New York City has passed landmark legislation to reduce the cost of operating existing buildings according to an article this week in the Queens Center. While most municipal legislation focuses mainly on building standards for new builds, this legislation requires energy reduction and energy use monitoring for large existing buildings in New York City. This legislation will affect a small percentage of the buildings in NYC, yet it will affect 45% of the city’s total energy consumption. The legislation requires annual energy audits and remediation plans. It specifically targets lighting since 20% of total energy consumption in the city is from illumination. The goal of the legislation is to save energy, but importantly also to save costs and help retain corporate presence in one of the most expensive cities in the world. This is the time of year for resolutiona and renewed focus. Wouldn’t it be great if every real estate brokerage, association and MLS would adopt the legislation too? How much energy could we save if we implemented a few simple changes which would save every real estate organization money, while increasing consumer interest and employee loyalty? It isn’t that hard to go green. One simple way – start to use oneline document management programs – you eliminate the cost of storage, paper, printing, faxing AND you can save some trees at the same time. Reduce the energy consumption in your building and your staff. Install light sensors so when a room is empty the lights automatically go off. Switch to LED lighting if you’re remodeling. While they are more expensive to install, they are a LOT more energy efficient in the long run and will save you tons on your energy bill. There are now new smart power strips too that will draw no power from computers and other devices once the power strip is turned off. The changes are not that hard, you just need to make it a priority and get it done. Once you have made the changes be sure you take credit for them with your employees, agents and most importantly your clients. Studies have shown clients are more interested in working with green companies so you can turn your cost savings into a marketing advantage – we call that a win/win. If you would like to learn more about how you can take your organization green this year, you can download our free paper on Make […]
In a historic move for Metrolist MLS, the company has moved from a usage pricing model to a flat fee model. This move will likely save Metrolist’s active top producer members hundreds of dollars a year – a welcome change in a contracted economy.
During critical election times I became quite engrossed in learning all of the “facts” about political candidates so I signed up for several email newsletters so that I could learn about issues from several perspectives. In the heat of the battle I was not affronted by being asked constantly for funds. The pitches for funding usually included some valuable information about the issues at hand so I was willing to put up with the incessant sales pitches. Fast forward to a year later. Now the major elections are over. I have already given at the office, donating to the candidates and issues I felt strongly about when the presidential election was at stake. Today I received a plea from one of the parties asking for yet more money to fight political campaigns for three senators in states I don’t live. There was nothing in the email about specifics or insights about the topics of today – specifically health care reform. Simply a pitch for more money delivered within highly biased and factless fodder. I become so turned off that I am now unsubscribing from all of the political lists I have received. They are providing no value to me. I couldn’t help but think about real estate marketing when I received the latest fruitless email from one of the political parties. Are we truly delivering insight and value in our communications or are just like the politicians – pitching, pitching, pitching without delivering any interesting perspective or education? Do our newsletters include truly unique and helpful information that will be interesting to consumers or are they simply a sales pitch ? Are we engaging consumers in a long-term conversation building a trust relationship over time by “giving” without having to “get”? I recently published a paper called “Edutizing” which talks about methods for connecting with potential clients by offering them information and expertise without immediately asking them for the “order”. Patience is a virtue. To remain relevant with today’s consumer we need to serve them with valuable articles, topics and resources that will put us in the center of the process by becoming a trusted advisor and consultant, not just a high pressure sales person. My wish for 2010 is that every agent will dig deep and find their consumer “voice”. They need to talk about the topics they are passionate about and adept in and share their insights consistently. […]
According to sources close to the situation Google has been in on-again, off-again acquisition talks with Trulia, the real-estate search engine. This blog post appeared on CNET today from Kara Shisher – whose wife is an executive with Google – EVP Biz Dev. kara also writes for the WSJ and co-produces a conference with Walt Mossberg. Kara indicates that sources estimate that Trulia’s valuation ranges between $150 and $200 million – although the sale would place a premium on top of that.
