I had the pleasure of speaking at the Broker Summit put on by the Michigan Association of REALTORSâ this week in Detroit, Michigan. The topic I was asked to speak on was the “Future of Real Estate”, just a small topic right? But this was really a fun topic because it gave me an opportunity to talk about some significant changes I have witnessed over the years impacting our industry, like the change in the broker/agent relationship, changes in technology and the changing role of the consumer and what these changes mean for our future. In this post I don’t want to repeat my talk but I do want to touch on one of the topics I addressed, the whole notion of change. I asked the audience the following question:
Denver, CO – Metrolist® announced that Kirby Slunaker has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective March 13, 2012. “In Kirby, we have chosen a seasoned business leader to continue our transition as a high quality service-oriented organization serving Colorado Realtors®,” stated James T. Wanzeck, Metrolist Board Chairman. “Kirby has deep experience in transforming and leading top companies, such as VISA USA, eBags, FedEx, MDC Holdings, and, most recently, Pendum LLC. With an executive of this caliber, we’re extremely well positioned to take the company to a new level.” Slunaker was chosen as interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) in November 2011, and was integral in establishing a strategic partnership between Metrolist and Hillside Software, a Denver market leader in real estate software. Under Slunaker’s leadership, Metrolist re-launched its public website, www.recolorado.com, providing the most comprehensive and accurate home search website for the greater Denver market. As a strong proponent of “Green housing” initiatives, Slunaker also lead the effort to join Colorado state’s initiative to “green the MLS”, spearheaded by the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO). Launched in early March, energy/green features are now included in the MLS along with the state recommended Green Features Addendum (GFA). “Kirby’s accomplishments as the interim COO made him the clear choice as President and CEO,” said Wanzeck. “We’re confident in his ability to fully execute our long-term strategies.” Slunaker is a former Chairman of and currently serves on, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for the Colorado Technology Association (formerly CSIA), Colorado’s premier technology trade association. About Metrolist Metrolist is the largest MLS in the state of Colorado, supporting the largest network of Realtors with the most comprehensive database of real property listings throughout the Front Range. Realtor owned since 1984, Metrolist provides leading technology solutions to real estate agents and brokers to better serve buyers and sellers. More information about Metrolist is available at www.metrolist.com.
RE Technology is now providing communication support to more than 70 MLSs. The site allows the MLS and Association to deliver engaging technology learning for their members. If you have not considered offering RE Technology in your market, give us a call or lets schedule a meeting at Mid-Year. It is easy to launch and is completely free. If you do not already have an account, we would be happy to create a complimentary account for you. Just email email@example.com TOP 5 AGENT & BROKER ARTICLES OF THE WEEK! RE Technology wants to supports our MLS partners by highlighting articles that peeked the most amount of agent and broker readership. The goal of this effort is to provide content for MLSs to re-purpose to their members. Feel free to use these articles in any of your communication programs – Newsletters Facebook pages Blogs Twitter Webpages OR any other communications vehicle you may drive Please provide a link back to retechnology.com if you publish to the web! Here are the top 5 Agent and Broker articles for the week! 13 Helpful iPhone Apps for Agents 2 Ways a CMA Can Generate Leads A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Expanding Your Real Estate Leads 15 Quick Fixes for Your Website Copy
The attached article from Anastasia Wilcott, a frustrated real estate consumer, points out the pain that is created when listings are published without any photos. I read the attached article on RETechnolgy this week and it inspired me to talk about a big issue that could be remedied very simply: lag time in listing photos. Every MLS has their own rules about requirements for posting photos. Some require a photo within 24 hours, some are as long as 7 days after the listing is live. The current rules harken back to a time when a photographer was needed to take the shot, develop the film and print the image. But now, in a world of digital imaging at the click of a button on most phones, there is no need for this rule. When listings are pushed to IDX feeds and listing syndication channels in as quickly as 15 minutes after a listing goes live, the disconnect between publishing time and photo posting requirements are creating a big mess. Consumers and the websites that they are using to search for property listings, are suffering for it. The fix is simple: change the rule and enforce it. Make it a requirement that agents and brokers upload at least one photo of the property while adding the listing to the MLS system, and you immediately eliminate the problems that Anastasia and countless other consumers are facing. There are many required fields when entering a listing, make “insert image” one of them and you kill two birds with one stone: one, you automatically enhance the experience of consumers and two, you enliven the listing which will ultimately draw more attention from potential buyers. Read the attached article and see if you can be inspired to update your photo upload timing requirements…… Enjoy. There are two very large investments I need to make during my lifetime. The first, to find a man. Now I am not shallow by any means (well, maybe just a little), but when I was shopping for a man, I wanted to find someone with a good sense of humor who was easy on the eyes. Okay, I admit, I wanted to find someone smoking hot, it’s true. And lucky for me, I found him. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being picky, after all, I would be spending the rest of my life with the guy (and we all know […]
