2008

The ultimate “green” closing gift – The Wattson

by THE WAV GROUP on December 28, 2008

Wouldnt it be great if you would provide your clients with a closing gift that just keeps on giving? Check out the new Wattson. http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004115.html This cool new device allows your clients to monitor the energy usage of everything that is plugged in in their home.  It will tell them when an old refrigerator is eating up too much energy and needs to be tossed. It will tell them that their daughter has her cell phone charger plugged in even though she is away at college. Hey, and it might be time to turn off the hot tub since there is two feet of snow on the cover and nobody will be using it until the spring. Available currently only in the UK for about $250 hopefully it will be coming to the U.S. soon If you have “green” clients, this could be a great way to continually remind them how much you care about the environment.  

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Real Estate Advertising needs to shift online TODAY.

by THE WAV GROUP on December 26, 2008

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Real Estate brokers and agents should have their 2009 Marketing plans neatly constructed by now.  Unfortunately, it has not happened.  Over the past few weeks I did a phone poll of 25 marketing directors of large brokerages across the United States to learn what they have in store for 2009.  Here is what I learned. 1.    Very few campaigns will be flighted until February. 2.    Newspaper open houses are still the focus In other words, the only strategy that is changing for brokers in 2009 seems to be doing less than before.  This is tragic – because the consumer is not reading the newspaper today as they did before. Not to be critical of my 25 friends, but some new thinking is needed.  Consider this one fact. In 2008, the internet passed the newspaper as a preferred source for news. PEW research conducted a study in December – 40% of respondents indicated they get most of their national and international news from the internet, compared to 35% from newspapers.  This shift represents a 24% shift from 2007! If you need help in constructing your 2009 Marketing Plan and seek to take advantage of online advertising – call the WAV Group.  We can help you navigate these waters.  Buying online advertising is different than print – do not make uninformed choices or you will waste your budget. Incidentally,  here is a rather provocative post on the death of newspapers – comparing them to nursinghomes.  

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Blackberry7250

I switched from Blackberry to Palm when the Treo came out, and used the Treo (really, 8 replacement phones) for three years before moving to the iPhone.   I had my reasons – principally the top 10 reasons were the 10 people who reported into me, coupled with communications with the executive team during a three-year project.  The company also had a relationship with Verizon, CRM integration, etc.  When you have everything tied into one mobile platform – best bet is to stick with it, right? For real estate, it is time to let go! The treo is large and clunky – but it did everything that I needed before web 2.0.  Now with blogging, facebook, twitter, Google Everything Apps and location services like zhiing – the treo is dead.  Today’s mobile platform leaders are iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian, Androidand WinMo. With only an iPhone, and missing my Blackberry, I went overboard recently and set up service on a Curve 8830 and also now carry the TMobile G1 Android.  The second phone was a backup, the third was for fun.  Be sure to check out the G1 link – great web design. But, will the treo ever die for Real Estate? The Palm treo is the worst smartphone device on the market today by everyone’s account.  However, due to GE Supra’s integration with the Infrared port on the treo – it is deployed in nearly 80% of MLS markets across the land.   Treo was the only smartphone that would open the GE Lockboxes! Thank goodness that Blackberry invested heavily into coming up with a work around in cooperation with GE Supra called the Blackberry eKey.  Agents in those markets finally have a choice.  From what I have gleaned from a variety of sources, Blackberry has proven itself as the device of choice for REALTORS and is gaining ground over the Treo.  Finally! Now, former rock star turned philanthropist billionaire, Bono and his buddies have invested another  $100M into Palm to take the last stab at a turnaround.  I imagine that this is their last ditch effort is the release of their new operating system, NOVA – due to be launched atCES in January 8-11th. Today, 7 or 8 Million people are walking around with Treos.  If Palm really nails this release – it could take a bite out of iPhone sales,.  BUT ONLY if the carriers agree to support the marketing of the device.  – Not very likely. Everyone is already hooked up […]

