Last week, the Fresno, Madera and Merced Realtor associations in California became the first three associations to exclusively use calREDD — a service that is building toward a statewide multiple listing service — to view properties, place listings and access agents.
While the move to utilize calREDD was supported by the presidents and boards for all three associations, the new system, which is powered by vendor Concentric Software of Rocklin, Calif., is frustrating some members and drawing criticism from other multiple listing service vendors.
California Real Estate Dynamic Data, or calREDD, was officially launched Aug. 17 as a service of the California Association of Realtors’ CALMLS (California MLS Inc.) subsidiary, which aims to create a statewide MLS database.
Geoffrey Greene, a broker with Guarantee Real Estate and a member of the Fresno association, has been critical of the new system. He said, "The system has potential, but right now it’s fundamentally flawed. The software package was released prematurely."
According to Greene, calREDD doesn’t yet have the same features or functionality as the system offered by Rapattoni, which was Fresno’s previous MLS vendor.
"I can’t do a specific radius search … and can’t anchor a search," Greene said, adding that agents currently can’t input their own phone number or photo. "It’s affecting agents across the board."
Last Friday Greene sent an e-mail to members expressing his frustration with the calREDD system and encouraging members to request that the board vote to return to the Rapattoni system.
On Monday he said he’d received nearly 300 responses from members. The Fresno association has about 2,400 members.
Andy Rapattoni, founder and CEO of Rapattoni, said he has also heard from frustrated members
"I’m inundated with calls from the brokers in the Fresno area," Rapattoni said, adding that the new system appears to be "immature and needs three or four years before it’s ready for the larger boards."
Jared Martin, president of the Fresno Association of Realtors and a broker with Westland Realty & Investment Inc., disagreed.
"I’m able to search, input listings … I’m able to function," he said.
Mike Silvas, CALMLS chairman and co-owner of Morgan Lane Real Estate, said the functionality of calREDD will result in a "vastly superior" system.
He cited calREDD’s ability to produce instant search results and save an agent’s last 15 searches.
Silvas also acknowledged that the new system "hasn’t been without glitches," but ensured that the system’s developers and calREDD staff are continually working to add usability and functionality, and that the flexibility of calREDD allows for real-time fixes and enhancements. …CONTINUED
"They’re still working some glitches out of it," said Michele Gabriault-Acosta, the president of the roughly 400-member Merced association. "It’s new software and it is taking time for agents to get used to it."
When agreeing to be one of the first three associations to join calREDD, Martin said the Fresno board expected to encounter deployment glitches during the first conversion process.
"For some members it (the change to calREDD) was very challenging," Martin said, likening the change to when the association switched from BORIS (a vendor that in 1984 introduced high-speed, menu-driven MLS systems with photos) to Rapattoni.
"We’re addressing that by getting out to the offices and doing training."
The change has challenged and frustrated enough Fresno members that a joint, all-member meeting was held on Friday, Aug. 21, to discuss adoption of the calREDD system.
According to Greene, the meeting was supposed to include the Fresno board of directors and the MLS committee, and issues regarding calREDD and possibly going back to Rapattoni were to be discussed.
However, what took place was a Q-and-A session that focused on using calREDD.
Greene said the board was not present and the suggestion to vote on returning to the Rapattoni system was not discussed.
"We addressed the change, addressed the concerns, and talked about education," Martin said when asked about what took place at the meeting. "Our goal is to address the needs and learn the system."
While Greene said the association is training members and its leadership tried in good faith to bring the association a new technological standard, he also thinks calREDD needs additional work and should be removed for use until that work is completed.
"Bring it back when it works," Greene said, adding that he was told at the meeting the system was launched because of a contract delivery date.
He suggested the board should get back to Rapattoni while calREDD is refined.
"Nothing like that (going back to Rapattoni) is happening," Martin said.
Unlike the Fresno, Merced and Madera associations, other associations have chosen to wait on the sidelines to see how the new calREDD system performs following its launch.
"Some (associations) have extended their contracts with vendors," Silvas said. …CONTINUED
According to Rapattoni, the majority of his company’s customers are taking a defensive position to calREDD.
"We’re getting quite a few multiple-year extensions," he said.
Just because an association extends its contract with another vendor doesn’t prevent that association from joining the calREDD system in the near future.
Associations and MLSs could be part of the new system under a hybrid arrangement, where the association uses its existing vendor but connects to the statewide system, Silvas said.
He cited the Scenic Coast Association of Realtors — which encompasses the Central California communities of San Simeon, Morro Bay, Cayucos and Los Osos — as the first association that has chosen the hybrid route.
Rapattoni said the hybrid concept would be great, though "none of us have any idea of how they’re going to do that."
The concept and launching of calREDD has also drawn skepticism from others in the vendor community.
Greg Robertson, co-founder of W&R Studios and former vice president and general manager of real estate tech company eNeighborhoods, prophesized in his Vendor Alley blog that "calREDD will soldier on as a solution for smaller associations in the state, and ultimately fail."
In September, the Lake County Association of Realtors, which has more than 570 members, will become the fourth association to use calREDD, according to Silvas, who added that calREDD intends to join a data-sharing initiative called California Real Estate Technology Services (CARETS).
"In order for us to work with (CARETS) we needed to launch," Silvas said, adding when and how the two systems merge has yet to be determined.
Formed in 2006, CARETS is a data aggregation service comprised of six MLSs in Southern California that serves 30 associations and more than 100,000 members in Southern California.
According to calREDD’s Web site, 68 local associations and multiple regional MLSs, representing more than 120,000 members across the state (there are about 165,000 total Realtors in the state), have signed nonbinding letters of intent to participate in calREDD and the CALMLS effort.
In January (see Inman News) CALMLS announced it had received a $3 million line of credit from CAR to pursue the acquisition of one or more MLSs as part of the statewide initiative.
Erik Pisor is a freelance writer in California.
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