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RPR generating revenue, unclear how Realtors benefit

RPR launched in recent years with lofty goals in mind, but as a dues paying member at the National Association of Realtors, it is not clear how all of the partnerships and certifications are benefiting NAR members.

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RPR: now live to all members

As most of us should be aware, the Realtors® Property Resource (RPR) went live in November for all Realtor® members of National Association of Realtors (NAR), regardless of their MLS’s participation and it’s for “free” to members.  RPR is a wholly owned subsidiary corporation of NAR, and it was (is) funded using dues dollars. Per its own business model, any revenue or returns from NAR’s investment in the RPR “are intended to be for the benefit of NAR members.”

RPR is a massive database of information, for both residential and commercial properties and includes active, off market, and historical listing data from the MLS.  There are tools available on the site for associations, MLSs, brokers, and residential and commercial agents, with appraiser tools to soon follow.  NAR announced the initial launch of the RPR back in 2009, and partnered LPS Applied Analytics, who provides much of the additional property information via their vast database; tax records, demographics, even liens and lis pendis filings.

RPR partners with LPS, Veros, pushes BPO-R certification

The product which is pushed, or RPR’s claim to fame, is the Realtor® Valuation Model (RVM) which aims to be “the industry gold standard in automated property valuations.”  Agents are able to use this in their marketing, and value (price) homes better. 

In anticipation for this product coming out, RPR partnered with NAR in 2011 to offer the BPO-R certification. It is a six-hour class in which the BPO process is taught, members who complete the class can earn the certification, after paying a one-time fee of $199, and then get “preferred status” in order to obtain BPOs. And while there is no direct consumer or third-party access to RPR, anyone in the lending community can order a RVM. LPS itself was granted a license in 2010 to sell the product and currently offers it, and this week, per HousingWire, Veros Real Estate Solutions added the product to their AVM list.

Much like the movie Philadelphia, I need someone to “explain it to me like I’m a four year old,” because I really don’t get it. On RPR’s blog, they sometimes announce partnerships, as they did with the BPO-R certification. However, nowhere on the site, aside from some half-baked PR posts about the RVM becoming instrumental in valuing (pricing) properties, do they come out and say who else is offering the product for sale. And they for sure haven’t said how much money has been made; either on the sale of the RVM product or on the BPO-R classes.

What is the true benefit?

Realtor® dues fund RPR, which members pay every year. It utilizes MLS data, which for most of us, is another round of dues. And who knows how many agents have ponied up for the BPO-R certification? This is not a “free” anything for Realtor® members; we simply aren’t cutting a check directly to RPR. Whatever the revenue generated from the RVM and BPO-R cert is, it is a mystery to me what we, as Realtors® are gaining as a true benefit. I know there hasn’t been a reduction in national-level member dues, nor is there any additional cash in my checking account.

Katie Cosner, occasionally known as Kathleen, or KT, is a Realtor® with Cutler Real Estate and is active in her local Board of Realtors® on the Equal Opportunity & Professional Development Committee. She has been floating around online for a number of years, and is on facebook as well as twitter. While Katie has a few hardcore beliefs, three in the Real Estate World to live and die by are; education, ethics, and the law - insert random quote from “A Few Good Men” here. Katie is also an avid Cleveland Indians fan, which really explains quite a bit of her… quirks.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    December 13, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I like the reports RPR generates – particularly the Sellers Report – but RPR does not pull our MLS data efficiently, and often misses properties in the comps analysis phase that I then have to either add manually (you can do that), or just not use.  If it does pull enough comps, then that becomes the CMA I send to my seller prospects.  I don’t like having to manipulate the results so much instead of it just pulling the right properties, but the end result 70-page report is quite comprehensive.   Of course, our MLS is somewhat in the dark ages out here in east Gawgah, so I’m not sure if its the RETS feed they’re sending or RPR itself that’s to blame for the clunky comps, and both sides blame each other…..
     
    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Katie Cosner

      December 13, 2012 at 10:53 am

      @Joe Loomer That’s interesting since it’s supposed to update every 15 minutes.

