October 2012

Point2 encourages publishers to play nice

by Victor Lund on October 31, 2012

yardi logo

Yardi subsidiary, Point2 is changing its data distribution policies to align with what it believes to be the interests of MLSs, Associations, Brokers and agents in the US, similar to what it has introduced in Canada with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Since Yardi purchased Point2, they have renewed determination to protect the data rights of agents, brokers, and their partner Associations of REALTORS(r) and MLS. In the past, the default distribution setting for Point2 has been broker-opt out rather than broker opt-in.  WAV Group has never been in favor of Broker Opt-out programs. Broker opt-out means that unless notified by the listing broker, Point2 distributed the listing data to all of its publisher recipients. The big problem with this policy is that the broker was subject to the publisher’s terms of use for the data, which might be contrary to the best interest of the broker. For many brokers the portal’s terms of use are fair – but for others, they are not. Point2 is now in the process of notifying publishers that they must conform to a set of fair use terms if they want the convenience of broker opt-out data. If they do not conform to the new terms, the data to that publisher will be switched to opt-in. As of January 1st, 2013, any publisher not conforming to the new agreement will see somewhere between 200,000 and 1.2M listings taken out of their Point2 feed. Some of the key terms of the agreement are as follows. The license only grants the publisher the ability to display listings on authorized websites – effectively eliminating the problem of resyndication without a license. The relevant owner of the listing content retains all rights title and interest and ownership in the data – effectively resolving the issue of publishers selling data, creating derivative products with the data, etc. Publisher must agree to install a web bug that allows Point2 to track the – number of times displayed in search results; number of views; click through, number of leads. Content may not be used for any purpose when a listing is not active. This is huge as it cures the problem of stale data languishing on publisher websites, and the display of sold data. Publisher may not use the personal contact information of agents or brokers to market to, or contact that agent or broker – nor will it supply that […]

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How MLSs and MLS vendors are failing brokers

by Victor Lund on October 31, 2012

Business Intelligence

Let me begin by saying that the remarks that follow do not apply to all MLSs. There are many that do an excellent job at servicing the data needs of brokers. The focus of this article is to talk about some of the common failures seen by WAV Group consultants trying to help brokers fix complex data problems. There is a fundamental understanding of the MLS which has been lost. Although MLS systems provide excellent services through the MLS software, many are failing at providing data services to the brokers and agents to power the many applications that live outside the MLS system. This failure needs to be addressed across the industry. At the heart of the failure is the resistance to adopt the most current version of RETS. The systems that power a brokerage probably will work fine with whatever RETS standard or FTP standard you offer if that brokerage is only in 1 MLS. If the brokerage belongs to more than 1 MLS, chaos ensues. Enterprise brokerages will be defined by brokerages that participate in more than one MLS. Most enterprise brokerages have a laundry list of technology applications that rely on MLS data from a variety of technology vendors. The brokerage goal is to apply a layer of consumer, agent, and business services that rides on top of multiple MLS. The current broker technology ecosystem was outlined perfectly by WAV Group partner Michael Audet in a paper he authored called “The Shift in Real Estate Technology.” You can review the webinar on this topic here, and download slides from the webinar. You can download the whitepaper here. This image shows the architecure of an enterprise brokerage. At the heart of making all of this work is a persistant data, delivered using the RETS standard. Technology consultant Matt Cohen of Clareity Consulting outlined the core problem facing MLSs with RETS adoption. It is not in the contract with the vendor! He writes “…new versions of RETS are always becoming available and each new version has capabilities that the MLS and its members can leverage. For example, RETS now has fairly robust capabilities allowing listings to be input via other front ends – for example broker systems, or forms software, and ensuring that these front ends follow the MLSs business rules. But most MLSs don’t offer their brokers this capability. Why? Because it’s not in the contract. When a […]

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

by Victor Lund on October 30, 2012

berkshire hathaway

Today, a new brand was born – Berskshire Hathaway Real Estate. Brookfield, Real Living and Prudential have combined forces with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to create our industry’s newest national brand. This seems to be the first time the Berkshire Hathaway brand will be used in a consumer facing industry. I am pretty sure that this network of brokerages has a significant market share in every metropolitan city in America. Why this is important: Some of the Prudential Franchises were a little disturbed when they learned about the Sunset of the Prudential Real Estate brand – they are smiling ear to ear now. Moreover, some of the GMAC brands were less than smitten with the Real Living brand because it did not have a lot of strength or consumer awareness beyond certain markets like Ohio. They too are likely smiling right now. Kudos to Brookfield and HomeServices for putting aside their competitive differences and pulling off a brand-du-jour. Berkshire Hathaway is a brand consumers admire and trust. HomeServices and Brookfield Announce a New Residential Real Estate Franchise Brand—Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices® MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (Oct. 30, 2012)—HomeServices of America, Inc.™, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and Brookfield Asset Management, announced today that they have partnered to introduce Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices®—a new franchise brand that joins the existing brands and affiliate networks of Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices® combines the financial strength of both organizations, coupled with the operational excellence of HomeServices and superior real estate franchising experience of Brookfield. The combined networks of more than 53,000 Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate agents generated in excess of $72 billion in residential real estate sales volume in 2011, and operate across more than 1,700 U.S. locations. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is a new franchise brand built upon the financial strength and leadership of Brookfield and HomeServices,” said Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. “I am confident that these partners will deliver value to the residential real estate industry, and I am pleased to have Berkshire Hathaway be a part of the new brand.” “We are honored and proud to be entrusted with the use of the Berkshire Hathaway name as our new real estate franchise brand,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices. “We will convey the strength of Berkshire Hathaway’s reputation and its associated principles of integrity and financial stability in everything we do.” Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices® unites proven […]

