January 2010

Update on Real Estate Advertising in Newspapers

by THE WAV GROUP on January 29, 2010

Borrell Associates Online Advertising

  It looks to me like the Inman Conference in August of 2007 accurately marked the shift from Newspaper advertising to print advertising in Real Estate.  Way to go Brad!  I think you may have placed the thorny crown upon the king that gave you life as a writer (Although I think that the Chron still does very well compared to their peers in other cities).  Nevertheless, so it was that real estate began to spend more dollars advertising online, and so it continues today.  But there is a bright light in this story.  Take a careful look at what is happening in 2010.  The gap has begun to narrow and swing back.  Remember too that Newspapers are selling online advertising. In recent months we have performed a number of consulting projects for newspaper publishers and magazine publishers in the real estate space.  We serve the industry by helping them develop their sales staff and marketing communications to promote the value of a combined online-off line advertising product.  The goal for them is to win regardless of how the REALTOR allocates their advertising budget.  Even Google uses print advertising.  If you think its dead, you are dead wrong.  Print advertising may be the best way to differentiate yourself in today’s real estate market.

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Using Market Stats to Sell More Real Estate

by THE WAV GROUP on January 27, 2010

teradatum market report 1

A few months ago I wrote a paper about Edutizing that talks about how to transform your online marketing approach away from traditional advertising to Edutizing. Edutizing allows you to share your insights and local knowledge as a way to attract new customers instead of bombarding potential customer with “me-isms”  that we see so many times in real estate advertising. Krisstina Wise, partner in the Goodlife Team and noted memeber of the AFIRE network(Awesome Females in Real Estate) has created a great method for using local market statistics as a method for building readership to her blog while positioning her company as a local expert.

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WAV Group iphone app – the whisper

by THE WAV GROUP on January 26, 2010

WAV Group iphone App

Here is an early screen shot of the upcoming WAV Group iphone app.  This stuff is so easy to develop it is silly not to!

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IMAPP, a leading provider of public records and property data software, today announced a new service with the potential to generate non-dues revenue for their MLS customers. According to a press release issued today by IMAPP: IMAPP’s new premium information product allows Multiple Listing Services (MLS) the option to maintain control over their data and generate revenue from their listings. Beginning immediately, IMAPP clients can elect to combine their data with IMAPP’s products and market to a new audience. Today most brokers publish their listing data to multiple sites including Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. These companies and many others are trying to build businesses from the work of the MLS members. In addition, many MLSs have public-facing websites with a sub-set of the listing information available to anyone. “The genie is out of the bottle when it comes to listing information.” said Laura Lafayette of Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing Service. “Everyone is trying to profit from our members’ hard work.”

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New Subscription Model needed for Broker CMA services

by THE WAV GROUP on January 26, 2010

break all the rules

Brokers are facing new challenges in today’s economy.  Traditional firms have often focused on advertising or co-op advertising as a primary benefit to agents who join their firms.  The new broker model is different.  Brokers are turning more and more toward training agents and the offering of technology services that are vital to the success of real estate professionals today.  When brokers look at implementing technology services today, they face pricing challenges from vendors who are slow to understand the broker’s business model.  Companies who offer CMA products charge monthly fees per agent rather than bulk service fees – making that key technology a challenge for brokers to offer as an agent benefit. A short list of technology services that should be provided by all brokers to their agents includes the following: Robust broker website with lead distribution and management Listing Syndication to third party consumer websites like Trulia, Zillow, REALTOR.com, Yahoo, Cyberhomes and AOL Co-branded agent websites with IDX and lead generation Virtual Tours on every listing with quality photography Yard sign services up and down with direct response mobile property information Uniform listing presentation materials that articulate seller services and agent experience Uniform CMA For brokers to offer these services, they need access to bulk pricing that is cost effective and reflects the fixed costs of the vendor offering services

