February 2011

With the flip of a switch or two, the data has been united in nearly every corner of Arizona. Technically this is not a statewide data share, nor was that the intent, but the two largest MLSs in the great state of Arizona have agreed to share listings. The effort was made simple by the common MLS platform, FBS Data’s FlexMLS system. Not all fields are shared, just the important ones that allow agents to get customers some information and turn them over as a referral to an agent in the other MLS. There is no offer of compensation – which frankly, I think makes sense. Bravo! Check out the blog post here for the details.  

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CoreLogic launches Partner InfoNet at Bankers Conference

by Victor Lund on February 23, 2011

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Many Associations and MLSs are investigating data licensing options with the National Association of REALTORs REALTOR Property Resource(RPR) and CoreLogics Partner InfoNet. WAV Group has been keeping an eye over on the banker side of the industry where the licensed data will be sold as a service. Today at the Mortgage Bankers Association National Servicing Conference, Elaine Therrien of CoreLogic announced zip-code level valuations powered by MLS data. The story was covered by John Prior of HousingWire. Not sure of the pricing yet. Will keep you posted. LPS is the vendor of record for RPR offering for this type of data service. To Learn More About RPR and CoreLogic offerings for your MLS with comparisons – you can download the Council of MLS whitepaper here. RPR Website is here. Partner InfoNet by CoreLogic website is Here From HousingWire For the Housing Wire Article CoreLogic tailors new local market reports using MLS data by JON PRIOR Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011, 3:22 pm   Data and technology provider CoreLogic began offering a new property report for mortgage servicers and lenders to monitor ZIP code-level valuations using multiple listing service data. CoreLogic began approaching MLS organizations, who traditionally hold on tightly to their data, through a revenue-sharing program called Partner InfoNet. CoreLogic employees have so far closed roughly 30 contracts with these organizations and are targeting the top 200 markets in the country. They currently have three of the top 10. “The reports will be used specifically for the pre-funding and risk management processes,” Elaine Therrien, CoreLogic’s director of data and analytics, told HousingWire Wednesday at the Mortgage Bankers Association National Servicing Conference. “The reports still protect the MLS exclusivity.” Lenders and servicers can use the product for monitoring home price changes, foreclosure rates, days on market and REO ratios when managing their portfolios, Therrien said. For servicers looking to anticipate what loans will fall into delinquency, Therrien added that valuation data from the reports could signal which borrowers are heading into negative equity, one of the clearest flags of imminent default.

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Twitter for Real Estate continues to emerge

by Victor Lund on February 22, 2011

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In the world of twitter, I feel like an ancient.  I started playing around with in June of 2007 and framed it up for the real estate industry in March of 2008 with a post calledTwitterstate: Twitter for real estate. That post has received 76,404 visits – making it one of the WAV Groups more popular posts. When did twitter launch? Twitter launched in July of 2006. WAV Group is not a social media consulting firm, but we understand it, we use it, and to a great extent, we encourage our customers to use social media to communicate to customers. Social Media is a communication platform – ranking in popularity behind telephones and email, but ahead of cell phones, fax machines, television, radio, and of course – newspapers. Change is happening at twitter. It is becoming a business, and will likely be a business that supports the ability of agents and brokers to market their services to consumers in the buying and selling cycle more effectively. Online marketing is getting very sophisticated. Brands are able to “listen” to consumers online. Brands are able to watch the movements and activities across websites, social media, smartphones and other outlets. A science has emerged to study words and movements to identify the likelihood of transaction behavior. Incidentally, the people behind this new science are not startups – they are companies like EMC Corporation and billion dollar investment firms like Charles River Ventures. Even a secondary market has developed. There is a genius named Bill Gross that is behind what I think will be a huge major development for Twitter. Gross made the kind of money that is unspendable during the tech bubble and is credited for coming up with an idea called Paid Search Advertising that made Google billions. Today, he runs a company called UberMedia. They have purchased a bunch of twitter clients like UberTwitter and TweetDeck. If you do not know about UberTwitter and TweetDeck, and you use Twitter, you should check them out. These products make Twitter useful in ways that Twitter.com is not. You can track friends and topics more easily – hold multiple conversations, etc. Through these platforms, UberMedia is staging the first real economic success of creating revenue from Twitter. Today, UberMedia controls 20% of the overall Twitter Traffic through their software interface. That opens up all kinds of business opportunities, like targeted advertising, behavior tracking, and […]