    • KristenCarr

      December 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      @Joe Loomer Hey Joe, I’m three Market Manager fort the SE US. I’m not aware of data issues with listing data in Georgia. I’m out of pocket most of today but shoot me an email at kcarr at narrpr dot com or we can connect after I get off this plane. Or you can reach our call center at blog.narrpr.com

      • KristenCarr

        December 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        Sorry for those typos 😉

        • Joe Loomer

          December 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

          @KristenCarr Done!  Just sent ya an email Kristen – this is the power of AG that I love, and why it’s still my favorite real-estate centric site on the planet!
           
          Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. JonathanDalton

    December 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

    RVM is instrumental? Did Zillow write that line for RPR?
    I’ve checked out the reports once. I don’t need anyone’s valuation model to tell me how to value a home. If RPR disappeared tomorrow, I’d never notice the difference.
    And once bogus certifications like the BPO deal come up, we’re in the land of the scam.

    • Katie Cosner

      December 13, 2012 at 11:07 am

      @JonathanDalton The PR shpeel (shpeal?) on RVM is that it comes from R’s, and R’s own data – kind of, and who knows how to price a property better than a R, as opposed to some other third-party, who may not have access to *all* that we do.

      • JonathanDalton

        December 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

        @Katie Cosner  I know, but realistically a Realtor shouldn’t need it at all.

  3. tcar

    December 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I used to work for NAR, but had very little to do with RPR. This is just my personal perspective: It’s not about valuation tools for members to value one house. All the tools members have seen to date were created to drive adoption. Once there’s enough member demand that all or most MLS’s feel compelled to participate, NAR will have a national AVM product that incorporates asking prices (a key leading indicator that most AVM’s don’t offer). This product would be a VERY useful tool in valuing the collateral in a portfolio of mortgages being securitized by Wall Street. I believe this is why CoreLogic (the original gangsta’ of AVM’s) is now offering a competing product to RPR.

    • JonathanDalton

      December 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

      @tcar But why are we as members paying for it?

      • tcar

        December 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm

        @JonathanDalton Again, my personal perspective. I think underestimated the time and work involved in getting a critical mass of MLS’s to opt-in. They decided to internalize it’s operating cost into the budjet in the mean time. Eventually, they feel it will generate income for NAR, or at least pay for itself.

      • DebbieKirkland

        December 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm

        @JonathanDalton  @tcar Even if we have to pay for it…in years to come, so what? It’s a money-maker – a survival tool- for the end-user – the Realtor, and it’s in the best interest of REALTORS. So do we throw our hands up and had over every bit of information and leverage that we as professionals should be using to coporations, i.e. Zillow, Trulia (sorry Todd), and every other company who’s making money off of agents, brokerages and our industry everyday wile destroying our credibility? Aww heck, Just give them the keys to your office and beg them to rent it back to you Jonathan.

        • JonathanDalton

          December 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

          @DebbieKirkland  A survival tool? Somehow, I seem to survive without it. Seemed to survive before it existed.

        • JonathanDalton

          December 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

          @DebbieKirkland One other thing I just noticed … “Just give them the keys to your office and beg them to rent it back to you Jonathan.” 
           
          Do you have any idea who the hell I am and have ever read anything I’ve ever written about Trulia or Zillow? Anything? Didn’t think so. Best save that argument for someone else.

        • DebbieKirkland

          December 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm

          @JonathanDalton  I know, yes Jonathan, I was being facetious we are siblings in those efforts. Sorry for the alarm. And I so see tools like RPR survival tools – as is knowledge, resources and use of information as survival tools. RPR is a valuable tool for me, I may have survived, but it is making my life so much easier.

  4. RobAubrey

    December 13, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Real Estate and/or Appraising 101
     
    Appraising is an art and not a science. 
     
    Computers are science and humans art
     
    There are things I don’t see software algorithms handling (for the foreseeable future) 
    Such as next to the crappy looking neighbor, can hear traffic, style stigmas. 
     
    How about condos? An FHA approval, pet policy, or nazi type of restrictions, even reputation, they all can have an effect.

  5. DanielBates

    December 13, 2012 at 11:50 am

    MY MLS chose not to provide their feed to RPR and after Reggie Nicolay showed me what the product can do a few weeks ago and I was wanting to lobby them to adopt.  Not because it does anything that I can’t already do, but because it allows me to do it faster and more professionally (something every agent needs)…then I read this article.  
     
