Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt


If you haven’t read Andrea Brambila’s trifecta of articles on Inman News you should. Here are the links.

What Does Upstream have to show for itself?
Timeline: NAR’s Project Upstream then and now
Who is Actually Building RPR’s Tech?

The last article just dropped yesterday evening, and its a doozy. The article points out the fact that RPR’s uses a lot of sub-contractors to build their tech.

“But who is building that technology? An Inman investigation has found that — for the most part, it’s not RPR. The company has 85 employees, about 20 of which are devoted to tech. But few of those people are software developers or engineers — the “coders” that bring RPR’s software into being. From their LinkedIn profiles, most appear to be project managers and analysts.

Inman has found that the developers who work for RPR are nearly all independent contractors. At least 19 contractors from four different consulting firms are currently working for RPR, according to our findings, and there are likely more.”

Which by itself might not be such an interesting fact. The fact that RPR is so defensive as to the number of contractors they employ is what’s so puzzling. Many vendors use outside contractors. Big deal.

But, outside contractors can be expensive, especially if your outside contractors are based in Irvine, not India.

Look, I get it. I understand RPR’s challenges. I own a software company. This industry is very transient. Adoption is hard. Designing software agents will actually use is hard. Getting the word out is hard. W+R Studios has markets where Cloud CMA is less than 12% adoption. Really, I get it. And, it doesn’t matter if you have some of the smartest and most talented people in the industry working for you (and RPR does). It’s a freaking grind.

Here’s the thing. If you are set up to make “60 million to 80 million in annual revenues”, then spending 24 million dollars a year make sense. But that world doesn’t exist. The current solution of having NAR members take on that cost (instead of $60M to $80M coming from Wall Street) seems to be in question.

Newly appointed NAR CEO Bob Goldberg has stated that he is, “working closely with Realtor leadership and staff to review all programs and how we provide the best value to our members.

NAR’s Finance Committee meets this week and the question they must ask themselves is this, “Is RPR providing enough value to the membership to justify the cost?”

  1. I get how it could happen, but seriously that’s a lot of money spent with very little to show…I don’t get why they aren’t full time employees either, given how long many have been working on rpr/upstream/etc.

    From the surface, seems everything about rpr has been to “rebuild zillow, and give it to the industry” — with consultants doing the work, and agents footing the bill. It’s a lot of money to be spent, for something every agent in the country can already use for free — and always be worse than zillow from a usability perspective given the difference in resources and talent Zillow Group has at its disposal.

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