Los Angles Times, 2009 – International Search Engine Company, Google – opens new company in Africa to begin scraping data outside the reach of United States and International Copyright Laws. This is fiction Today I read the Los Angles Times – paper edition (typing with black fingers). There was an article covering Google Books – the Search Engine’s initiative to digitize every book on the planet in every language. As it turns out, the French courts generally agree with the US Courts – that digitizing books violates copyright. I am not an international copyright lawyer, but I suspect that Google employs piles of them. I would estimate that they have already identified a country that will not give them a hard time over digitizing their country’s books or anything else for that matter – making them available to their citizens and everyone else – online. Google will soon ship all the books they want to copy to this unnamed country and digitize like crazy. After all, the Internet is international and Google has invested in translation techniques for years. Every book, every language, available everywhere to everyone. Oh, and I almost forgot – since it is Google, all the books are free. Consider the compelling plight of the African people. They have 130 Million children – and a median household income of $360 per year. I know that my 7 year old daughter is reading about 10 books a month at an average price of $7……x12 months….$840 per year. Seems like the good folks in Africa could put together a pretty good argument about why books need to be digital and made available to their 130 million children for free. We spend a lot of time and energy protecting real estate listing data here in America. There are strong motivations of privacy protection and copyright protection. We saw in our research of third party listing websites that some companies are embracing this notion of unrestricted reuse of listing data, and others work hard to limit the use of the data and maintain the broker’s rights. If the industry wants to protect the data rights, they better stop publishing the data to third parties without strict legal protections – internationally. If the industry wants to set the data free – that is easy. Just keep publishing. I had a vision last night. I pulled out my Google phone and took a […]
On this day in 1773 (as you surely recall from Sister Herman Joseph’s fourth grade class), a group of Colonists, disguised as Indians, boarded 3 British ships at dockside in Boston Harbor. And, as you probably also recall, they threw tons of British tea into the Harbor. And, you probably learned, this was all done to protest the outrageously expensive British tea. Well, you can’t be right about everything. The tea was not expensive; it was cheap – -too cheap. That was the problem. The good people of Boston had been making quite a living smuggling Dutch tea into the Colonies. Now the Brits had cut the price of tea to undercut the smugglers. So, a guy named John Hancock, who just happened to be making a fortune in duty free imports….(the Brits called him the head smuggler)….funded this little “tea party”. Sure, Americans have historically hated tyranny and taxation but if you really want to get them ticked off – try a dose of deflation. Just ask some of the folks at the Fed, especially Chairman Bernanke. He believes that we are seeing housing deflation? WOW! Amazing insight!
We’re always happy to report great news about companies from our hometown of Buffalo, New Yorik. As reported in RIS MEDIA this morning, HUNT Real Estate ERA announced that it has formed a new joint venture with Empire Home Realty, Inc. based out of Saratoga Springs. Empire Home Realty currently operates two offices with over 30 agents associated with the firm. The newly established partnership will operate under the name of HUNT Real Estate ERA. Eric Eckardt, who was the Founder and President of Empire Home Realty, is now a General Manager of the region and Partner with HUNT Real Estate ERA in the new joint venture in the Greater Capital District Region. “By joining forces with Empire Home Realty, we will now offer consumers a broad menu of products and services throughout the Greater Capital Region and Adirondacks. HUNTs consumer-focused website, huntrealestate.com, their comprehensive marketing tools and agent systems, advanced technologies and overall commitment to our region made this a great strategic alliance for us. More importantly, our clients and agents will all benefit as a result,” said Eckardt. “Through the acquisition of Empire Home Realty, we can efficiently expand our operations in the Greater Capital Region, which is very important to us,” said Peter F. Hunt, Chairman and CEO of HUNT Real Estate Corporation. “We are serious about our commitment to the Capital Region and look forward to other opportunities to bring our level of service to this region.” According to the company, initial plans call for aggressive agent recruitment and training, as well as the establishment of HUNT ancillary services in the Capital Region, including mortgage origination, title abstract and insurance, and property and casualty insurance. HUNTs Customer Support Center, which is located in Depew, NY, offers extensive marketing and customer service support to all of HUNTs internal and external customers and stakeholders. It will provide strategic and tactical marketing direction to the Capital Region offices, including lead generation, advertising, Web-based and direct mail marketing, and agent prospecting services.
