RPR seems to be getting traction, at least among more of our clients. But many MLSs coming to us to have the RPR contract reviewed come with a big misconception. I usually first ask them what their business objectives for the relationship are, and almost every one has said, “We want to reduce our costs by replacing our public records provider with data from RPR.”

We seem always to have to explain two things:

  1. Your MLS does not have to provide MLS data to RPR in order to get public records from RPR. (Though I don’t know personally of MLSs using the API who are not licensing data to RPR, I take RPR at its word that an MLS does not need to license data to RPR to use the API.)
  2. The RPR agreement for its public record API provides none of the assurances you would normally expect from a public records provider. For example, RPR can terminate the agreement and stop providing public records to your MLS without notice; RPR does not warrant non-infringement; your MLS agrees to indemnify RPR, but not the other way round; etc. (See the agreement for the API at: http://blog.narrpr.com/tax-api .)

I’m not trying to knock the RPR API agreement; if I were giving away access to valuable PR data, I’d offer it under a pretty one-sided contract too. If your MLS currently does not have public records, or if you are not concerned by the possibility of an interruption in your public records access, the RPR API might be a good option. (We’d still caution you about some of the provisions in that API agreement, but the bargain might be worth assuming some risks.)

But if your MLS currently has a public records agreement and wants a source of public records on which it can rely, the RPR API is not a good substitute for a contract with CoreLogic, LPS, iMapp, or one of the other providers out there.Ā 

Your thoughts?
-Brian

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Today, the practical reality is that the public records API is only available to those MLSs delivering listing data. Also, SSO (pretty much a requirement to implement the API properly) is only available for MLSs delivering listing data back to RPR (at least at this stage).

  2. There's also the matter of RPR's public record data quality and depth.

    Now that I've had a chance to see RPR's data, I'd say there is no way for an MLS or REALTORĀ® to rely on the data provided.

    They are missing entire zip codes of public record data (at least in the ARMLS coverage area), sales and foreclosure filings are months behind and they have

  3. @Mike: Thanks for update. I know RPR will chime in if they differ with you.

    @Robert: Thanks (a) for your observation, and (b) for your candor about your personal interest. As for the former, I'd like to hear from other users of the RPR API or RPR system data out there about their impressions of its public record data quality.

    As for the latter, you reminded me that I

  4. Just to make sure I'm clear, I am not objecting to or being critical of RPR's practical decision to beta test the API with those MLSs signing up to provide listings first. It makes sense to roll out the service in stages and the early sign ups make an obvious first stage.

  5. It would be nice to hear from other early adapters of RPR. I have not heard any other reports about unreliable data. Robert, did the user you were piggybacking on contact RPR about the incorrect data? I'd want to know how they respond to such an issue.

  6. Thank you for bringing this subject up.

    I posed the same question to the rep from RPR that I spoke with several months ago. At that time, he informed me that RPR would only be pulling the PR data on a yearly basis. I had serious reservations about that because obviously 1 time a year is not often enough.

    I hope they have changed or will change that time frame.

  7. The user did not contact RPR about the issues but I've brought it up to RPR employees via Twitter and in-person at the NAR annual conference in New Orleans.

    They originally said 300 million records would be updated by November 5th. Then I was told it would be held up until after the NAR conference.

    I've asked twice since then and there has been no response.

  8. Hi Brian, it hadn't occurred to me until I read and thought about this post that adopting a free API would represent much of a paradigm shift. So much content over the last several years has become available in this format, from publishers and search engines of every stripe and in many industries – and has, in turn, been so broadly adopted (as we have seen in our industry via Google, Zillow,

  9. @Marty: I think you are right about the possibility of a paradigm shift in thinking about MLS access to public records.

    MLSs that adopt that view still have to address the current paradigm, especially as MLS subscribers are accustomed to it, and as the customers, their needs are paramount.

    Can you comment on Mike's suggestion that as a practical matter, it is only MLSs

  10. We have provided the API as a beta to seven MLSs – not all of which are current licensors of RPR.

    To clarify one other minor point – SSO is not required either – the API provides links to RPR that can be used with or without SSO, and optionally – even if the MLS licenses to RPR.

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