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David Charron has always been an industry visionary and leader through every step in his storied career.  Today he continues the implementation of his vision as CEO of America’s Largest MLS – MRIS. His vision for the future of the MLS is an environment where Agents and Consumers can connect with each other to have discussions about properties, values, neighborhoods and all things real estate.  Enjoy this brief interview courtesy of Inman News. I will be moderating a panel discussion at Inman in January titled MLS 2014 – 5 things to do right now to get ready.  Here are the panelists. Joshua Sharfman, CTO, California Association of Realtors ® Saul Klein, President & CEO, Internet Crusade / CEO, Point2 Technologies Brian Larson, Attorney at Law, Larson/Sobotka PLLC Mark Lesswing, Sr. Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, NAR

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The best holiday card of the season! Rapattoni

by THE WAV GROUP on December 19, 2008

WAV Group just received the Rapattoni Animated Holiday Card and we thought it was just great! Here it is for you to enjoy in case you did not receive it. http://www.rapattoni.com/multimedia/holidaycard/08/seasonsgreetings.html

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IMapp preparing for future growth

by THE WAV GROUP on December 19, 2008

IMapp recently announced several moves to position the company for future growth. Joel Cohen has been promoted to President, Kevan Sheridan was promoted to VP of Systems Operations and Pat Bastian was promoted to Vice President of Data Operations. Former President Bill Rovillo now maintains the position of Founder/CEO. Joel Cohen joined IMAPP in September, 2008 having most recently served as the Mid-Florida Regional MLSs Vice President, overseeing their day-to-day operations for the past nine years.  Joel will now oversee IMAPPs daily operations and future endeavors. “Im excited to have the opportunity to help lead the IMAPP organization into the future” says Joel Cohen, IMAPPs newly promoted President. “Having had the unique perspective to work with IMAPP for the last 8 years as a recipient of their services, I look forward to taking its founders vision to the next level. As the Real Estate Industry enters its next phase; IMAPP is positioned to help in this evolutionally process.” Kevan Sheridan joined IMAPP in November, 2001 serving as General Manager managing IMAPPs system operations for the past seven years. Prior to his employment with IMAPP,Mr. Sheridan served as the Technical Manager for TransWorld Data Services and the Manager of the Appraisal Magic division of Interealty (previously part of Realtron). Kevan has over 27 years of experience in the Real Estate data industry, including Assessment and Valuation, Systems Management, and Product Management. Kevan also spent seven years with the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser. “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic and well recognized company and I look forward to what we will bring to our customers bottom line in the future.” Pat Bastian joined IMAPP in November, 2001 as a Data Analyst. At that time her responsibilities included data research, ordering, and inventory as well as converting assessment data into product-ready files. As our business has expanded, so have the operations involved in obtaining, cleansing and managing data. These areas are now departments employing data researchers, analysts and quality assurance specialists. Pat oversees those areas, as well as Tech Support, which responds to user questions and Data Entry, which is responsible for our keyed deeds and mortgages. “We have an ongoing commitment to improving IMAPP’s data quality and currency so that our customers have the best possible information at their fingertips. It’s exhilarating to be part of a dynamic, innovative organization like IMAPP. “ About IMAPP:  IMAPP is a Tampa, Florida […]

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WAV Group gives donation to Feeding America

by THE WAV GROUP on December 19, 2008

Feeding America

More than ever, we have much to be thankful for during this holiday season.  The WAV Group is especially grateful for the confidence that our clients have placed in us as consultants. Although our tradition in America is to send a gift basket and a card, this holiday season is different.  Our industries and the citizens of our country are facing one of the most difficult periods of a lifetime. This year, WAV Group has chosen to make a charitable donation to Feeding America on behalf of our clients.  In choosing Feeding America, we reviewed many options on the basis of Organizational Efficiency, and Domestic focus. About Feeding America Feeding America, formerly America’s Second Harvest, feeds America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engages our country in the fight to end hunger. It is the nation’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization, with a network of more than 200 Member food banks and food-rescue organizations serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Feeding America supports approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies operating more than 94,000 programs including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, and Kids Cafes. Each year, Feeding America’s Network provides food assistance to more than 25 million low-income hungry people in the United States.   The charity is a 4 star rated charity – raising $675MM in donations against $15MM in expenses. Privacy Policy Opt-out: We have determined that this charity has a privacy policy which requires you to tell the charity to remove your name and contact information from mailing lists it sells, trades or shares. Opt-out terms and conditions vary from one charity to the next, but all require the donor to initiate the act.  WAV Group has opted clients out.  