Without jobs, people cannot pay for housing. Foreclosures will continue and prices will decline until a new balance is found. This could be the single factor that delays any recovery in real estate. The Decline
In my morning perusal of news, I saw a story about Google who reiterated their goal of organizing the worlds information. The article went on to show examples of how real time information is being assimilated by Google from a variety of different sources, translated into every language, and published for the world to view. There has been a lot of chatter recently about Google in Real Estate. They have made some improvements to property search, but their data quality is still very bad. Interestingly, the new policy suggestion by the National Association of REALTORS on data scraping will now allow Google (and any other ‘search engine’) to scrape the data from an authorized agent or broker IDX website. I am sure that it will not be long before Google determines that IDX data from the MLS is the best data source – and aggregates all of the information accurately for their site. If I were a third party website like Trulia or Zillow, I would re-brand myself as a Real Estate Search Engine and start scraping data. It is a lot easier than managing data feeds and their data would be more complete. As the Google article rambled on, I saw another interesting quote – “Yet the features increasingly attempt to draw the physical world into the Web. In another feature, Google teamed with Best Buy to offer real-time inventory information about product availability at local stores.” It made think of the future of google maps and google images and google video. Today, a consumer can drive around a town and access property information – active, pending, sold. Tomorrow, I suspect that they will also have a variety of virtual tours that have been archived for access. Have you published any family photos from inside your house – google can grab them and add them to the data set – time stamped and possibly stitched together. At the end of all of this is a world whereby anyone can virtually walk into your house and look around without your permission. In the words of Robert Frost “No one stands round to stare. / It is nobody else’s affair / It couldn’t be called ungentle / But how thoroughly departmental.”
The new Real Estate Book website provides and excellent value to their print advertisers – extending the effectiveness of print advertising to the internet. They support consumers who start their buying or selling process by picking up a magazine. They support their advertisers by providing a website that effectively competes for online consumers against the top sites for search engine optimization. The realestatebook.com had me from the word Arroyo. The best online forms automatically ‘guess’ what you are typing as you enter each letter of text. I love this feature – it makes me believe that the machine is thinking ahead for me. Hello RealEstateBook.com. As I began to type in my city name, it auto-filled. And, what to my surprise did appear below as a featured listing? A home, in nearby Pismo Beach! Alas, I thought, someone is finally using browser intelligence in real estate to populate the page with listings around my ISP address. “This site rocks,” I thought. After a few refreshes of my browser, I realized that the Pismo Beach listing was a fluke – random luck. Too bad, so sad The search results for my city, Arroyo Grande came up very quickly. Along with it came some featured agents and agent banner advertising. Great stuff, but the execution of agent photos in the ads showed issues with automatically sizing photos incorrectly. Agent and Broker branding are nicely displayed on the site – giving preference to the agent over the broker, since the agent is likely responsible for payment of the ad. All of the customary lead tools are in place – contact the agent, save a listing, cool social networking sharing tool. There was a gross amount of listing detail missing on the listing – despite having the property address, they did not auto-populate the school information, nor did they use public record information to populate lot size, square footage, taxes, etc.. It seems like they publish whatever information the advertising agent or broker provides with no augmentation from other available data sources. Garbage in, garbage out – but this is easy to fix with some data licensing. Some other nice features are included in the website. The URL structure of each listing includes the property address, “1529-Hillcrest-Dr-Arroyo-Grande-CA,” which is important for two reasons. First, the agent can point to that domain as a virtual tour or easily provide the address to their client. Secondly, […]
In September 2009 the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) and WAV Group reached out to the entire MLS community for the second year to gather insights about a variety of elements of MLS operations. The goal of the survey was to provide each MLS with a benchmark to compare its operation to. When considering the addition of new services or programs, MLSs throughout North America can refer to the report to help evaluate service offerings relative to MLSs around the country. The survey was completed by 115 MLSs around North America representing approximately 750,000 REALTORS. The respondents represent a diverse sample of geographies and sizes. The insights shared foreshadowed many of the risks and opportunities facing MLSs over the next several years. Download the full paper here.
