May 2012

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Former Point2 executive brings extensive industry experience to help guide ListedBy’s direction and growth NAPA, Calif. – May 31, 2012 – ListedBy (www.ListedBy.com), the real estate industry’s first free online marketplace and social network with integrated live bidding and auction functionality, today announced the appointment of Roger Noujeim as vice president of marketing, to lead the company’s global marketing and branding strategy. As member of the executive team, Noujeim will play a key role in guiding ListedBy’s direction and growth, with a focus on accelerating market penetration and adoption. “We are ecstatic to have someone of Roger’s caliber join our growing team at ListedBy.com. In the short time that we have worked together, Roger has added unparalleled value and I see him as a true visionary as it relates to what we are trying to achieve with ListedBy becoming the future of the real estate industry,” said Stephan Piscano, founder and CEO of ListedBy. “Enabling real estate e-commerce in a free, fully transparent environment is a high potential opportunity. I am excited to join ListedBy and to be involved with its revolutionary ideas and business model,” said Noujeim. “The real estate profession can now harness the full power of the Internet to accelerate sales and to further service quality and value.” Most recently with Yardi Systems’ real estate marketing solutions division, Point2, Noujeim has nearly 25 years of experience in strategic communications, advertising, research, public relations and marketing. These include seven years in the online real estate marketing and e-commerce solutions segment. Noujeim’s career encompasses principal roles in the launch and market leadership of several national and multinational consumer product brands, as well as building the West Bay Semiconductor (acquired by Intel) and Point2 (purchased by Yardi Systems) brand names into market prominence. Noujeim’s professional track also includes key positions with Leo Burnett advertising where he worked exclusively on Procter & Gamble brands, Ernst & Young, and National Public Relations, Canada’s largest PR firm where he provided counsel to client organizations primarily in the technology sector. Supporting Resources Twitter: www.twitter.com/listedbyyou Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/listedby About ListedBy ListedBy (www.ListedBy.com) is the first free online real estate marketplace and social network with integrated live bidding and auction functionality. Buyers, sellers, real estate professionals and service providers join ListedBy to network, build their social profile and to list, research, buy and sell Multiple Listing Service (MLS), For Sale By Owner (FSBO), pre-foreclosure and Real Estate […]

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Trulia Launches Mobile Agent App on Adroid Phones

by Marilyn Wilson on May 30, 2012

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Trulia and other online portals understand mobile very well. They clearly recognize that mobile will be the primary user experience of both consumers and agents today, and evermore in the future. In this latest announcment, Trulia provides a mobile solution aimed at engaging the mobile agent and connecting them with consumers in the best possible way. This is a great strategy; but it begs many questions. Where is the broker mobile strategy? Most brokers and franchises depend on telephone and email for connecting agents with inquiring consumers. It works, but mobile apps work better. I would expect to see franchises and brokers follow Trulia’s lead. Will every portal offer its own app? I envision an environment today whereby agents will need to have apps for all kinds of online websites – franchise sites, broker sites, and every third party sites. This fragmentation may well undermine the overall effectiveness of this strategy as agents wrangle with these disparate solutions. Check in at open houses.  This is a pretty cool feature. It shows which agents are spending the time learning the inventory. The impact of this feature remains to be seen, but it has interesting possibilities. Who owns the Lead? Trulia says that the agent keeps the contact and that is articulated in their terms of use-but the contact is “shared” for use on Trulia. I have always been concerned that these companies may be selling consumer lead information out the back door to other types of interested parties. It looks like Trulia is closing the door on this, which is good. Agents are slow to respond to online leads. Trulia is trying to address the problem. Here is a paper we wrote a few years ago that colors just how bad agent responsiveness is. It will be great for the consumer if Trulia solves the issue with this strategy, and agents will likely find higher conversion rates too. Here is a link to the paper – it is worth a read – or a re-read. TRULIA LAUNCHES MOBILE AGENT APP ON ANDROID PHONES – Press Release TO BOOST PRODUCTIVITY FOR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS Trulia is the first company to build agent-dedicated mobile apps that allow agents to respond rapidly to new leads and demonstrate local expertise with listing check-ins SAN FRANCISCO – May 30, 2012 – Trulia.com, a leading site for homebuyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals, today announced the availability of the […]

