By Stefanie Hahn
Realtors Property Resource® was recently introduced to my market and I am pleasantly surprised by how much I love this tool. For those of you not familiar with RPR, it is a database of 116 million homes nationwide that (once your MLS allows), you can access to search, compare, create reports with data from a myriad of sources (something like 330 pieces of data are parsed) and establish yourself as a subject-area expert for housing in the market where you do business.
While this tool is not available to all REALTORS® yet, by learning all you can about RPR now you will have a great “leg up” on your colleagues. Sound good? Trust me, it is. I’ve spent a significant amount of time sharing this tool with my agents and I believe that it is truly worth your time.
One thing to note – this tool is for REALTORS®. The only thing your consumers will have access to are the reports that you decide to share.
Why should you love it too? Let me share the ways …
1. Accessibility/Assistance The folks are RPR have made this system user-friendly. Help is around every corner and live chat is available at the bottom of every page. Additionally, they want you to make the system better – use the “Log a Bug” feature to let RPR know you had an issue with something on the site OR to just to make a suggestion.
If you haven’t already, check out: http://blog.narrpr.com for general information and then select – agents, brokers, commercial, association, appraisers or MLS for more detail. The agent section gives you the basics – what it is and how to use it, agent resources and news and information. The information is presented in printable PDF’s or video. You can also sign up for training here if you are ready to learn more.
2. Changes/Updates I love any tool that changes and improves to better suit my needs. As a trainer of agents, there is nothing more fun than to show an agent a system and say, “It would be great if they did this,” and then the next time you log in….BAM! The change is made. Changes and updates seem to happen frequently with RPR and so far I’ve been a fan of all of them. When my MLS rolled out RPR on December 21, 2011, I stopped what I was doing, set up my account right away and starting tooling around in the system. Yeah, I am a geek. Last night, as I logged-in to RPR while I wrote this blog post … I noticed tweaks. Tweaks to me mean that someone (or more likely many) is constantly trying to improve upon the system. For products like this, I say yey to new tweaks!
3. Custom Searches In many of our markets, we have little quirks about areas that always seem to mess up searches whether you are dealing with the MLS or Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia … you name it. At first, RPR seems to fall into the same quirky trap, but when you dive in further you see it is much more robust. On the search tab, search for the general area you want to see – town or zip code works. Then click on the Map View tab (you default to List View when you search). Now you can draw a custom area to search on the map or draw a radius search. As a bonus – you can just search here or save the search to use again later.
4. Positioning the REALTOR® One thing you hear over and over again in an RPR training course is that this tool “…was created for REALTORS® by REALTORS®.” What this tool does and I believe truly intends to do – is put you at the center of the transaction again. We all know that the Zestimates and other AVM’s can sometimes be out of whack, but until now you could not stand on your own subject-area expertise without a ton of customized research. In my opinion, RPR is the tool that ties all the data and your expertise together in one neat little report.
One of my favorite parts of this tool is the “Refined Value” tab – where you can use your knowledge of the market, the local area and the house to truly show the value. Again, enhancing your professional expertise is RPR’s highest goal.
5. All the Data in One Place While it is most likely possible for you pull all the different pieces of data together in a way RPR does, who the heck wants to take the time to do all of that anymore? We talk all the time about the need to work smarter and faster these days. RPR helps you do that in new and exciting ways…and it is in real time. The same day you mark a property sold, RPR is updated. Real time data is powerful and it’s what makes this tool different from the websites our consumers are using to determine value.
Usually I try to make it a rule not to post about something you may not all be able to act upon today, but I am excited to see what you will do with RPR! If you don’t have it, talk to your Association Executives and MLS Directors and find out if it is on its way. Perhaps it is closer than you think. For those of you who do have it already … jump into the pool with both feet and learn to swim! You will be so thankful that you did.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Collegeville, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.