August 2011

Communication Strategy for Real Estate

by Victor Lund on August 30, 2011

communications strategy in real estate

One of the fundamental core values of the MLS (beyond offers of compensation) is the organization and communication of property information database. The role of the MLS as a communicator is a hotly debated topic, because the communicator becomes the identity and spokesperson to a wide range of agents and consumers alike. The MLS as a communicator is largely predicated by the governance of the MLS, its bylaws, and the standards set by the MLS shareholders and board of directors. Today, most MLSs have one or more REALTOR Associations as their shareholders. The board of directors is typically appointed by the shareholders and may include real estate agents, real estate brokers, or the Association executive.


Melanie Blakeney Selected as MAAR’s New Leader

by Marilyn Wilson on August 29, 2011

MEMPHIS, Tenn., August 25, 2011 – Today the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors named Melanie Blakeney as its Executive Vice President, effective Dec. 1, 2011. She succeeds long-time Executive Vice President Jules Wade, who will be retiring this fall. Blakeney currently is Executive Vice President over MAAR’s Commercial Council and MLS. She came to MAAR in 1999 from the Lafayette Board of REALTORS® in Louisiana, where for a decade she served as President/CEO. Previously, she was Executive Officer over the Norman Board of REALTORS® in Oklahoma. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.


Dot MLS is the right side of the dot

by Victor Lund on August 26, 2011

I was provided with a couple of previews of articles written by Judith Lindenau of the .MLS DomainAssociation today. Judith is a key member of the team volunteering their energy to pursue a top level domain name for the real estate industry called .MLS. You will see them on RE Technology next week (email me if you need an account). A Top Level Domain is what happens on the “right side of the dot.” a metaphor that I really like. On today’s internet, .com or .net are pretty meaningless. The concept of the new release of top level domains is that what comes on the right side of the dot will become more significant. The likeminded thesis of the .MLS Domain Association is that websites with the .MLS extension will have meaning. In following the metaphor – the right meaning. To this Association, the right meaning for real estate websites is MLS listings – clean, pure, and represented by state licensed real estate brokers and their agents. Cybersquatters who pretend to offer MLS access or MLS data, or anyone outside the family of licensed agents and brokers will not be permitted to host websites on the .MLS domain.

{ 1 comment }

Technology Needs You

by Victor Lund on August 23, 2011

RPR Logo

I took my car in for service today, it gave me a chance to spend some time furthering my understanding of a new technology tool – RPR.  I was looking at training videos and reports for a broker who is studying how agents will use it to devise an integration plan for their business. This broker takes a very serious approach to data licensing and an even more serious approach to the tools that company agents use to work with clients. This broker wants to leverage the product in the best possible way – or not at all. Sitting next to me in the waiting room was a consumer. This fellow, Frank had just sold his home in Santa Barbara, a county south of San Luis Obispo and outside of the local MLS area. He saw me looking at property information on the iPad, and asked what site I was using. I told him that it was REALTORS® Property Resource – a tool that REALTORS® use to help customers understand the business side of real estate that is important to the process of buying and selling a home. “My agent did not show me anything like that,” he acknowledged. “Give me your property address,” I retorted. He did, and I looked it up. The property did not show as Listed (Santa Barbara has not signed up for RPR) and because it was sold 8 days ago, it did not show up in public record either. So the property details of his home were in limbo – the basic RPR tax data set surrounded by reports.


RPR Solution Is Not Difficult

by Mike Audet on August 22, 2011


Having read Dale Ross’s recent post that noted RPR was “hitting a wall of entrenched attitudes…” etc., that was keeping them from meeting their goals I was a bit surprised.  I was surprised because in many ways I thought RPR had a pretty good year with the addition of some of the big boy MLSs that had been standing on the sidelines, while this post seemed to highlight what isn’t working. My take on RPR, before the post, was that now was the time for RPR to ride their recent signings and begin