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Webinar: WAV Group Midyear Update

by Marilyn Wilson on May 25, 2012

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Looking for an easy way to provide your Board with an update on important industry trends and programs?  Don’t miss out on the big news that came out of the National Association of REALTORS® Midyear conference. The WAV Group team was on the spot in Washington, D.C., and they have prepared a webinar that shares all the must-know details, as well as analysis of the issues that are going to shape the future of your business and our industry. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. The cost is $149. In an information-packed hour, all of the WAV Group partners – Michael Audet Victor Lund, and Marilyn Wilson, will discuss the following: Economic update: Macroeconomic factors that may impact the real estate industry in 2013 NAR issues:  Get the latest on IDX rules changes and other MLS policy issues CMLS Update:  Learn all about CMLS’ new SourceMLS initiative Broker issues: Learn about the hot topics being discussed by large brokers Trends in listing syndication and how some leading brokers are adapting to increase the online marketing effectiveness Technology trends:  What’s hot for agents, brokers and MLSs Non-Dues Revenue:   How can you create a new source of income to offset membership losses MLS system trends: An overview of new changes occurring on all of today’s leading MLS system platforms Time has also been set-aside for a question-and-answer period. You will have ample opportunity to have your questions answered by industry experts. Take advantage this opportunity to absorb the key points of the NAR Midyear conference distilled into a single session! To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here.

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Edina Realty and Broker Syndication Choices

by Victor Lund on May 25, 2012

Edina Realty

The news of Edina Realty pulling their listing from Realtor.com have been rippling through the industry since announced. There are probably a small handful of brokers who have done the same, but that is about it. This became newsworthy because Edina Realty is a big broker – really big. Moreover, the parent company, Home Services of America is second only to NRT in terms of being the largest brokerage in America. NRT has about 750 offices and 250,000 sides. Home Services have about 300 offices and does about 125,000 sides. There is a lot at stake for syndication and online advertising if Edina realizes business growth as a result of their decision. Edina Realty is a smart company. This was not an emotional decision, but the result of intense and calculated strategic development. They have researched the opportunities and risks carefully and will measure impact to many facets of their business. The Home Seller Clearly, Edina Realty needs to not only promise great marketing on a seller’s property, but they must deliver. One measure of this will be Days on Market. Edina (and their competitors) will know if their marketing strategy lengthens or shortens days on market. The second measure will be List Price to Sales Price Ratio. Edina will measure the variation from their historic or competitive benchmarks for list to sale price. Edina agents use this information in their listing presentations today. The Real Estate Agent For agent recruiting and retention, Edina Realty will need to demonstrate and build confidence in their new marketing strategy. Their leadership has been to every office and explained the decision, arming agents with information that justifies the initiative. Today, Edina Realty agents support the decision. But that could change. Agents expect their brokerage to give them the best opportunity to be successful. In Edina’s case, there is instant street credibility to an agent who works for Edina. They have earned the respect of the customers they serve over decades of delivering satisfaction. The brand means something. But agents also expect tools for managing their business and marketing their services. Syndication is only a piece of that. Edina does a lot more and their agents know it. However, at the end of the day, the agents expect their brokerage to deliver leads. Today, Edina knows exactly how many leads they generate from every syndication channel. They also know exactly what happens when they […]

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Marketlinx launches Mobile with Search and Edit

by Victor Lund on May 24, 2012

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Somehow, we missed a memo. With very little fanfare or promotion, Marketlinx has launched their mobile solution and it claims to do most of the things that WAV Group claimed many MLS apps fell short on. We have had a lot of debates about MLS mobile applications. Some of us believe that it should be a fully featured MLS experience – allowing users to do any task on mobile that they could do on a desk top. Critics of this belief claim that adding a listing on mobile is absurd. I would concede that for now. But all pundits agree that the ability to edit a listing and access the client portal are basic requirements. Today, Marketlinx claims to have that functionality ready to roll. Here is an extensive overview from the Marketlinx website. Mobile Search and Edit from CoreLogic® allows members to access MLS listings on their web-enabled iPad™ tablets and smart phones that use the Windows® Mobile, Apple® iPhone®, Android™, Palm® and BlackBerry® operating systems. Members can use our wireless solution to edit their listings directly from a mobile handheld device. Changing a listing price or status, extending an expiration date, or scheduling an open house on the go has never been easier. Features: ► Automatic device detection that gives iPad® users a tablet-optimized interface and smartphone users a compact and smartphone-optimized interface ► Hotsheet ► Listing cart ► Integrated maps ► Edit your inventory (change price, withdraw listing, close listing, place pending contract, schedule open house, extend listing expiration date, etc.) ► Access client, agent and office data for important contact information ► View full color property photos ► E-mail listing reports to prospects and clients ► Mortgage calculator ► Open house quick view FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT YOUR CORELOGIC REPRESENTATIVE TODAY OR VISIT CORELOGIC.COM/MLS