Most Home Corp. (OTC Bulletin Board: MHME), today announced it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent (“LOI”) with Yaletown Capital Corp. (“Yaletown”), which sets out the general terms and conditions of the proposed acquisition by Yaletown of 100% of the assets, intellectual property, trade secrets, key employees, contracts in place, contracts pending or under discussion with unrelated potential customers, business receivables and physical assets owned or used on a regular basis in relation to the Wireless Platform, subject to an independent appraisal to confirm the value of the assets, (collectively, “Kurio®” the acquisition of which are referred to as the “Acquisition”) from Most Home or its subsidiaries or business groups. Upon completion of the Acquisition, Yaletown shall directly or indirectly own a 100% interest in and title to Kurio® subject to any explicitly agreed encumbrances. Yaletown, as part of the Acquisition, will apply for full listing of the common shares of the Resulting Issuer on the Exchange (the “Listing”), concurrently with the completion of the Acquisition. Together the Acquisition and the Listing are collectively referred to as the “Qualifying Transaction”. Upon completion of the proposed transaction, Most Home Corp. will hold 50.3% of the common voting shares of Yaletown Capital Corp. through its wholly owned subsidiary, Most Home Real Estate Services Inc. Ken Galpin, CEO and director of Most Home, stated that, “We are very pleased to enter into this transaction with Yaletown Capital Corp.
After CMLS, there was a groundswell of discussion about the rights brokers are giving up when they send their listings to third party websites. WAV Group went to school on the terms and conditions of several of the leading third party websites. We were specifically focused on the rights to display, distribute and maintain listing data. We learned that in some cases the the broker is transferring the irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully paid, royalty-free license to use, retain, transmit, copy, create derivative work of, sell, or distribute the broker’s listing data to other parties or sub-licensees. Bottomline, brokers are giving away rights to their listings they may not be aware of. We also learned that all third party listing sites are NOT created equal. WAV Group has researched this issue and produced a white paper on the topic that has been designed to help brokers ask the right questions before they syndicate their listings.Click here to download.
For the past four years, Technology Concepts, a veteran MLS provider, has been developing a Customer Relationship Management product for the real estate industry. The company has leveraged their experience serving MLSs, brokers and agents to architect and build one of the industry’s most advanced enterprise level CRM solutions. The product, named Eventus, is operational, installed and has realized outstanding results for the first tier users. Now that the product is ready for full deployment into the market place, the company is seeking a business partner to fuel marketing and fulfillment. The company will consider options from company or product sale to an exclusive licensing relationship. Interested parties should contact WAV Group, attention Mike Audet (firstname.lastname@example.org, 716-839-4628) for more information. About the product. Eventus is a web-based information management system that introduces a new client-centric paradigm in real estate technology. Eventus manages the client process from initial contact to maintaining meaningful contact after the sale. Using listing and client data to the fullest, Eventus allows the executive and agent to understand and analyze buyer/seller behavior and needs. Eventus gathers data, analyzes it, and delivers information to constituents at all levels of the home buying and selling process. In the process, Eventus provides an elegant, branded tool set that allows the broker and agents to deliver customer services above the competition! The benefits extend across the entire company. Brand executives – gain access to real time analytics that report 1 current and historical data, and predict future trends for franchisees, agents, consumers, competition, and the market. Company managers – receive real time and market intelligence about the company, its agents, consumers, and competitors. Best practices analysis tools help managing brokers train and coach their agents. Real estate agents – have access to branded, elegant, client-centric technology, client analytics, and superior listing tools to better serve their clients’ needs and simultaneously be more productive. With tools that range from current and historical market performance in the specific segments, to interactive listing tools, agents now have the ability to provide 24/7 service that puts them a step above their competition. Home buyers and sellers – stay informed and connected to their agent with real-time information via superior web tools that match the demands of today’s consumer for transparency and communication.
