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RPR use spikes dramatically (plus new features, slimmer operating budget)

(REAL ESTATE TECH) Having a free data tool like RPR is a lifesaver for you – having an industry more readily relying on it means better service to homeowners as a whole.

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Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) saw a 30 percent increase in use between 2017 and 2018, hitting a record 14.7 million sessions for the year, with Realtors spending over 100 million minutes researching properties and creating consumer reports.

Imagine you were running a tech company, and there was a tool built exclusively for your company that no one else had access to, that gave you an exclusive deep dive into data relevant to your industry. What a dream, right!? Every startup dreams of something like that, but it doesn’t exist.

Yet in real estate it does. NAR members (and only NAR members) have free access to RPR, offering wildly detailed data for the residential and commercial sectors.

We tend to find that the less successful practitioners don’t use RPR, while power brokers rely quite heavily on it.

The same holds true in any industry – those that rely on data rather than their gut assumptions outperform – across the board.

Their mobile app was downloaded over 470,000 times last year, accounting for over a third of all RPR traffic. In other words, it’s being used in the field more than ever.

The data tool is evolving – they’ve added a new Buyer Tour feature and updated the map interface (new features include distance search, drive time, parcel line overlay, and school search), according to RPR COO, Jeff Young.

In a press release, the company asserts that they have “realigned around delivering increased member value combined with improved budget efficiencies,” echoing the massive restructuring efforts of their parent company, the National Association of Realtors.

After reviewing operations and product development, RPR nixed 14 percent of their operating expenses in 2018, and expect a 22 percent reduction in 2019, which Janine Sieja, RPR Sr. VP of Product Management says will not impact what they will offer to members.

“By examining what our members consider of the highest value for them and their consumers, RPR is reimagining some of its core functions,” said Sieja. “We are excited about incorporating training and other new features into our applications. We expect to build on 2018’s success and offer additional improvements while achieving continued growth in usage.”

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg expressed enthusiasm regarding the RPR reexamining their core mission. “These efficiencies amount to the first reduction in RPR’s total operating budget since its creation in 2008, and position RPR to deliver its web and mobile platform for about $13.50 per member annually in 2019, included in their NAR dues.”

Just like many of us are hitting the gym to meet our New Year’s resolutions, this feels quite like RPR stuck with their 2018 resolutions and can now lift more than everyone else at the gym, while many of us are trepidatiously jogging on a treadmill.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Associations

NAR and AARP partner to create livability index for house hunting

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCATIONS) The National Association of Realtors® and AARP integrated the AARP Livability Index scores across the Realtors Property Resource® platform.

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A neighborhood with close-together houses, with different livability factors.

When you’re searching for your dream home, there are a lot of things to consider besides what you can afford from a financial standpoint. Factors such as being able to have a short commute to work, living in an area with a good school district, or being close to nearby entertainment and restaurants are all things you might take a look at. These are all considered livability factors — the measure of how various community characteristics play into where you choose to live.

Having access to all this information can be difficult to come by, especially if you live out of state and aren’t familiar with the area. The information you do have access to is what is available in the home listing and answers you get from your realtor or seller, but not much else.

So, where can you go to get that information? Well, the National Association of Realtors® and AARP are making it less of a hassle to acquire that information. In a joint effort, the two are integrating the AARP Livability Index scores across the Realtors Property Resource® platform.

“One of AARP’s goals through this collaboration with NAR is to help people better understand their housing needs over their lifetime and address the barriers that prevent people from living in their desired communities as they age,” said Rodney Harrell, VP of Family, Home & Community at AARP. “We are thrilled about the AARP Livability Index integration as it will provide homebuyers and other movers with the necessary information to make informed choices that meet their needs for today and into the future.”

To assist and give property buyers a chance to make “age-friendly decisions and purchases for the home”, the Index will offer insights on community factors. The tool will access these 7 categories of livability:

  • Housing (affordability and access)
  • Neighborhood (access to life, work, and play)
  • Transportation (safe and convenient options)
  • Environment (clean air and water)
  • Health (prevention, access and quality)
  • Engagement (civic and social involvement)
  • Opportunity (inclusion and possibilities)

The tool will score each neighborhood between 0 to 100, with an average score being 50. Communities with more diverse features that appeal to all ages, incomes, and abilities will score higher than those that are not.

Although a total livability score is based on the average of all 7 category scores, the Index lets you customize your score based on your personal preferences. If transportation is more important to you than housing or the environment, the tool will take into account what you set as most important.

The AARP Livability Index will give Realtors® access to “robust national data” that can be broken down by address, ZIP Code, city, or county to share with buyers. This data will have information on updated metrics and policies. You’ll also be able to compare up to three community performances side by side and even share a score on social media.

