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The National Association of Realtors® and its wholly owned subsidiary, Realtors Property Resource®, have signed a technology agreement with UPSTREAM™, a revolutionary industry-owned and controlled data management company, to develop UPSTREAM™’s cross-industry, state-of-the-art platform for real estate data entry, collection and distribution for real estate brokers.

UPSTREAM™ will create a single entry point for brokers of all sizes to manage property data—including its distribution to multiple listing services, publishers and vendors—saving time, effort and expense and ensuring more accurate, consistent data. The goal of UPSTREAM™ is to create a resource for brokerage firms of all sizes and models to provide a better consumer experience for today’s homebuyers and sellers and enable brokers to more easily manage where and how their listing information is displayed as well as the terms for the licensing and use of that property data. These benefits – efficiency, control, risk management and customer experience – all represent a major step forward in the real estate data space.

“As leaders in organized real estate, NAR and RPR have looked forward to the opportunity to work with the brokerage industry for many years on an initiative that truly can be thought of as ‘game changing,’” said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Arkansas. “This initiative will be done in full collaboration with the real estate brokerage and franchise community to deliver a high-value benefit to companies of all sizes nationwide, ultimately benefitting NAR’s one million-plus members.”

“UPSTREAM™ is not a multiple listing service, or a service that interfaces with the public in any way,” said Robert Moline, chairman of the UpstreamRE, LLC Board of Managers. “The platform is designed as a true neutral technology, giving no advantage to those companies involved with the initial vision, but rather, extending its value proposition to agents in all brokerage firms, franchises and networks. Partnering with NAR for the financial backing and RPR for its impressive technology and data capabilities is a win-win for UPSTREAM™ and the industry.”

“Agents and brokers have needed this for a long time, and everyone related to our industry who deals with data will benefit,” said Craig Cheatham, Secretary, UpstreamRE, LLC and member of the Upstream Board and Executive Committee. “Only through a united, national effort directed by those who are in real estate firms and actively are engaged in the business can we make our data management process efficient.  Everyone will save time, effort and money and ultimately the consumer will benefit, as well. By working with a powerful partner in NAR, the success of Upstream is further assured.”

“LeadingRE has been a supporter of UPSTREAM™ from the beginning,” said its CEO, Pam O’Connor, who is on UPSTREAM’s board of managers, along with several LeadingRE member brokers.  “We believe this will be a major benefit to all of our member brokerages, regardless of size or profile, based on efficiency, leverage over the listing data they work so hard to generate, and the enhanced customer experience that comes from more accurate, timely data. It allows brokers and their vendors to focus on innovation for consumers rather than spending so many resources on entering and managing data.”

Formed by a broad-based coalition of brokerages, brokerage networks, and national franchisors representing real estate companies of all sizes and business models, the UPSTREAM™ platform will be designed to follow industry standards, ensuring the quality of and accessibility of data across the industry.  It will also manage the distribution of information through a rules-based engine to support the specific requirements of all participating brokers. The RPR platform will be the framework for the development and implementation of the UPSTREAM™ platform.

“For the first time since the formation of the MLS system, the entire real estate industry is working together to create an environment that supports innovation,” said Cary Sylvester, vice president of Industry Development, Keller Williams and member of the Upstream Board of Managers and the Upstream technology committee. “With the financial support of NAR and the technology software provided by RPR, Upstream has the foundation to move forward and bring long overdue efficiency, accuracy and growth to the industry. It’s revolutionary. And Keller Williams is excited to be part of it.”

The agreement between UPSTREAM™ and RPR officially launches the initiative that has been a hot topic of conversation since the May 2015, decision by NAR’s Board of Directors to allocate significant resources to fund UPSTREAM™’s technology build and initial deployment through NAR’s RPR division.

“NAR’s investment in the RPR technology platform has created the largest and most comprehensive database in the industry. This, along with RPR’s integrated member servicing operations over the past five years put NAR and RPR in the perfect position to develop and support the UPSTREAM™ platform,” said RPR CEO Dale Ross. “This initiative was driven by the industry to create a new and innovative way to enter, collect and distribute data at the brokerage level. RPR looks forward to working with NAR and UPSTREAM™ to successfully execute the project.”

Since no vendor or regional cooperative of industry institutions would be able to develop a solution that would deliver the scope and depth of equal benefits to all agents and brokers that UPSTREAM™ has created with this cross-industry coalition, NAR’s investment ensures the success of the UPSTREAM™ mission and an effective solution for everyone who deals with real estate data.

UPSTREAM™ is in the process of hiring an owner’s representative to work directly with RPR while simultaneously conducting a search for a CEO to head the company. Beta testing is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2016, and following this extensive process in multiple markets, UPSTREAM™ will be made available to all brokerages nationwide that choose to participate.

UPSTREAM’s board met October 28, 2015, and voted to approve the current agreement, which was negotiated jointly by UPSTREAM™, RPR and NAR leadership over the preceding months. UPSTREAM’s  board will continue to provide strategic oversight for the project while RPR will be responsible for development, implementation, operations, training and support.   RPR, NAR and UPSTREAM™ will all provide marketing and communications for the project, since each works with various constituencies.

According to UPSTREAM™ and NAR/RPR leadership, this is a historic moment uniting common interests in a large and fragmented industry. UPSTREAM™ has responsibility for governance of the new enterprise, NAR is providing initial funding, RPR is developing the technology and a broad coalition of brokers are working together to dramatically enhance the data experience of industry practitioners and the consumers they serve.

For more information about UPSTREAM™ or to contribute to the enterprise, contact craig.cheatham@therealtyalliance.com.

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