    The same fears that my MLS board had given me as a reason for resisting immediate adoption (only board in my SC I believe) seem to be coming true and I agree that ONCE AGAIN the almighty NAR has missed the boat on the best interest of it’s members in search for justification of it’s own existence.  They want so badly to crush Zillow and Trulia so that they can sell more advertising while also seeking alternative profit sources all on the back of OUR data that they never stop to think how their actions effect their own members.   
     
    I am personally not the least bit scared about an algorithm putting me out of the job, but if we thought we had it hard trying to convince a sellers that a Zestimate was not accurate, how much harder is this going to be with a Realtor-stamped product?  It’s bad enough that thanks to NAR’s required PAC contributions that I am often lobbying against my own political wishes but that now I’m also going to have to argue with my own clients thanks to them…Come On!
     
    I’m not a BPO agent and don’t make my money from the listing side of foreclosures and short sales, but even I can see that if the real estate industry as a whole has access to a free appraisal that has been blessed by the Pope of our industry (whom we created and pay for) that harm will be to the industry.  I am as transparent as they come, but replacing agents with algorithms is not good for this business because it is never going to be as accurate as a skilled real estate agent (Realtor or Non-Realtor!) who is able to explain the reasoning for decisions that were made.  I’m not an end of days kind of guy, but this is all getting to be a little too close to Skynet Becoming Self-Aware and making me want to pull the plug on this puppy.

    • Joe Loomer

      December 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      @DanielBates “but if we thought we had it hard trying to convince a sellers that a Zestimate was not accurate, how much harder is this going to be with a Realtor-stamped product?”
       
      Love that comment – I like RPR but do not like the fact that it does not pull the MLS data the way its supposed to.
       
      p.s. sometimes the zestimate IS accurate (about 1 in 40 in my area)
       
      Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  6. AndreaRealtor

    December 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    RPR is a tool the association should have pushed forward a long time ago. NAR should have been in the leader  not the follower. Had they been many of these conversations/debates would not be going on now. We would not be discussing the value. With that being said, I do commend the work of those involved. RPR has come along way in a short amount of time while being in the midst of many battles including MLSs

  7. DebbieKirkland

    December 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    *Mouth open* First, I can’t believe a Realtor wrote this, a working Realtor that is. And while, I need to be working myself, I need to post this even more because RPR DOES have a monetary value to me, and the IS money  in my bank account because of it. You see, I am full time, and I DO use it, daily.  Yes, RPR is not free, as are other business tools that my local, State and National Association offer me as a member. Plain and simple, RPR has put every Realtor on a level playing field by offering you a tool to mane money. Unfortunately, too few people are actually using it or even grasp the capabilities for leveraging this information to grow their businesses, because as this writer would have you believe, there is no value to it. If you are a blogger and you don’t get it, that makes me shake my head too. The true question to me is, as an Association leader, why in the world would you not offer this to your agents. My God… the money I spent on this data, both in my time and my wallet, prior to having it as compared to the BENEFIT of having it as a result of what I am ALREADY paying for in my dues is ridiculous. Are we on the same planet Kathleen?  I’d welcome more of your research placed on the agents who ARE using it and making money with it as opposed to an analysis of what you think it costs. @Reggie Nicolay and all others who brought this to us… I can’t even begin to thank you enough. To the Boards and Associations not adopting it, listen to your members and give them what they need to make money.

    • JonathanDalton

      December 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      @DebbieKirkland  While you have your “mouth open” … rather than questioning KT’s professionalism as a working and/or full-time Realtor (and by extension those of us who just don’t get “RPR”), perhaps you’d like to share what specifically on RPR – and only available on RPR, not through your MLS – that is making you money?
       
      Neighborhood reports are showing data through September, which isn’t overly useful here in December. And I can run the sales numbers myself through the MLS. The AVM? Couldn’t care less.

    • Katie Cosner

      December 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      @DebbieKirkland  Yes, an actual, working, Realtor® (who is extremely involved in her local BOR, BTW) took the time to compile a ton of information, which up until now, was not available in one single place, and then voiced her opinion on it.  Much of the public record data on RPR’s site I have gotten for free – it’s also way more up to date, and I certainly didn’t knock what’s there.  I merely questioned the fact that the RVM is a product used as both a tool for Realtors® *and* simultaneously is sold and marketed to third-parties; using *cough* our listing, off market, and sold data.

    • RobAubrey

      December 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      @DebbieKirkland  I agree with Jonathan’s question.
      What can RPR do that an mls can’t do?
      We have a custom built MLS that offers tons of features.