WAV Group partner Victor Lund interviewed CoreLogic® executive Seain Conover to learn his view of the MLS software business. Mr. Conover founded, and along with his dedicated partner, built up an MLS software development company called Tarasoft®. Last year, Tarasoft® was acquired by CoreLogic®. MatrixTM, Tarasoft’s flagship MLS platform brand continues to be offered globally. Why did you sell Tarasoft® to CoreLogic®? It is always fun to get the conversation started with a challenging question. If you know Seain, you know that he is a fairly reserved person with a kind heart, great work ethic and a big smile. He has never been one for bravado or self-aggrandizement. As the story goes, Tarasoft® had a long standing relationship with First American/CoreLogic®. There were many MLS installations where Tarasoft® would provide the core MLS system, and CoreLogic® would provide other data like Tax data, Flood Data, Census data, Plat Map data, AVM, etc. Even as competitors on the base MLS system, they were collaborators in delivering a complete solution to the client. Given this positive working history and given an increasing complexity in the MLS software industry as a whole, Conover believed that only under the CoreLogic® brand, could MatrixTM grow and evolve gracefully, towards that “next level.” How does Matrix fit in with other systems at CoreLogic®? Today, CoreLogic® provides three go-forward/primary MLS systems: Fusion, Matrix and InnoVia, along with both MLXchange and Tempo. Conover points out that each of those systems are very good at meeting the needs of the clients that use them. For CoreLogic®, having five MLS systems is like having five children; you love them all and want them all to be successful. Each system has its own unique character, its own friends and its own challenges. In the case for MatrixTM, there was great geographic synergy with CoreLogic®. MatrixTM has a significant presence in the Mid-Atlantic, West Coast, Northwest, Canada and the Heartland by way of 21 installations in mostly large MLS markets. CoreLogic® has a strong presence most everywhere else, with 153 installations for large, medium, and small customers alike. “We felt there was a very great fit,” says Conover. What role will mobile applications play in the future of MLS? In speaking of MatrixTM, at its core is support for all browsers, including Safari for Mac. As iOS devices grew in adoption, the system accommodated those screens and browsers too. “The trajectory of […]
DiscoverMLS, the company in large part responsible for driving significant innovation in the MLS industry, and iMapp, the company that pioneered the concept of advertising inside the MLS system, are at it again. The two companies have paired up and have announced a new initiative that creates an alternative to the traditional model of purchasing an MLS system separate from a Tax system. Whenever we at WAV Group conduct agent and broker research we hear pleas for better ways for MLSs to integrate all of their core tools to make them easier to work with. This initiative answers one of the key requests – a new way to access MLS and Public records information in one system. The two companies have created a fully-featured and integrated MLS/Tax Mapping system. Consumer-Facing Tool Suite Discover/iMapp provides agents with an alternative front-end to the MLS and tax data and offers features including a secure CRM system, social connectors to Facebook and Twitter, seamless integration with Cloud CMA and a real-time client portal for instant communication between agents and their clients, in essence, making the product more of a one stop shop for marketing properties to clients. Interestingly, Discover/iMapp can also be licensed as the primary Multiple Listing Service software with the inclusion of the powerful Listing Add/Edit module. In this model, there will be no need to purchase a MLS system separate from a tax system anymore. Addressing Mobile In every survey we have fielded for MLSs in the past six months there are emphatic pleas from agents and brokers to deliver better ways to leverage the power of mobile devices. This partnership is designed to address that need. In an earlier post we talked about how MLSs are not catching up quickly enough to the ever-increasing demand for iPad/Tablet and smartphone applications. The new product detects the agent’s device and streams the best user interface available. iOS and other mobile devices receive an optimized HTML5 interface while PC and Mac users may choose a more immersive, Flash front-end and use any browser including Chrome, Safari, Firefox or even Internet Explorer 9. Shattering the MLS Business Model MLS software has historically been the most expensive tool purchased by an Association or MLS. The new partnership claims that the combined product will create a new more affordable alternative for MLSs to consider. This may be a great way for smaller MLSs to cut costs and for […]