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In much of the research we conduct on behalf of MLSs we see a disturbing, but consistent trend. Many agents are not aware of their MLS or the services they provide for them. When asked who owns the MLS, we often hear “some third party company”, “my association” or in many cases “I don’t know”.  Many agents have more brand recognition of their MLS system itself,  than they do of the MLS organization. Here’s a few tips to think about how to dial up your brand recognition with both agents and consumers. MRIS, the largest MLS in the country located in the Mid-Atlantic took their “show on the road”.  Many of their department heads on the road to meetings with agents at each of their shareholder associations, sharing news about their product offerings and offering advice about how to get the most out of their MLS system and other tools. MyFloridaRegionalMLS has leveraged their fleet of autos used by their trainers to build brand awareness with consumers and agents around their region. They have leveraged the inevitable travel their trainers engage in by enveloping each of their cars with the MFRMLS residential and commercial brands.  They are experiencing increased traffic on their consumer-facing website because of this innovative initiative.  Why not let every physical asset you own work to build your brand? The Houston Association has a huge billboard on the outside of their building facing the busiest highway in Houston to help build their brand awareness. What are some creative ways you can leverage your building, and other physical presence to build your brand?  If you have engaged in some fun ideas like the ones listed here, please share them with us so everyone can benefit from your smart thinking!

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Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED) launches Cloud CMA

by Mike Audet on February 17, 2011

The following press release from Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC announces they are now offering Cloud CMA to their 40,000+ members.  Cloud CMA allows user to blend data from multiple sites such asGoogle, Zillow, education.com, Walk Score, and Yelp to create customized presentations.  Cloud CMA is web based so it can be launched from any computer or mobile device with web access. Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED) launches Cloud CMA LISLE (February 16, 2011) – Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED) has announced that W&R Studios’ Cloud CMA product is now live and fully integrated with its connectMLSTMsystem.  All 40,000 of MRED’s customers have the benefit of this cutting edge product at their fingertips, while researching listings and sales from their MLS system. Cloud CMA is an innovative as well as eye-catching product for preparing comparative market analyses, buyer’s tours and other property reports.  With Cloud CMA users can easily create and send amazing presentations from a desktop/laptop or mobile SmartPhone, with exclusive blended data from top websites including Google, Zillow, education.com, Walk Score, Yelp and more. “MRED is constantly on the lookout for the highest quality tools, to enable our customers to distinguish themselves by providing the best service to their buyers and sellers,” said Russ Bergeron, CEO of MRED.  “Cloud CMA will enable our customers to create CMAs and personalized reports that are unique and give their clients the full spectrum of real estate information.” MRED users can now search for listings and comparables and seamlessly launch the Cloud CMA package to produce stunning reports that will help them win more listings and write more offers.  Agents in other marketplaces are raving about the capabilities of Cloud CMA. “I did two Cloud CMAs my first time out,” said Debra Smethurst of TNG Real Estate Consultants.  “To say I am not computer savvy is putting it mildly. I have to admit this was very easy to navigate and when I clicked to ‘view’ report, I was thrilled! I am having them spiral bound today and taking them to my clients!!!” “As a successful agent with a keen eye on simplifying our business processes, I look for tools that can assist with enhancing each client interaction,” said Scott Tamkin of Keller Williams.  “When I came across Cloud CMA, I knew this was one of those tools.  The system is easy to use, visually appealing and works great on the […]

