• RPR is a tool that no Realtor should be without; it provides information that keeps you looking like the real estate expert -- all on your phone.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has already invested millions in it, yet, some real estate agents won’t even give it a try. They’re missing out.

If you are a member of the National Association of Realtors, you have access to RPR (Realtors Property Resource). All members can use it and there is no extra fee.

RPR via the internet and mobile apps tap into an information gold mine. There are no advertisements on it, it doesn’t crash, and I don’t need to be a premium member of NAR to use all the features. So far, I don’t have any real estate apps that provide as much information as RPR.

On-the-go memory

A couple of days ago, I was walking through my neighborhood, and I noticed a house that had been boarded up. I used the mobile RPR app on my phone, and I was instantly able to see that the home is now bank-owned. I know who the owner was and about how much was owed on it.

I took a picture of the home, and added some notes so that I have the information handy if anyone asks about it. Information I add through the mobile app can easily be accessed from the computer in my office.

There isn’t any other real estate app that I currently have access to where I can make notes and add photographs to real estate information.

There are many ways to use RPR, and there are plenty of agents who don’t know what RPR is or how to use it. In some markets, RPR isn’t linked to an MLS, which limits its usefulness.

When I am with clients touring homes, I often look up the homes we are seeing in RPR as we go. Clients often ask questions about the homes. Who owns the home? When did they buy it? How much did they pay for it?

I have the answers ready along with basic information about the listing and an automated valuation.

I can keep notes inside the app about the homes we toured. I save the homes for future reference and to be used as feedback for the seller’s agent and homeowner.

For clients who want to sell a home, all sorts of reports with useful statistics can be created from RPR. I use the built-in market analysis report. I usually tweak it by choosing my own comps. It’s also easy to make adjustments to the subject home.

Indispensable reports

There are some reports that I like to use. Property reports for homebuyers that contain information about the property and the neighborhood. There are also neighborhood reports that cover demographics, property values and more.

I have met with homeowners in neighborhoods that I have not worked in for months and have been able to get up to speed by looking at my RPR app right before I go into the home to meet the owners.

I also use the market reports that can be generated instantly and shared with clients. The report shows activity for the past few weeks or months including median sales prices, days on market, number of sales, pending sales and much more. This year’s data is compared with last year’s.

Important numbers are prominently displayed with percentage of increase or decrease right below them. The reports are clean and easy to read or scan.

Reports and statistics are also a great ice breaker on listing appointments, and they make me look smart. They can be used in most any situation where someone has questions about real estate. The statistics can also be used as the basis for blog posts or for Facebook business pages.

There are other apps that work with our MLS, but they are not as user-friendly when it comes to basic features like searching homes for sale that aren’t nearby. They don’t access as much data either.

A differentiator

RPR is also faster, it has more data than any other app that works with our MLS, and it even has a location override.

There are other uses for RPR that are not taught or mentioned in the glossy brochures. I have been able to look up the home addresses of people in other states.

Sometimes I have clients who are moving in from other states. I can get a lot of information about the home they are planning on selling and even get a report on local market conditions. If the home is in an area where RPR is not linked to the MLS, there is often information about recent sales.

RPR provides training and even sends people to conferences and bar camps.

There is help in the app and on the RPR website. There is 24-hour support every day by phone and live chat. They can handle everything from lost passwords to instructions on how to handle various features and tools.

Best of all, when I have needed tech support, they actually answer the phone and solve the problem — even on weekends.

RPR is a benefit for NAR members. NAR will not get the millions of dollars back that it cost to build it or the millions needed to sustain it; why not use it, or at least give it a try?

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

Email Teresa Boardman

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