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.
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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