I caught this article this morning on the Property Portal Blog. MRIS provides this inspiration to other MLSs around the nation. If there was ever a cause that the MLS and Associations of REALTORS should support – it has got to be helping the homeless. Print this article and bring it to your next board of directors meeting. Get approval to help out your local homeless shelter. Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), one of the largest MLS portals in the US serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area including Maryland, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, has announced that it has entered into a title sponsorship agreement for the inaugural Run For Shelter 10K race, due to take place on April 28, 2012, in Alexandria, Virginia. The sponsorship is on behalf of MRIS Cares, the charitable arm of Rockville, MD-based MRIS. By sponsoring Run for Shelter 10K, MRIS is contributing support to Carpenter’s Shelter, Northern Virginia’s largest homeless shelter in an effort to raise money and awareness for the nearly 12,000 homeless people in the DC Metropolitan area. “MRIS is dedicated to supporting the efforts of local real estate professionals, and we know that there is no substitute for the security and happiness provided by a place to call home,” noted MRIS CEO David Charron. “This is an extraordinarily important event and we are pleased to provide support and resources to this fine organization.” “Carpenter’s Shelter is thankful for the support of MRIS for the inaugural Run for Shelter 10K,” says Lissette Bishins, Carpenter’s Shelter Executive Director. “MRIS’s commitment to the shelter speaks volumes to their efforts to support housing in our community.” MRIS Cares proactively seeks local, national, and international charitable opportunities for consideration by the MRIS Charitable Contributions Committee (MRIS CCC), throughout the calendar year and in times of disaster. MRIS CCC began contributing to Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts, but officially formed in response to the earthquake disaster in Haiti in 2010, and they have helped in the Japan Disaster Relief. Currently, MRIS Cares team is actively investigating how they can help the southern region of the United States in the wake of the recent devastating tornados and flooding that have effected thousands.
Century 21 is cool. And that is a new thing for a 40-year-old real estate brand. I purchased my primary home from a Century 21 agent because of the agent, not because of the brand. However, in the past few years, Century 21 started looking cool. Being a cynic and a skeptic, I did not really believe that they were cool. Sotheby’s is luxury, Coldwell Banker is business, BH&G is lifestyle, ERA is old school, and Century 21 is Middle America. None of those brands are cool. That changed for me today. WAV Group works with lots of brokers. They are mostly very large brokers and often independent than franchise. We do not have any franchise or non-franchise beliefs. Either way, if you are a broker – you need to make your business strategy work and that’s what we help with. A franchise is immaterial, but if you have one, we will help you leverage it. About 6 years ago, WAV Group began to consult with an 80-agent company called Century 21 Hometown Realty. The company became a Century 21 franchise in 1978, 7 years after Century 21 got started in Orange County, California. The ownership is local and they are our personal friends. In spite of the chaos of our industry, Century 21 Hometown Realty now has 350 agents and continues to grow. WAV Group is not responsible for the growth, but we are on the team and that is exciting. I am not sure if we learned more from them or if they learned from us. Either way, it’s working out. Success is like a gift horse. All brokers think about franchising. Some brokers hate franchises, some brokers grow large enough to become franchisors, other brokers love franchises. There is a colorful and healthy array of belief. Today, I saw the good and healthy side of the Century 21 franchise, and for that I am grateful. They are not slackers. Since joining the company in February of 2010, Rick Davidson has only been in the office about 100 days. The balance of his days was spent traveling the world, meeting the Century 21 owners and agents everywhere. He is doing the hard work of leadership, which is building trust relationships with his flock – 180,000 strong – one at a time. If you believe that great businesses are operated by leaders who know their company – then Davidson […]
Every time we conduct a survey with agents they tell us how little they know about the number of leads or listing exposure they are receiving from their MLS Consumer Websites. Some agents know the sites exist-some don’t even know that much. It is pretty much universal that agents are not getting regular reports telling them how valuable their MLS consumer website is to their business. When asked how interested they would be in getting a lead generation report from their MLS, there is pretty much unanimous interest in receiving this valuable information. In the most recent Member Customer Satisfaction Survey we just conducted for an MLS it reminded me of an important issue that has STILL not been addressed by most MLSs around the country. The most important way for MLS subscribers to appreciate the business value of the listing exposure and leads being generated by MLS consumer websites is to share those results on a regular basis. As this article goes to press I know of just a handful of MLSs that regularly push the results being generated by their site to their customers. In a down market every assumption goes up for grabs. We hear these questions being posed by agents regularly… ”Do we really need to be a REALTOR®? What do I get out of it?” “What does my MLS really do for me anyway? Couldn’t I get those services from someone else for less money?” “The MLS doesn’t really care about me – they do nothing to help me grow my business.” These types of sentiments are very dangerous for MLSs. When a viable alternative enters the market, at least a portion of the membership could defect and move to the new offering. With another hit to their membership numbers, some MLSs simply won’t be able to make it. They’re already dipping into reserves with their current membership levels. It’s really important to take these complaints seriously and think about ways to overtly demonstrate that the MLS is a partner to their subscribers. What could be more valuable than exposure for their listings and inquiries to learn more about their properties? