the internet for their needs. I was doing a little research for my website and used the keyword tool on Google and it was apparent there are very few searches related to commercial real estate. So no matter how technological savvy I seem to be, it seems like I’m talking to no one.

    In all honesty, I don’t see the RPR doing much of anything except making the data a little easier to read and look at. I have sat through a webinar of theirs and the data look very nice. I look forward to hearing all your thoughts.

    • Chris

      June 16, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      >> was doing a little research for my website and used the keyword tool on Google and it was apparent there are very few searches related to commercial real estate.

      I’m glad you put that in writing, because when I reported that to the companies I work for, they didn’t believe it. You’ll also notice that LoopNet, CityFeet and sometimes CoStar buy ads for those keywords. If you’re on there, you’re covered…

  13. Eco St Joseph Statue

    June 15, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Will RPR kill the traditional commercial real estate data game? https://bit.ly/99YI8t

  14. Tyler Webb

    June 21, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Will RPR kill the traditional commercial real estate data game? https://bit.ly/cbv80a

  15. Michael McClure

    June 21, 2010 at 1:54 am

    RT @REcrab: Will RPR kill the traditional commercial real estate data game? https://bit.ly/cbv80a (<–I certainly hope so!)

  16. Benjamin Bach

    June 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Great stuff Duke

    I’d love to see this come about, and as I mentioned to you last week over juice in Toronto, I think it will serve my client’s and other end users well.

    I think one issue we will see is the reluctance of many owners – the “old school” ones if you will – to have this information out there. It’s different in residential – there is such a volume of houses traded on the MLS that we have an accurate picture even of properties that haven’t ever sold on the MLS. I just don’t see that in CRE, especially in small markets.

    Where I do business, you won’t get detailed information on the majority of large CRE properties or transaction from the MLS, or city records. If owners won’t share it, and traditional brokers don’t see the incentive to share it (and I agree with you that we should put more information in the hands of the end user is a noble one), how will we get it?

    • Duke Long

      June 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      1.There are many sources for data.
      2.It will be available with or without the owners.
      3. How can their building compete in the market place?
      4.The buildings that have data and are available will out perform the others
      5.They won’t have a choice !!!
      6.I’m sure that there may still be someone out there using beepers and pay phones to communicate. Hey, if it works for them great.

  17. Dave Lewand

    June 22, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I’m a fan of any tool that is capable of expanding the free-flow of information within an entire industry. My understanding of the residential MLS is that, historically, it’s done an above-average job of marrying the best user interface (UI) technology of current day with the best data collection and data mining technology of current day. The RPR demo seems to show that NAR is keeping up with that tradition, and possibly taking it up a notch.

    While the UI is easily translatable to the commercial side, successful CRE data collection requires a greater level of volunteer participation than currently exists. What driving force will induce CRE owners, brokers, developers, etc. to share information that they previously deemed an advantage in their market? From a broker’s perspective, it’s a stretch. From a broker manager’s perspective, however… a winning UI may be the ticket to successful CRE data sharing within a company and possibly across an entire network or within an association. It becomes a major cost-saving venture. Sound familiar? Those who have been around throughout the evolution of CoStar might see the similarities.

    Regardless, the UI is nothing without a consistent flow of quality CRE data continually populating the tool. I think it is likely that such a UI will come from a national CRE-related association, because CRE owners, brokers, developers, etc. are more likely to trust their content to these entities.

    OK – I’m going to stop now, because I just realized I could go on forever on this subject. As always, Duke, thanks for the great forum!

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