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Victor Lund

by THE WAV GROUP on December 17, 2008

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Victor Lund is a founding partner of WAV Group – facilitated by the merger between Wilson Victor Associates and Audet Consulting in May 2004.  Wilson Victor Associates was a leading technology and business-consulting firm serving their clients in the areas of new business development and new product development, marketing and venture funding.  Prior to Wilson Victor Associates, Mr. Lund was an associate partner with Resource Capitalist, LLC.  Mr. Lund was raised in family controlled businesses, Lund American and Dynamic Homes. Lund American, the world’s premier aluminum boat manufacturer. Today Mr. Lund is an active author or co-author of many white papers and case studies that shape thought leadership on topics relevant to real estate today,and tomorrow.  His research is carried forth as a speaker or facilitator in many of the most important conferences including NAR, NAR Midyear, Inman Connect, Real Trends, CMLS, RIS Media, Luxury Real Estate, Realty Alliance, California Association of Realtors and many other Corporate, Association and MLS events. Like all WAV Group partners, Lund is a seasoned business executive with deep levels of understanding of the intricate components of the real estate industry.  Having served on the Board of Directors as an advisor to various Real Estate Brokerages, he has been active with strategic planning, mergers, divestitures, recruitment and marketing.  As a senior executive with one of America’s leading publishers, he understands the challenges to offline media.  As a consultant to many Multiple Listing Services (MLS), Lund has supported strategic planning, system review, system acquisition, data sharing, rules review, competitive reviews and other critical projects.  For many of the country’s leading companies that serve the technology needs of agents and brokers, Lund has helped with product development, system improvement, marketing, support system development, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and recruiting.  

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Better Homes and Gardens

Today, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC announced that Ventura Barnett Properties – an entrepreneurial Silicon Valley-based real estate company – has signed a long-term franchise agreement to operate as Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Ventura Barnett Properties. The new relationship adds significant brand value and resources to Ventura Barnett Properties, whose offices are headquartered in San Jose, Calif. The residential brokerage firm has two offices and 145 sales professionals who primarily serve clients in the Santa Clara County area. “Our affiliation with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate was a unique opportunity to enhance our service offerings with cutting-edge technology and a brand with a strong history,” said Tony Ventura, broker/owner, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Ventura Barnett Properties. “In a region made up of clients who expect a certain level of attention, this strategic relationship will allow us to deliver beyond that expectation, while serving as a catalyst for our company’s growth throughout the valley.” As part of the Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate franchise system, sales associates with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Ventura Barnett Properties will have access to innovative tools, services and training that will enable them to deliver exceptional customer service. The company’s property listings will be marketed through BHGrealestate.com, an online real estate destination designed to both inform and inspire consumers through rich content and market intelligence. “As an organization committed to forward thinking, growth and long-term success, Ventura Barnett Properties embodies the spirit of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate as we build toward the future,” said Sherry A. Chris, president and CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. “The whole team at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Ventura Barnett Properties shares Tony’s passion to deliver an exceptional consumer experience and have established for themselves a notable reputation that aligns well with our brand.”  

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Real Estate Brokers, Agents and MLSs who use the Listhub product from Threewide saw Christmas come early this year.  Now for the first time, users of this listing syndication tool can see what properties are hot – and which are not. With their new reporting and performance tools, Listhub now offers granular information about property characteristics that are important to consumers – hot price points, popular number of bedrooms, areas of town and more. The best feature of Listhub has always been their aggregated reporting.  They combine information from all of the sites that they syndicate listing to, including but not limited toYahoo! Real Estate, Zillow, Trulia and a dozen more. As reported here before – listhub is also free to MLSs who wish to help brokers syndicate and manage their listings at popular online portals.  Threewide was the first company to target solutions to online syndication with the ListHub product.  The only other competitive entry is newcommer Point2  

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Top 10 Real Estate Newsmakers Released

by THE WAV GROUP on December 16, 2008

  Stephan Swanepoel has just released this year’s top 10 real estate newsmakers list.  The list includes several federal government leaders as well as noted industry leaders like Saul Klein, CEO of Point2Technologies and Internet Crusade as well we William Foley, Founder of Fidelity Natiional Financial and Laure Janik, General Counsel for the National Association of REALTORS®. This years report also includes United States Secretary of State, Henry Paulsen, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, General Counsel for the National , Laurie Janik, CEO of the Bank of America, Kenneth Lewis, and Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Sheila Bair.  The Trends Report Top 10 Newsmakers list highlights individuals who during the year made headlines as a result of their actions and leadership of the companies or organizations they are involved in, within the real estate industry. Congratulations to all who have contributed to the real estate industry this year.