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I just don’t understand why it is taking so long for every MLS to offer a report similar to the STAR report(Strategic Traffic Activity Report) offered by the Houston Association of REALTORS®. The report, delivered […]
This year, the most exciting and fulfilling conference will again be the CMLS by the Council of MLS. It is a conference like no other, dedicated fully to excellence in providing Multiple Listing Services to real estate professionals. This year, the CMLS conference will be in one of America’s greatest cities – Boston! Our hostess for the event will be Kathy Condon and her team at MLS Property Information Network or MLSPIN. Men have hosted the conference the past couple of years and done a respectable job, but we all know that women rock in organizational skills. Thanks to Kathy, this year will be outstanding! (Trivia – who was the last female MLS executive to host CMLS and where is she now?) Here are a couple of details Conference Dates: September 26th-28 Location: Sheraton Boston Hotel Discount Registration Cut Off: $495 before June 15th, $695 after June 15th – book early. This conference will sell out as it always does – so whip out that credit card and reserve your spot today. I am not kidding. Sponsorship: Because of the venue, there are fewer booths this year. If you are a CMLS member, you get first crack at sponsorship opportunities. Exhibitors from last year get first right of refusal, followed by new sponsors. If you are a vendor, I suggest that you contact Melissa Lindberg at MLS PIN today – firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 508-845-1011 x7121. Like registration, the sponsorships sell out quickly. If this is part of your marketing plan for 2012 – you better contact Melissa Lindberg today. She will not be able to accommodate you once it sells out – no matter who you are or how hard she tries. Space is limited. Note: There is about a 15% discount for sponsors who reserve and pay early – get on that. Sponsorships range from $3100 to $15,000. LPS MLS Group has already committed to the Title Sponsorship with a contribution of $20,700 (Thanks LPS!). Here is a hint. Final hint: If you want to assure yourself a ticket to the conference or a sponsorship spot – you may want to start by joining CMLS ($300) today, or renewing your membership if you have not done that already.
The real estate industry is going through a number of significant “shifts” today that will change the way our industry operates in the future. These shifts are the result of natural pressures building up. The pressure occurs slowly over time but when it reaches a critical point change has to happen and we believe we are seeing this on a number of fronts in our industry today. Mike Audet, founding partner of WAV Group, will be the keynote speaker at the Michigan Association of REALTORS® “Broker Summit” event being held in Detroit, Michigan on April 25th. Mike will talk about these key shifts that are occurring in our industry that will shape our businesses dramatically in the coming years as well as key threats and opportunities we face looking forward. The full day Broker Summit event offers member brokers a chance to hear industry speakers, attend general knowledge sessions and take part in a variety of networking events to help energize their businesses. Mike’s talk on the “Future of the Industry” will explore the changes in the Broker/Agent relationship and how this is causing a shift in real estate technology and what Brokers need to deliver to be competitive. Mike will also discuss the consumer’s role in real estate today and their changing role in the buy/sell relationship. Technology has changed the rules for consumers and REALTORS® and brokers and agents need to understand what this means for their business. Finally, Mike will talk about the world of syndication, 3rd party portals and other risks we face in our industry as well as opportunities we have to make the role of the REALTOR® stronger than ever in the real estate transaction. If your organization or company would like more information on WAV Group services or would like to invite us to speak at your industry or company events please contact us at 716-839-4628, or email us at email@example.com.
If you have been to a real estate conference in the past three years, you may have heard a session about mobile technology. Those strange phones that every person in America carries with them everywhere they go is also a computer. Only a few hundred million people know this secret today. MOBILE IS A CORE MLS SERVICE Sorry for shouting and pardon my sarcasm. Today’s MLS providers are failing to support agents (and consumers) with a mobile solution. This is not an opinion. It is a fact. We have surveyed agents everywhere in America, and at best, MLSs get a D in mobile. Most get an F. We have not encountered a single real estate agent in America who is a raving fan of the mobile solution provided by their MLS as a core service. (note: an iPad is a mobile device) Here is a lighthearted bit of fiction.