As REALTORS move their marketing and customer contact strategies to social media, it is important not to neglect the trusted and proven offline networking. This study by Parenting Magazines shows that lots of moms are engaged in social networking, but making many of thier product decisions based upon offline relationships. NEW YORK (AdAge.com) – Technology’s influence is widely assumed to have morphed the over-the-fence backyard chat into mommy blogs and Twitter networks. But when moms are seeking product advice, it’s not all social-media all the time. A study due out next week from the Parenting Group found that while moms are avid web and social-media users, they still turn to family and friends first, whether by phone, e-mail or in-person, when making decisions about product purchases. And marketers targeting moms would be wise not to give up on that backyard fence just yet: Moms are four times more likely to go to their personal offline network than online social networks for product recommendations and buying advice. Open to conversations The survey, conducted via Parenting’s MomConnection online research panel, found 23% of moms use Twitter, but only 3% are using it for product information. A whopping 81% of moms use Facebook, but again only 24% use it for product information. “Regardless of which social network they use, only a small minority said they use those social networks for product information,” said Nancy Hallberg, chief strategy officer of the Parenting Group. “[But] the interesting thing is that moms are very open to having conversations online with marketers, they just want to have them on their own terms.” The study found that more than 80% of moms visit a brand’s website for information and 65% have signed up for newsletters from brands. That is, they are usually seeking information from brands directly, rather than looking for a social interaction with brands on a third-party social site. First and foremost, social “It’s not that you’ve got to be in their social conversations. Social networks are first and foremost social,” Ms. Hallberg said. “If they’re on a social network, looking at pictures, being entertained or looking at friends’ videos, they’re saying [to us] ‘I’m not in the mood to have a conversation about a product. But when I am in the mood, I’ll go directly to that marketer.’” The Parenting Group study jibes with other market researchers’ findings. BabyCenter’s recent 21st Century Mom Report found […]
Be sure you set aside money in your budget for the 2010 AFIRE Conference! It is the most fun and fulfilling conference of the year for female executives in real estate. AFIRE of Awesome Females in Real Estate is a group that is four years old that was formed to provide an educational and networking opportunity for the women who are usually coaching everyone elsso, so they need their own outlet for learning and recharging their batteries. Here’s what Anne St. Dennis from the Montreal Real Estate Board said about her first expeirience at the AFIRE conference: I came back from my first AFIRE Conference totally refreshed and renewed in my work as well as in my personal life. I met and will stay in touch with many wonderful ladies all of whom have tough,demanding positions and look to unique conferences like AFIRE to provide some direction, relevant content and life changing experiences. Aside from appreciating my new business friends, I was exposed to interesting ideas and sessions in a very intimate setting. The number of delegates, what with AFIRE hosting somewhat of a smaller group, is a real plus. The smaller numbers make it much easier getting to know like-minded people and as well, helped us all to truly focus on the business at hand, including the sessions and panels which were absolutely fascinating and timely as well. If I was to give AFIRE a score, it would be 10 out of 10! – Anne St. Dennis, CAE Manager, Communications, Industry Relations, Legal Affairs Greater Montreal Real Estate Board I hope you will join Anne, myself and many others at the 4th Annual conference to be held April 21st – April 23rd in Scottsdale, Arizona. Register today here:
Real Estate Agents and Brokers have long been subjected to unfair competition from thrid party listing websites that are able to aggregate listing data across multiple MLS markets. The rules for displaying MLS listings on Agent and Broker websites require the Agent or Broker to be a member of each MLS to acquire the IDX data feed. Progressive thinking among Brokers and MLSs along the Southeastern Seaboard of America led to the creation of the Carolina Data Share or CDS. This service paves the way for a member of any of the participating MLS to enjoy data from all of the participating MLS in the program. The effect is the opportunity for agents and brokers to display listings from a much wider regional area that crosses multiple MLS boundries to create the most accurate and comprehensive search available in the region. If you think that this is an emerging new trend, please leave a comment below – expecially if your MLS has a similar aggregation of IDX data across multiple MLSs available. PRLog (Press Release) Nov 03, 2009 Cary, N.C. North Carolinas six largest multiple listing service (MLS) organizations from the mountains to the coast, including Asheville, the Charlotte region, the Triad, the Triangle, Wilmington and Brunswick County, have launched a program to share active