with “what ifs.”
BY STACEY MONCRIEFF
ome considered it a pipe dream.
Speaking to the National A
s-sociation of Realtors® Board
of Directors in 2007, California
broker Gary Thomas painted a
picture of what could be. Thomas,
“The information . . . would be comprehensive. It
would be timely. It would be relevant. . . . [and] it would
be able to be annotated, supplemented, and corrected
by the professionals who utilize it,” he said. What it
wouldn’t be is a national MLS, Thomas told board
members. With their go-ahead, NAR was ready to begin making that vision a reality.
Five years later, in November 2012, Thomas was
sworn in as the 105th president of NAR and the gateway he described became available to all NAR members. It’s called the Realtors Property Resource®, and
it may eventually become the most powerful tool to
come out of the association since the creation of MLS.
RPR combines data on nearly 150 million properties
with a robust set of analysis tools. It’s dues-supported—
and available only to NAR members.
Taking the Lead but Not the Credit
For Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., RPR may be the largest game-changer
he has championed, but it’s hardly the first.
When California experienced a painful recession in
the early 1990s, Thomas led the consolidation of several Realtor® associations into the Orange County
Association of Realtors®. At about the same time,
he facilitated the creation of the regional SoCal MLS,
which launched in 1995 and grew to serve 33,000 participants and subscribers. He went on to participate in
a task force that structured the California Association of Realtors®’ for-profit Real Estate Business
Services. He served on the first board of directors and
later as chair of REBS, a company that spawned the
electronic forms company zipForms and other successful ventures, says Joel Singer, executive vice president