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GSEs NAR Profit and Welfare

by Victor Lund on February 17, 2011

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What happens next in the financial markets of the mortgage industry is up in the air. Our current system is a failure when markets go down. It cripples our industry, the financial markets, and millions of consumers. The National Association of REALTORS released their reform recommendations. As one of the chief lobbying groups in Washington DC, you can bet that government is listening. They highlight the issues. Government Sponsored Entities are problematic. Anytime you have an artificial business that shares profits when times are good, and gets bailed out by taxpayers when times are bad – risk of collapse is high. In this case – 10 Trillion Dollars High. The centerpiece in the NAR recommendation is to insure the continued flow of capital into the housing and mortgage markets – regardless of the state of the housing or mortgage markets. This is, in essence, what is happening today. The Federal Government is pouring cash into GSEs and keeping interest rates low in an effort to keep liquidity in the real estate industry. At the same time, the GSEs are tightening standards – moving from no-down payment loans of a few years ago to 30% down payments today. Today goal of GSEs is to help the ‘underserved segments of the population’ realize the dream of home ownership. Today, it would appear that 50%-70% of homebuyers are ‘underserved’ because that is the market share of loans managed by GSEs as they have insured all of these bad loans. The government expanded GSEs during the heyday of raising home values. What was established as a safety net for the underserved became a huge revenue source to offset budget deficits. NAR wants to unplug the Federal Government from this profit and bail out cycle by transitioning them from GSEs to Government Sponsored, Non Shareholder owned Authorities. Rather than taxes, Government Bonds would be issued to raise capital.   NAR’s argument is that the authority would provide stability to the real estate industry, and manage risk for investors my regulating mortgage terms. The outline for Responsible Lending practices was authored by NAR in 2005. Among many principles, it called for 20% down payment to reduce insurance risk on defaults. Eliminate sub-prime lending practices. Require reasonable debt to income ratios of borrowers (I could not find the definition of reasonable). Require an escrow for taxes and insurance that is factored into the monthly payment. Verify all income stated on […]

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Check Out The New ARMLS Blog!

by Mike Audet on February 16, 2011

We wanted to give our friends at ARMLS a congratulations on their new BLOG that was recently announced.  Over 3,000 very smart people already like it, check it out.  ARMLSBLOG.com is  the official blog of Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. The blog is focused on real estate, technology and all things MLS.  In one of their first posts they talk about the importance of honesty in statisical reporting countering the argument that statistics create negative trends in real estate.  Quite the contrary as explained in STAT, PPI and the Truth.  Great to see from our friends at ARMLS.  Great job!

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CRMLS, formerly MRMLS and participant in the Los Angles Data Sharing initiative “CARETS” has announced a partnership with Yardi Systems division, Point2. Under the partnership, Point2 will syndicate CRMLS lsitings on behalf of all 23 member associations and their 26,000 agent members. Point2 has indicated that they syndicate to 60 web portals. WAV Group favors listing syndication when done properly, and both Yardi(Point2) and Move (Listhub) are looking to clean up many of the issues that have not been addressed since the practice was first deployed by Threewide (Listhub). Syndication solves a real issue by removing the challenges to getting listings out of the mls and onto advertising webistes effectively. The press release was unclear about concerns that we have raised, including efforts to protect the syndicated data from being repurposed; reused; reproductized; relicensed; resyndicated to other sites……. protect the data from being purposed for business use beyond the brokers’ intent of driving prospects to listings. It is also unclear how the CRMLS copyright willl be protected through syndication. Another issue not addressed in the press release is the policy for ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out.’ Many brokers are already syndicating listings through other means – and repeat synbdication could cause duplicate listings and trump other efforts. Hopefully Saul Klien or someone else at Point2 will respond to some of these concerns. We hold Saul and his company in high esteem. Here is the press release:California Regional MLS (CRMLS) Launches Point2 Property Data Syndication Program San Diego, Calif. February 16, 2011 Point2 (www.Point2.com) today announced that it has completed the first phase of the implementation and roll out of its real estate listing syndication and technology marketing program in partnership with California Regional MLS, Inc.  (CRMLS www.crmls.org), as part of an agreement that covers all 23 current CRMLS member associations. Point2 and CRMLS announced the initiative in December 2010, which will enable current CRMLS member associations and their 26,000 associate REALTORS® to publish their listings across Point2s listing syndication network of nearly 60 popular real estate consumer websites, search engines, classifieds and auction sites, in the United States. 13 CRMLS associate organizations are part of the initial rollout. The implementation is expected to be fully complete during the first quarter of 2011. “Todays market demands that brokers and agents maximize online visibility for their listings. The automation of this highly time consuming and error prone effort is a primary benefit […]

