MLSs in 43 markets commit to RPR

210,000 Realtors to feed listings to NAR's property database

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WASHINGTON — A subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors that’s building a national property database has entered into licensing agreements to obtain listings data from groups representing more than 210,000 Realtors in 43 U.S. markets.

Realtors Property Resource LLC — the subsidiary NAR launched in November to build and operate the database — is currently beta-testing the parcel-based database with nearly 1,000 Realtors in 14 markets.

When RPR goes live some time in the next three to four months, all of NAR’s nearly 1.1 million members will be able to log into the system to access public property records and other contextual data regardless of whether their MLS is providing listings.

Only the roughly 185,000 Realtors in the beta test markets will have have full access to the database’s integrated listings data, public property records, and demographic information, CEO Dale Ross told NAR’s board of directors over the weekend at their midyear meeting.

MLSs and Realtor associations in 29 additional markets representing another 25,000 Realtors have also signed licensing agreements with RPR, the company said Monday. RPR hopes to enter into additional licensing agreements to provide full access to a total of 500,000 Realtors by the end of the year.

The nation’s roughly 900 MLSs can be divided into three equal-sized groups, Ross said. About one-third are "early adopters" who want to get on board now and participate in the software development phase. Another third of the MLSs are taking "a wait and see attitude" before signing licensing agreements, he said.

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The remaining third are saying, "Hell no, we don’t want to do this," Ross acknowledged, drawing laughs from the crowd of NAR directors gathered in the main ballroom of the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

Next year, Ross promised, RPR executives intend to "sit down with them and show them the light." The goal is to have every MLS and Realtor association in the nation on board by the end of 2011 — a "pretty aggressive schedule," he acknowledged.

Some MLS executives have worried that RPR might amount to competition for them, as they may charge their members for additional services beyond access to listings. Some have also complained that RPR is not offering to share revenue that it intends to generate by selling analytical reports to lenders, government agencies and others.

Two companies already offer real estate and lending industry subscribers access to national, parcel-based property databases: CoreLogic (formerly First American CoreLogic) and Lender Processing Services (LPS is also providing technology and property records to RPR).

But RPR — accessible only to Realtors — is seeking to become the first database that also integrates active and sold listings data in markets where it has licensing agreements with MLSs and Realtors associations.

NAR says it decided to build the database to help keep Realtors at the center of the home transaction process by arming them with the most current and comprehensive information. Realtors would also benefit if automated property valuations conducted on behalf of lenders include listing data in their calculations, RPR officials have said.

But RPR is not the only company seeking access to listings data. After RPR launched in November, CoreLogic said it was also seeking to add active and historical listings data to its database, and offered to share revenue with Realtor associations and MLSs that provide it with such data. Realtor.com operator Move.com is also seeking historical listing data, offering partners a natural language search tool, "Find," in exchange (see story).

Although all Realtors will have access to RPR as a NAR member benefit, only members of MLSs that are licensing their listings data will be able to take advantage of RPR’s full capabilities, integrating listings and public records data to generate comparative market analyses and other reports for clients.

MLSs will also have the option of allowing their listings to be searchable by members of other participating MLSs.

For now, RPR is sill in a "rolling beta" testing phase, Ross said, with new capabilities being added each month. Ross said RPR is also developing a mobile application in conjunction with the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors that will allow the parcel-based database to be accessed through smartphones.

In markets where MLSs and Realtor associations decline to participate, company officials have said they will seek to obtain listings directly from brokers. RPR is already receiving listings from one Houston brokerage, Prudential Gary Greene, that expressed early interest in being a broker beta site, and is also in licensing discussions with the Houston Association of Realtors.

In addition to full coverage of listings data, RPR is also seeking to fill in gaps in public records databases. Neither LPS nor CoreLogic has 100 percent coverage of all U.S. counties, so RPR is also paying LPS to expand its public records database into those areas where it currently lacks coverage, Ross said. 

RRP is in beta testing in 14 markets:

  • Spokane Association of Realtors, Spokane, Wash.
  • MLS Listings Inc., San Jose, Calif.
  • SRAR-CRISNet, Van Nuys, Calif.
  • SoCal MLS, Anaheim, Calif.
  • ARMLS, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Metrolist Inc., Denver, Colo.
  • Heartland MLS, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Prudential Gary Greene, Houston, Texas
  • Maine MLS, South Portland, Maine
  • MLS Pin, Boston, Mass.
  • Mid-Hudson MLS, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
  • CAAR, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors, Charlotte, N.C.
  • RAMB, Miami, Fla.

The company has signed contracts in 29 additional markets (see map below):

  • Burbank Association of Realtors, Burbank, Calif.
  • Victor Valley Association of Realtors, Victor Valley, Calif.
  • Northern Arizona Association of Realtors, Flagstaff, Ariz.
  • Sedona Verde Association of Realtors, Sedona, Ariz.
  • Prescott Association of Realtors, Prescott, Ariz.
  • Southeastern Oklahoma Association of Realtors, Western Oklahoma Board of Realtors, Associated Multi-List Services, Norman, Okla.
  • Altus Association of Realtors, Altus, Okla.
  • Duluth Association of Realtors, Duluth, Minn.
  • Superior Association of Realtors, Superior, Minn.
  • Clare Gladwin Board of Realtors, Gladwin, Mich.
  • Monroe County Association of Realtors, Monroe, Mich.
  • Upper Peninsula Association of Realtors, Marquette, Mich.
  • Traverse Area Association of Realtors, Traverse City, Mich.
  • Central Michigan Association of Realtors, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
  • Greater Meadville Association of Realtors, Meadville, Pa.
  • Owensboro Board of Realtors, Owensboro, Ky.
  • Reelfoot Association of Realtors, Union City, Tenn.
  • Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors, Nesbit, Miss.
  • Ulster County Board of Realtors, Kingston, N.Y.
  • Central Penn MLS, Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Greater Utica Rome Association of Realtors, Utica, N.Y.
  • North Central West Virginia, Elkins, W.Va.
  • Navarre Area AOR, Navarre, Fla.
  • Capital Region MLS Inc., Albany, N.Y.
  • Bronx Manhattan Association of Realtors, Bronx, N.Y.
  • Western Upstate Association of Realtors, Anderson, S.C.
  • Athens Board of Realtors, Athens, Ga.
  • RealtyWEB.NET MLS, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Bonita Springs Association of Realtors, Bonita Springs, Fla.

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Source: Realtors Property Resource LLC.

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