I had a fascinating conversation with a friend of mine who was describing her hellacious experience purchasing and ultimately foreclosing on a home. Since we, at WAV Group, solidly believe that we do not listen to consumers enough, I thought it would be fun to share her story, word for word, uncut, to help all of us understand what, at least one consumer, is thinking these days. Sobering words….I hope it inspires every one who reads this to think about ways we can “make it up” to those consumers that we let down… Enjoy….. I don’t know a lot about real estate, per se, and my only experience with it all was when my husband and I bought a house with a partner at the very glossy apex of the housing bubble in 2006. Marilyn Wilson asked me to share my perspectives on my home ownership experience so here goes….. We had been coerced by a broker we knew to buy a house by convincing us that our sub-prime loan would easily be refinanced two years later, maybe even at a profit. Being young and dumb with no real sense of how the housing market worked and drunk on the hope of actually living a life that resembled our parents (step one get married, step two buy house, step three have babies), we went into the deal with our eyes wide shut. We told the broker we could only pay $4,000 per month in mortgage between the three of us, and he assured us that he had made that happen. When we got to the title company to sign our escrow papers, we noticed the mortgage on the paperwork was $4,450 per month. We should have walked away then, but we didn’t, and the surprises didn’t stop there. Two years later we tried to refinance, as our broker and agent had told us to do (“no problem, housing prices are only going up!”). We went to bank after bank, and the answer was the same: the home we bought at $556,000 in 2006 now had the estimated value of $476,000. This drop happened over a period of nine months, and as each moment ticked away, that number grew smaller and smaller.
As you may know, RE Technology is built on an open source content management solution called Joomla. Joomla competes with WordPress and Drupal in this category. Choosing a platform is never an easy task and I am sure that a debate among strong willed patriots from each of the open source camps would end in a draw. You can pick any one of them and have great success. Today, RE Technology has been averaging about 1.7 Million visits a month and we have not had any down time! That is awesome performance, especially contrasted against this site, which is built on WordPress and has an incident of some type every month with fewer than 300,000 visits a month. Joomla powers about 3% of the internet today. It has some pretty interesting companies that have chosen it as their platform. Johnson & Johnson is the biggest company to use it. Cambridge University uses it. If Linux operating systems represents the soul of open source software, then it is an honor to have Joomla chosen as the foundation of Linux.com – the voice of Linux. Recently, the Guggenheim Art Museum website was featured in an Apple Ad – and it caught my eye! It may have been random, but it was great that Apple picked a Joomla site to be featured in the release for the iPad 4G lte. Goggenheim won the award for the best non-profit website in the Joomla awards last year.
We know you’ve been to your share of boring real estate conferences, filled with lackluster speakers tackling the same topics you’ve heard a dozen times before. Breakout sessions, if available, offer the same-old, same-old. That’s not what AFIRE is all about. We’re just 9 weeks from the opening of our AFIRE conference, Courageous Leadership, in Scottsdale, Arizona…and we can’t wait! As a member of the AFIRE Advisory Board, I can’t wait to share all of the exciting news about this year’s event! AFIRE is a dynamic event created by women who are leaders in our industry. It’s been created for you – the amazing, awesome women who are passionate about real estate and the roles they play as a leaders. One of the things about AFIRE is the amazing roster of guests who have agreed to be speakers—these women definitely have the best and brightest minds in our industry. Marilyn Wilson, a featured speaker at AFIRE, and one of the WAV Group partners, is proud to have attended every AFIRE event to date. Marilyn Wilson says “I LOVE the topic for this year’s event – Courageous Leadership. We are living in a very important time right now. We are holding the fate of the real estate industry in our hands and frankly, I don’t think we’re doing as good a job with it as we could. We need to find better ways to satisfy the needs of today’s homebuyers and sellers while finding better ways to improve the profitability of our organizations. At the same time, we need to find ways to stay relevant and important to agents as well. It’s not an easy task, but it’s critical that we start making some fundamental changes to our thinking and most importantly, our actions.” This conference is intended to help stir up the leadership skills and abilities to lead our industry and our organizations to the next level of success. Attendees will come away with tangible new ways to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses, and most importantly, learn some new tools to demonstrate courageous leadership. At last year’s AFIRE, Marilyn, with Denise Lones and Ann Chiasson, did a fantastic panel called “Lay Down Our Swords.” Sherry Chris, the CEO of Better Homes and Gardens, said it was the best panel she had ever seen. This year, Denise, Ann, and Marilyn will be tackling the subject of courageous leadership […]