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Come join me at the 4th Annual AFIRE Conference

by Marilyn Wilson on February 16, 2011

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Many of you have probably heard me “gushing” over the years about the AFIRE Conference.  AFIRE or Awesome Females in Real Estate is a one of a kind conference for female executives in the real estate industry.  They say it’s “lonely at the top”. This conference provides executives and business owners with a safe place to talk about the issues they are facing in their businesses without their staffs or boards in the room.  I have forged some of my closest relationships in the business at this conference. I have been honored to spend time with some of the most talented and charming women engaged in all parts of interesting projects in the business. I would highly recommend that every female executive seriously consider attending this conference. Don’t think of it as just another conference. Think of it as an amazing opportunity to engage in some personal growth while you spend time with some of the best and brightest minds in the business today. Personally I would love to see more leadership from the leading MLSs, Associations and technology companies – you know who you are ladies! Here are just a few of the skills you will walk away with: What You Will Learn Master how to use the latest new technologies to skyrocket your business-NOW! Take away over 67 business and life strategies to increase your business and take more time off! Capitalize on the latest trends to leap past competitors. Uncover the secrets to attracting high quality clientele to your online and offline marketing campaigns at no charge. Discover how to minimize costs and build your profitability. Break down generational barriers and strengthen your team. Gain a global perspective from other successful women in today’s global economy. Incorporate the latest trends in multimedia to leverage your marketing. Implement seven simple ways to make a big impact on your community. Come and join me at this year’s AFIRE conference. I promise – you will be really glad you did. You will come away with great business skills and likely some new life skills as well to prepare to take your business and your life to new heights! The AFIRE conference will be held from April 6th – 8th, 2011 at the fabulous Radisson in Scottsdale, Arizona. A great location at a great time of year with a unique collection of attendees. REGISTER HERE Download a full brochure describing the conference here. […]

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CoreLogic’s Infonet tops 140,000 participants

by Marilyn Wilson on February 15, 2011

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According to a press release released today, CoreLogic’s Infonet program now has agreements in place to serve over 140,000 participants throughout the United States. Today they announced that five multiple listing services (MLSs), representing more than 19,000 real estate professionals, have joined the Partner InfoNet revenue-sharing program. The new agreements include the program’s first in Florida and bring the total number of real estate professionals who are participating in Partner InfoNet to more than 140,000 and more than 400,000 listings. The new MLSs are: Regional MLS, Inc. of Palm Beach; North Carolina’s Fayetteville Association of Realtors, Inc.; Central Virginia Regional MLS, LLC; Ocean County Board of Realtors, Inc. of New Jersey and Western Regional Information Systems & Technology of Ohio. Launched this past May, Partner InfoNet is a revenue-sharing program in which MLSs license their listing data to CoreLogic for use in risk management products for mortgage lenders, servicers and the capital markets. The MLSs share in the proceeds of the sales of these risk-management products and are also able to offer innovative new valuation products, such as RealAVM, to their members. The revenue sharing program is structured with higher fees for those that choose to participate exclusively in this program without participating in NAR’s RPR(Realtor Property Resource) program or other similar program that may be launched subsequently.  Exclusive partners also receive free access to RealAVM, the Corelogic MLS-enhanced automated valuation model (AVMs) and the MarketLinx MLS Data Co-op, a new data-sharing tool that makes it easy for MLSs to share listings with MLSs from around the country while securely controlling access to their data. One side benefit participating MLSs are realizing from participation in the program includes a new method for protecting listing data.  CoreLogic has put in place a data protection system to make sure that the MLS listing data is shared only with professionals, and not consumers, and that the shared data is not misused. CoreLogic also consults with its MLS partners to identify and resolve potential security holes in their MLS system and policies. If you would like to learn more about CoreLogic’s infoNet program along with other data licensing programs including RPR, iMapp and Move’s FIND program you can click on the following link to receive a FREE white paper from WAV Group called New Ways to Leverage MLS Data that summarizes the terms and conditiions of each of these programs.  In addiition if you would […]

