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CEO DATELINE – National Association of Realtors scales back costly property database

Feb. 1, 2018
By Walt Williams

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The National Association of Realtors is requiring one of its subsidiaries to make deep cuts after sinking tens of millions of dollars into the program, which has not delivered the profits the group had once expected.

NAR announced Thursday that the Realtors Property Resource has suspended its Advanced Multi-List Platform, which provides customized back-end technology services for small- to midsize multiple listing services. The association has also directed RPR to reduce its operating costs by 20 percent in 2019, with the savings to be reallocated “to help fund other higher priority NAR initiatives.”

RPR was conceived in 2008 to be a source of information on any piece of property in the nation. Association members can access the data for free, but NAR planned to have RPR pay for itself by selling the information to large banks, Wall Street and government institutions such as the Treasury Department.

The association had spent $58 million on the subsidiary as of 2012, but RPR consistently failed to recoup its costs. The issue has become something of a sore spot for NAR given roughly 20 percent of the $120 in members’ annual dues pays for RPR and other technology and media initiatives.

 The changes to RPR come roughly six months after Bob Goldberg became NAR’s new CEO. In a statement, the group noted Goldberg had also directed a major realignment of its organizational structure “to become a radically member centric organization.”

“I vowed a full review of the organization and its programs when I assumed the role of CEO to ensure we provide the best value to our members. Suspending funding for AMP will allow RPR to refocus its resources on delivering the best user experience to Realtors,” Goldberg said.

The association noted that, despite the cuts, RPR will continue to provide custom data tools and market reports to Realtors on more than 166 million parcels of residential and commercial property across the U.S.

Other changes are in store for RPR. One of the subsidiary’s creations is a data management company called Upstream. NAR has funded Upstream through the end of this year, but beginning in 2019 the company will be on its own.