Keys to Technology Adoption in 2011 Anybody that understands our industry knows the average broker and agent hate to change the way they do things. The idea of change creates questions and insecurity. We all get comfortable with our old familiar ways. The idea of having to learn something new, like a new technology, is not very attractive. “If it ain’t broke why fix it”, as the saying goes. But what if it is broke? Or, what if there are just really much better ways to do things or technologies that really do improve our business? How do we get people to use them and when does real adoption take place? Download white paper
I had an email question come in from with Kevin McQueen of Focus Forward Consulting this morning. Kevin asked “If Move, Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo, and Homes a couple of others each pick-up about 5% of the unique visitors to RE sites, who makes up the other 80%?” The presumptive answer might be Agent, Broker and MLS websites, right? Unfortunately, presumptions lead to bad decisions and strategies in business today. In this case, the presumptive answer is very far from the truth. WAV Group WIN Reports uses Experian Hitwise to measure web traffic to real estate websites – all real estate websites with more than 500 visits a month. If you are only getting 16 visits a day to your website, you are really not being counted as “player” in online real estate search, although in aggregate the cumulative data may be significant. In truth, this group may be a groundswell source of traffic, but the tools we use cannot effectively measure them. The answer to McQueen’s question is twofold. The top 5 websites in real estate make up 29% of all traffic to real estate websites. But digging deeper, we find some more interesting data points – 70% of consumer traffic is on non-agent and broker websites. Here is some more data.
Missed our webinar? Slides are now available. WAV Group recently hosted a webinar on the topic of the “Shift in Real Estate Technology” . Hosted by Victor Lund co-founder of the WAV Group, three panelists, Mike Audet, co-founder of the WAV Group, Harper Thorpe, VP of broker services for CoreLogic and Alan Scearce, COO and Executive Vice President of Prudential California Realty shared their thoughts on the changes we are seeing in real estate technology and the implications it has for both vendors and real estate professionals.
WAV Group is proud to be a part of this year’s CMLS conference held on October 5th-7th in Tucson, Arizona. Partners, Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund will be presenting on the important topics facing the Real Estate industry. WAV Group is renowned for its ability to deliver unbiased and objective research and insights and has been credited with providing advisory services that have helped countless organizations re-invent themselves to create growth by delivering relevant products and exemplary customer service to their customers. Marilyn Wilson will be participating in two panels “The Crystal Ball of Governance” and “What consumers think does matter”. Marilyn Wilson brings world-class corporate experience to the real estate industry and to her MLS clients. She was formerly SVP of Product development, Strategic Planning and Marketing for Fisher-Price toys, one of the top ten brands in the world. She was also CEO of Surveyor Corporation, the leading provider of web camera software and the inventor of the MPEG video transmission standard, as well as the world’s first live video streaming over a smartphone. Marilyn prides herself on her ability to work with her clients to outline change strategies that marry vision with practical and achievable methods for achieving growth. She is the industry’s leading expert on real estate consumers and conducts studies for the National Association of REALTORS®, California Association of REALTORS® as well as Fortune 500 companies like BlackBerry, First American Title and many others.
WAV Group partner, Mike Audet published a widely acclaimed paper this year called the Shift in Real Estate Technology. The paper outlines the needs of large real estate brokers spanning multiple MLSs who are developing a single source solution that puts the brokerage back office solution in the center of the agents’ life. Like this year’s earlier WAV Group report on broker back office solutions, the task of aligning all of the company offices and agents using integrated solutions is no simple task. WAV Group partner Victor Lund will be moderating a free online webinar in which WAV Group partner Mike Audet will be outlining the key concepts of the publications. Feedback on the reports will be provided from the perspective of a large enterprise broker and a large technology provider. Alan Scearce, COO of the Prudential California Realty business unit of Home Services of America, will be the broker panelist. CoreLogic Vice President of Broker Solutions, Harper Thorpe will be the technology company panelist. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 12:30 Eastern, 9:30 PST.
When WAV Group was learning about Immobel’s multi-language IDX search strategy earlier this year, Janet Choynowski taught us a valuable lesson. Supporting multiple languages is less about making information legible and more about demonstrating your respect for a person’s culture and heritage. It had a profound impact on us. With this notion couched in our minds, we took note when My Florida Regional MLS announced the launch of CoreLogic Data Co-op to their members, and offered two training classes in Spanish. (http://www.mfrmls.com/member-benefits/mlxchange-benefits/data-co-op). WAV Group suspects that there are a number of MLSs across the country who have significant populations of Hispanic subscribers.
