November 2008

CEO Bob Bemis of Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, aka ARMLS is in the process of presenting a public listing website proposal to the ARMLS board of directors.  Someone alerted the Arizona Republic, the local newspaper who picked up the story. The familiar arguments supporting and desentiing the strategy of public websites are mentioned in the article…..And so it goes.  MLSs who are courageous enough to lead their membership through difficult strategic discussions deserve a lot of credit.  Many CEOs in Bob’s position could easily take the political route and duck the issue.  Koodos to Bob. Listings are everywhere.  Today there are 1,500,00+ websites indexed by Google for Phoenix Real Estate.  Number 1 is phoenix Homes, Number three is Trulia.  The Realty Executives agent  Matthew Pellerin who holds the number 1 spot was not interviewed for the story, nor did they interview Brian Culhane from Buyers Tour Realty (Powered by Wolfnet). With listings on so many websites, one more would surely not cause a landslide of destruction.  If you read our post about the recent NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers, consumers like MLS public sites.  Our study of the effectivess of public websites in Houston also validates the NAR consumer research, and goes further to demonstrate that Brokers and Agents agree that their MLS public website is the top member benefit of the Houston Association of REALTORS.  You can download this research free in the reports section of wavgroup.com. ARMLS defended their position with a fact sheet on their webiste.  It is a .pdf, so we have reprinted it here for ease of reading. ARMLS Consumer Website This courtesy posting is in response to a growing concern about a proposal we have circulated for ARMLS to operate a consumer‐facing Website. I believe there are numerous factual errors in the statements and emails that have been circulating in opposition to this proposal. Here are the facts that you should rely on to form an opinion one way or the other. 1. ARMLS has not announced their intention to launch a public Website. We held two broker forums on October 22, and invited all the designated brokers in the ARMLS system to participate. Nearly 100 of them did. We held the forums to solicit feedback to a proposal to add listing search capability to the armls.com Website. The final decision has not been made. We will continue to gauge interest, answer questions, reply to objections, and determine what […]

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in the 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers released in October, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) provided research that leads us down a path to understanding why MLS Websites become so popular, so quickly with consumers. Russ Bergeron of SoCal MLS saw traffic on their new website grow beyond 100,000 unique visitors per month within a few months of launch with no advertising or promotion! Although the sample was narrow, WAV Group reported in their MLS Website Consumer Effectiveness Research that consumers trust the MLS Website because it offers the most accurate and timely listing information with no sales pressure. There has been an ongoing debate about how to measure the ecosystem/landscape of website usage in a marketplace.  Traditional matrix only covers websites with more than 1000 visitors a day (ComScore, et. al.).  NAR did an end-around on understanding the landscape by asking consumers where they shop for homes. MLS Websites were number 1 with 60% used, followed by REALTOR.com at 48%, Broker websites at 46%, agent sites at 43%, FSBO at 19%, Newspaper site at 11%, magazine sites at 6%, and all other websites at 25% (Yahoo, zillow, trulia, et. al.).  

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Inman released the speaker list for the New York Connect conference taking place January 8th. MLS 2014: 5 things to do right now to get ready Top visionaries share the 5 things you must be aware of to best position your MLS for the next 5 years. Moderated by Victor Lund, Partner, WAV Group Beverley Faull, General Manager & Senior Vice President, Fidelity National Information Services Mark Lesswing, Sr. Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, NAR Saul Klein, President & CEO, Internet Crusade / CEO, Point2 Technologies Brian Larson, Attorney at Law, Larson/Sobotka Business Advisors, LLC For more information on the conference, visit the inman site Here is the list of speakers Andreas Assum, Geschaeftsleitung Online Marketing, ImmobilienScout GmbH Leslie Appleton Young, Vice President & Chief Economist, California Association of REALTORS Simon Baker, Publisher, Property Portal Watch Brian Balduf, President & CEO, VHT Inc. Jeffrey Bastress, President, Startpoint Realty Kris Berg, Broker Associate, Prudential California Realty Brad Blumberg, Founder & CEO, SmarterAgent Brian Boero, Partner, 1000Watt Consulting Morgan Brown, Director of Marketing, TurnHere Joel Burslem, VP of Content, Inman News James Cahill, Executive Vice President/Chief Information & Technology Officer at Terra Holdings, LLC Ginny Cain McMurtrie, Partner, Mediatise.com Pierre Calzadilla, Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Trulia Louis Cammarsano, General Manager, HomeGain Brad Carroll, President & CEO, Dakno Real Estate Marketing Janet Case, CEO, Proxio Inc. David Charron, President & CEO, MRIS Janet Choynowski, CEO, Immobel.com Sherry Chris, President & CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC Glenn Cohen, Founder & CEO, Expert Realty Joel Cohen, Vice President, IMAPP Jim Cronin, Owner/Author, Real Estate Tomato Channing Dawson, Senior Vice President of Emerging Media, Scripps Networks Interactive Gahlord Dewald, Director of Web Strategy, Union Street Media Phil Thomas di Guilio, Co-Founder, WellcomeMat.com Andy Etches, Managing Director, BrightSale UK Beverley Faull, General Manager & Senior Vice President, Fidelity National Information Services Marty Frame, SVP & GM, Cyberhomes Norm Flynn, CEO, International Real Property Foundation Ed Freyfogle, Co-Founder, Nestoria Mark Ford, Founder & COO, Qwasi Wendy Forsythe, VP, Broker Services and Product Development, Better Homes and Garden Real Estate LLC Hector Gavilla, President and Founder of DiamondHomeVideos.com Jamie Glenn, Vice President, Product Management, Trulia.com Matt Goyer, Director of Online Marketing, Redfin Dan Green, Loan Officer, Mobium Mortgage Rob Hahn, VP of Marketing, Onboard Infomatics Bob Hale, President and CEO, HAR Jim Harrison, President and CEO, MLS Listings Doug Heddings, Senior VP, Prudential Douglas Elliman Dottie Herman, President […]