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About WAV Group

by THE WAV GROUP on December 16, 2008

Our Company In today’s business environment it is tougher than ever to find new paths to optimize your business or association. The WAV Group can help you make better technology decisions and to find new breakthroughs and paths to success. Areas we can help with include: Facilitating comprehensive strategic planning initiatives Evaluating and selecting real estate technology solutions Designing and executing research programs Helping you to develop and launch your next real estate product Creating and executing custom marketing plans Optimizing sales – sales training, comp plans, presentation development, distribution strategies Building comp plans Retooling distribution strategies Delivering broker Internet strategies to increase leads and lead conversion WAV Group has a depth of experience in technology, strategic planning, research, business development, sales, product development and marketing in the real estate industry. We work with your organization as virtual executives and help you meet the objectives of your business or association, more quickly, more effectively and more affordably. Our partners have collectively launched over 25 businesses and have led several hundred business process evaluations and system installations in North America, Europe and Asia. We have created significant increases in sales and profits for Fortune 100 to start-up companies. Our clients include real some of the largest MLS’s in North America, International real estate franchise organizations, technology companies and trade associations. This diverse collection of global industry experience allows the WAV Group to cross-fertilize ideas and bring best of breed solutions to its clients. All of the WAV Group partners have been CEO’s, Executive team members or founders of Fortune 100 and venture-funded corporations and approach each relationship with a clear understanding of the challenges that face our client’s businesses today. We are here to help you take your association or business to the next level and create the next wave of success!  

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The WAV Team

by THE WAV GROUP on December 16, 2008

Our Team The WAV Group The founding partners of WAV Group, Mike Audet, Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund came together because they share a common vision and values regarding business and how to create success for their company and their clients.  All three have been successful executives with major companies bringing together complimentary talents in sales, marketing, business development and product management.  Since their inception in March of 2004, WAV Group has developed an impressive client list in the United States, Canada and Europe becoming the first choice of major trade associations, technology companies, MLSs, and brokers when they need consulting services!  In addition to serving their clients WAV Group is also committed to extensive independent research and has published numerous market studies over the past year as part of their commitment to be the the best independent resource available to the real estate industry.  

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The faces of todays real estate consumer do not have many wrinkles! While the median age of REALTORS® has remained constant for several years, the age of the real estate consumer is changing fairly dramatically. They are getting younger and younger. According to NARs 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median age of a real estate consumer is 39 years old.  The average age of first time homebuyers is only 30 years old.  Real estate consumers continue to get younger on average. According to NARs 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median age of real estate consumer was 41 years and a first time homebuyer was 32 years old.

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Today's Real Estate Consumers do have have many wrinkles!

by THE WAV GROUP on December 15, 2008

The faces of todays real estate consumer do not have many wrinkles! While the median age of REALTORS® has remained constant for several years, the age of the real estate consumer is changing fairly dramatically. They are getting younger and younger. According to NARs 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median age of a real estate consumer is 39 years old.  The average age of first time homebuyers is only 30 years old.  Real estate consumers continue to get younger on average. According to NARs 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median age of real estate consumer was 41 years and a first time homebuyer was 32 years old.

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A business friend of mine sent me this link created by the Viriginia and South Carolina REALTOR® Associations that takes a different approach to promoting the REALTOR® code of business practices and the value of REALTORS®.  When you click on the link it takes you to an interim site showing a real estate agent named Ted who is everything you don’t want your agent to be.  It is hilarious!  What is also noteworthy is I was sent this link by someone who is not even in the real estate business, which shows how viral it is. Congrats to The Virginia and South Carolina Association of  REALTORS®!  They get it! To meet Ted in person click here:  http://www.tedtruitt.com/ Mike Audet  