      • scurtiss

        December 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        @RobAubrey  @DebbieKirkland 
        Not all MLSs are created equal, so not all REALTORS would have the same tools that the RPR does, without spending time going to multiple sites to get the data.

  8. mangualrealestate

    December 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t see the point of RPR either. We already have access to our local MLSs and public records with the same information. So why are people acting like it’s some new discovery? This constant push to make more money off our our REQUIRED memberships is the reason why I will not be a Realtor once I open my office. NAR membership is a forced sham. Our industry and the public needs to wakeup already.

  9. scurtiss

    December 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I find that not all the facts are included in the above post, such as selling the RVM.  The RVM is the REALTOR Valuation Model which is only accessible by the REALTOR Members and can be adjusted based on outside influences that the REALTOR is aware of for the specific property.  It’s the AVM (Automated Valuation Model) that is sold to the lenders, no different than what other non-REALTOR organizations have been providing for years.  Why shouldn’t they come to us to get that information and pay us for it?
     
    My understanding is that the initial funds used to start the RPR project came from the Second Century Initiatives from the sale of Realtor.com name/domain?.  The Realtor.org website has a breakdown of where your NAR Membership dues go and $18.00 per year of our annual dues goes towards RPR and other projects like HouseLogic, Real Estate Radio Today and eProperty data.  I realize that most REALTORS don’t even go to Realtor.org to use the services provided by their dues, but I for one have found a lot of valuable information and tools.  Anything that can save me time (which is money) in this business is welcomed.  If the project can generate revenue and keep our dues down, I am all for it.  RPR can save members time by not having to go to several websites to get the data they need to perform a complete market analysis (mls, tax records, deed search, mortgages and more). Unfortunately, my MLS won’t participate in RPR and choose to pay CoreLogic for tax data, which is also paid from local member dues.
     
    If you don’t believe in the Mission or Vision of our National organization, then you maybe you shouldn’t renew this year.
     
    Mission
    The core purpose of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is to help its members become more profitable and successful.
     
    Vision
    The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® strives to be the collective force influencing and shaping the real estate industry. It seeks to be the leading advocate of the right to own, use, and transfer real property; the acknowledged leader in developing standards for efficient, effective, and ethical real estate business practices; and valued by highly skilled real estate professionals and viewed by them as crucial to their success.
     
    Working on behalf of America’s property owners, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system, and the right to own, use, and transfer real property.

  10. mayaREguru

    December 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    A lot of interesting comments, so I would like to put my $1.50 in (probably more like $10 based on the time I take to write comments). I have been watching and keeping my head down a lot in the last year, but I had to chime in here. I really like RPR. I love that all the data I had to hunt down is now put together in one location, information and data that is essentially collected by our own industry with a goal to provide us with an easier time to serve our clients, NOT To create leads to sell back to us.
     
    I am not in support of most AVM as I think they are completely impossible with the variable market conditions, but I like the idea of what RPR can bring with RVM. I have been using it for a few months, and I am glad that TrendMLS was a fairly early adopter (in relative terms).
     
    I think what it comes down to is “highest and best use of my time” – if someone else has done the legwork to get me the data I want then I can be even more productive.
     
    I think we also might not know the inner workings, the strategic planning, or the impact that RPR will have on the current state of the industry. We certainly need to find a way to unify the business model across our country, maybe this is it.
     
    Everyone can have an opinion, but I certainly hope that everyone will try RPR and realize that over time it really is a great tool to help us do our job, and replaces some products we currently pay for (Toolkit CMA anyone? Etc).
     
    Thanks for sharing Katie!! It takes courage to have an opinion, and it is your opinion, I appreciate you taking the time to write this piece and share it. =)

  11. RobAubrey

    December 14, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I keep hearing “that data” Can someone please tell me specifically what data they are referring to?

  12. MikePennington

    December 14, 2012 at 8:41 am

    It appears that for those who have honestly tried to implement RPR into their work-flow, they seem to be happy with the product.  For those who have not had the opportunity, they seem comfortable with what they are currently using.  In regards to dependability, RPR has been just as consistent with data as my MLS, which is just as consistent with the common hickups of Google.  I like it.  I think it’s slicker than my MLS AND the reporting is certainly better.  And yes, databases sporadically have issues.  All of them:)

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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