Five Realtor associations that had been scheduled to begin using the California Association of Realtors’ planned statewide multiple listing service in 2009 will instead go on line early next year.

Plans for full, statewide implementation of the calREDD system are moving forward, and rumors that it will be scuttled or scaled back are unfounded, said Scott Kucirek, leader of development and implementation of CAR’s CALMLS (California MLS Inc.) subsidiary.

CALMLS, on the calREDD Web site, claims 71 Realtor associations and MLSs representing more than 120,000 members have joined or signed nonbinding letters of intent to participate. But only two Realtor associations will be on line when the New Year is ushered in, instead of the eight previously planned.

Some doubts about the project’s future surfaced in September, when the Fresno Association of Realtors’ board of directors voted to put participation in calREDD on hold and go back to using MLS software provided by vendor Rapattoni Corp.

Fresno was one of three Realtor associations on board for the system’s Aug. 17 launch. At the time, CALMLS Chairman Mike Silvas acknowledged "a number of glitches" in the calREDD software platform, which he characterized as minor issues that would soon be corrected.

Nine other Realtor associations were moving forward with plans to join the calREDD system, Silvas said in September (see story).

According to a schedule posted on the calREDD Web site, five of those associations — Lake County, Chico, Oroville, Paradise and Amador — were slated to go live by the end of this year.

The Lake County Association of Realtors, which had been scheduled to implement calREDD on Oct. 26, is now slated to go live in early January, Kucirek said.

The Chico, Oroville and Paradise associations, which had been scheduled to begin using calREDD on Nov. 16, will be up and running a week or two after Lake County, he said. The Amador Association of Realtors, previously scheduled to go live on Dec. 14, will go on line about a month after that, Kucirek said.

Lake County’s launch date was pushed back because the 450-member Realtor association requested "a lot of customization" of the calREDD platform, built by software developer Concentric Software, he said.

Scott Knickmeyer, the Lake County group’s association executive, confirmed that the association requested customization of the system and agreed to push back the launch date.

"Things are going very well with calREDD," Knickmeyer said, adding that the association’s members have had access to the calREDD system on a trial basis since September. …CONTINUED

Kucirek said officials with the Fresno association met with CAR executive leadership last week, and "they are still working on a solution to get back in line," for calREDD implementation. "From what I’ve heard, (Fresno officials) are supportive of calREDD, but I’d be surprised if anything happens before the summer."

When Fresno is ready to come back to calREDD, Kucirek said, it will probably have to wait in line behind other associations scheduled for implementation, including the Crescent City Board of Realtors, the latest to sign on to participate in calREDD.

Fresno Association of Realtors Executive Officer Mary Van Ness referred questions to the organization’s president, Jared Martin, who did not respond to requests for comment. Fresno is no longer listed on the calREDD Web site among MLSs and Realtor associations that have agreed to join.

Hybrid solution

The first Realtor associations to implement calREDD haven’t continued supporting their previous MLS platforms. But calREDD also offers a "hybrid" solution in which users can use their existing software platform to enter listings and view properties in their own MLS.

To view all listings in the calREDD system, hybrid users would have to log in to the software platform developed by Concentric for CALMLS. In a hybrid implementation, Kucirek said, users would not be able to use Concentric’s calREDD platform to enter listings because of "very complex data-synchronization issues."

The California Real Estate Technology Services (CARETS), a data aggregation service serving 30 Realtor associations and more than 100,000 members in Southern California, allows members to access listing data using their choice of front-end system. The CARETS database covers properties for sale in six counties in Southern California.

CALMLS and CARETS announced an agreement in June allowing calREDD to become a member of CARETS when it began providing MLS services (see story).

Kucirek said the Scenic Coast Association of Realtors, which serves the Central Coast communities of San Simeon, Morro Bay, Cayucos and Los Osos, is slated to go on line with calREDD in mid-May using the hybrid approach.

Scenic Coast’s members will continue to use an MLS platform built by Rapattoni to enter listings, and have the option of using Concentric’s calREDD platform to view other listings in the system. Both platforms include tools for generating reports for clients.

One issue complicating a hybrid solution to the Scenic Coast association is that it already has data-sharing agreements in place with about a half dozen other associations along the Central Coast that have not signed agreements with calREDD, Kucirek said. …CONTINUED

But the calREDD system can be configured so that only Scenic Coast users — and not other calREDD members — see the listings data that Scenic Coast is already receiving through its own data-sharing agreements, he said.

NAR’s RPR initiative

Another issue calREDD must tackle is whether to join an initiative by the National Association of Realtors to build a national property database.

NAR has formed a subsidiary, Realtors Property Resource LLC, to build a database that’s expected to include records on every parcel in the U.S., residential and commercial, combining public property records with data from multiple listing services (MLSs) and commercial information exchanges (CIEs).

Although NAR says RPR will not be a national MLS, and that the database will be accessible only to Realtors and members of participating MLSs, some MLS executives want assurances that it won’t compete with services they offer (see story).

NAR has an agreement to license public property records from LPS Real Estate Group, but needs MLSs to supply listings to the database in order to generate "Realtor valuation model" (RVM) property-value estimates that RPR plans to sell to lenders, investors and government agencies.

RPR officials say they don’t plan to pay MLSs for supplying listings, but will provide them with access to RPR’s public property record data in return for participation. NAR estimates that service could save MLSs $25 million to $50 million annually.

Like other MLS software vendors, calREDD had planned to offer users optional access to public property records.

Some MLSs may already be providing that service to members through a third party. Lake County, for example, already contracts with ParcelQuest to provide members with public property records, Kucirek said, and will continue to do so.

MLSs that wish to provide public property records through calREDD can choose the vendor that CALMLS has selected and will announce next month, Kucirek said.

It will be up to CALMLS’s board of directors to decide whether to participate in NAR’s RPR initiative, Kucirek said. Should the board choose to participate in RPR, "we have anticipated this type of eventuality" in CALMLS’s contract with its public property records vendor, he said.


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