January 2011

MRED Logo

WAV Group tries to highlight Standards of Excellence by MLS service providers. This one caught our eye today. MRED is among the largest and most progressive MLS service providers in the nation – serving more than 40,000 subscribers and hosting a leading level of property records. In a press release today, they received national press coverage regarding the health of the real estate market in Chicago and surrounding marketplace they serve. Moreover, the press release highlights how vital the MLS service is to agents, brokers, appraisers and the consumers that they serve. Components of the press release that are newsworthy include: Total Transaction Volume in 2010 – $19 Billion Dollars in Real Estate transactions is a huge number. Market Trends – The press release highlights market stability year over year. With over 82,000 transactions, the difference between 2009 and 2010 was a dip of a mere 243 transactions – an insignificant difference statistically. With so much negative press about the real estate industry, this press release from MRED is refreshing. If you operate an MLS, consider issuing a similar press release that talks about your market place in a positive light. Please be sure and share your examples of Excellence with us and we will post them here. Here is the full press release CLICK HERE (Full disclosure – MRED is a WAV Group Client)

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Google is not out of the real estate listings business

by Victor Lund on January 29, 2011

Google Real Estate

The last few days have been full of Google noise in the real estate blogs and media. From our perspective, it has been a bit comedic. Google made a post on their blog about shutting down Google Base and everyone went into shock. Google Base was never a great idea. It was a project to aggregate real estate listing data because they could not get the listings by their standard methods – indexing. At the time that Google Base was created, Google Robots and Spiders were blocked from indexing real estate listings on nearly all property search websites. Realtor.com blocked spiders at the time, and Trulia, Zillow and the other upstarts were young, and largely lacking in quality listing data. Those upstarts were the first to index data, because IDX rules did not apply to them. It was clearly articulated to the real estate community when Google base launched that Google is not getting into the real estate business. They wanted access to the data to do some cool mashups on another young product – Google Maps. Google’s main thrust at the time, and now, is to expand search beyond text to geospatial search (map search). It is all part of their localism strategy to get the right search results to consumers. The big news is not that Google base is shutting the doors, its that Google can now index all real estate data – which is a huge game changer.At the National Association of REALTORS conference in 2009, the MLS Policy committee interpreted the IDX rules to clarify that allowing Recognized Search Engines to Index real estate listing data is not Scraping. As such, the practice of blocking Google spiders and robots from looking at property data was removed. The doors were opened and today, Google can do what it has always done best – index web content, including every piece of real estate listing data. The robots find the information on real estate websites, and tuck it neatly away in Google servers for rapid recall in Google search results. When the Google spiders/robots were blocked, Google had no method of seeing listing content. They did some research, learned about data feeds – and opened Google base for syndication. Ta da – Google had the data that they were looking for. Google Base is redundant and trivial now that they can index listing content – which was always their […]

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Divided we get conquered!

by Marilyn Wilson on January 22, 2011

50 50 bed

Can’t we all just get along? Last week at Inman Connect in New York City, I was invited to share the Top 5 questions MLSs should address in the next year.  I reserved one of my five points to one of the key dysfunctions I have observed in our industry – Internal Squabbling.   As the market gets tighter and budgets gets strained, we see more and more examples of discord between real estate organizations supposedly all designed to serve the needs of real estate professionals.  In some regions we see local real estate associations engaging in predatory practices, trying to get a “leg up” on their neighboring “Association of choice”.  In other regions MLSs with significant overlapping market disorder refuse to cooperate – instead choosing to force their members to pay duplicate fees and requiring duplicate listing entry and maintenance.  Still in other cases we see large brokers fighting MLSs against “leveling the playing field”. While in Florida this week facilitating a plan for one of the large MLSs there we observed yet another example of this unproductive in fighting. In Florida, the state association is suing a vendor that provided a service formerly included as a statewide member benefit.  The vendor of course has filed a counter suit.  In the meantime, the local associations are pushing back on the state because they are have received a lot of “hate mail” from their members complaining about losing a member benefit and a technology they were comfortable with. The issue is each of these cases is not who’s right and who’s wrong in my view. Like any disagreement there are two sides to every story. Here’s the key issue in my view Are we truly making decisions based on the needs of our customers – the members of state and local associations and MLSs?    Or are we making decisions based on our desperate need for revenues and profitability?  Instead of rethinking each organization’s value proposition, it appears to me that there are many organizations desperately holding on to potentially outdated models and role definitions. In my days as head of global strategic planning at Fisher-Price/Mattel, our goal was to identify significant problems that we could solve for our customers. When we were successful at identifying and solving an important challenge for our customers, we sold millions of toys and created nearly a billion of dollars in profitability. Conversely, in times […]