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IRIS Mobile Announces New Mobile Suite

by Mike Audet on February 12, 2011

Press Release from Iris Mobile: Iris Mobile Enhances the Mobile Solutions for Today’s Real Estate Market Rolling Meadows, Illinois – February 14, 2011 – Iris Mobile Corporation, announced today that it has released an enhanced version of its suite of real estate mobile marketing solutions that includes text-messaging, web-to-mobile, QR codes, branded mobile apps, and branded mobile web marketing. Iris Mobile’s real estate product, Iris Listings, is currently available to REALTORs in Northern and Central Illinois and is growing its MLS partnerships. The enhanced Iris Listings now offers QR codes mobile marketing built seamlessly into the existing text-messaging marketing platform.  The branded mobile app lets homebuyers search listings on the go with a smart phone. Potential homebuyers can send a text message as stated on the sign code or scan a QR code.  The homebuyer instantly receives a text message with property detailed info, crystal clear home pictures on any mobile. While the homebuyer receives the listing info, the agent receives the lead alert either via text message or email. “The most powerful lead capture and mobile solution I have seen! Hands down the best ROI out there,” claims Dave Ablin, RE/MAX. The Iris Listings web-to-mobile solution offers a unique web widget that allows any real estate web site to share property listings to users on any mobile phone. “In today’s mobile driven society, connecting with potential home buyers through all mobile marketing channels convenient to people on the go is a must,” cites Iris Mobile’s President and CEO, Cezar Kolodziej, PhD. “Rather than managing different mobile tools, agents now have one suite of products that applies all the latest mobile technologies to real estate. We are very excited to unveil the latest Iris Listings product suite” adds Kolodziej. About Iris Mobile Iris Mobile’s rich media messaging platform delivers the audio, video and image contents to over 93% of the mobile phones on standard messaging rates regardless of carrier, device or plan. Iris Mobile enables marketers, agencies, brands to use the ubiquity of mobile messaging to deliver the most effective marketing ROI. For more information, visithttp://www.irismobile.com. Iris Listings is the company’s leading product suite for real estate allowing real state agents to market properties via text-messaging, QR codes, mobile apps and mobile web pages.  To learn more about Iris Listings, visit http://www.irislistings.com.

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Indexing is Scraping – Here is the Proof

by Victor Lund on February 12, 2011

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I constantly find myself in arguments/debates about indexing vs. scraping of real estate listings from websites. Despite my blue face, the debate goes on. In an effort to provide evidence that indexing is scraping, I have created this summary and video that will provide evidence of my case. The importance of this discussion is to key into two conflicting issues related to MLS rules and regulations. Specifically, the MLS rules and regulations for IDX websites indicate that the website must try to prevent scraping, but indexing by recognized search engines is ok. I say potato, potato. They are the same thing and you cannot allow indexing without allowing scraping. They are, in essence, identical from a technology perspective – although different from an intent perspective. To see if your IDX listings are being “indexed” by a recognized search engine, go to google.com and type in the following search term site:domain.com – for example site:mlslistings.com. If you see thousands of pages, your listings are being indexed. Go to page 5 or 6 of the search results and you will begin to see listing information appear. To prove the case that the data is being scraped – taken from your website and stored on the server of a third party (in this case google), click the blue link that says Cached. Cached is fancy language for stored on our servers. Conclusion: Indexing is scraping. Listings are being copied from websites without a license or agreement.  