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Zillow brings 1.2M listings out of the shadow

by Victor Lund on October 29, 2012

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Since the housing market crash, there has been lots of discussion about shadow inventory. These are properties that are in bank foreclosure or pre-foreclosure that are making their way onto the market. Up until now, this inventory has been slowly released – perhaps strategically by banks who want to contain loss exposure – but more likely as a result of the slow process for foreclosure across America. The only thing slower than a bank’s decision making process is the US Court system. Last week, Zillow – one of the three leading search portals in America began to display 1.2Million listings. As a result, the shadow inventory is no longer in the shadow. What is interesting is that consumers are required to “sign in” to view these foreclosures in their area. I guess that this is Zillow’s version of a VOW. Just for fun, I signed in and looked at a home that was in foreclosure – 1220 Montecito Ridge 93420.  Zillow listed this home with a Zestimate of $1,235,887 – $52,000 below the Zestimate. I looked up the same property on REALTORS(r) Property Resource. The RVM on this property is $1,424, 000. The owner is the Reed family (information that you cannot get on Zillow) and they live in Santa Maria, CA (full mailing address is available in RPR). I think that agents should be very grateful that Zillow has made this data available, for free. Consumers are likely to find these homes on Zillow then contact an agent for information. This is where RPR comes in – as a REALTOR(r), beginning tomorrow – you can look up that distressed property and possibly reach out to the owner for a short sale. RPR becomes available to all REALTORS(r) tomorrow. You can also find this information in REALIST, or iMapp, or LPS Tax. It is not clear who is providing Zillow with this shadow inventory data. Could be CoreLogic, could be LPS, is probably both. It is also not clear to me who is getting access to all of the consumer registration data. Those buyer leads are more valuable than the listing data. Perhaps the next horizon for broker websites will be the inclusion of Shadow inventory. The data is available for sale. There may be issues in many markets whereby brokers are not allowed to co-mingle MLS data with non-mls data. A separate search will be necessary to skirt this rule.

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Black Sand Labs Launches MLS License Compliance Tool

by Victor Lund on October 25, 2012

Like all MLSes, Hawaii Information Service takes data licenses seriously. Aside from the natural investigation of reported violations, they wanted to find a way to crawl the Internet to find additional abuses of their data license agreements. After an unproductive effort to find a commercial solution to meet their needs, Hawaii Information Systems partnered with Falcon Technologies to build one. Now, the two cooperating companies formed a new startup called Black Sand Labs to deliver the service to other MLSs fighting the compliance battle. The new product is called APHIS – which may sound like a crawling insect, but was born of an acronym: Automatic Photo Identification System. Clever name. WAV Group partner Victor Lund was provided with an overview of APHIS, and here is what we learned. APHIS has a few main components: Agreements, Signatures, Crawlers, and Domains. Agreements — The Agreements section is precisely what you would expect. You load all of your data license agreements along with their inception and expiration date. This allows MLSs to rely on online document management rather than a filing cabinet for agreements. Here you would also stipulate the type of agreement, like IDX, VOW, or other types. This section also tracks the URL that is specified in the Data License agreement for display of license data. These URLs form a whitelist that allows the sites with a data license agreement to be ignored by the compliance staff. Signatures – I would have preferred that they called this section of the product Fingerprints. One of the primary parts of the APHIS service is generating a signature (or taking a fingerprint of sorts) of every photo on every listing. This component of the tool allows the MLS to monitor the process of generating these signatures for MLS photos, creating daily reports that provide the assurance that photos are successfully processed each day. Crawlers – This is the other primary part of APHIS. They send software programs called crawlers out into the web to look for matching photos. They ignore the whitelisted sites that have a data license agreement in most cases. The Crawlers can search in two ways. 1. Keyword – The MLS compliance staff can put in keywords like ‘Hawaii Luxury homes’. The crawlers will then search the top 20 sites that appear on Google for those terms and search for license violations (ignoring sites on the whitelist). 2. Domain – If you […]