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Real Estate Forms are falling apart

by Victor Lund on January 21, 2011

green idea

As a consulting firm, we see the best and the worst sides of our industry. We see cooperation among likeminded people moving the industry forward, and we see what happens when those same likeminded people begin to disagree. It is not our station to pick sides, but rather like an attorney or a doctor, we advise our clients on the best way to win or get well. On the issue of forms, WAV Group is not on either side – but a mess is a foot; and profit may come in the way of progress. There are a couple of “for profit” companies around the country that were launched by Associations of REALTORS to support the needs of REALTORS to overcome the burden of filling out the mountain of forms involved in a real estate transaction. The problem they addressed was painful and significant. Thanks to the investment by these Associations, they are solved today – but new problems with the “for profit” component have surfaced. Investors want to get paid back for their investment. I am a capitalist, and it makes sense – but it blurs the line between Associations providing solutions for the benefit of membership; and Associations profiting on the backs of membership. Background Gracefully, some rather innovative Association technologists, attorneys, and business folks, conjured and built a solution for paper forms – the electronic form. Practitioners welcomed these electronic forms with glee and fan fare. Imagine the first day an agent sat in front of a computer, rather than a typewriter. Entered client names, addresses, and property addresses just once, then presto – every form complete, perfectly typed, ready to print. Oops! A misspelling. No Worries! Backspace, fix, and again Presto! Ready to print. Wait! Print you say? Back they went to the innovators workbench. A wrench here and a bolt there – and even print went away. No long waits at the Xerox BizHub machine, no more curriers rushing papers across town, no more sending 5 faxes, 25 pages at a time. The technologists had done it again. Don’t print – just email. Let the client print. Or better yet, let the client e-sign. That’s right! With the click of a mouse and a few keystrokes, the electronic signature saves all of the trees in Oregon. Blessed is he who comes with such magic – standardized forms and e-signatures. The best part, in most cases, […]

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Walmart Realty

by Victor Lund on January 19, 2011

Walmart Realty

If you don’t think that Walmart is in the real estate business – guess again. Walmart owns and manages one of the largest commercial real estate portfolios in the United States, representing tens of millions of square feet. So far, they have been purposeful about buying property for current and future store locations related to the company’s current and future needs. Walmart understands a lot about managing their staff, and communicating to consumers. Although representatives for the company would not comment, running a residential real estate office is rumored to be on the radar. Visit their website.

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kurt

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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keller williams

Keller Williams has been very progressive at selecting products for mass adoption by their franchises, and more specifically – Keller Williams Agents. As an example, DotLoop has been providing an agent website and IDX to every agent through a partnership with Wolfnet. All of their franchise offices (called market centers) also receive an office website. In an effort to extend these core business services, Keller Williams has chosen the DotLoop document management platform as a standard product for all 80,000 of their agents. Press Release follows DotLoop Announces Nationwide Agreement With Keller Williams Realty 80,000 agents go online to increase efficiency and reduce costs CINCINNATI, Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – DotLoop, the trusted source for sharing and signing documents online, announced an agreement with Keller Williams Realty, the third largest franchise operation in the U.S., to provide its services to 80,000 agents in nearly 700 locations in North America. The agreement, approved by Keller Williams Associate Leadership Councils, makes the DotLoop platform a central component of the company’s eEdge initiative, which will allow agents and clients to access, share, and sign documents at the click of a mouse.  The agreement is the largest of its kind in the history of the real estate industry. DotLoop has developed the only platform for the real estate industry where users add, adjust, approve, and eSign documents in one secure, online environment. The current real estate transaction process can be inefficient and cumbersome. Piles of paperwork are delivered, emailed or faxed and become more complicated with each offer and counter-offer.  Both real estate agents and their clients will enjoy the benefits of the DotLoop System:   Increased efficiency: documents can be sent and signed electronically, saving time and automating certain steps in the transaction process; Improved accuracy: in additional to tracking all changes that are made within the documents, all activities are logged and time-stamped to maintain a thorough record; Convenience: documents can be accessed online and viewed securely at any time from the comfort of your home, office or mobile phone; Reduced costs: fewer copies, less storage space required, and less time spent on administrative functions.   “Keller Williams is determined to stay ahead of the curve to provide the most services and support in the industry to our entire network – especially in today’s real estate climate,” said Mark Willis, CEO of Keller Williams Realty. “This is just the latest demonstration of our commitment to helping our agents accelerate their leadership internationally as […]