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PRESS RELEASE:  HOUSTON (May 14, 2012) PropertyInfo Corporation®, a Stewart company, announced today the successful adoption by Heritage Texas Properties of the Electronic Transaction Solution (HAR-ETS), powered by SureClose, to go paperless.  Available only since January, Houston Association of REALTORS®’s HAR-ETS has already increased efficiencies for many of the organization’s 24,000 real estate professionals and their clients, and has enabled companies such as Heritage Texas Properties to remove paper from the closing process.  “Heritage Texas Properties is committed to providing our customers with the most efficient and economical solutions available, and HAR’s Electronic Transaction Solution powered by SureClose has enabled us to vastly increase our service levels quickly within the first few months,” said Bill Jones, senior vice president of Heritage Texas Properties. “The 24/7 access to our transaction files, and the convenience of accessing them through mobile devices, have resulted in improved efficiencies that enable us to better serve our customers.” After coming across this press release, WAV Group decided to look a little deeper into HAR-ETS, and  found  that agent and brokers love the efficiency and the mobile-friendly features the tool has to offer.  Many of HAR’s 24,000 real estate professionals have already adopted the technology to streamline the closing process paper-free.  And because HAR purchased the tool and offers it to its members as a benefit, even smaller brokerages, which may have been interested in going paper-free but could not afford the tool previously, now have access to it and use it to enhance the efficiency of their transactions. What makes the technology so valuable is not just that it reflects the current societal and environmental push for “green” technologies by eliminating the reliance on endless reams of paper whose fate it is to ultimately live out its life in over packed files destined for the shredder-but also the fact that via HAR-ETS, transaction documents can be viewed anytime, anyplace from your handheld device or tablet. Additionally, the tool is easily customized to fit the needs of each individual brokerage.  Information is managed by brokerage staff which frees agents up to do what they do best-sell houses.  It is no wonder that shortly after adoption of HAR-ETS, Heritage Texas Properties is expanding its use of the tool to include interacting with title companies, inspectors, and homebuyers and sellers. Greenwood King Properties, another HAR member Brokerage with three offices and 150 agents, and an early adopter of the technology, has already […]

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ListingSyndicationsmall

Edina, Minn. – May 22, 2012 –Edina Realty announced today that it will no longer send its property listings to Realtor.com. However, due to technical issues, the company advises that it could take 10 days or more for its entire listings database to disappear from Realtor.com. Last November, Edina Realty also made a strategic move to stop sending its real estate listings to Trulia.com, a non-broker-controlled real estate aggregator. Edina Realty is participating in a nationwide outcry against non-broker-controlled websites over concerns with data inaccuracy and consumer privacy. Another cause for concern is the fact that sales leads often go to the highest paying agent rather than the agent with the greatest property expertise or market knowledge. “Consumers are getting the short end of the stick on these sites because there’s no guarantee that the property data is accurate, and it’s difficult to tell who the listing broker is,” said Bob Peltier, president and CEO of Edina Realty Home Services. Peltier explained that non-broker syndicators and third party aggregators don’t have the same legal obligations as brokers, so they are not held to the same high standards of data accuracy and customer service. “Edinarealty.com has more listings and generates more traffic than any other broker-owned or non-broker owned site in our market,” said Peltier. Edina Realty belongs to more MLS boards than any other real estate firm in its markets, making it a complete resource for virtually all property listings in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Peltier added that real estate is a local business; most people move an average of only 12 miles* from their current residence. “Consumers need agents with expertise in their local areas, and we have the best agents and the most up-to-date and comprehensive information for our markets,” Peltier said. In addition to operating the area’s highest trafficked real estate website, Edina Realty also operates a customer service center that’s open seven days a week to field property inquiries and answer real estate-related questions. For more information on the housing market, to view homes for sale and property listings, or to find a REALTOR® who specializes in your community, visithttp://www.edinarealty.com or m.edinarealty.com from your mobile device. You can also download free apps from your iPhone or Android phone. *Source: National Association of Realtors Edina Realty, a subsidiary of HomeServices of America, is one of the nation’s largest real estate companies with approximately 60 real estate offices throughout […]

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NAR Honors David Charron as Top Industry Leader

by Victor Lund on May 22, 2012

David Charron

Charron is a 2012 Inductee to the National Association of REALTORS® Dr. Almon R. (Bud) Smith, AE Leadership Society  Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MRIS) today announced that its President and CEO David Charron has been named to the National Association of REALTORS® Dr. Almon R. (Bud) Smith, RCE, AE Leadership Society (Smith Society) – one of the real estate industry’s most coveted awards for excellence in industry and professional leadership. Charron, along with the other 2012 winners, will be awarded the honor today at the NAR Midyear Conference in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the Smith Society is to recognize those who excel in the association management profession by demonstrating uncommon leadership, a willingness to help others, and acceptance of a responsibility to constantly improve themselves. Every year, NAR receives nominations for leaders from across the United States and recipients of the 2012 AE Leadership Society were named by the Association Executives Committee Recommendations and Recognition Subcommittee. “All of us on the Committee felt that David was absolutely a perfect example of someone who epitomizes the meaning of the Smith Society,” said NAR’s Recommendations and Recognition Committee Chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS®, Diane Ruggiero. “David was an easy choice for us because of his progressive thinking and incredible contributions to the advancement of the industry and profession.” David Charron’s induction is a significant milestone since it’s the first time since 1998 that an MLS Executive has been named to the Smith Society. With this induction, Charron joins the likes of over 100 influential real estate leaders who make up the Smith Society. “Being inducted to the Smith Society is a true honor especially since the selection Committee is comprised of my fellow industry executives,” said Charron. “I know Bud Smith personally and he truly encompasses the leadership qualities I continue to aspire to.” As a national expert in residential real estate, executive leadership and industry collaboration, David Charron has been recognized by Inman News for the 6th consecutive year as one of the “Most Influential People in Real Estate.” In addition, he has earned recognition as one of the “Top Ten Newsmakers” by the Swanepoel Trends Report. He serves as Chairman of the MRIS Investment Committee, was a founding member of the COVE Group, served as a Board member of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, and was a member of the NAR MLS Policy Committee. […]

