18 Ways That The Realtors Property Resource May Change Commercial Real Estate Forever

This is a repost with a little editing of a subject that I think needs some serious discussion. The National Association of Realtors (Realtor Property Resource.) The implication of the scope of data that will be available to commercial real estate for FREE is staggering.

I recently had a little conversation with the people at Realtors Property Resource(RPR), which many of you are likely familiar with.  If not, it is well worth your time to take a look at the RPR demo online. Of course it uses residential property in the demonstration, but believe me- commercial property is coming.

Select initiatives that RPR will apply to commercial property:

The RPR database will include depth of data for all of the approximately 147 million parcels of property across the country.

Initially, the RPR database will include information available in the public domain, primarily tax assessment and property data, and licensed data from third parties, such as financial, lending, mapping, demographics, and school information. And, of course RPR will include licensed MLS data and photos.

On a more local level, the RPR will cross local market boundaries, providing consistent depth of data across historic market areas, and eliminate county to county differences in access to valued information.

RPR will license all commercial property types from participating MLS/CIEs. <<<IMPORTANT!!

RPR will include a private community framework that promotes social interaction among members. Ranging from comment streams to Q & A, and expert forums, members will be able to determine who they share with and what they share. Members will also be able to annotate the information in RPR with their own comments, and choose whether to publish their comments or not.<<,Really Important!!

Access to the RPR is free for NAR members, and the company will not provide it to any entities that wish to resell it to NAR’s members.

Take a look at the map of over 100 MLS/CIEs that have already signed up to be participators of RPR.

The Realtors Valuation Model™ (RVM™) is an automated valuation model (AVM) that will be developed by RPR using licensed listing data. The use of MLS data will create an estimated value which is said to be superior to the AVM products that are on the market today which are derived from public records data.

What does this mean? Here’s where it gets interesting:

Did you read the first part? 147 million properties. As in pretty much all properties!

Of course initially it will be public data only. But here is where it gets really interesting… What other data should be included? How may this impact commercial real estate? I’ll start a list or as I think of it… LAYERS:

  • Facilities Management: as in BOMA-like facilities data. The list of data available here is almost endless.
  • 3-D Animated Cad: every building with true and accurate layouts. Accessible in real time.
  • Analytics: not just a valuation model, real numbers.
  • Leasing Info: yes, real lease info. It’s already being done.
  • Connected Buildings: as in Networked….old idea, maybe not so much.
  • Mobile or Geo-fencing: Look at Tagwhat. Just stick it on a building.
  • CRM: In real time with a backend support system.
  • Real time vendor bidding: think contractors, architects, designers etc. Real time access to true historical building info.
  • The Social Component: Interacting, sharing, seeking information from other CRE experts and giving advice. WOW!

These are just a few of the ideas I have for the layers of data for the RPR.  What other possibilities can you think of?

What happens next?

– RPR has already launched and the reviews of the users are very positive.

-Is this a chance for real collaboration within the commercial real estate industry.

– Is this the beginning of a real true and accurate data standard for commercial real estate.

– Should the National Association of Realtors be the Assoc./Company/Brand that does it?

-Will Co-Star and Loopnet suffer as a result?

I have been lurking around RPR from the start…it is a fascinating technology….it has all of the components to change the commercial real estate data industry forever….don’t think so…tell me why!

Duke Long


  • I don’t think RPR will do the killing. I think it will hurt the agent business for a lot of these data companies but there are some much bigger issues here. Data.gov is an initiative that the government has put together to curate and distribute most of this data to the public for FREE – realtors and brokers included.

    This is not really the kicker though. There are two others:

    Perception of data is all that seems to matter to most. Quality is not an issue. Many folks I have observed in the industry are fine to put second rate, questionable quality data up on their sites just to have “data” up there. To be honest, it works. Most consumers don’t really care if the data is right or not as long as it is there. Not a whole lot of folks take the time to check it (or even have the ability to). Data.gov will only increase this since the data has the US Government seal of approval.