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The Realty Alliance Top 20

by Victor Lund on January 8, 2011

The Realty Alliance Top 20 1-8-2011

WAV Group Research launched WIN Reports in 2010. On a monthly subscription basis, we provide detailed market reports for MLSs and Brokers on consumer property search dynamics in their market, and contrast that with dynamics from markets around the country. Below you will find a few snapshots of The Realty Alliance Broker Traffic Report. Although we track all members of The Realty Alliance, what follows is a Top 20 summary. Of Particular note, Howard Hanna Real Estate has the most visited brokerage website in America. Congratulations to the team at Howard Hanna for overtaking the leading position formerly held by Long & Foster.   Subscriptions to WIN Reports are based upon the size of the market area covered. Please contact Victor Lund for pricing information.

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WAV Group at Inman NYC

by Victor Lund on January 7, 2011

WAV Group Logo

WAV Group partners, Mike Audet, Marilyn Wilson, and Victor Lund will be attending Real Estate Connect in New York City this week. Marilyn Wilson of the WAV Group will be supporting the conference by participating as a moderator and speaker on the MLS track. Be sure to check the schedule for details. If you would like to meet with us at the conference, please call us in advance to schedule some time, or stop by the RE Technology booth and ask Melissa McHone to track us down. As many of you know, WAV Group partners provided venture funding to RE Technology in 2009. This year, RE Technology will be a sponsor of Inman Connect. Today, RE Technology reaches 530,000 agents and brokers each day through our MLS Partnerships. A handy way to view the MLSs that are offering RE Technology as a member benefit is to view the company’s facebook photos page. You do not need to be a facebook user to access the page. Click Here. RE Technology is also pleased to announce a number of new milestones. The site now enables MLSs to share access to more than 3000 articles about technology in real estate; view more than 2500 product descriptions and reviews; and, access the directory of more than 1000 technology service providers. They say it takes a village to raise a child – it took the support of our entire industry to make RE Technology a success. Special thanks to MRIS, MRED, and MLS Listings – our launch partners. Super special thanks to Tarasoft, Corelogic, LPS, Stratus, DynaConnections, and FBS for integrating RE Technology into their MLS systems for easy access. RE Technology also welcomes NNREN, who joined the family of MLSs offering the service as a member benefit this morning! See you in New York – travel safely.

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Point2 Adds Nine New MLS/Association Partners

by Mike Audet on January 6, 2011

In the following press release Point2 reports they have added nine new partners: Vancouver, BC – Jan. 06, 2010 – Point2 (www.Point2.com) today announced that it has completed the implementation of its national property listing syndication program, with nine additional REALTOR® Associations and MLSs (Multiple Listing Service), operating in the states of Montana, South Dakota, Washington, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, Nevada and Pennsylvania.   Under the program, local real estate brokers and agents can now, with a single click of the mouse and at no added cost to them, expand home seller property listing exposure to cover millions of additional buyers, on Point2’s US syndication partner network of nearly 50 websites and search engines increasingly popular with consumers for researching real estate in the United States. The new partnerships cover an additional 6,400 real estate brokers and agents in the United States, representing approximately 36,500 property listings, who can now tap the Point2 national network to market real estate more widely on the Web. They include: Northwest Montana Association Of REALTORS® MLS (Montana) – http://nmar.com Black Hills Association of REALTORS® and Black Hills MLS (South Dakota) -http://bhmls.com Northeast Washington Association of REALTORS® (Washington) -http://northeastwashingtonassociationofrealtors.com REALTORS® Association of Franklin & Gulf Counties (Florida) – http://rafgc.com St Joseph Regional Association Of REALTORS® (Missouri) – http://stjoerealtor.com Great Smoky Mountains Association Of REALTORS® (Tennessee) – http://gsmar.com Northern Nevada Regional MLS (Nevada) – http://nnrmls.com East Polk County Association Of REALTORS® (Florida) – http://epcar.com Pike/Wayne Association Of REALTORS® (Pennsylvania) – http://pikewaynerealtors.org Point2’s new partners will also provide their brokers and agents with seamless access to the subscription-based Point2 Agent (www.Point2Agent.com) online marketing and lead management software suite, to help them maximize lead conversion to revenue. In early December, Point2 announced the implementation of a similar program with the Washington Association of REALTORS®, covering an additional 150 brokers and 850 agents in the state, representing nearly 4,500 for sale property listings. Point2 powers syndication for over 170 MLSs and Associations across the US and Canada. For more information about Point2’s MLS and Association solution, please visitwww.listingsyndication.com. About Point2 Point2 (www.Point2.com), a Yardi Systems Inc. (www.Yardi.com) brand, provides inventory management and online marketing software solutions to the real estate and heavy equipment industries across 120 countries. More information about Point2 can be found at www.Point2.com. For ongoing news about Point2, please visit www.point2.com/news.asp.  