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DotLoop, a real estate technology company that assists agents, buyers and sellers through the transaction process, announced a new round of funding and the release of their Freemium version of their product. On the funding side, DotLoop announced a $7 million Series A round of financing from Trinity Ventures. The company will use the financing to accelerate sales and marketing, make strategic hires and open an office in San Francisco.  As part of the financing, Noel Fenton, general partner at Trinity Ventures, joins the DotLoop board.  “DotLoop has an opportunity to become an industry standard platform for conducting real estate transactions,” said Fenton. “DotLoop is going to automate what are today cumbersome manual processes that characterize residential real estate transactions.” DotLoop today also announced a new product, DotLoop-NOW, a free version of their  real estate transaction platform.  The Freemium version will supply a base level of service to participating MLSs at no charge with additional Premium services, such as the ability to brand the product to your company, for an additional fee. PRESS RELEASE:  SOURCE: DotLoop May 22, 2012 08:00 ET Real Estate Technology Company DotLoop Launches Free Version, DotLoop-NOW™ DotLoop-NOW Available to Individual Real Estate Agents, Consumers, and Organizations CINCINNATI, OH–(Marketwire – May 22, 2012) – DotLoop, the first Real Estate software company that eliminates paperwork, today launched DotLoop-NOW, a free version of their popular enterprise software. DotLoop-NOW gives individual agents and their clients the freedom to focus on closing deals, and not on faxing, printing, filing, sending or utilizing multiple tools, and is driving a revolution in the way deals get done. DotLoop also today announced a $7M Series A funding round from Trinity Ventures. DotLoop currently serves more than 200,000 agents in 700 cities in the US and Canada. DotLoop-NOW will allow for the rapid growth and expansion of the platform to every agent looking for a better way to manage real estate transactions and deliver a better consumer experience. DotLoop-NOW also benefits Enterprises currently on DotLoop’s PREMIUM product by increasing overall market penetration and individual agent adoption of this time-saving technology. The unique benefits of DotLoop-NOW include: Eliminate Paperwork: DotLoop’s proprietary Version-Now™ technology delivers a unique paperless solution by inviting people to the documents instead of passing around multiple versions. DotLoop is the only solution that ensures that everyone involved in the transaction is always working from the most recent set of documents. Complete Solution: DotLoop-NOW allows deals to be […]

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Are App Stores the Next Zillow or Trulia?

by Mike Audet on May 16, 2012

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I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the idea of App Stores in the real estate technology industry and it has raised a number of questions that I want to put out there to inspire a conversation with the industry. Let me say right up front that I am not neutral in this discussion, as I am one of the founders of RE Technology which has, as an option, the ability to create an eCommerce store which is different, but related to, an App store. My partner Victor did a great job of discussing the differences in his post titled: “Explaining an MLS App Store”. So, while I may not be unbiased in my perception of the the whole concept of an app store I welcome any and all feedback on the questions I am raising because the more I think about this approach the more concern I have on multiple levels. As Victor explained, the three typical components of an App Store are: A common platform (like the iPhone) Online delivery eCommerce enabled The process goes like this; a user sees something they like in the store, they click the button and presto, they are ready to install and use the technology product. This all sounds good at first blush. The App Store that is creating the buzz at present is the FBS “Spark Platform”.  Their website puts it this way: “The Spark Platform connects software developers with Multiple Listing Services to provide innovative tools for brokers, agents and their customers.” The idea behind Spark, as I understand it, is to allow vendors to develop to their API (Application Product Interface) in order to access the MLS data to use in their product. Ideally this would make it easier for vendors who now have to navigate many different interface requirements from MLS to MLS and endure the costs this brings with it. It also would help the MLS with the issue of not having to send their data out to work with vendors. Rather, the vendors would create products that work with the FBS (Spark) API to pull data as they need it. Users would come to a store, pick their software, purchase it, install it and the software would get loaded on the “Spark Bar” for easy use. Here’s where things get a little tricky in my mind. When the users pay for the software or service a percentage, let’s say 30% of the […]