Hunt Real Estate joins the NFL

by Victor Lund on August 19, 2011

Hunt Real Estate

Imagine the marketing boost that your real estate brokerage would have in your market place if you became the exclusive relocation partner to the leading professional sports team in your town. That is exactly what Hunt Real Estate Company and the Buffalo Bills announced in a press release yesterday. This exclusive arrangement is part of a significant investment by both companies. Some of the marketing features include in-stadium marketing and radio sponsorship of the Hunt by the Numbers statistics. The team is also supporting the relationship with an official NFL brand license for the Buffalo Bills to be used in Hunt Marketing, along with online presence on the Buffalo Bills website. The Buffalo Bills are a centerpiece of community support in Western New York reaching more than 75% brand awareness and approval in the market area. Hunt Real Estate is located in upstate New York spanning from Buffalo and the greater Niagara Peninsula eastward across the state including Rochester and Syracuse (they recently launched in Phoenix, AZ too). Hunt Real Estate has approximately 1100 sales associates and manages an ongoing portfolio of 3000 property listings. Hunt Real Estate is in the top 25 largest brokerages in America in terms of real estate transactions with around 10,000 per year representing nearly $1.5B in transaction volume. Here is the official press release:

{ 1 comment }

The new

by Victor Lund on August 18, 2011

HomesMediaSolutions launches a game changer If you look around the real estate industry, there is always a quiet giant tending to its business and moving along steadily without rocking the boat too much. Unless you were on vacation this week, you saw a flurry of press releases, blog posts, twitter posts, facebook messages, and Linkedin message about the release of Homes Connect and the demise of the AdvancedAccess brands. As a consultant, I watched in yearning as Dominion acquired nearly a dozen real estate technology brands. From the beginning, it seemed logical. Dominion was a publishing company, the biggest in the real estate industry (along with automotive and others). Print had a strong run for decades, built corporate wealth, and continues to yield some results. The Internet became a threat, so Dominion took on the opportunity to change. Dominion’s investment in technology assets represented a diversification of product offerings, and delivered a long term strategy for generating revenue from their loyal customer base. It took the company a long time to put all of the pieces together. The benefit of a large and financially secure company is the luxury of time. Their strategy was to allow each business unit to operate independently. I suppose it allowed them to learn the virtues of each company, appreciate the technical and management resources, and understand the culture. Moreover, they were able to listen to the challenges each company faced, listen to the customers, and understand the customer needs that their products satisfied in the marketplace. They went to school.


RE: AOL-MOVE go turn it on

by Victor Lund on August 17, 2011

AOL MOVE found using Google Search on REALTYBIZNEWS

By the way… If you are a broker and you would like your listings to appear on AOL, you need to login to your ListHub dashboard and turn it on. Syndication to listing sites is under your control. So if you checked for your listings on AOL today, and they did not appear – it is because you have not selected that channel. Thanks for the many calls and emails regarding this.


Marty Reed Promoted at LPS

by Victor Lund on August 17, 2011

Marty Reed

WAV Group would like to extend a sincere congratulations to our friend, Marty Reed of LPS. LPS Executive Rich Lull announced today that Marty Reed has accepted a new position expanding her role with LPS Real Estate Group’s MLS business. “Marty and team has done an incredible job with the development and launch of Paragon 5, currently being deployed by LPS’s 200+ Paragon accounts, and being presented to a number of MLS’s for consideration for conversion,” says Lull. Effective immediately, Ms. Reed will assume the role of VP ParagonSolutions, taking on responsibility for P&L management of the Paragon suite of products, as well as LPS’s Association Management product, LAMPS. In her new role, Reed will expand her focus beyond the products and work with LPS customers and the LPS team to insure a long and successful life for Paragon. Lull continues,


AOL-MOVEing in on property portals

by Victor Lund on August 17, 2011

AOL MOVE found using Google Search on REALTYBIZNEWS

Large consumer search portals like Google, Yahoo, and AOL have had an interesting, if not mystical strategy toward real estate. Today, AOL made an announcement to become a syndication channel for real estate listings. Perhaps AOL is going against the grain, or perhaps they finally found a great partner who made it easy for them to get enough quality listings on their site to make it a viable search solution for property. In today’s announcement, AOL Real Estate search will be powered by Move through the ListHub Syndication Network. No doubt, the strategy for AOL and Move fits. Both companies wants to stay competitive or surpass the 50 Million monthly visitor mark set by the combined Zillow/Yahoo Partnership. I am rather surprised that neither AOL or MOVE have seen significant stock share valuation bumps as a result of the awesome Zillow IPO. It also kinda makes me wonder what the next partnership looks like for search giant, Trulia. Here is the announcement from the Move Press Release.