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Could you bail out our stock portfolio too?

by THE WAV GROUP on November 17, 2008

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Thanks to the federal government for bailing out huge corporations – hopefully they will bail out my stock portfolio too! So whats the difference between being underwater on a mortgage and underwater on a stock ? Is it that “experts” will tell you to hold the stock in hopes of it going up in value and then explain that those with homes worth less than their mortgages shouldnt feel bad about breaking their mortgages and defaulting ? I think “Buy and Hold” for stocks is one of the all time great marketing scams. Ignore it. Always. “Buy and Hold” for your house is a mantra you should always live by. The difference ? You can live in your house. You get utility from your house. You may get a deduction for interest paid on your tax bill. You can develop a positive emotional attachment to a house. A share of stock….well you can…you can look up the price anytime you want if you think thats fun. There is no utility of a share of stock beyond its financial value. The value of a house is that its your home. The fact that you may be underwater in your mortgage is of no relevance if you can make the payments. If you can make the payments on your mortgage, it shouldnt matter if your house is worth 10pct of your mortgage. If you can make the payments, make them. I remember being freaked out watching as my rate on my Adjustable Rate Mortgage went up and up as I watched the value of my house go down. For 2 years my rate went up, my house value went down. Fortunately, I liked living here.  So I keep paying the note every month. In spite of the financial pain.\ Then a funny thing happened. Interest rates started to go down. I didnt even know it until I got my notice saying that my mortgage payment would go down. The value of my house wasnt going up, but at least for now, my payments are low. It has taken years, but I actually built equity in the house.  

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snap shot of a Trulia Broker Report

by THE WAV GROUP on November 14, 2008

Here is a snap shot of a Trulia performance report sent to a Cenutry 21 Hometown agent on the Central Coast of California.  Rick has 11 listings on Trulia and was delivered 14 click throughs.  This number is remarkably close to the effectiveness of listing syndication from our Northern Nevada MLS Listhub case study.  Agents should expect to get a little more than one web visit per listing today on Trulia.  Perhaps there are exceptions to this forecast, but nevertheless this evidence is an indicator. Lets help Rick together. Please post about Rick’s website and link to him from your blog or twitter page. http://www.luxuryhomesinarroyogrande.com/ Also be sure to visit his website.

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CARETS Logo3

Like the fires that are ripping through California today, CARETS, the Southern California data sharing initiative is improving access to MLS information for brokers and agents. Welcome to The World of CARETS® CARETS – NOT a promise of things to come tomorrow: CARETS is live TODAY.

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WAV Group to launch case study to evaluate Zillow

by THE WAV GROUP on November 14, 2008

Piles and Piles of consumers are visiting Zillow every day to look at home values and browse listings.  Sounds like a great place to advertise if you are an agent or broker, perhaps?  Does anyone really know? A long time ago I learned that simple logic often leads to bad choices.  In the simplest terms, if consumers are looking for real estate information on Zillow, and I advertise on Zillow, those customers will come to my website, convert into a lead, and use one of our agents to buy or sell their home.  Seems like a logical conclusion and we have confidence that the results will be good (since one of our broker friends is about to buy the zillow farm). WAV Group is working with a midsized Century 21 brokerage with 10 offices for the case study.  This broker has completely withdrawn from all print advertising and is making the move to 100% online advertising…. living the dream! We are in the methodology development phase right now, but if your listings are on zillow.com today, you may want to follow these tips from Sara Bonert. Zillow is a media site, or a marketing platform for real estate professionals to utilize to connect with buyers, sellers, and each other.  Each month more than 5 million people come to Zillow with one common interest, real estate. Here are the top 10 ways that real estate agents can use Zillow: 1) Post your listings on the site, for free.  There are three ways you can do this: manually add each listing, if you have the technical capabilities you can send us a direct feed (best for 200+ listings), or work with one of our syndication partners to populate your listings to the site (free service). 2) Create a free Profile. This is basically like creating an interactive business card online.  Not only can you display all of your contact information, but it also centralizes all of your contributions on Zillow and makes your photo appear on all of your listings.  Also, the profile gives you great search engine juice. If you work for a company that is already feeding listings to us, make sure to set up a profile with the same email address your company has on record for you.  This too will ensure that your photo appears your listings that they are sending us. 3) Listing presentation fodder.  Include your listing distribution plan in your presentation to home sellers.  Another benefit to […]