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REALTOR.com goes mobile – hits Barcelona

by Victor Lund on February 10, 2011

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Not unlike Trulia and Zillow’s wireless app, REALTOR.com has gone Mobile – in a big way. And their app rocks! They are off to the Mobile World Congress – an expositon of killer apps from around the planet. Real Estate apps drive more engagement than most mobile apps and the download volume is in the millions. Expect to see significant advertising opportunites for agents and brokers to emerge on these apps this year. You can check out the full post here Here is the press release REALTOR.COM ANDROID APP SHOWCASED AT 2011 MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS Most Downloaded Android Real Estate Search App Featured at International Developer Event CAMPBELL, Calif., (February 10, 2011) As the leading developer of mobile real estate search apps, Move, Inc. (Nasdaq: MOVE) has been invited to showcase the Realtor.com® Real Estate Search Android™ app in the Android stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 14TH 17TH. At the event, Move representatives will show developers from around the world the only Android real estate search app that connects users to the largest and most accurate collection of real estate listings in the United States onRealtor.com. “Were excited to join this global thought leadership event to showcase our Android app to the international mobile community,” said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move, Inc. “As mobile approaches a new wave of transformation, Move will remain at the forefront delivering on our commitment to connect consumers and agents through mobile tools that will help define the future of real estate search.” Launched in November 2010, the Realtor.com Android app has already been downloaded more than 300,000 times in just three months. On average, Realtor.com mobile search app users view more than 10 properties each day and account for 20 percent of all weekend page views on Realtor.com listing detail pages. Realtor.com search apps have been downloaded more than 3 million times across multiple mobile platforms. The Realtor.com Real Estate Search Android app is free and compatible with version 2.1 or higher of the Android platform. It can be downloaded at http://www.realtor.com/mobile, or directly from Android Market™ at http://market.android.com/details?id=com.move.realtor. The Android™ smart phone, according to The Nielsen Company, is the #1 most sold smart phone in the United States. The Realtor.com Real Estate Search Android app empowers Android users to easily find fresh and reliable information about properties or open houses within one to 20 miles of a users location. Users can also instantly locate properties using […]

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Buyer Search Feature in MLS Systems

by Victor Lund on February 9, 2011

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MLS systems have had buyer-servicing portals for years. An agent configures a buyers search criteria, and the buyers representative and buyer are notified whenever a listing matches their search criteria. The system is elegant, informative and works perfectly. But there is a new feature trying to put down roots in this ecosystem that may introduce interesting results an enhanced buyer registration feature of the MLS. Many agents go to Tour Meetings and Office Meetings where they talk about buyer needs all in hopes of finding an agent with a listing. Curious really, since all of the listings are in the MLS but there is a tribe building effect to attending the meeting, and the meetings have other agenda items. Its cool. The new twist to buyer servicing portals is the notion that listing agents can search for buyers represented by agents. Reversing the search stream, if you will. Rather than buyer’s agents searching for homes, the seller’s agent is searching for buyers. The sellers representative does not see the buyers contact information, just the profile of what they are looking for and the buyers agent. I think that this type of service could create a mess, or it could create a solution. I am not sure which will ensue. The results will tell. The messy part would be that buyers agent could be spammed and telemarketed by sellers representatives. The buyers agent can find the listing just fine in the MLS the noise may not be needed. The solution part is that sellers representatives could market property more efficiently to other agents than they could with traditional shotgun methods that market to the masses of potential buyers. From the data side, I think that it would also be interesting to know how many buyers are searching for homes in a particular area or price range relative to the inventory. Good forecasting tool. Arguably, this is possible today except the searchable data is not very cleanly associated with a willing, qulaified buyer. Another angle on this buyer portal concept is an Offer Service. Buyers agents add their client offers electronically. Each time there is a higher offer; everyone (including the buyer) is notified until the sellers agent accepts an offer. The MLS becomes an electronic auction house of types. As a consultant, I reserve my judgment on these things until there are results. If you are an MLS or Association considering […]

