Kelly Quigley is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.
Realtors Property Resource: A Mountain of Data in One Click
This spring 12 beta markets will be the first to be introduced to the largest property database in the country.
May 1, 2010
The world may still be buzzing about the Apple iPad, but for the real estate industry, all eyes are on the launch of the Realtors Property Resource™, a powerful new member benefit that overlays information from local MLSs with a massive database of public records and other property information.
It’s rolling out in 12 "beta" markets this spring and will be introduced to all REALTORS® over the next 18 months, beginning in the 3rd quarter of 2010. RPR promises to raise the bar on the level of information you can offer your clients and customers.
We invited company CEO Dale Ross and President Marty Frame to explain.
What exactly is RPR?
ROSS: It’s the largest property database in the country, with information on residential properties, commercial properties, and even vacant land. But calling it just a database is selling it short—a mountain of data is unusable unless you can create meaning for your customers. The trending reports and other tools built into RPR make it very easy to interpret and use in your business.
What market need does RPR fill?
FRAME: It’s all about helping REALTORS® become more productive and informed. Today, consumers—and not just consumers, but every party to the transaction—can find a deep well of real estate information online. When you engage your customer, we want you to have more information than any other party in the transaction. It’s as simple as that.
Today, when you’re interviewing for a new listing or helping a client find a home to buy, if you want to really do your homework, you have to dig. You may want to know things like how much is left on the mortgage or whether there are any easements. The data may be out there in public records, but you need to go to 15 different Web sites to find it. With RPR, the key things you need to know about that property should be available in one click.
Only REALTORS® will be able to access RPR, and its data can’t be shared through consumer Web sites. But your clients will be able to benefit from the database through you and the knowledge and analysis that you provide.
How will RPR work with the MLS?
ROSS: First, it’s important to note that RPR is not an MLS system. REALTORS® can’t input listings into the database, nor is it a place for offers of cooperation or compensation.
It’s a comprehensive database of every U.S. property, whether or not it’s for sale. It’s designed to be a single source for in-depth property information, including public records, details of prior transactions, zoning restrictions, school district data, and transfer-tax information. For MLSs that participate with RPR, it can be seamless for members. We’ll provide the tools that make it possible to access RPR data from the MLS environment.
Will all REALTORS® be able to access RPR?
ROSS: Yes, RPR is a member benefit available to all REALTORS®. Members who register on the site with a valid NRDS ID will be able to access the database and use the reports. However, it’ll be even more useful to members whose local MLSs are participating—because the MLS information will overlay the property data.
What does an MLS have to do to participate?
ROSS: All they have to do is raise their hand. There’s an MLS Signup link on the RPR blog, which makes it very easy for them to contact us. Once they’re signed up, it will generally take about 60 days to merge their data with ours, provide training, and get the system running.
But of course, that timeline can vary depending on how many requests we get at once. We hope that at least half of MLSs will be participating by the end of this year.
What were some considerations that went into the design?
FRAME: We spent a lot of effort to create an attractive and easy user interface. Probably the most significant thing is that you can customize your page to include all of the local information that’s most relevant to you. For example, when you sign on, you’ll be able to see a map showing the newest properties on the market, data on your school districts, and information on listings that you’re tracking.
What are some of the features you’re most excited about?
FRAME: The REALTORS® who’ve participated in beta testing so far seem to be very impressed with the depth of information—including data on property histories and defaults. They’re also excited about the reports we are providing. RPR enables you to create really attractive seller’s reports, buyer’s reports, property profiles, and market activity reports.
There’s also a lot of valuable demographic and psychographic lifestyle information that you can use to learn about trends in your community. That’s information you can’t easily get anywhere else, and certainly not all in one place.
Since most members don’t yet have access to RPR, where can they go to see a demo or get updates?
FRAME: Everything is on our blog. From there, you can watch demo videos sign up for our monthly newsletter, and learn much more about RPR.
Dale Ross, CEO of RPR, has more than 30 years’ experience as a broker in residential and commercial real estate. In 1994 he co-founded the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., the largest MLS in the nation, which serves practitioners throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. He’s a past president of the Maryland Association of REALTORS® and has served 17 years on NAR’s Board of Directors.
Marty Frame, president of RPR, previously served as general manager of Cyberhomes.com for Fidelity National Financial and Lender Processing Services and as chief technology officer of REALTOR.com for Move Inc. He’s a graduate of Yale University and has been one of Inman News’s "100 Most Influential Real Estate People" for the past five years.
Learn More: For more information on the Realtors Property Resource™, go to http://blog.narrpr.com.