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Consumers today are demanding more and more transparency in every purchase they make.  They solicit input from fellow customers about everything from digital cameras to books to doctors.  They look to sites like cNet for objective ratings on electronics and they look to sites like findadoctor.com and lawyerratingz.com to learn about the training, reputation and customer satisfaction levels of professionals like doctors and lawyers. Feedback websites have become popular because they allow a consumer to get information from peers about their satisfaction levels with products and services. Unlike traditional advertising that has fallen out of favor with many consumers, websites that provide objective, honest, positive and importantly, negative feedback are ever growing in popularity. Interestingly, contrary to popular belief, negative comments can actually be one of your best marketing tools. If you are willing to be totally honest with your customers, they’ll actually respect you more for it. They believe the information is more credible if it includes reality, not just all of the “sugar coated” comments. While not all REALTORS® understand the need for transparency, it is important to be cognizant of the age profile of who is buying homes these days.  They are a much younger audience who demands transparency throughout their daily lives. They look to peers for feedback on movies, books, schools, and pretty much every decision they make.  They expect to be able to find peer feedback on just about every topic. It isn’t just nice to have for them. It’s a requirement. Today’s homebuyers will often overlook companies that do not provide this type of service. WAV Group has just published a paper called “Your Reputation, Your Secret Weapon for Securing New Clients.” This paper will show real estate agents how they can take advantage of this consumer trend to grow their business. It will help agents understand why consumers want more information about the reputations of real estate agents online. It will also show how fellow REALTORS® have capitalized on this strong consumer need to grow their business.  

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Carl C. Icahn is taking his claim to court to prevent Realogy from debt refinancing deal. Mr. Icahn’s High River Limited Partnership has filed a lawsuit against the Realogy Corporation, seeking to block the company’s $1.1 billion debt refinancing deal. Realogy, owner of the franchised real estate brokers Century 21 and Coldwell Banker, is controlled by the private equity giant Apollo Management – run by Mr. Icahn’s close friend and fellow billionaire, Leon Black. Apollo, which bought Realogy for $6.6 billion in April 2007, wants to reduce the company’s debt load by up to $650 million as it tries to ride out the housing crisis. Realogy, which is based in Parsippany, N.J., is asking bondholders including Mr. Icahn to swap $1.15 billion in old bonds for about $500 million in new loans that pay a higher interest rate. (Read the lawsuit after the jump.) Mr. Icahn and other holders of Realogy’s senior-secured debt, which is the first to get paid if the company files for bankruptcy, argue in the complaint that Realogy’s credit agreement does not allow it to issue the newly proposed debt. Under the refinancing plan, those who agree to exchange their bonds for the new debt will move ahead of those who do not agree in the company’s capital structure. Bank of New York Mellon, which serves as a trustee for the class of bonds owned by High River, is also a party to the lawsuit, which was filed late Wednesday night – ruining Thanksgiving weekend for a lot of lawyers. Realogy said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday that investors holding about $523 million in principal have tendered their debt, which would result in the company issuing about $237 million of new loans that sit above Mr. Icahn’s bonds in the capital structure. High River accuses Apollo of self-interest in Realogy’s refinancing that only serves to “delay the inevitable failure of Realogy,” according to the complaint filed in Delaware Chancery Court. High River also contends that Realogy is insolvent and that the new debt offering constitutes a “fraudulent conveyance” by the company. “The company believes that the allegations contained in the complaint are without merit and intends to vigorously defend this action,” Realogy said in the S.E.C. filing. A hearing on the case is scheduled for Dec. 15 and the closing of the tender offer has been delayed by about a […]

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Since 1999, the CENTURY 21 System has continued its reign as the nation’s most recognized brand in real estate!  According to a study conducted by Millward Brown, a global market research organization, consumers were not only universally more aware of the CENTURY 21 Brand, they were also considered to be the best-known name in the business with higher preference, among consumers who plan to purchase or sell a house in the next two years. In addition, CENTURY 21 Agents are considered knowledgeable and easy to work with by real estate customers.  Not far behind are fellow Realogy brands of Coldwell Banker and ERA. Source: 2008 Ad Tracking Study. The survey results are based on 875 online interviews with a national random sample of adults (ages 18+) who are equal decision makers and who have bought or sold a home within the past two years or plan to purchase or sell a home within the next two years. Brand awareness questions are based on a sample of 875 respondents with a margin of error of +/- 2.8% at 90% confidence level. The study was conducted between March 3 – August 10, 2008 by Millward Brown, a leading global market research organization.  

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