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Jeremy Crawford moves up state to MLS Listings

by Victor Lund on February 8, 2011

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In a press release it was announced today that Real Estate Technology Leader Jeremy Crawford Joins MLSListings, Inc. as Chief Information Officer Jeremy also recently became a father! Congratulations to Jeremy and his family. It must be hard to leave Sandicor where he and his team, under the leadership of Ray Ewing provided outstanding services to the brokers and agents of San Diego County. in 2010, Mr. Crawford was awarded the CIO of the Year Award (see post link below). At MLS Listings he will serve under the leadership of James (Jim) Harrison, CEO, Deb McManus and a host of talented staff. Here is the press release   Addition further strengthens local MLS’s position as industry leader in real estate information services SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – MLSListings, Inc. (MLSListings) today announced the appointment of Jeremy Crawford as Chief Information Officer for its 18,000-member-strong multiple listing service (MLS) serving real estate agents, brokers and affiliates in northern California. In his new role, Crawford will be responsible for all aspects of Enterprise Information Technology, including infrastructure, design, development, implementation, and management of computer hardware and software systems and network. Additionally, in his executive-level role he will be a driving force in shaping, implementing and supporting the relationships between MLSListings technology platforms and its constituents and neighboring MLSs and oversee the organization’s third party contract relationships and product management teams. “Jeremy brings to MLSListings extensive technical, operations and leadership experience in the advancement of real estate information technology at the regional and national levels,” said Jim Harrison, president and CEO of MLSListings, Inc. “We look forward to his contributions as we continue to build upon our current infrastructure and data services, as well as emerging integrated technology products.” Most recently, Crawford served as Chief Information Officer for SANDICOR®, one of Southern California’s largest MLSs, responsible for all aspects of hosted MLS and corporate information technology operations including data services, MLS service, training, technical support and information technology.  Crawford also has more than 15 years of information technology experience in the MLS, Association of REALTORS®, financial services, and education sectors. In 2010, he served as vice-chair of the National Association of REALTORS® Real Estate Standards Organization Education and Outreach workgroup, and received San Diego’s Information Technology Executive of the Year Award.  Crawford holds a B.S. degree in computer science from East Tennessee State University and attended its masters program in computer science as well. He is slated to assume his new role […]

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740 and 25% are the new magic mortgage numbers

by Victor Lund on February 8, 2011

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The Frank-Dodd bill was designed to insure that loan originators to have any financial interst in the terms or conditions of a loan. But in a policy change today, Fannie and Freddie announced changes in the terms and conditions of a loan that modifies their financial interests. Thats right, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) just did exactly what other loan originators are denied from doing by law. Specifically, charge higher interest rates for higher risk loans. If you do not have a credit score of 740 or better, or put down 25% of the purchase price – you will pay higher interest rates on your loan. Be sure to let agents know about these new limits so they can inform their clients. Here is the Bloomberg article announcing the changes. What is funny about this is that the GSEs were designed to help first time home buyers, and low income home buyers – few of which have credit scores above 740 according to this article. Today, the GSEs are underwriting more than 55% of all home loans.  

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The Realty Alliance Top 20 for January 2011

by Victor Lund on February 7, 2011

The Realty Alliance Top 20

The online ecosystem for real estate search is a very competitive place on a variety of levels. As we reported in early January, WAV Group is taking a deep look at the online effectiveness of a group of the largest brokerages in America, The Realty Alliance. From month to month, there is always a bit of movement and this month shows some gains and some losses in the top 20. Congratulations to Edina Realty who jumped up to third position. They jumped ahead of nearby leading brokers Crye-Leike and SibscyCline. Both SibscyCline and Crye-Leike are still leading Edina in page views – each with around 2 Million per month. Great work by Raveis.com who entered the top 10! William E Wood also jumped into the top 20 this month. Special note to Gloria Nilson real estate who leads all of The Realty Alliance members with an average time on site of  24:23 minutes. That is impressive engagement – consumers clearly love the site. Top thrid party referrer to The Realty Alliance websites was Realtor.com. Behind Realtor.com in order of referrals are Trulia, Zillow, Homes.com, and Homefinder. Top search engine was Google, followed by Facebook. Here is the Top 20