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calREDD launches in Chico, Oroville and Paradise

by THE WAV GROUP on January 25, 2010

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calREDD™, the statewide Multiple Listing Service, launches in Chico, Oroville, and Paradise LOS ANGELES (Jan. 25) calREDD™ today announced a succession of successful launches at the Chico Association of REALTORS®, the Oroville Association of REALTORS®, and the Paradise Association of REALTORS®. Members of those associations now can view properties for sale, place listings, prepare CMAs, and access agents for referrals via calREDD™, the statewide Multiple Listing Service (MLS). calREDD™ has been up and running to users acclaim since Jan. 11 at the Lake County Association of REALTORS® and since Aug. 17 at the Madera Association of REALTORS® and the Merced Association of REALTORS®. “calREDD™ offers much needed efficiencies, state-of-the-art technology, and increased security for our members,” said Chico Association of REALTORS® President Jan Piacentine. “The calREDD™ team has been very responsive during our transition. Theyve worked diligently to address our members concerns, and have conducted multiple trainings prior to launch. We are so pleased with the knowledge and support we have received, and are looking forward to having everyone get up to speed so they can use the system to its fullest capability.”

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dotloop.com gains national media attention

by THE WAV GROUP on January 24, 2010

WAV Group missed the initial press on DotLoop.  They appear to provide REALTORS with an online offer submission utility combined with electronic signatures and transaction management.  Our recent Transaction Management adoption study did not include them because we did not know they existed.  Here is a quick clip that appeared on FOX news earlier in the month.  What are your thoughts – PASS Or FAIL?

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Supreme Court Ruling impacts NAR

by THE WAV GROUP on January 22, 2010

board presentation

The Supreme Court made a significant ruling today that says the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.  It is a great victory for the National Association of REALTORS’ lobby group. They can spend as much as they want now. The case brought to the court was a residual of the McCain-Feingold Law that banned the broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission of ‘electioneering communications’ paid for by corporate or labor unions from their general funds in the 30 days before a presidential primary and in the 60 days before the general elections.  The Supremes ruled that it is a company’s First Amendment Freedom of Speech to support candidates. In a rather interesting detail, Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion also said that there was ‘no principled way to distinguish between media corporations and other corporations.’  I would assert by extension that this is the detail that would crush the determination by NAR that ‘indexing property listings by search engines’ is acceptable.  Arguably, there is no principled way to distinguish between search engines and other corporations. In my opinion, Trulia, Zillow, and Yahoo are all search engines. Furthermore – there is no principled way to distinguish between indexing and scraping either. Given this appreciation or opinion.  I believe that anyone can index real estate listings from websites today.  I believe that the brokers’ copyright of listings has been seriously invaded, and I believe that NAR can simply scrape any data they want from public websites to power the RPR.  I am not a lawyer – this is just a conspiracy theory.  It would be great if a real lawyer would issue an opinion.  Perhaps the courts will need to decide.

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Google uses direct mail for lead generation

by THE WAV GROUP on January 21, 2010

GoogleDirectMail

  As you can see from the photo, my mail “in box” gets very little attention.  Imagine my surprise when I received a direct mail marketing piece from Google! For the past 5 years or so, real estate brokers and practitioners have been bludgeoned to believe that print marketing is dead, and that online marketing is the way to go.  One would think that there would be no better poster child for online marketing than the inventor of the concept – Google.  But alas, the king has revealed that online advertising on its own is not good enough.  Google realizes that direct mail, print advertising is an effective way to communicate with decision makers about the adoption of their adwords product. In the WAV Group Broker Website study, we looked at the behavior of more than 1 Million unique visitors to broker websites.  We learned that 85% or more of all traffic to those websites comes from consumers typing in or searching for the broker’s domain name.  This confirms that Brand recognition, yard signs, bus stops, direct mail, newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, movie advertising and television adversing all are significant contributors to building a consumer relationship that results in a web visit.  Don’t give up the basics of print advertising – just spread your marketing activities over a wide array of media outlets and favor the ones that seem to work best for your brand.