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Mobile MLS

by Victor Lund on May 15, 2012

Mobile MLS

(This article ran previously in the WAV Group Newsletter released on Friday. We received feedback that despite our rant, some MLS iPad apps are quote good. If you would like to nominate an iPad app that is great, leave a comment below. It should, at a minimum, offer add/edit capabilities – adding photos would be a home run) Some MLS providers and Associations have heard just about enough excuses when it comes to mobile. Vendors have been dragging their feet on supporting full mobile MLS, and it is a real problem. Only one MLS vendor with more than a dozen customers has addressed this problem. There were two press releases that came out this week regarding Mobile MLS. They both announced mobile applications that allow agents to view MLS data on a mobile device like the iPad. Plenty of other companies have been providing this service for years, but they mostly miss the mark. For Mobile MLS to be a reality, the ability to perform all MLS activities from All Screens is key. Minimally, the application needs to allow the agent to add or edit a listing (photos too!). Ideally, the agent will be able to manage their client portal. I know for a fact that MLS vendors know this. It is not a mystery. In every MLS customer satisfaction WAV Group has completed over the past several months, agents are demanding more robust mobile solutions for smartphones and even more so, for iPads and Tablets. Mobile MLS needs to have full add/edit capabilities to be truly functional and valuable – mobile search is simply not enough. There is no excuse. This problem has existed long enough. Next week, there will be meetings in Washington DC where MLSs and their Vendors will have meetings talking about system improvements and new releases. Here is my suggestion: Tell the MLS vendor that you do not want to talk about anything other than their immediate plans and timeline for supporting full MLS functionality on the iPad and other mobile devices. Nothing else really matters to agents today. Insist that all product demos be on a Mac or iPad. Insist that demos use mobile 3G or 4G Internet access rather than Wi-Fi or a wired connection. Do your members and subscribers a favor. Fight for what they expect from you, and from your vendor. Teresa King Kinney, CEO of the Miami Association of REALTORS® was clear: “Our members demand the best tools available… to access the MLS on […]

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A Case of Concern Embedded Search and Display

by Victor Lund on May 14, 2012

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There is some degree of discussion about the notion that the IDX rules may be expanded to support Embedded Search and Display on websites or displays not under the apparent control of the broker. I believe that this is too risky, too hard to control, and beyond the bounds of IDX as currently discussed. New thinking is needed and proposed herein. The foundation of new thinking is that MLSs may approve certain websites for embeddable display as a matter of local rule. Embedded Search and Display Defined Many real estate technology thinkers have discussed the suggestion of Embedded Search and Display. An embedded search and display is a technology solution that puts an application in a container, like an iFrame. Matt Cohen of Clareity Consulting has described the notion of an embedded search and display as a solution to putting listings on sites like Facebook. Cohen proposes that a Broker or Agent may embed an IDX compliant solution under their actual control on a site not under the Displaying Broker’s apparent control. Cohen suggests that this method is prudent to address the interest our industry recognizes for publishing listings on social media sites, like Facebook. Consultant and legal counselor Brian Larson recognizes that if an Embedded Search and Display were on Facebook, the IDX data would be in a tidy container under the broker’s control, not published on the Facebook website. This is a great thesis. This embeddable IDX display would solve the concern about a broker sending the IDX data to a third party, which is prohibited in the IDX rules. Here, Larson makes an important distinction that honors a core covenant of participant control outlined in todays IDX rules. Namely, if the embedded display is under the control of the broker and the data is not being provided to a third party, the data it is safe even when presented on a website not under the control of the IDX participant. Although this construct would keep the data safe, it does not go far enough. The genesis of intent in the IDX rules, in not allowing an IDX participant to provide data to a third party, was somewhat designed to address the notion that a broker may not “resell data,” or otherwise benefit from the data set at the expense other participant beyond usage on their own consumer website. While I do not believe that an embedded display […]

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Rapattoni has long offered Association websites and MLS consumer property search solutions in the markets that they serve. I believe Rapattoni may have been among the pioneering MLS vendors at offering such a solution. Having said that, there has been little attention paid toward innovating the search component of that platform. In the deployment of the new website, Rapattoni and iHomefinder collaborated to deliver an elegant solution. This week, the California based Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS (VCCAOR) debuted their new website powered by iHomefinder. Board President Cindy Diaz-Telly spoke with the WAV Group about the site. According to Diaz-Telly, the launch of the new site is the fruition of a strategic goal of their board spanning two years. The Association has long offered a consumer facing website as a member benefit, so this new site is a relaunch rather than a new launch. Real Estate agents and brokers are supportive of the site as a means of connecting the consumer with REALTORS. The board had made a strategic decision not to publish the site to the MLSCloud Network until the new site was launched. VCCAOR is also a participant in the Southern California MLS data share called CARETS. CARETS participants are allowed to display all CARETS listings on their consumer facing websites but VCCAOR has chosen not to do so at this time. Visitors to the new site will immediately notice the user search interface improvements. iHomefinder has introduced a map search based on the Google Maps API. They have also dramatically improved the form based search solution and the listing detail page as compared to the Rapattoni Solution. At this time, VCCAOR has elected to keep the website clear of advertising like the REALM from Real Estate Digital or the advertising solution from MLSListings.com. iHomefinder modeled their MLS partnerships with Metrolist MLS in Sacramento, also a Rapattoni customer. iHomefinder seeks to launch additional MLS solutions this year combining their public portal solution with agent IDX and websites offered through the MLS. Call Victor Lund at 805-709-6696 for any questions about the information in this article.