Jack Miller of the GoodLife Team in Austin Texas

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2011

Jack Miller of the GoodLife Team in Austin, Texas was featured in an article by RE Technology this week for his outstanding industry leadership.  All of the members of the GoodLife team have been supportive and outspoken about the best practices for agent and brokers. These REALTORS really give back to our industry and help make it better. Millers’ industry leadership comes from illustrating what great customer services means to real estate brokers today. I think that he also, perhaps unknowingly arrived at a new way to search for property. Put in the amount you can afford and view properties that qualify. Nobody has built that yet. From RE Technology interview with Emily Williams Sure, we all know that responsive customer service can help build relationships. But today’s “Follow the Leader” looked deeper and realized that communicating with customers could do something else – provide valuable insights to help guide decisions about technology. Jack Miller, Chief of Customer Experience and Senior Associate at the GoodLife Team brokerage in Austin, Texas, spent and entire year responding to each and every customer contact for his company. Why? To ensure that the technology solutions his company offered truly served customers’ needs.



by Victor Lund on August 12, 2011


I caught an article published in the Kansas City Star this morning that blew my mind. The Federal Bureau of Investigations reports that there are an estimated $10 Billion in fraudulent loan applications each year in America. The problem is so bad that they have launched a sting initiative called Operation Stolen Dreams. This may be no surprise to many MLS executives. If you operate a large or mid-sided MLS, the FBI has already contacted you to gain access to MLS data. This is the front door approach. In some cases, the FBI gets a real estate license and joins the MLS. You could call it the back door approach. This is probably a breach of the MLS Terms of Use, but hey – it’s the FBI. Who are you going to call? In the article, the FBI points to two targets in the fraud scheme – organized crime from overseas; and the real estate industry itself, “licensed and unlicensed brokers, real estate agents, attorneys and other members of the industry who use their expertise to exploit vulnerabilities in the sector.”

{ 1 comment }

Purpose Built Data for Listing Syndication

by Victor Lund on August 11, 2011

Listing Syndicaiton

Over the past three years, I have spent time with listing publishers, real estate brokers, MLS executives, and real estate agents collecting information on the strengths and weaknesses of listing syndication. At the core of these conversations was the topic of data quality, terms of use, the value of the listing, the effectiveness of online marketing, and overlapping syndication disorder. Without dissecting each issue, suffice it to suggest that listing syndication is not meeting the needs of todays stakeholders. The systems in place today need to evolve to meet everyone’s needs. This article will suggest that IDX data was not built for syndication, and provide two examples of how that damages the brokers online marketing strategy. The conclusion will offer two suggestions for change.


The Table Is Set for a Housing Boom

by Victor Lund on August 9, 2011

Money Table

The real estate industry may have received a gift this week, a weak stock market will cause investors to increase their exposure in real estate, which is distressed and priced at a discount. Unless you have no savings at all, you likely watched your savings go down 10%-15% in the past few weeks. For every $100,000 that was invested, you are now staring at $85,000. This will come as a tremendous shock to many Americans when they open their 401K statements in September. Given this erratic performance in stocks, suddenly real estate is looking like a great investment. Real Estate, even at its worst performance, has not seen the type of market volatility the stock market suffered last month.  Real Estate represents a sound investment. By all accounts, the real estate market is bounding for a recovery. The timing of that recovery is uncertain – perhaps 2-3 years. Early speculators in 2008 were looking at 2012 as a recovery time. Today’s speculators are looking at 2014. My point is that real estate in America is a great investment. Lets look at the three factors that benefit real estate investments.