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naples area 61

I would like to congratulate Mike Richardson and the rest of the crew at the Naples Area Board of REALTORS on the launch of their gorgeous new consumer property search website, Naplesarea.com. I had the pleasure of working with NABOR on this project and I believe it turned out beautifully. The tonality of the site does a great job of reflecting the casual elegance of the area, but it doesn’t stop there. It provides a terrific user interface for property search and the listing detail pages do a great job of highlighting the key elements of each property. The site also makes it easy to learn more about the property by requesting more information from the listing agent and also allows a consumer to forward the listing or bookmark it on their bookmarking site.  I would like to see them add Dwellicious to the mix at some point, but there are plenty of great options already. 

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Marketlinx wins renewal at SOCAL MLS

by THE WAV GROUP on January 20, 2010

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Press Release (Disclosure:  Marketlinx is a WAV Group Client) LOS ANGELES Calif., Jan. 20, 2010 SoCalMLS, Californias largest multiple listing service (MLS), and MarketLinx, Inc., a leading provider of information technology to the residential real estate industry and a member of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) family of companies, today announced they have signed a multiyear agreement for MarketLinx to provide MLS software products to SoCalMLS and its nine REALTOR® associations.  Serving more than 46,000 members in Southern California, SoCalMLS is one of the largest multiple listing service providers in North America.

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Orlando Regional REALTOR Association (ORRA) http://www.orlrealtor.com is one of the most progressive real estate associations in North America with nearly 9,000 members in Orange and Seminole counties in Central Florida is looking for a new leader to drive the organization to its next level of growth and relevance. ORRA one of the largest Associations in the United States offering a breadth of association services. In addition to the association the company also manages two for profit divisions and a not for profit foundation. ORRA also enjoys partial ownership of My Florida Regional MLS http://www.mfrmls.com, one of the top 10 largest MLSs in the United States today. Unlike most real estate Associations, ORRA also operates two highly successful for profit divisions – ORRA SGS and Orlando Regional Real Estate Network. SGS was established in 1999 under the name ORRASGS (http://orrasgs.com) as a technological partnership between the Orlando Regional Realtors Association and Data Targeting, Inc. to develop a predictive data mining system for use in commercial marketing and election analysis. It has since grown into the leading provider of political services to REALTOR associations nationwide and is leading the way to serving other associations as well. SGS has clients in Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, and many in our home state of Florida. The EVP of ORRA also acts as the president of the Florida Real Estate Foundation.  To keep up with the needs of the ever growing market, the Florida Real Estate Foundationhttp://www.floridarealestatefoundation.com, a 501c3 organization, was established to serve Central Florida through community development, charitable giving, economic research and education to further the educational quality of the real estate professional.  Through the Foundation’s Art in Architecture program, Central Florida’s workforce families have the opportunity to purchase attractive and affordable homes addressing a critical community housing issue. The Foundation also awards scholarships to Realtors® for Realtor® certification and designation courses.  Financial assistance is also given to students who are studying real estate and allied disciplines at Orlando area colleges and universities. If you are interested in learning more about the position, please contact Marilyn Wilson at 805 473-9119 or marilyn@wavgroup.com

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Trulia goes big in 2009

by THE WAV GROUP on January 15, 2010

Congratulations to the team at Trulia for their exceptional accomplishments in 2009 62.3 million unique visitors year-to-date Visits up 45% year-over-year Page views per visit  up 105% year-over-year Property views up 130% year-over-year Trulia Voices activity doubled year-over-year Nearly 1 million consumer inquiries sent to real estate professionals Ranked Top 5 Real Estate site in Hitwise (November 2009)