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MLSs and the Marketing Center

by Victor Lund on May 14, 2012

Marketing Center

MLSs have long been a marketing center in some small way. Agents working with buyers and sellers create reports that are organized to provide listing information to clients. The reports are very useful, but aside from the ability to insert a broker logo, agent photo, and contact information, the design of these reports often falls short of achieving the goal of a well-branded and unique marketing piece. Some MLSs have begun to partner with providers to enhance or augment this MLS system functionality, and offer marketing systems that have full feature functionality. MRIS, Metrolist Colorado, MLSListings, MLSLI, and a handful of others have taken the position that the best way to accomplish serving these member needs is to create a robust vendor partnership program. They have taken the position that MLS vendors can not be all things to all people. Although various MLSs System solutions excel at certain areas of technologies that benefit the agent-consumer relationship, they recognize weaknesses in other areas. Here is a snapshot crafted by MRIS that outlines their strategy which is being delivered through a partnership with Seattle based Imprev. The Marketing Center will provide MRIS customers with free and unlimited access to an integrated suite of professionally designed and simple to create digital and print marketing products and tools including Flyers, eFlyers, Postcards, ePostcards, and Virtual Tours. In addition to supporting marketing and promotional efforts, there’s productivity savings as well since MRIS customers will pull in real-time listing data – including photos –to create any of the marketing materials without having to re-enter data or upload images, tasks agents already complete when they create the listing. “My Marketing Center will be the fastest way to reach home buyers and sellers with real-time, in-depth marketing information instantly. In seconds, a link to a polished Virtual Tour is posted to Realtor.com or to the agents website, another click and an eFlyer with the broker’s template and branding is posted on Facebook or sent out on Twitter,” said John L. Heithaus, MRIS Chief Marketing Officer, adding, “The faster an agent can respond in today’s digitally-driven economy in real time, the more successful he or she will be to generate more sales commissions.” MRIS and Imprev also announced that a Premium suite of digital and printable marketing products and tools will made available to MRIS member agents and brokers at a low-cost. The lineup of Premium marketing products is […]

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PWR Launches 10K Reports

by Victor Lund on May 13, 2012

PWR Logo Pacific West Association of REALTORS

The Minneapolis Association of REALTORS developed a company called 10K a few years ago. The mission of the company is to offer REALTORS outstanding market analytic reports. They have been canvasing the country offering the product through MLSs and REALTOR Associations. Pacific West Association of REALTORS (PWR) is a large and recent new customer for 10K. WAV Group had a Q&A session with Lalaine Castillo, PWR VP Marketing and Communications to understand the strategy behind their vendor selection. Question:What differentiated 10K from other stats vendors? Answer:10k understands the business of REALTOR associations and our members,  having deployed similar solutions for other associations.  Also, Greg Sax and his staff were great to work with (accommodating, responsive.) Question:How are you deploying the 10K products to members? Answer:Members go to our website, click on the PWReports icon, & enter their username & MLS pw  to gain exclusive access to PWReports Question:What is your communications plan? Answer: Periodic emails explaining value, flyers/handouts through new membership orientation, coverage through local papers (2 papers agreed to allowing PWR be the exclusive provider of market data in our area) and a live demo during our annual Tech Day event.  We are also considering a youtube “training” video, and a live class on how to effectively use the reports. Question:Are there already other solutions within CRMLS? If so, why add another? Answer:Other solutions are either paid solutions, or the data is not readily assembled in a usable format (for example, you’d have to “crunch” data on your own then develop your own spreadsheet or bar chart.) Question:Is this a member benefit? Answer: Yes, PWR will be adding the service without any dues increases Question:How is this different from the CAR-provided solution? Answer:CAR’s “Market at a Glance” Solution covers aggregate data for the entire state of California, where as PWReports gives detailed information on the specific cities & ZIPcodes for PWR’s market area (OC & South LA.) Question:Can agents share any of this publicly in their own marketing? Answer:Yes, agents can use this data on their website, listing presentation, or for reporting purposes. Pacific West REALTORS (PWR) is a local chapter of the National Association of REALTORS active in Orange County and South Los Angles, California.  They are among the largest Associations of REALTORS in Southern California. PWR provides MLS services in cooperation with the California Regional MLS or CRMLS. CRMLS is a participating member of the Southern California […]