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Rapportive for Real Estate

by Victor Lund on February 5, 2011

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If you are a small company or want to have a personal account outside of business, you probably have a Gmail account. GMAIL account are also cool because they integrate so well with other contact and email rich technology platforms like Social Networks. As you probably know, you can inport all fo your GMAIL contacts into Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Skype, and an million other products by simply entering your gmail email address and password. One really cool think that is beginning to happen – every so slowly – but people are beginning to use GmailL.com as thier primary email client rather than Outlook or Mail. The buzz word for this is using the cloud rather than the desktop. Personally, I am a tweener – I use both depending on what I am up to at the moment. I loaded a plugin to my Gmail account today called Rapportive. With reportive, as I get emails from people – on the right hand side of the email display area I can see the twitter feed, facebook feed, and linkedin feed of the person emailing me. Just the other day I got an email from a client’s staff member I was working with on a project. To the right hand side of the email I saw her facebook feed announcing her pregancy and her twitter feed telling me about a produt launch. These were both very valuable pieces of informaiton about this person that I was pleased to learn. I think that it is apparant why this would have value for agents, MLS, technology companies, etc. It provides you insight into the lives of your email correspondence. If you use gmail – visit http://rapportive.com/ and try it out. Its free and you can remove it at any time.

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MFRMLS logo

The Power of Benchmarking WAV Group strongly believes that you cannot accomplish what you cannot measure. How do you know if your customers are loyal fans and would recommend you to others? By asking them, of course.   And not just asking them on occasion, but every time anyone in your organization connects with them in any way. We have witnessed significant improvements in customer satisfaction when a MLS regularly measures satisfaction levels and then, of course, continues to improve in the areas where they have received suggestions for improvement. Why does satisfaction matter? After all MLSs for the most part are still the only game in town. Most do not really have to “compete” for customers. Agents and Brokers only have one choice, right?   Not so, in our view.   While MLS systems and MLS organizations are great at what they do, there are many others breathing down their necks, hoping to create a new model. Whether it’s a state association, third party vendor or even another MLS there are more opportunities for an MLS to be usurped by a third party than ever before.   Second, MLSs have the unique dynamic of their board of directors changing regularly.  How do you answer the new board member’s question about listing accuracy or system performance if you don’t measure performance over time.  How do you take credit for the great work you do to counteract the inevitable one or two complainers in your market or the disgruntled association who only hears from those with a gripe and not the myriad of satisfied customers? The best offense is a great defense, we say.  Using benchmarks and sharing them regularly with the board, shareholders and members can help everyone feel good about being part of your MLS.  You can use benchmarks to demonstrate transparency and to help your members understand you’re listening to them and responding to their suggestions. We are proud to describe just one case where an MLS has used benchmarking to guide their continual member satisfaction and overall organizational improvements. Meet My Florida Regional MLS, an organization with 34,000 members in Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and all the way down the west coast of Florida to Sarasota.  We have been lucky enough to track their member satisfaction progress for the past several years and we have very good news to report. Overall, MFRMLS’ satisfaction ratings have increased from significantly in just 4 […]

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MarketLinx InfoNet Customer List

The places one finds business intelligence these days….. Twitter! If you follow@marketlinxnews on twitter, you will see their rather casual announcements of each instance that an MLS or Association enters into a licensing agreement for InfoNet.InfoNet is CoreLogic’s data licensing program whereby they license active listing content from MLSs (and pay them for it) then sell access to the data via their AVM products to the federal government, banks, freddie, fannie, insurance companies and the like. Their only competitor in this marketplace is NAR’s subsidary, the Realtor Property Resource. They also build an AVM called the RVM (Realtor Valuation Model) that they market competitively to the federal government, banks, freddie and fannie. The difference is that the RPR license agreement trades REALTOR products like market reports for access to the data. RPR has a marketing agreement with LPS to sell access to the RVM to the financial industry. To get information about RPR, follow the hash tag #RPR or @reggierpr and @kristencarr Two different approaches, same fantastic result – Soon, the banking industry will be able to have data which will enable them to expedite short sale negotiations and loan modifications – stemming the foreclosure debacle. Great work by both companies to solve the most important issue facing real estate today. WAV Group partner Mike Audet authored an excellent paper comparing and contrasting these initiatives. Download it here for free – Download Link

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