Great discussions are happening about RPR and the transition to enhanced data or parcel-based MLS systems.
Aggregators are looking for ways to integrate the myriad of information around a specific property record and present this to their end users; whether that is the REALTOR, consumer, service providers or a combination thereof.
An associate of mine (Thanks, Jon) pointed out that the big argument is whether real estate professionals are in the SERVICE business or the INFORMATION CONTROL business. I don't however think that the debate should really be about whether the REALTOR is in the Service business or the Data business.
The Real Estate Professional is *absolutely* in the service side of the transaction business.
In fact, the value added by a Broker/Agent is that of a trusted advisor - a more accurate description might be that of a transactional facilitation consultant. On the data or information side of the discussion, it's not the REALTOR that is at the center. That would be NAR and outside organizations. In the discussion of parcel-based MLS systems, at the end of the day the essential role of the REALTOR does not change. What may change is the access to readily avaialble information.
If you think about it, this is consistent with the 'normal' progression of the industry and technology over time. Think back to when we had the option to add the 'Agent Simple' product from REALTOR.com for example. What did this do for the REALTOR? For the Consumer? At the time there were doomsayers crying on every corner 'disintermediation is near!!', but what actually occured was a natural evolotion of the industry:
- The consumer matured
- Access to information increased - for all parties (this is the natural course of technology, business, and free society)
- The REALTOR's ability to more effectively and efficiently facilitate transactions increased
- Our relationship to the buyer / seller did not change
Rather than being 'put out' of the deal, the REALTOR instead found that they could more effectively measure, manage and close their pipeline of business - often increasing the number of clients and transactions they were able to handle at once.
This is what technology, information, and business tools can, and should, do for your business.
On the flip side, we also saw that with an increasingly informed consumer, the Real Estate Professional had to step up their game. Indeed the information was now available on every property, every REALTOR, every market - and there was an expectation which drove us all to get better at what we do.
Instead of debating the 'whether or nots' from a position of fear or nervousness, I encourage each of us to embrace the change for what it is - Simply stated: the next step in the ever-changing landscape of the Real Estate Business.
The good news is this: We all get to choose not only what we do, but also how we do it. Will you leverage the change to advance your business to new levels of service and reach? That is, as always, entirely up to you.
The great thing about the National Association of REALTORS is that they are working for us all regardless of those individual choices - to ensure that our position of Consumer Service and Trusted Advisor / Consulting remains strong and viable. . . both today and in the future of Real Estate. I for one am excited about the future!