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Technology Company Seeks New Product Manager

by Mike Audet on January 6, 2011

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WAV Group has been retained to help Courthouse Retrieval System (CRS) recruit a new Product Manager, with knowledge of the real estate and/or banking industry, to work from the company’s Knoxville location, who will oversee development of the requirements and ongoing enhancements for each of the CRS products and also identify new areas for product development.   For more information or to apply for the position please contact Mike Audet at mike@wavgroup.com 716-839-4628, or Marilyn Wilson at 805-473-9119.  The full job description is listed below.       POSITION TITLE: Product Manager REPORTS TO: Chief Operating Officer CLASSIFICATION: Exempt ORGANIZATIONAL DESCRIPTION: Courthouse Retrieval System(CRS) http://www.crsdata.net, located in Knoxville, TN,  is one of the leading providers of public records information in the United States today. Their PowerTools solutions are made of custom searches, property tax records, interactive maps, sales and mortgage info, real estate valuations, mailing lists, and more. CRS boasts a large and loyal user base made up of leading multiple listing services, large brokerages, appraisers, small business owners and several other audiences. The company has a loyal following because of the quality of its products and customer service and support.  CRS is seeking a Product Manager, with knowledge of the real estate and/or banking industry, to work from the company’s Knoxville location, who will oversee development of the requirements and ongoing enhancements for each of the CRS products and also identify new areas for product development. PRODUCT OFFERINGS: Real Estate Power Tool: The Real Estate PowerTool provides real estate agents and brokers with the tools and information to quickly start a new listing, enhance sales efforts, and find new clients. The product helps agent find For Sale by Owner Properties not yet listed with its easy search interface.   The product also includes a powerful comparable sales analysis feature.  From public property record data to interactive parcel maps, it’s all in one place. Create real estate prospect mailing lists in three easy steps.  Customers can even email the product’s impressive reports and graphics to their real estate clients. MLS/Real Estate Power Tool Integration: Provides MLS members with tax property records that are highly detailed and easy to use. Includes the most accurate and up to date information available anywhere. Investor Power Tool: The Investor PowerTool helps real estate investors find real estate investment opportunities first, using their own unique approach. Its powerful tools help investors analyze and evaluate properties thoroughly. […]

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Zillow jumps to new, record highs

by Victor Lund on January 3, 2011

zillow logo

December yielded incredible results for property search upstart Zillow.com. They proudly reported that their property engine is hitting on all cylinders. On the traffic front, they saw a burst of traffic. Thanks in part to their partnership with Yahoo! and hundreds of local newspapers, 13 million consumers visited their website during the month of December. These are not only huge numbers, but they represent an impressive 77% growth over last year. For a venture-funded start up, they are on the right track. Along those lines, like their cross-town industry rival Trulia, Zillow posted a profit in 2010. They have officially crossed the revenue chasm and do not seem to have much in their path for continued profitability and growth. Key to their profit success has been advertising and the Mortgage Marketplace. 13 Million consumers generate a lot of banner advertising and they are always offering new advertising units to agents and brokers. Moreover, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace is just shy of generating 300,000 consumer loan requests per month. Clearly they are on the right track at combining mortgage and listing content on their site. Realtor.com launched a mortgage component to their site last month to capitalize on the opportunity too. On another note Zillow did announce that they passed the 100 million homes on Zillow mark which is a combination of active and sold property records.

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