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A couple of Inman Notes

by THE WAV GROUP on January 15, 2010

As a business consultant, we are rarely found in the conference sessions – but we did have 41 meetings and we caught up with many industry friends.  Word of Mouth in the hallway indicates that agents found the conference very informative and engaging, brokers and MLSs were pretty disappointed. NYC is strange – every time I come to New York I find it odd that real estate is conducted so uniquely in the city.  It challenges me to think about the implications of widespread disorder in accessing listing information.  There are 11,000 agents in NYC that spend a tremendous amount of time contacting listing agents for information that should be at their fingertips. RPR – It did not occur to me that RPR TAX API will need to have a tax interface wrapped around it.  I wonder who will emerge as a key provider of the interface software.  Looking forward to the data licensing agreement. Rethinking Search – I was a bit surprised that IDX vendors were not screaming from the rafters about allowing Google to index listings in the wake of NAR’s blessing.  MainRhode and Terabitz being the exceptions. Listhub should have a great 2010 – the will offer an “ad Marketplace” that will allow a broker to purchase advertising and other enhancements to promote listings across all of the third party websites in one place – This will save brokers a lot of pain. Mobile is maturing – learned from 3 large brokers that adding mobile search on signs has begun to move the needle – You can forecast 1 lead per day for every 30 signs. NAR is going to fix RETS and make it work. Talking about Social Networking is about as interesting as having a conference about using Microsoft Outlook for Mail or a browser to search the internet.  Enough already!  We get it. Our friend Ira Luntz will have access to more real estate data than anyone on the planet – possibly all real estate data – unreal. The recession is over

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CARETS Expansion Plans Continue

by THE WAV GROUP on January 12, 2010

CARETS logo

The CARETS Southern California data sharing program has been deemed a resounding success according to several brokers and agents WAV Group has interviewed recently. The feedback we have received from brokers and agents participating in the program has been very positive. They tell us it has helped them save money because they do not need to belong to multiple MLSs now.  They believe they can now better serve the needs of their Southern California customers. While CARETS recently announced that is not taking any new members for the short-term, they are definitely committed to continued growth and expansion with interested parties in the future.  WAV Group has learned that as part of this success, CARETS hopes to collaborate with every facet of the real estate brokerage community, including CalREDD.   Meetings with interested parties are in the process of being scheduled to achieve these desires.   The simple fact is that CARETS did not expect the wide demand for inclusion by other MLS to be as rapid as it has been.   As such, CARETS is doing its best to manage the desire for new membership with the capacity to successfully handle this new membership.   CARETS is confident that time will show that it can and will succeed with this effort.   The real estate brokerage community at large, and the consumers it services will be the benefactor of the diligent approach which CARETS is taking. If you would like to see a white paper that provides an update on CARETS to date you can download a paper produced by CURE(CARETS underlying technology).    

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Today, Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) laid out the agency’s 7 goals for 2010 and beyond. Taking Action on Climate Change Improving Air Quality Assuring the Safety of Chemicals Cleaning Up Our Communities Protecting Americas Waters Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice Building Strong State and Tribal Partnerships It is interesting to think about how the real estate industry can contribute to the improvement of our environment in our daily works.

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  Press Release: Kurt von Wasmuth Named President and CEO of RMLS™ Kurt von Wasmuth FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 8, 2010 Kurt von Wasmuth Named President and CEO of RMLS™ RMLS™ Board of Directors promotes companys Senior Vice President PORTLAND, Ore. RMLS™ (Regional Multiple Listing Service), the largest Realtor®-owned multiple listing service in the Northwest, announced the promotion of Kurt von Wasmuth to President and CEO today. Von Wasmuth joined RMLS™ in 1998 as a Help Desk Technician and most recently served as Senior Vice President. He has also held management positions in training, communications and information services within the company. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington. “With more than a decade of leadership in the industry and a strong focus on subscriber priorities, our Board of Directors is confident in Kurts ability to lead RMLS™ in this challenging market,” said Gary Whiting,  a principal broker with John L. Scott and the 2010 Chairman of the RMLS™ Board. “Im excited to step into this role and look forward to helping RMLS™ grow its services and solutions for real estate professionals in the Northwest,” said von Wasmuth. Former-president and CEO Beth Murphy retired in December after 11 years in the position and 15 years with RMLS™.  After initial plans to move into a consulting role with RMLS™, she has instead elected to embrace full retirement. About RMLS™ RMLS™ produces and provides multiple listing and related services to facilitate cooperation between its more than 12,000 REALTOR®subscribers. It is the primary source for real estate information and the premier Multiple Listing Service in the Pacific Northwest. For more information, visit www.rmlsbenefits.com. ###

