As the real estate industry continues to evolve, NAR's voice can shape its direction in the future. Perhaps most importantly, that means we're continuing to embrace – and drive – change.
Almost 25 years ago, the industry was at a crossroads. The "information superhighway" was gaining, a digital age was emerging, and we had two choices: adapt to coming market changes or defend the status quo.
NAR created realtor.com® in 1996 to give REALTORS® a way to reach consumers with information about available listings, educate consumers about the home buying and selling process, and reinforce the value REALTORS® offer at the center of the real estate transaction – leading the industry in the now universal practice of putting listings online. The technology now in place not only supports the REALTOR®, but it enhances their value for their clients.
NAR and Move transformed the rules for real estate listing display, leading the charge and establishing the precedent that listings in the U.S. are displayed free, unlike in other verticals and in other countries around the world. Ultimately, we took a potential disruption and turned it into an opportunity. And it changed the industry forever. Today, REALTORS® thrive in the internet age.
In fact, research has shown that 9 of 10 buyers who search online for property use a real estate agent, while only 64% of those who do not search online use an agent. Ultimately, those who rely on the support of digital resources still depend on a real estate agent to guide them through one of the most complex, consequential transactions of their life.
NAR's Strategic Business, Innovation and Technology (SBIT) group seeks to drive efficiencies and accelerate business performance for both members and consumers by delivering innovative products, services, and cost savings benefits through its partnerships. Alongside its strategic investment subsidiary, Second Century Ventures (SCV), and the REACH technology accelerator, NAR works with over 100 technology companies that are transforming the real estate industry across its entire ecosystem. Some notable examples include:
Digital platforms like DocuSign, the leader in e-signature services, and Notarize, which is paving the way in remote notarization, make it possible to transact online with secure, contact-free platforms. Other REACH companies, like Earnnest, BoxBrownie.com, and Updater have helped REALTORS® keep their businesses moving through evolving pandemic requirements with digital escrow fund transfers, virtual staging tools, and technology-driven moving services
NAR's REALTOR Benefits® Program partners were also critical in providing NAR members with value-added offers and significant savings on marketing resources, risk management and insurance offerings, and transaction management tools. More than 800,000 REALTORS® saved $74M on these products and services last year alone.
In addition, the REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR) is one of the nation's largest property databases, available exclusively for REALTORS®. Through its web, Mobile and Commercial platform, RPR, puts data, tools, and reports at your fingertips so you can respond to questions and requests instantly and position yourself as an essential part of every transaction.
RPR is a benefit provided by NAR and included in member dues. It includes over 95% of all active residential listings and 97% of all active commercial listings. RPR can be accessed online at narrpr.com, and by app on both iOS and Android. It covers every corner of REALTORS®' real estate business—from working with buyers, to listing presentations and open houses.
RPR provides members with a central source to target business locations and access consumer trends data. Through RPR, members have access to everything from school, tax and foreclosure information to mapping, flood zones, historical data, demographics, and more – on both the residential and commercial sides.
To ensure this association and its 1.4 million members across the U.S. remain positioned at the very cutting edge of new ideas and technology, NAR SBIT's Emerging Technology team continues to focus its efforts on identifying concepts and companies in their infancy, providing further opportunities to partner with companies through SCV, REACH, and the REALTOR Benefits® Program. This gives NAR members full access to knowledge around tech entering the real estate space and will help solidify the value of a REALTOR® at the center of every real estate transaction in America in the decades ahead.