If you are a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), you will have free access to transaction management software, zipLogix, starting in January 2016. NAR’s board of directors just approved a proposal that will offer more than 1 million NAR members access to zipForm® Plus software, transaction management system zipTMS™, and document storage through zipVault.
Agreement and software integration
The three-year agreement—which is expected to pull between $11 million and $12 million from NAR’s reserves—breaks down like this. NAR will pay zipLogix $10 per each member for the first two years of the agreement. In the third year, the rate may increase but by no more than the increase in the federal Consumer Price Index. While the initial agreement is for three years, NAR leadership is prepared to fund the offering “in perpetuity.”
Dale Stinton, CEO of NAR, says the goal of the partnership is to offer a REALTORS-friendly platform, allowing users to have an electronic contract to close in one place, while providing value to their clients.
NAR plans to integrate the software with other NAR tools, including Realtor.com, Advanced Multilist Platform (AMP), Upstream, offerings within the REach® Technolgy accelerator and other plugins that will offer even more member benefits. ZipLogix’s zipForm® software is currently integrated with Realtors Property Resource (RPR), Updater, Deductr, DocuSign, NuOffer, Offer Runway, BackAgent and SkySlope, and the company plans to continue to support such integrations.
Concerns about zipLogix venture
The decision to approve the proposal wasn’t unanimous. Many board members voiced concerns about the venture being a waste of resources, especially considering that many agents are already satisfied with their transaction management software. Others argued that the price could be lower, while others questioned whether zipLogix is the right company to invest in, given the quality of competitors on the market. Some are concerned that the venture will increase membership dues.
However, one of the biggest concerns is that the product will not actually be free as advertised. NAR’s agreement does not include the broker version of zipForm® Plus zipForm® Mobile, zipForm® MLSConnect, or e-signatures from zipLogix Digital Ink or DocuSign, requiring members to pay for upgrades.
Despite those concerns, support for the plan won out by a 455 to 217 vote. NAR leaders were upfront about how the deal will allow REALTORS to compete with other giants in the industry, including The Zillow Group, that recently acquired transaction management firm dotloop. Says Stinton, “The listings battle has shifted to the transaction. We all have to be moving forward in the same direction or they’re going to get us.”
Moving toward streamlined sales process
Furthermore, the hope is that the plan will move the industry closer to a common digital platform that will streamline the sales process. It’s long been believed that electronic, standardized forms is one of the best NAR member benefits. This initiative appears to be a step in the right direction toward making the practice more mainstream.
ZipLogix is a joint venture between the National Association of REALTORS and Real Estate Business Services Inc. Learn more about zipLogix here.
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