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Syndicator Trademarks MLS Brand

by Victor Lund on May 11, 2012

ListingSyndicationsmall

Point2 announced the granting of a US Trademark for “MLS Certified™”. This comes at a rather interesting time. The Council of MLS is in the midst of doing some branding of its own, but has not announced or launched the program yet. It is on the agenda for the meetings next week in Washington DC. At the last Council of MLS meeting on this topic last year, there were numerous ideas discussed about branding MLS data. Homes.com offered their ideas, Point2 offered theirs, and Trulia offered theirs. They were all very interesting, but none captured the enthusiasm of the CMLS members. The primary concern around MLS Certified™ was nicely outlined by John Holley of North Texas MLS in Dallas “if you certify something, that certification seems to connect some meaning of responsibility. Clearly it would be impossible for the MLS to Certify data that is beyond their grasp.” NAR council Laurie Janick seemed to agree. Coincidently, MRED, the MLS of Chicago developed a program around MLS Sourced that is being eyed by many as a more appealing brand. According to a Point2 press release today, “We are working diligently with our syndication network partners and MLS clients to see that MLS Certified gains mass adoption and that MLS Certified listings are prioritized by the portals for publication on their sites,” Saul Klein added. Point2 launched the MLS Certified initiative in May 2011. Point2 claims that nearly 50 MLSs in the United States have adopted the program. Alongside these initiatives are DotMLS and BLC®. The DotMLS initiative is a long term high mark strategy of creating an MLS Top Level Domain. For example, MREDs consumer facing website would be MRED.Com. These issues are related to problems with the term MLS. It is generic and cannot be claimed in the United States. BLC®, which stands for Broker Listing Cooperative®, has been Trademarked as a replacement for the term MLS, but adoption has been slow. I guess we are at a point where many paths are leading in the same direction, but the best path and the end of the road are fuzzy. WAV Group has written about this before. Here are a few other articles to review. Branding the MLS Articles

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Every MLS and Broker in the country knows how difficult it is to successfully roll out new products to REALTORS®.  There are so many technology options out there and it’s so difficult to get a busy agent’s attention. It’s even more difficult to convince them to try out a new service that may help project a more professional image when they are in the throes of trying to conduct business. WAV Group has watched Realtor Property Resource® (RPR®) with interest as more and more MLSs and Associations have signed up for this service. From its early beginnings, the product has continued to evolve with more and more tools for REALTOR® members. As of May 6, 2012, 384 MLSs and Associations have signed agreements with RPR, representing 618,914 REALTORS®.  244 have RPR installed and operational for their 503,444 members with more in the review process. While these numbers are impressive, REALTOR® usage and adoption of these products is the ultimate goal. So how can the industry “cross the chasm” from simply providing RPR for its members to actually helping them learn how to use it regularly in their business?  That was the question RPR posed to WAV Group. RPR asked WAV Group to interview some of the early adopters of RPR to build case studies to help the industry understand the key benefits and value of RPR for agents, brokers, and MLSs. With this information in hand, WAV Group set out to build easy-to-understand, focused, and informative case studies to help every agent and broker understand how RPR can help them be more successful in positioning themselves as a local expert.  The case studies being published today provide practical suggestions about how to leverage RPR effectively to impress clients by providing them more insightful and professionally presented data and insights to real estate consumers. The information shared in the case studies came from highly successful REALTORS® who are using RPR to bring more insights to their clients than non-REALTORS® can. Download the RPR “Best Practices” Case Studies here. The purpose of these case studies is to help agents and understand just how easy it is to get up and running with RPR quickly.  It’s also intended to provide MLSs with some practical suggestions about how to engage their members with RPR, helping them understand how RPR offers features and benefits not available in other MLS technology offerings. For the past three days […]

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WAV Group provides consulting services brokers across the country to help them find the most effective ways to leverage the technology tools they have chosen for their agents. Some of those tools are provided by MLSs as part of their monthly subscription fees. In working with brokers we have learned how stressed the life of a broker is. Their agents, clients, accountants and office staff pull them in a million directions.  Their daily tasks make it virtually impossible to keep up on all of the latest technologies being offered to them. Today, WAV Group is introducing the third in a series of Case Studies developed for NAR’s REALTOR® Property Resource, or RPR™ , designed specifically to help Brokers understand how to get the most out of the RPR™ tool. These Case Studies aim to  help REALTORS® understand the unique benefits of using RPR™ in their daily business, in order to position their firm as a communication leader  complete with unique insights available only to REALTORS®. Download the Broker Case Study here. WAV Group has followed the introduction and rollout of REALTOR® Property Resource ( RPR™ ) closely since it was officially introduced and then launched in September 2010.  In previous papers, WAV Group outlined the factors required to make an informed decision about whether RPR™ and other data-related products were appropriate for individual MLSs and Brokers. These case studies are NOT intended to help an organization make a decision about participation in RPR™. Those decisions are best left to individual firms. The purpose of this case study is to help brokers who are have access to RPR™ understand how they can the tool effectively to build their business.  The case study also clearly articulates how RPR™ is incremental to the tools available in MLS systems and other broker tools. WAV Group has watched with interest as more and more MLSs and Associations have signed up for RPR™. From its early beginnings, the product has continued to evolve by providing more and more tools to REALTOR® members. As of May 6, 2012, 384 MLSs and Associations have signed agreements with RPR™, representing 618,914 REALTORS®.  Two hundred and forty four MLSs have RPR™ installed and operational for their 503,444 members with more in the review process. While these numbers are impressive, REALTOR® usage and adoption of these products is the ultimate goal. The purpose of this case study is to help brokers […]