Press Release TRULIA NAMES JED KOLKO AS CHIEF ECONOMIST Leading Housing Expert to Translate Economic Trends, Real Estate Data and Public Policies, Enabling Trulia to Provide Even More Vital Insights to Homebuyers, Sellers and Renters SAN FRANCISCO, September 20, 2011 – Trulia today announced the appointment of Dr. Jed Kolko as chief economist. As the chief economist of Trulia, Jed will lead the company’s housing research and provide insight on market trends and public policy. He will also advise the development of Trulia Estimates and create new derivatives of Trulia’s data to help more consumers make smarter decisions about where they want to live.
Press Release MRIS Announces Industry Expert Joins Board of Directors Terrence M. McDermott Joins Leadership In Support of Growing Mission Rockville, MD – September 19, 2011 – David Howell, Chairman of the MRIS Board of Directors, announced today that Terrence M. (Terry) McDermott has joined the board effective immediately. Rockville, MD- based MRIS facilitates over $300 million in real estate listings and sales each day. As a board member, McDermott brings valuable experience gained during his executive tenures at the National Association of REALTORS®(NAR), The American Institute of Architects and Cahners Publishing Company.
The predominant buzz in real estate this week was focused on successful and unsuccessful buyouts. On the successful side of buyouts, a talented team of managing executives from LPS was able to complete a buyout of non-MLS products and form a new company called RED, an acronym for Real Estate Digital. In a more straightforward buyout, CoreLogic purchased MLS provider Tarasoft, rolling that system under their Marketlinx brand. On the unsuccessful side of buyouts, the Arizona State Association of REALTORS was unsuccessful in its bid to purchase the shares of ARMLS, its first leg in a course to develop a statewide MLS. Although it may be a stretch of the imagination, there is a synthesis among these transactions. We see that there are three ideological philosophies that are becoming more defined in real estate, each represented by one of these buyouts: The Broker/MLS-centric ideology; The MLS-centric ideaology; the State Association-Centric ideaology.
WAV Group wants to congratulate Corelogic for the successful purchase of Tarasoft. Although the official announcement has not been released, both companies are in the process of advising their clients of the transaction. Like most CoreLogic acquisitions, the independence of Tarasoft as an operating entity is likely to remain consistent with Tarasoft practices. Over time, CoreLogic will supply resources where necessary to grow, support and improve the already excellent relationships the company has with its clients. Tarasoft has significant market share in Canada, along with some of the largest MLSs in America – including CRMLS and MLS Listings in California along with MRIS in the Mid-Alantic states.
With great hopes, a terrific plan, and strong leadership – the Arizona State Association of REALTORS set forth to unite the independent Associations of REALTORS under a common MLS. The dream was unification – all of real estate under one state law, operating on one MLS data system with one set of rules. It was August 8th, 2011 that the confederates of the initiative first waived their bunting. Sadly, it was announced today that there will be no United MLS of Arizona. As it turns out, only 2 of the 4 shareholders of ARMLS agreed to sell their state in ARMLS to the State of Arizona. The South East Valley Regional Association of REALTORS (SEVRAR) opted not to participate in the sale. Here are the releases by both ARMLS and SEVRAR
It would seem that some MLSs were a bit concerned about the bifurcation of service being provided to RPR by LPS. According to the announcement, Real Estate Digital, or RED will be continuing to do what that group has always done in terms of data aggregation. Only now, RED will be a subcontractor to LPS. In a letter today, RPR CEO Dale Ross submitted the following: This e-mail is a courtesy message from RPR about the press release issued yesterday from Real Estate Digital (RED), announcing a management buy-out of select assets of LPS Real Estate Group and the formation of a new company. As you may be aware, RPR contracts data aggregation services for the RPR website from LPS. Under this new structure, RPR’s service will continue to be contracted through LPS, which will have an agreement with RED to fulfill LPS’s obligations to RPR. RPR does not have any direct relationship with the new company.
Transfers Products to Newly-Formed Real Estate Digital (RED), and Enters into a Joint Marketing Agreement with RED. In an effort to expand its commitment to and focus on the MLS market, LPS has merged its MLS business unit into LPS Applied Analytics and has sold a number of its real estate products to Real Estate Digital, LLC (RED), with whom LPS entered into a joint marketing agreement. This new alignment will enable LPS MLS Solutions to expand and streamline its current offerings to enhance MLS solutions and better serve our customers and their clients. “Our assimilation into LPS Applied Analytics is great news for our customers and their members,” said Rich Lull, SVP, LPS MLS Solutions. “First, we have opened up our MLS systems to rapidly deploy innovative technology and services for our MLS members, as demonstrated with the recent version 5 release of our Paragon MLS System. Second, there is no greater demand from MLS’s, their stakeholders, and their members than for insightful intelligence into the value and risks of a real estate transaction to ensure the agent is ‘relevant and valuable’, hence our excitement to leverage the data and analytic assets of LPS Applied Analytics. Lastly, MLS’s need to augment their membership-based revenue model with programs to generate non-dues revenue, for which we will leverage the Applied Analytics products, as well as the products provided through our agreement with RED and other industry-leading third parties,” said Lull.
