Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's driving NAR's new Realtor Property Resource, (RPR) idea?

I have heard a lot of mixed reviews lately as we learn more and more about NAR's new Realtor Property Resource idea. I recently came across a A Forty-Year History of the MLS on another site that reminded me of days gone by. Remember when as a home buyer you could only get a list of homes for sale from a real estate agent who showed them to you in a giant beat up book? The PC made things a lot easier for Realtors but when the Internet took off, I think very few people in real estate were ready for how the industry was about to change.

The Internet has lead in an era of shared information between agents, brokers and home buyers and sellers. Let's face it, being a buyers agent has gotten a little easier as home buyers can weed through tons of houses on the Internet before they want to go out and see a few. Sure it's also easier to lose a buyer as they find a home on the Internet, stumble into an open house without you and are accosted by an overly aggressive agent who tells them how surprised he/she is that they are house shopping without you. But for the really good buyers agents this doesn't happen very often. I haven't been able to find too many agents over the past 10 years who haven't been able to improve their business as a result of the Internet and the plethora of free information available to home buyers and sellers.

So with that in mind the question that comes up is "why would we want to go back to the old days of tightly controlled data"? In my experience control freaks usually operate from a base of fear. Is it possible that the NAR with their super powerful lobby and all are afraid of losing control of their loosely held real estate information empire? Wait a minute, they don't control the real estate info at the local level, your local and/or regional real estate board does and they share it through the local or regional MLS. So maybe it's not a matter of fear of loss but in fact the RPR is a product of a desire for gain. Who wouldn't want to control and distribute all the real estate data in the US, think of what that would be worth. Oh but they say it will be for Realtors only, that makes me feel a lot better and I'm sure that after they sucker in all the local and regional boards and their MLS data that they don't have any plans to deploy a public facing version. Ya think?

Frankly it doesn't really matter to me whether the RPR get's launched or not, but I'm curious about what you think about the RPR. Is this something that will help real estate agents grow their business or just another hair brained idea thought up by a bunch of dinosaurs? Feel free to leave a comment.