What is considered “livable” is different for each person. It can be that affordable home right in the middle of town or that spacious house removed from the bustling city. Whatever your form of livability is, the AARP Livability Index score aims to help you find the right home in just the right community.

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Real Estate Associations

NAR supports economic inclusion for equal housing opportunities

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) The NAR is pushing to insure anyone who wants a home can get one through a combination of economic inclusion, and eliminating implicit bias.

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The National Association of Realtors® is working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Equality of Opportunity that addresses accessibility to housing based on economic inclusion. NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said,

“We believe that building a better future in America begins with equal access to housing and opportunity. With ongoing residential segregation contributing to many problems in our society, NAR recognizes that this nation cannot achieve true economic equality without first achieving true equality in housing. Our commitment to this cause and to Fair Housing has only strengthened in response to recent tragedies in America.”

What is economic inclusion?

According to the FDIC, economic inclusion describes the efforts to bring underserved communities into the financial mainstream. This could include things like making sure consumers have access to bank accounts and financial services; protections against discriminatory lending practices; and other types of consumer protections. Although the FDIC’s efforts seem to focus on unbanked and underbanked consumers, economic inclusion reaches around to all financial transactions, including housing.

Research from the Brookings Institution cites barriers to economic inclusion as slowing economic growth in local communities. Giving underserved communities access to financial products and opportunities actually spurs the local economy. The government bears the weight of services for the underserved. For example, childhood poverty costs the U.S. economy about 4% of the GDP annually. Nationwide, that is about $500 billion a year. Economic inclusion gives people a way out. It’s not a hand-out, but education and opportunities to change the future.

The NAR is making real change for the underserved

Last week, it was announced that the NAR introduced tools that would reduce implicit bias. Goldberg said, “NAR has spent recent years reexamining how our 1.4 million members can best lead the fight against discrimination, bigotry, and injustice.” The NAR isn’t just talking about it. They’re putting their money behind inclusion, and preventing unfair housing practices. These kind of changes matter for everyone.

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Real Estate Associations

Finally a mentorship program comes to real estate, thanks to the NAR

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) It’s been a long time coming, but the call for mentorship in real estate has been realized thanks to the new NAR program. Here’s how to sign up.

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Mentor speaking with his mentee over mentorship video.

A mentor can help you grow and develop your knowledge and skills. Unfortunately, in the real estate industry, “being thrown into the deep end”, without proper mentoring, has become the norm. For years, we’ve said this shouldn’t be the case and those realtors should be mentored so they can be set up for success. Now, the National Association of Realtors® has finally heard our cry for mentorship.

The NAR has launched a mentorship program that is “designed to help budding professionals in underserved areas thrive in a real estate career”. Named NAR Spire, the program will match mentees from “historically marginalized communities” with seasoned Realtors.

Those in the program will not just be exposed to the day-to-day business operations, but will also receive insights into marketing, appraisal, IT, and financing aspects of real estate. Along with that, they will be given educational opportunities, be able to attend business-related events, have one-on-one mentorship meetings, and have access to an online platform designed specifically for the program.

“NAR Spire is a groundbreaking new initiative designed and developed to drive inclusivity in the real estate industry,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg in a press release. “We’ve reached beyond NAR’s walls to collaborate with partners across a number of industries, and we’re confident this program will help Realtors® enhance their reputation as invested, engaged and integral members of every U.S. community.”

How do I apply for the program?
You can join the program by completing an application form to become either a Mentor or Mentee.

After you’ve submitted your form, a program coordinator will evaluate your information to conduct a matching process. Your educational and professional background, experience, time availability, and location will all be taken into account to make a match.

When a match has been made, the Program Coordinator will provide you with your mentor/mentee contact details and make an introduction. Then, you will fill out an agreement, review guidelines, and complete an action plan. Afterward, it’s up to the mentor and mentee to start the mentoring process.

2021 Participating state/local associations
So far, the mentorship program has been launched in nine pilot regions across the country, but they are planning on expanding.

Chicago, IL – Chicago Association of REALTORS®
Durham, NC – Durham Regional Association of REALTORS®
Maryland – Maryland REALTORS®
Memphis, TN – Memphis Area Association of REALTORS®
Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®
Rochester, NY – Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS®
Seattle, WA – Seattle-King County Association of REALTORS®
Trenton, NJ– New Jersey REALTORS®; CORE Association of REALTORS®
Washington, D.C. – DC Association of REALTORS®

According to the NAR website, the mentorship experience provides opportunities for both the mentor and the mentee, and I think we can agree that is true. For mentors, they will have the opportunity to coach the new kids to help them reach their full potential and also learn a thing or two in the process. For mentees, well, they will finally get the guidance they need to learn the ropes and thrive in their careers.

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