Keeping Your Data in Your Hands

NAR President Chris Polychron shares what real estate industry leaders are doing to make managing and collecting data easier and safer than ever.

September 16, 2015

Along with the brokers and agents who are the industry's heart and soul, one of the most important assets in our business is listing data.

It’s not surprising so many companies outside of our industry are trying to get their hands on it. Making money on the backs of your hard work sounds like a good business model for them.

As an industry, we've worked hard to maintain control of our data as best we can, but each year more companies offering new technologies spring up trying to make money on the data. It has become increasingly difficult for brokers and agents to set the terms for who gets to use listing data, how it’s distributed, and in what format it’s shared.

That's why one of the initiatives your Board of Directors passed earlier this year is so exciting. It's called Project Upstream, and it was conceived not by the National Association of REALTORS® but by real estate industry leaders to make it faster, easier, and less costly to manage data at every point in its lifespan.

The initiative was the brainchild of brokers who came together to explore what a technology would look like that would let agents and brokers input, manage, and distribute their data using a single point of entry and in a standardized format.

Meanwhile, Realtors Property Resource®, NAR's wholly owned property database subsidiary, was laying the groundwork for its own technology for inputting data into MLSs. That technology is called AMP—Advanced MultiList Platform—and it’s one of the most exciting initiatives that RPR has undertaken.

What NAR’s Board or Directors did earlier this year is give the go-ahead to bring these projects together for discussions about leveraging the synergies for the benefit of all REALTORS®. We’re looking forward to talking soon about what came out of those promising negotiations.

Probably the best summation of how much potential this holds for our industry is from my friend Robert Moline, president of HomeServices of America Inc. His Minneapolis-based company is one of many that were central to developing the Upstream concept.

In Robert's words, Project Upstream is a way to enter data only one time using national standards to ensure its accuracy and compatibility across platforms. It will also enable brokers and agents to control the destinations and the terms under which that data is distributed, shared, or displayed. Project Upstream acts without profit motive and promises to help all of us spend less time, money, and effort managing data.

There's still a lot of work to do. But with so many in our industry behind this goal, feel assured that the work will be done it a way that keeps you in charge of an indispensable asset: your data.