WAV Group partner, Mike Audet published a widely acclaimed paper this year called the Shift in Real Estate Technology. The paper outlines the needs of large real estate brokers spanning multiple MLSs who are developing a single source solution that puts the brokerage back office solution in the center of the agents’ life. Like this year’s earlier WAV Group report on broker back office solutions, the task of aligning all of the company offices and agents using integrated solutions is no simple task. WAV Group partner Victor Lund will be moderating a free online webinar in which WAV Group partner Mike Audet will be outlining the key concepts of the publications. Feedback on the reports will be provided from the perspective of a large enterprise broker and a large technology provider. Alan Scearce, COO of the Prudential California Realty business unit of Home Services of America, will be the broker panelist. CoreLogic Vice President of Broker Solutions, Harper Thorpe will be the technology company panelist. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 12:30 Eastern, 9:30 PST. To register and access webinar instructions, please click here. Only the first 500 who register may join the webinar.
In real estate technology this week, there were two announcements that caught our attention regarding Automated Valuations (AVM). Trulia launched Trulia Estimates, their version of property valuations for consumers that competes with public website rival, Zillow and Zestimates. Along the same lines, CoreLogic announced this week that they have licensed more than 1 million active property listings from MLSs through their Partner InfoNet program (PIN) powering their institutional AVM products. CoreLogic is in a race with NAR’s initiative called Realtors Property Resource or RPR. Lender Processing Service (LPS) licenses active listing data from RPR to power their commercial AVM product. Stepping back for a moment, to the naked eye it looks to me like both Zillow and Trulia have more active listing data powering their AVMs than the institutional products offered by RPR (LPS Partner) or CoreLogic. Trulia and Zillow each claim a number somewhere around 3 or 4 Million active listings. I know that there is a third party rating system that measures the accuracy of AVMs that both LPS and Corelogic subscribe to. Not sure if Zillow does, and it is too early in the game for Trulia, who is only in beta in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the long run, one wonders why Trulia and Zillow are not selling their AVM to the institutional markets like LPS or CoreLogic (or perhaps they are planning to and we don’t know it). One barrier is the ongoing litigation of CoreLogic vs. everyone with an AVM that may infringe on their patents.
Leading real estate technology media site, RE Technology, has partnered with VScreen to create agent training videos from top industry trainers. Arroyo Grande, CA (September 2011) – As a leading technology resource for the real estate industry, no one understands the value of video for websites better than the team at RE Technology. The company has partnered with VScreen, a leader in real estate training video creation and distribution, to improve their website’s home page: www.RETechnology.com. “We’ve published many articles about video on our website,” says Victor Lund, CEO of RE Technology, Inc. “We figured it was time to ‘walk the walk’ ourselves. And, when choosing a partner for our video, VScreen was a perfect fit.”
CBS News published an article on Sunday talking about jobs growth in America. For the first time since 1945, the jobs report from the Labor Department reported that the net change in the number of jobs created was exactly…. zero. Given our population increases, this represents a serious problem for our nation’s economy. Like all industries, real estate needs a growth plan. The CBS article pointed to General Motors, a bankrupt company that is part of a bankrupt industry of manufacturing here in America. The automobile industry in America was once the crown of our manufacturing empire, fulfilling the aspirations of every family seeking personal transportation. GM had to make some radical changes in their effort to survive – radical changes that included a complete retraining of the workforce and the support of the United Automobile Workers union – its labor force. GM worked with the UAW to negotiate lower wages for workers along with cross training. GM believes that these developments represent renewed opportunities for long-term revitalization of our labor force. The real estate industry needs this kind of thinking to grow jobs too. The article pointed to two additional trends – trends that made me consider today’s MLS, Association and brokerage labor force. Although real estate is different from General Motors and the rest of Corporate America – we seem to act like them from time to time – we are an old industry that is challenged to embrace change, especially from its labor force. I believe that there is one central issue that retards the real estate industry from finding significant improvement – a lack of accountability for quality service. Agents are independent contractors. This means that agents must hold themselves accountable for quality. It is unrealistic to think that real estate can reinvent itself to become an industry where agents are employees of the broker. Short of that, the industry needs to approach the problem of accountability and quality service using a different tactic.