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Luxury Real Estate Conference in Paris January 21st – 23rd

by THE WAV GROUP on November 13, 2008

Whenever any member of the WAV Group is invited to speak at a conference, it is an honor.  However, this is perhaps the honor of the year for our team.  John Brian Losh of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate has invited Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund to his group’s exclusive European conference in Paris, January 21st – 23rd. Having worked with brokers to launch thier brands overseas, and worked with foreign brokers to launch their businesses in the Americas, WAV Group understands the challenges.  Moreover, we have had some experience marketing HyperLuxury properties. As we consider the topics related to challenges faced in international marketing, it would be great to get some input from our friends.  If you are a real estate technology vendor and would like to attend the conference or have some ideas about the topic, I would love to speak to you.  Call my cell phone at 805-709-6696, Victor.

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WAV Group’s pick for most innovative new product at NARLANDO. It is always refreshing when the WAV Group gets to see new technology products early on in their development.  Like a lime in a corona, dwellicious is cool and refreshing.  Having previously developed dozens of products over the years, Dan and Greg have hit one that may cast themselves well beyond the eNeighborhoods boat. The positioning for the product is simple.  We know that consumers are going to 4 or more websites in their search for a home.  We know that they hate to register to keep the information they want to save from each site.  We know that social bookmarking is a hugely popular internet feature (aka Digg, Stumbleupon, Delicious). With dwellicious, consumers can bookmark listings from any site they like, and its free! For agents, it will be a great prospecting tool for buyers.  They will be able to market their listings and services to consumers who are already expressing interest in similar homes. Wouldn’t it be great if an agent bookmarked the location of their listed properties on all of the syndication sites? The boys have a great product – stay tuned for thier public launch.  

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MRIS gets mention on popular blog, TechCrunch

by THE WAV GROUP on November 11, 2008

Here we go again. The last time a discussion about real estate websites was mentioned on TechCrunch, it led to more than 100 commented posts.  Not surprising, the good folks at TechCrunch are now seeing that there is a major audience listening to anything about real estate technology. Today’s post says that MLS Tired of Zillow, Trulia: Goes Direct To Consumers Homesdatabase has been around for more than 10 years, but as the post accurately points out, this new website will soon replace the power of third party websites in the midlantic states, bring the consumer closer to accurate and timely data, with no sales pressure.  Consumers will be thrilled (we measured consumers who use HAR.com to prove this), brokers will also be thrilled (again from our MLS consumer website whitepaper) because it will drive consumer traffic directly to the broker and it is free, with no upsell. Watch the comments, they should be fun  

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A big WTG to Rapattoni – the first MLS system provider to offer agents a search tool for the iphone.  If only GE Supra would progress beyond the 90s and and dump thier antiquated IR lock box technology – agents would be able to move away from the treo toward real productivity solutions like the iphone and the blackberry. What follows is the press release from Rapattoni Simi Valley, Calif., November 4, 2008 Rapattoni Corporation announced today that the Rapattoni MLS PDA interface has been optimized for the Apple iPhone. Elegant changes to the user interface now put the power of Rapattoni MLS at iPhone users’ fingertips. Tap through listing searches, pictures, details, history, and contacts using the iPhone’s revolutionary Safari web browser. Tapping a listing’s address will plot the listing in Google Maps where driving directions are just a tap away. Nick Rapattoni, president of Rapattoni Corporation, stated, “The iPhone is a powerful and stylish business tool. We are pleased to provide our users with an elegant mobile MLS experience on this innovative and popular platform.” The iPhone software roll out scheduled for November 12, 2008 is the result of a continuing research and development program at Rapattoni to assure that its customers are able to take advantage of new technologies. Rapattoni will be showing its real estate industry software and service products at the annual National Association of REALTORS® Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, November 6 through 10. About Rapattoni Rapattoni Corporation has been serving the real estate industry under the same name and management for 38 years. The company provides an array of integrated products and services for real estate associations and MLS organizations, including Internet MLS systems, Association Management software (AMS), and Secure Logon with Single Sign-On identity portals for online security and convenience. The company’s MLS products are serving about 300,000 agents nationally and its association management customers represent more than 88% of the nation’s Realtors®. Rapattoni’s headquarters are in Simi Valley, California.  

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Google election mashup for early exit poll results

by THE WAV GROUP on November 4, 2008

Like many of you, WAV Group members are excited about today’s historic election.  There will be record turn-outs at polling stations today, and the internet has impacted the presidential race more than any other in history. I did some research this morning and looked at CNN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and a variety of other media outlets to find the best source to stay in touch with the election.  Hands down, CNN has the best information. Here is the link to the CNN Election page http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/ You will find all types of great news throughout the day, and you can customize the page to suit your local area by simply entering your zip code. Be sure to vote today, and enjoy the CNN Election page.  

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