The National Association of Realtors’ planned national property database, Realtors Property Resource, now has its own blog that aims to answer frequently asked questions about the initiative, which is scheduled to begin beta testing in March.
Reggie Nicolay, director of social media for Realtors Property Resource, said the RPRblog will allow RPR to "highlight beta markets and join in on relevant industry conversation."
NAR announced in November that it had purchased technology and licensed data from LPS Real Estate Group, the operator of Cyberhomes.com, to create a database of 147 million residential and commercial properties.
Realtors will have access to zoning, permits and environmental information for those properties, plus information on neighborhoods, school districts and community demographics.
But RPR also needs multiple listings services around the country to contribute their property listings if the database is to stand out from others that offer access to public records.
If MLSs contribute active and sold listing data to RPR, NAR says that data can be used to generate "Realtor valuation model" (RVM) property valuations that are more accurate than automated valuation models (AVMs) that rely primarily on public property records (see story).
NAR hopes its RPR LLC subsidiary will eventually generate $60 million to $80 million in annual revenue, allowing the association to recoup its investment in the project — $12 million up front, and an expected $9 million to cover losses in the first three years of operation. …CONTINUED
NAR says it will sell only analytic products derived from the RPR database to nonmembers, and not access to the database itself. Because it will be accessible only to its members, NAR maintains RPR will not be a national MLS.
But when NAR demonstrated the site at its annual convention in San Diego in November, officials with some MLSs said they worried that RPR will compete with services they offer. Some questioned NAR’s stance that it does not plan to share revenue with participating MLSs. Appraisers who are NAR members also voiced concern that the RPR initiative will compete with them (see story).
In a blog post, Nicolay said frequently asked questions on the RPRblog have been organized in seven "channels" — general, appraiser, association, broker, MLS, Realtor and vendor — and will "evolve as the product does."
The RPRblog also offers a demo of the application and an "MLS signup" tab, allowing multiple listing services to request an enrollment package.
According to one FAQ on the RPRblog, beta testing is set to begin in March, followed by the first MLS launches in May. Additional MLSs will be added to the RPR system during the second quarter of 2010.
Individual NAR member logins will be activated in geographic phases across the country in a phased roll-out beginning July 1, the FAQ said.
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