{ 1 comment }

Arizona forms largest statewide MLS in the Nation

by Victor Lund on August 8, 2011

By a margin of 3 to 1, the Arizona Association of REALTORS voted to acquire the assets of ARMLS today forming the largest statewide MLS in the nation and possibly one of the top 5 largest MLSs in the nation. By our accounting, only MRED in Chicago, MRIS in the Mid-Atlantic would be larger. CRMLS in Los Angles, SoCAL MLS in Los Angles, MFRMLS in Central Florida are all smaller, but possibly in reach. Not that the numbers matter all that much. The difficult next step will be to encourage other Arizona MLSs to join the party. Bob Bemis, current CEO of ARMLS will remain the CEO of the new entity, the Arizona Multiple MLS. The Arizona State Association of REALTORS paid just under $5M to acquire the assets of the Phoenix based ARMLS. Interesting to note, the MLS Vendor for ARMLS is FBS Data Systems, offering the FlexMLS product. Earlier this year ARMLS, Tucson AOR, and Santa Cruz AOR initiated a data share that covered more than 80% of the properties in the state. In essence, the data share among MLSs led the initiative to form one MLS for the state. It will be interesting to see how these other MLSs react to the opportunity. ARMLS is among the most progressive MLSs in the nation, leading the way to delivering MLS services along with an extensive variety of technology services to members. Not only will the statewide mls assure the State Association of gaining adoption of their transaction management platform, but many of the companies that partner with the MLS to offer IDX, Mobile Search, Virtual Tours, CMA, will see increased market opportunities. Here is the full press release

{ 1 comment }

Product Manager Position

by Marilyn Wilson on August 5, 2011

WAV Group has been commissioned by LPS Real Estate Group to hire a Product Management position located in Orange County, California for their rDesk platform. The ideal candidate for this position will be an enthusiastic individual that possesses that rare but valuable mixture of intellectual curiosity, business acumen, marketing savvy, technical proficiencies, strong communication skills, and attention to detail.  They will be able to drive a team to rally around a vision of a platform that uniquely meets the needs of real estate consumers and real estate practitioners better than its competitors.


Building Member Value with IDX and Websites

by Victor Lund on August 4, 2011

Across America, WAV Group has recognized that MLSs and Associations have been working with MLS vendors and IDX vendors to develop property search solutions for their members. These solutions are offered in one of three ways: Free, Freemium, and Premium. What follows is a basic description of how these programs are comprised along with a shortlist of MLSs and their partners.   Free: In some Associations or MLSs, the IDX solution is offered as a complimentary (free) product for agents and brokers. This is unconfirmed, but we think that Rapattoni may have the most subscribers to the free solution. Rapattoni has offered a property solution that may be framed into an agent or broker website for a long time – and is often a standard component. LPS offers a similar offering, so does CoreLogic Marketlinx, FBS and others.


KIRKLAND, WA — (MARKET WIRE) — 08/03/11 — Market Leader (NASDAQ: LEDR) (, a leader in online marketing and technology solutions for real estate professionals, today launched Market Insider, a comprehensive, powerful and innovative set of tools to brand agents as the neighborhood expert, keep prospects coming back to their website, and drive greater loyalty and sales from customers and referrals. Market Insider engages home buyers and sellers with customized, up-to-date reports of home sales, trends, demographics and side-by-side statistics on their favorite neighborhoods. This detailed, local market data is available for consumers to browse on the agent’s website, and can also be sent via monthly e-newsletters. Market Insider is fully integrated into the Market Leader software platform.


William Raveis

Last Thursday afternoon was a surreal moment for William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance.   The company was announced as the “Most Innovative Brokerage or Franchise” at Inman News’ 2011 Innovator Awards, held in the beautiful Hilton San Francisco. Inman’s Annual Innovator Awards recognize exceptional national achievements in real estate technology and marketing.  To give a simple analogy: winning an Innovator Award is akin to winning an Oscar at the Academy Awards.  Every year, the real estate glitterati, from world renowned brokerages to Silicon Valley startups-gone-mainstream, gather in San Francisco and New York to talk about what they see in the industry’s future.


Russ Bergeron honored as Industry Leader

by Victor Lund on August 2, 2011

Russ Bergeron

Today’s RE Technology Follow the Leader Series profiles Russ Bergeron. According to RE Technology, Bergeron, CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC (MRED) deserves recognition for his leadership on every level, but we’re going to be a bit more specific for this article. We’ll be focusing on his implementation of MRED’s “public service apps,” creating a new way to bring leading-edge technology and support to his customers. MRED Public Service Apps Mr. Bergeron proves that a great leader never rests on his laurels, no matter how successful his company may be. MRED is one of the largest MLSs in the country. There’s power in their numbers, but Mr. Bergeron has not become complacent; he never stops striving to increase MRED’s value to customers and to improve the real estate industry as a whole.


Page 1 of 212