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February 2, 2016

What do free real estate forms have to do with data?

What is the value of online forms to the owners of the online form companies in real estate transactions? Plenty. John and I have been singing the song of the value of data for years now.

Forms are where the most authoritative data resides about a buyer or a seller’s progress and seriousness of buying or selling a property. When someone buys a property, all sorts of things occur, other purchases occur.

Underlying an offer of free forms is the question of what will the forms provider do with the data. It is a potential goldmine…but no one talks about it.

>>After vigorous debate, the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors approved a proposal Monday to provide the trade group’s 1 million-plus members transaction management software from Realtor-owned firm zipLogix at no cost to members.

NAR’s three-year agreement with zipLogix charges the trade group $10 per member for the first two years and increases the rate by no more than the increase in the federal Consumer Price Index in the third year, according to NAR CEO Dale Stinton.

The deal is estimated to cost between $11 million and $12 million per year from NAR’s reserves. NAR’s membership count stood at just under 1.17 million at the end of October.

Starting in the first quarter, agents and brokers will have free access to the firm’s zipForm Plus software; transaction forms specific to their area, document storage through zipVault, and zipLogix’ transaction management system, zipTMS (formerly known as a relay).

ZipLogix is a joint venture between the National Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors subsidiary Real Estate Business Services Inc. (REBS). As of the end of 2013, NAR owned an approximately 30 percent interest in zipLogix, carrying a value of $4 million.

The proposal was approved by a vote of 455 to 217, but not until after a spirited debate ensued among board members. Several dissenting members — though not all — were from Florida, where the state association has its own forms company, Form Simplicity.<<

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