Friday Flash: WTF RPR?

It’s time for a little inside baseball, folks. Please bear with me, because who wins the game matters…

This week, RPR, NAR’s property database spin-off, announced that it is sending the real estate listing data it gets from MLSs to LPS, the mortgage services giant. While LPS and RPR have been partners on public records data from the get-go, this is a new wrinkle.

Here, LPS will be using MLS data to alert its lender customers when a homeowner in their portfolio lists their house for sale.

Sounds cool so far. Smart play by LPS. They’re helping lenders get a leg up on capturing the purchase loan on the homeowner’s next house. These lenders already have the inside track because they know the homeowner’s finances, credit rating and payment history. But now they really have a jump.

What’s not so cool, in my opinion, is that the brokers who own the listings that power this deal can potentially get hosed.

How?

What can happen here, in consequence if not intent, is that broker listings are enabling lenders to capture mortgage business “upstream” from brokers’ own mortgage operations.

And if you know anything about real estate brokerage these days, you know that mortgage origination is a vital profit center for many companies.

So, while many of my broker friends wring their hands about Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, a subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors is doing something that should be raising serious questions.

The “data control” debate is a worthy one. But it needs a reboot.

Flyers, virtual tours and single-property websites.

The Tired Trinity of real estate marketing.

But mobile may redeem them. Recent cases in point:

Last week, VisualTour.com released iPhone and Android apps for creating and viewing virtual tours.

Also last week, vFlyer, a company that has been in the online flyer/listing business for years, announced a mobile version of its core product.

And Imprev, which provides a comprehensive suite of marketing tools, released a responsive single-property website product recently.

This is good to see. It can’t come fast enough. If I have to watch another blurry, stitched-together virtual tour I’m going to scream!

Geekwire reported this week that Redfin has opened a title subsidiary.

Redfin continues to do controversial, potentially disruptive things (their recent decision to expose data on offers, for example) at the same time they adopt an increasing number of “traditional” characteristics.

I have always thought that Redfin is a great real estate software company. I have not been so sure about it being a viable real estate brokerage company.

My opinion here is changing. If you’re a broker, keep a close eye on them.

Think about another data licensing scenario for a minute.

It sounds like Facebook is going to begin working with companies that collect data on consumer behavior outside of its network (from customer loyalty programs, for example) to help advertisers target people more accurately inside its network.

We all know a real estate transaction triggers a bunch of other purchase activity. But time is of the essence, and public records lag.

So who’s gonna cut the MLS data deal with Facebook?

RPR?

😉

Enjoy the weekend.

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