    The second thing, and maybe more important, is that data is great but most providers serve it up in a format that requires the client to have expertise in data management and manipulation. There are very few, in my experience, that can actually work with decent data and many wind up serving up the wrong information anyway. (again, fueling the aforementioned point)

    An investment has to be made on the part of the customer not just in the data product but the staff to make use of it. This is often conveniently left out of the conversation by sales people and results in a non-action after the fact. This is not good for anyone.

    The real killer will be an innovator that will serve up the data from a hosted platform where they manage the quality of the product wile requiring the customer to easily access and serve it up. Companies like Zillow and Trulia have started to do that but give it away for free in exchange for links to their site. They need to white label it and sell it to agents and brokers in a better way than RPR for front facing public use and that will be the differentiator. Altos does this to some extent – and does it well – but should expand their offering beyond analytics if possible.


  • Information is just info unless it is easily understood. Right now there is so much residential information online for the consumer, it almost allows them to use up their energy researching everything there is on a property…then when they have totally confused themselves since much becomes contradictory as many of these sites use old listing info, tax info, by they time they connect with an agent they are usually ready to be set straight and need the expertise a broker can offer vs. raw data…

  • Of course, it the site moves away from the archaic architecture of its predecessors, then it may very well replace them. But it will still be a McDonalds vs Burger King choice, not a true dining experience. Today, as yesterday, as tomorrow, these types of sites, if in fact they can be scaled for the complexities of the commercial sector, will be that of “last resort”, and recognized as such by both buyers and sellers. There will always be a market for the “dollar menu”. My taste tends to take me to the brokers who have choice properties that only they control. And most sellers who have choice properties don’t want it demeaned and devalued by association with lesser properties. The game won’t change, just a few players. Perhaps there is room for a Wendy’s without killing the others.

  • The information age in commercial real estate is not only upon us, it is running us over. Information is available to everyone. What the commercial broker has left to sell is the intellectual capital accumulated by experience and knowledge gained in their local markets. It is not the data that is important, it is the ability to sort it, analyze it, and develop the correct strategy using it. That is how we will be able to stay relevant.

  • NAR is the only organization with the muscle and money to do this. Commercial Source…though it didn’t work as a standalone option…is now an avenue for NAR to inventory the commercial markets. They all ready get fed directly from most of the large brokerages and get data from Catylist’s network of CIEs/MLSs. They have the data format in place, so it’s only a matter of time before everyone is on board.

    But Howard is right – even with all the data and the reports something like RPR can give you, it’s still up to the agent to make sense of it for the client.

    And re:
    -Will Co-Star and Loopnet suffer as a result?

    You betcha!

  • I have been following it as well. I think it will be great, but it will take awhile for CRE professionals to catch on. I also think it opens some doors that have been closed for quite some time. There are a lot of residential agents that are NAR members. Now, the residential agents will have access to information that prior was only available on CoStar (which is expensive, so many didn’t bother). Does this actually end up hurting commercial professionals?

  • Duke, I feel this would be fantastic, but unfortunately I think it is a long way off from becoming a reality. I agree with Chris above, and I don’t agree with Bob above. This would not be intended to be offered to the public like Realtor.com, but more of a MLS type service. I also think the larger firms will be apt to want to continue their relationship with Costar despite all their moaning about Costar’s pricing. It’s still far cheaper for then to pay Costar than to keep and build their own platform, plus they get to see what their competitors are doing. Then finally you have the snob factor as they won’t to be associated with the lower class firms like ourselves if they can at all help it.
    However, they should be compelled to input their listings into the commercial MLS system as a service to their owners. This would also put an enormous amount of pressure on both Costar and LoopNet which would be a good thing. And yes there are almost limitless apps this type of system could incorporate, one of my favorites would a building tenant directory only accessible by the tenants, property management and the leasing agents with local search capabilities embedded.

  • I recently participated in a webinar with the RPR folks. Most interesting and some great features. It is still in beta testing and should roll out within the next few months. All REALTORS should support this effort and make suggestions when you see it so that it can be a truly great and useable product for our industry. We need every type of technological product and service to help set us apart and provide some type of competitive advantage over our non-member competitors.