July 2010

Why Foreclosures are really bad for home ownership

by THE WAV GROUP on July 27, 2010

According to this research from Harvard and MIT, reprinted below from Housing Wire,  A foreclosure reduces the value of a house by 27%, on average, and accounts for a much steeper price drop than other forced sales (like death). Despite every effort by the US Government to buoy the housing market, they have not been able to stem the rash of foreclosure. This is not necessarily being brought upon us by the worse employment market in history. It is compounded by “Strategic defaults” that continue at an alarming rate. These are defaults by homeowners who can afford to pay their mortgage, but choose not to because their home is worth less than their mortgage. They know thier bank, already overridden with foreclosures, won’t get around to evicting them for as long as two years, allowing them to live in the house for free. This also allows the homeowner to stash away thousands of dollars in extra cash and get away with it. As of June, the Federal Government has dumped $3.7 Trillion dollars toward this problem. The impact only served to stop the fall – however the underlying fundamentals do not seem to be getting any better. Good information to keep in mind as Mid-summer reminds us that Fall is coming near. I think that we are in for a long cold winter in real estate. Please enjoy this Housing Wire article – very well done.   A foreclosure reduces the value of a house by 27%, on average, and accounts for a much steeper price drop than other forced sales, according to a study by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist and two Harvard University researchers. In comparison, when a house is sold after the death of an owner, the price drops 5% to 7% on average. When an owner declares bankruptcy, the value sinks 3%, according to the report. The research, “Forced Sales and House Prices,” has been accepted for publication in the American Economic Review. In the study, MIT economist Parag Pathak and Harvard researchers John Y. Campbell and Stefano Giglio examined 1.8m home sales in Massachusetts from 1987 through March 2009. The researchers believe their discovery of the gaps between the price reductions is key to isolating the effects of foreclosures. Because the declines in value are so disparate, yet occur among comparable homes in the same times and places, the reductions in value are not all attributable to the same […]


The future of online advertising

by THE WAV GROUP on July 26, 2010

There may be an opportunity now for MLSs to partner with Newspapers to provide the services offered to them by Trulia, Zillow, and Homefinder – but will they? For those of us who are old enough to remember the birth of online advertising, you will recall its first steps – text descriptions of properties. It was a simple construct – take the news classifieds and make them viewable online. Then came the birth of .jpg compression – allowing film to be scanned and published online. The publishing industry and the early MLS industry understood this process only too well – those were the days when film was hand delivered and hand processed. Agents paid a premium to have their listings appear online. As technology evolved and costs of posting images online diminished, so did the fees to advertisers. Today, in nearly all cases, print publishers publish listings online. Advertisers love it because it extends the reach of their listing, sellers love it, buyers love it, and publishers love it for traffic. However, this perfect world seems to be cracking at the seems as online traffic and listing content increases in value. There are three key issues causing the cracks. The first issue is Terms of Use of third party websites. The second is the selling of advertising listing information. The third is the poor performance of third party listing websites in generating real business.


MLS needed for Social Media Pilot Program

by THE WAV GROUP on July 21, 2010

WAV Group has been working with many MLSs to understand the complex balance between protecting MLS content and supporting the needs of subscribers who are looking to publish listing content on social media sites like facebook. A technology vendor is seeking an MLS partner help pilot a program. The goals of the pilot are to insure that the product does the following. 1. Supports agents and brokers who want to publish their listings to facebook 2. Protects MLS content digital rights and adheres to MLS rules and regulations 3. Provides ease of use for agents and brokers If you want to learn more – please contact victor lund – victor at…. wavgroup.com