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MARKETLINX LAUNCHES MOBILE MLS AUDIO SEARCH-Press Release

by THE WAV GROUP on January 11, 2010

MARKETLINX LAUNCHES MOBILE MLS AUDIO SEARCH –VoicePad Technology Lets Agents “Search Any Home from Any Phone™”– SANTA ANA, Calif., Jan. 11, 2010 MarketLinx, Inc., a leading provider of information technology to the residential real estate industry and a member of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) family of companies, announced today that it has partnered with VoicePad® to offer a mobile audio search tool to its MLXchange™, TEMPO™ and InnoVia™ multiple listing service (MLS) customers. Called VoiceLinx, the solution allows MarketLinx MLS users to hear spoken listing information from any mobile phone simply by calling a local phone number and entering the propertys street name or house number. The system can describe listing details in both English and Spanish, and does not require text messaging, a mobile Web browser or wireless data plan. “VoiceLinx is simple and effective because it uses familiar technology that agents have been using for years,” said Ben Graboske, chief executive officer of MarketLinx. “Our customers tell us they want more ways to access their MLS information. VoiceLinx enables MLS searching from any mobile phone and can even be used to stream audio listing information to a computer.” For more information and a live demonstration of VoiceLinx, MarketLinx MLS customers should contact their regional account manager. For information on MarketLinxs full suite of real estate information technology solutions and services, visit www.marketlinx.com. About MarketLinx® MarketLinx, Inc., a subsidiary of The First American Corporation, offers a full range of products and support services to address the information technology needs of the real estate brokerage and multiple listing service (MLS) market segments. The companys full array of capabilities streamlines the real estate listing, financing and closing processes, resulting in increased efficiency and profitability. MarketLinx provides North Americas leading MLS and real estate software systems, including solutions for broker business management, agent productivity, and MLS data aggregation and distribution. For more information, visit www.marketlinx.com. About First American The First American Corporation is a FORTUNE 500® company that traces its history to 1889. With revenues of approximately $6.2 billion in 2008, it is Americas largest provider of business information. First American combines advanced analytics with its vast data resources to supply businesses and consumers with valuable information products to support the major economic events of peoples lives, such as getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a car or house, securing a mortgage and opening or buying a business. The […]

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Meet Tungle – a great new product

by THE WAV GROUP on January 8, 2010

tungle

Every now and then, you experience a product that stops you in your tracks.  As a technology consultant who works with companies to create these experiences, I am usually not very surprised, very often.  But yesterday I was delighted by a simple, easy to use product that is free, and very helpful – its called Tungle. I spend a lot of my time arranging meetings – in person or by phone.  Tungle made scheduling meetings for the upcoming Inman conference really simple and easy.  I just tell people on the phone to visit http://tungle.me/victorlund.  My availability is open for anyone to see, so they can select a time that works for them.  This is not a purely novel approach, but rather a very elegant one.  Learn More with continued reading…..

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CARETS Takes a Break on New Members!

by THE WAV GROUP on January 8, 2010

WAV Group learned today that Mike De Leon, the current Chair of CARETS for 2010 announced they will not be accepting any new members for the next six to nine months to get their house in order and to develop the necessary infrastructure to insure new members are brought onto CARETS without issue! Mike explains they want to insure that future growth is done in the right way with appropriate documentation as well as operations and procedure manuals. With over 100,000 current subscribers he points out that they still want to “…work with all potential new members toward a timely and seamless transition.” Mike goes on the add,

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