real-estate listing information for display on brokerage Web sites. The program is called Carolina Data Share (CDS). CDS aggregates MLS active listing information. Any real estate broker who participates in any one of the six MLSs can display listing data from all six MLSs on his or her personal Web site. The program provides the database of information but brokers choose whether to display it. CDS has the most comprehensive selection of active real-estate listing information available in the state. Buyers benefit because they will have access to more listings and listing information. Sellers benefit, too. Unless a broker or seller opts out of the program, his or her listings can appear on the Web sites of thousands of brokers and agents. CDS gives brokers the ability to compete against Web sites of national aggregators, which claim to be comprehensive sources of listing information. CDS has selected WolfNet Technologies to standardize and host its data. Joel MacIntosh, WolfNets CEO, says, “We applaud the CDS member MLSs for their insight, innovation, and cooperative spirit in making this project a reality for their members.” All other MLSs in […]
For years, many in real estate have established their marketing around niches. Chief among them is the development of Luxury Home marketing. New Research released by PR firm Edlemansuggests that Eco-Frienddly is replacing Luxury as a preference for consumers. Here is a summary from their research provided by Marketing Charts. More than twice as many global consumers say they would rather drive an eco-friendly car (67%) than a luxury car (33%), and an even larger percentage would prefer to live in an eco-friendly house (70%) vs. merely a big house (30%), according to results from this years goodpurpose study, conducted by PR firm Edelman. These results, Edelman said, indicate that the global tide of conspicuous consumption is turning away from traditional status symbols of the past and moving toward products and brands that support sustainability. Protecting the environment, improving healthcare and reducing poverty are the causes that global consumers care about most. See Chart on the left. In keeping with this sentiment, 68% of consumers now think its becoming more unacceptable not to make noticeable efforts to show concern for the environment (82% in China) and live a healthy lifestyle (87% in China). Local vs. Designer Brands Sentiment also appears to be moving away from well-known national and international designer brands in favor of supporting local businesses and products. While 69% globally would rather have a brand that supports the livelihood of local producers than a designer brand (31%), North American and most European countries in the study – as well as Brazil – more overwhelmingly prefer supporting the livelihood of local producers, each indicating more than 80% preference. Sounds like a good thing for local real estate. Eco-Friendly Despite Recession Study results indicate that despite the recession, 61% of global respondents have purchased a brand that supports a good cause – even if it wasnt the lowest-priced brand, 64% would recommend a brand that supports a good cause, and 63% are looking to brands and companies to make it easier for them to make a difference. Another 57% of consumers say a company or brand has earned their business because it has been doing its part to support good causes. Asian countries China (85%) and India (84%) had the highest scores in this area, the survey found. Additional findings about brand preference: 67% of consumers say they would switch brands if another brand of similar quality supported a good cause. These numbers […]
MLSs and Associations are very lucky. Generally they have loyal staffs that have worked together for many years. Turnover is rare. All of that can lead to cohesive teams that work well together, especially in crisis times. It also means they know the subscribers well and the customers know them too. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it can sometimes lead to stagnation.
10K Partners with GCAR Minneapolis, MN (October 30, 2009). 10K Research and Marketing is pleased to announce a Market Reporting Partnership with the Greater Capital Association of REALTORS®, Inc. (GCAR). GCAR has elected to roll with our Monthly Indicators, Local Market Updates, Housing Supply Outlook, and Skinny Video, and this thrills us. Said James Ader, Chief Executive Officer of GCAR, “GCAR decided to partner with 10K Research and Marketing because our Board of Directors feels the products they provide will further advance our membership as the primary source for real estate information in the Capital Region. We are confident the products will be accurate, timely and professional. GCAR is excited about this new member benefit.” We’re excited that they’re excited. And we’re also, like, excited…and stuff. Sorry, we wanted to sound all press releasey, but Mr. Ader made most of our verbiage obsolete with his words. We hope you’re moved to check us out. 10K works with the likes of Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MRIS), the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), and Metrolist, Inc. We serve the research and marketing needs of local associations, state associations, MLS systems and brokers. All real estate is local. Let’s explore your market together. 10K is a subsidiary of the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®.