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Onboard Targets ListHub Reports with New Product

by Victor Lund on May 9, 2012

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In a press release found below, Onboard announced the launch of Listings 360 insight Advisor. This product is a reporting solution like Listhub Reports, and FREE!  However, Listings 360 does not include syndication at this time. The first customer in line to release the product is Chicago multiple listing service provider, Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED). Connecticut MLS (CTMLS) and Metropolitan Regional MLS (MRIS) have also licensed the solution for their subscribers. WAV Group spoke to MRED CEO, Russ Bergeron to understand the strategy behind the launch. Bergeron indicated that MRED likes to offer more than one product option when there will be a benefit to their customers. MRED has already put the tracking code into connectMLS™ system so that their subscribers will be able to provide consumers with search traffic reports that include the MLS system. “This is important because the MLS system has many times the number of property views of publisher sites.” MRIS offers Listhub, RE DataVault, Anti-Scraping technology, and Onboard in an effort to support brokers in managing and protecting data in the best possible way. To enhance adoption of Listings 360 Insight Advisor, all new RETS data feed recipients will be required to include the Listings 360 Insight Advisor tracking code in their application or they will be in violation of the MRIS RETS data feed agreement. The good news in the release is that Trulia has agreed to participate in the program. Today, Trulia withholds “views” information from the Listhub reports. Unfortunately, REALTOR.com, Homes.com and a number of other popular sites is not included in Listings 360 Insight at this time – but the move by MRIS and other MLSs may be a game changer. At the end of the day, the most important reporting feature is that ability to give a seller a report about where their listing appeared, how many times it was viewed, and the number of online inquiries. Unfortunately, there are still hurdles for both companies to deliver that accurate and comprehensive report. The challenge is to get every company publishing listing information to participate in the reporting program or programs. Listhub has a head start, as Onnboard enters the race. I believe that for any of these reporting features to truly have an impact, the MLS must follow MRIS and others by requiring the inclusion of the tracking code everywhere the data is presented – All publisher sites, all […]

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RPR Agent Case Study

by Mike Audet on May 9, 2012

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WAV Group provides consulting services to MLSs and Associations to develop strategies and plans for business success. In working with MLSs and Associations we have learned how difficult it is to help agents and brokers understand the value of new technologies in their daily business.  Today, WAV Group is introducing the second in a series of Case Studies developed for NAR’s REALTOR® Property Resource or RPR®. These Case Studies are designed to help REALTORS® understand the unique benefits of using RPR in their daily business to help position them as THE local expert. WAV Group developed these best practices by evaluating RPR  “power users” and “power promoters” of the software. Download the Agent Case Study here. WAV Group has followed the introduction and rollout of REALTOR® Property Resource (RPR) closely since it was officially introduced and then launched in September 2010.  In previous papers, WAV Group outlined the factors needed to make an informed decision about whether RPR and other data-related products were appropriate for individual MLSs and Associations. These case studies are NOT intended to help an organization make a decision about participation in RPR. Those decisions are best left to individual MLSs, Associations and Brokerages.  The purpose of this case study is to help agents who are have access to RPR understand how they can the tool effectively in their daily business for reviewing COMPS, building CMA’s and providing invaluable market level data and information to their clients and potential new clients.  The case study also clearly articulates how RPR is incremental to the tools available in MLS systems. WAV Group has watched with interest as more and more MLSs and Associations have signed up for this service. From its early beginnings, the product has continued to evolve with more and more tools for REALTOR® members. As of May 6, 2012, 384 MLSs and Associations have signed agreements with RPR, representing 618,914 REALTORS®.  244 have RPR installed and operational for their 503,444 members with more in the review process. While these numbers are impressive, REALTOR® usage and adoption of these products is the ultimate goal. The purpose of this case study is to help agents understand just how easy it is to get up and running with RPR quickly.  It’s also intended to help agents understand how the reports and CMA’s in RPR can be used to project a professional image and provide more in-depth information that non-REALTORS® can. […]

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