My Rant – WAV Group has been pretty outspoken about third party listing websites. They exist because brokers, MLSs, and Associations have not elevated their thinking about listing syndication. I think that it is time for CMLS, NAR, Realty Alliance, or some mutual benefit organization to step up and harness listing distribution and revenues from listing distribution to return revenue to its rightful owner – the brokers. Here are the problems 1.  Data that appears on third party listing websites is grossly inaccurate – as high as 40% in some markets. Inaccurate data leads to bad leads, irritated home buyers and sellers, and throws egg on the agents and brokers face. 2.  Third party listing websites are deriving significant revenue and (moreover) consumer trust on the backs of broker listings. Without the broker’s listing, they would not have a website. 3.  Terms of Use for third party listing websites extend too many rights. In most cases, the third party listing website has the right to reuse, repurpose, and re-syndicate the listing information in any way they wish. NAR’s partnership with MOVE is not without its critics, but 14 Million people surf listings that website every month – and that website has accurate data, shares revenues with NAR, and has Terms of Use that protect the broker and the agent with display rules and strict non-redistribution rules. Today, the number 2 third party listing website and the number 3 third party listing website have teamed up to share listings and revenues – Yahoo and Zillow. In ComCast math, their combined traffic equates to 13.19 Million Visitors. Did any broker or MLS that provides listings to those companies get asked first? Are they sharing revenues with MLSs and Brokers? Where else does the data go, and who else is buying it? Don’t get me wrong, I like the people and the products offered by Zillow and Yahoo – and I know that they are good companies for agents and brokers to do business with. My concern is the terms of those business relationships. Strategically, WAV Group has been supportive of using MLS consumer facing websites to battle against third party listing aggregators. They usually win local traffic wars and become the most visited local area property search website with little effort. Consumers know that the MLS has the most comprehensive and accurate data. All advertising revenues and consumer inquiries are distributed back to the […]


A lesson from a departed friend – Chris Warner

by THE WAV GROUP on July 7, 2010

We write so much in our industry about stuff.  Stuff like technology, politics, data and other topics dominate our blogs and daily reading but today I want to share a few thoughts about a person that many of you may not know, Chris Warner, who was very important to me, and others, in our early days in our industry.  Chris recently passed away.  Chris and I, like many of our cohorts in our industry, worked together at PRC Realty Systems in the 80’s when the whole MLS industry was in the process of becoming computerized.  I actually learned of Chris’s passing through a PRC group we all belong to on LinkedIn from his wife Pat, which shows how strong that early connection still is.  It was very sad to hear about Chris’s passing and our deepest sympathies go out to Pat and Chris’s whole family.  Today, though, I want to share something I learned from Chris that has always stayed with me that I have shared with others through the years.  It was a simple lesson really but like many simple things that are true it has stood the test of time for me.  I pass it along as a gift from Chris. Before I tell you the advice that Chris gave me you should know that Chris was one of the early, great MLS system sales managers in our industry.  He was selling MLS systems in a day when not all MLSs had computerized MLS yet.  Chris was the consummate professional. From his dark suits, starched shirts and cufflinks to his preparation and diligence during the sales process, when I put myself next to Chris I felt like a total amateur. But, like many really good mentors Chris was more than happy to help anyone he came in contact with.  I got to work with Chris when I was promoted to Regional Sales Manager at PRC Realty Systems.  Chris was the top salesman in the company at that time. David Charron (CEO MRIS) our fearless leader in MLS system sales back then, put me under Chris’s wing for guidance at one point, so I got to go along with Chris on some sales presentations to get my feet wet.  I remember being totally in awe of his command of the material, his ability to manage the presentation and ultimately close the deal.  I had no idea at the time […]


RE Technology updates server environment

by THE WAV GROUP on July 1, 2010

All very cool and exciting stuff.  We are very fortunate to be positioned on the intersection where the primary fiber optic passes between the United States and Asia.  From San Luis Obispo, the fiber gets split and moved north to San Jose and south to Los Angeles. RE Technology is pleased to announce our hosting facility has levereged this location in to improve our services. Over the last 18 months, our hosting partner Gigacoupon.com planned Northern and Southern backbone upgrades, as well as peering and transit hand-off upgrades at RE Technology hosting locations in Los Angeles and San Jose. Up until last year, hosting backbone circuits were  OC circuits or “SONET” based circuits.   As our needs grew, we can take advantage of a larger network, capable of transmitting 100 times more volume and speed.  All services are now supported by native Ethernet circuit over Fiber, creating the ‘cleanest’ possible backbone circuit. The Northern 10Gig Wavelength was turned up on July 9, 2009. During it’s first year, the circuit has created ZERO errors or packet drops. Improvements were delivered in transit handoffs to all GigE circuits, as well as upgrades to the peering to GigE handoffs. This was done on both ends, Los Angeles and San Jose. THIS WEEKEND, is the launch of the Southern backbone as a 10Gig Wavelength, replacing the OC circuit that’s been in place. FUN!