Ownership of Real Estate’s Future

A nationwide listing data-entry system—one that could be used by all brokers as the point for creating and editing listing data—could put the industry back in control of how its data is used and displayed. That’s the goal behind Project Upstream, an entity started by a coalition of brokers. But the system has to strike the right balance between being done right and being done quickly, said panelists in a recent discussion convened by the California Association of REALTORS®’ Center for California Real Estate.

In an executive report from the discussion, “Data-Sharing Dilemmas: Ownership of Real Estate’s Future,” you can glean insights on a range of topics—from the need for further MLS consolidation to the pressure being exerted by consumer real estate portals. Although the panelists brought different perspectives to the table, they agreed the industry needs to move beyond internal politics in order to provide real estate practitioners with the modern, user-friendly solutions that are expected by computer users today.

Among the topics panelists were most unified on was the promise of Upstream as a potential game-changer in real estate. Earlier this year, the real estate brokerage executives behind Upstream retained Realtors Property Resource® (RPR), a wholly owned subsidiary of NAR, to develop the data-entry system, based on technology RPR was already creating on behalf of a dozen MLSs. At its May 2015 meeting, NAR’s Board of Directors voted to fund the development of the system.

The panel—which was moderated by Joel Singer, CEO of the California Association of REALTORS®—included Dale Ross, CEO of Realtors Property Resource®. Other panelists were Ann Bailey, owner and president of Pranix Inc., a consulting company based in San Clemente, Calif.; Robert Bailey, broker-owner of Bailey Properties Inc., a brokerage with five offices in Santa Cruz County (no relation to Ann) and a long-time volunteer leader within CAR and NAR; and David Charron, CEO, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. (MRIS), a large regional MLS in the Washington, D.C., area.

Doing it right won’t be easy, and Singer cautioned that Upstream’s goal of having 50 percent of all listings in five years isn’t fast enough. But Ross and others agreed those concerns shouldn’t stop the initiative from moving forward—and Charron said the five-year goal is conservative. “I think it could happen a lot faster,” he said.

Pictured above: Panelists in a recent discussion convened by the California Association of REALTORS®’ Center for California Real Estate: (left to right) David Charron, Joel Singer, Robert Bailey, Ann Bailey, and Dale Ross.

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