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MLS Listings to host Broker Summit

by Victor Lund on October 22, 2012

Broker Symposium: Engaging the New Consumer Techmart Santa Clara  |  November 2, 2012 When:  Friday November 2, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM PDT   Where: Techmart Santa Clara 5201 Great America Parkway Santa Clara, CA 95054 Get Driving Directions Add to my calendar   Dear Myra, Please join us Friday, November 2 for a series of panel discussions centered on the new consumer, featuring local real estate media, top producing brokers and leading industry best practices consultants and of course, the target market itself. Event emcee: Robert Bailey, Bailey Properties 2012 Chairman, MLSListings Inc Hear directly from buyers and sellers who have purchased or sold a home in the last 12 months, or plan to buy or sell — their experiences with their real estate professional, search process and closing process, and how we can better serve their needs Learn from longtime local reporters – what stories most interest their readers, what they’re covering in today’s market, and how we can work together better to help educate consumers about industry trends and information Leading brokers from around the region will discuss key issues including regionalization, implications of the market turnaround, consumer trends and ways they have successfully leveraged MLS tools in their business Gain insight from real-life examples of brokerage best practices in putting the needs of the consumer at the center of decision-making, and how you can change your business model to focus on your customers and effectively measure your success   Space is limited – register today! Get more information Register Now! I can’t make it The symposium is free for MLSListings brokers. Breakfast is included. We look forward to seeing you at the Symposium! Sincerely, MLSListings, Inc. Forward email This email was sent to mjolivet@mlslistings.com by brokerbeat@mlslistings.com | Update Profile/Email Address | Instant removal with SafeUnsubscribe™ | Privacy Policy. MLSListings, Inc. | 350 Oakmead Parkway | Sunnyvale | CA | 94085

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How A Top Agent Views Technology

by Mike Audet on October 22, 2012

Real estate technology

Justin Havre is a real estate agent in Calgary Alberta working at CIR Realty.  CIR is the largest independent firm in Canada with about 650 agents.  With his team, Justin Havre & Associates, he has been number one or two in his Brokerage over the last three years.  To put it in perspective, in 2011 they were number 1 and closed 171 sides with an average price in Calgary of about $430,000.  I sat down with Justin recently at a Technology Conference put on by his web technology provider, Real Estate Webmasters, to find out how technology fits into his success. One thing that became clear immediately was Justin’s intent to make technology an integral part of his business from day one.  Before real estate he worked in the cable industry on the technology side but decided after some time that he wanted to make a change and set his sights on real estate.  He chose CIR Realty (Canada’s largest Independent Brokerage) because of the great virtual tools they offered and their overall commitment to technology.  Everyone in their office, as Justin pointed out, does their own documents online, manages their deals online including deal processing right down to payment of commissions.  It was exactly what he was looking for. Like most agents that recognize the importance of technology Justin had a website when he started but he wasn’t happy with the results he was experiencing in terms of lead generation.  He also found it slow and painful to get things done with the vendor he was using at the time. So he set out to find a new vendor that he felt would provide him the type of technology product and service he was looking for. I asked him to take me through that process on how he chose a web site provider and how it was working.  I was surprised to find out that he still has that original website he switched to several years ago along with 2 more.  It was a fully Custom website.  He took his previous four sites from JustinHavre.com launched on one of his other sites and redid them a lot to look unique and appeal to other buyers, and then he brought a third LEC (Limited Edition Custom) site last year. Not as expensive as a fully custom website it gave him the options he wanted to differentiate the site in ways he felt […]

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Howard Hanna enters Michigan Market

by Victor Lund on October 19, 2012

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At a joint press conference held in Ann Arbor, Michigan this afternoon, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services announced that Edward Surovell Realtors of Ann Arbor, Michigan has become part of the Howard Hanna family of real estate. Surovell is one of the largest real estate companies in Michigan and was #1 in homes sold last year in Southeastern Michigan. As Surovell joins Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, it becomes part of the 4th largest real estate company in the United States and the #1 home seller in PA and OH, with almost $6 billion in volume and 34,292 transaction sides last year. The company was founded in 1957 by Howard and Anne Hanna with one office on the University of Pittsburgh campus; three generations of the family are involved in the company today with home bases in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and 144 offices across the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia and now Michigan. Howard W. ‘Hoddy’ Hanna, III, Chairman and CEO of Howard Hanna, said his family has known the family owned Surovell Realtors for more than 20 years. “Surovell’s superb culture, along with the quality of their agents, management team and business, mix well with our family-owned company,” said Hanna. Howard W. ‘Hoby’ Hanna, IV, President of Howard Hanna Michigan and Ohio, added, “Today we are beginning a new chapter in service to real estate consumers in this region. We are excited about the future and growth of both of our companies, as well as the region.” Surovell’s owner, President and CEO, Ed Surovell, stated that over the course of a year, as he examined the needs of his company and sales associates and staff, the decision was made to seek a business relationship with an established super-regional firm that would broaden the company’s opportunities while also strengthening their core real estate sales, property management and title insurance businesses. “We chose to join forces with the Hanna Company,” said Surovell, “as it models our own company, in that both are family owned and operated with an emphasis on professional excellence, full-time sales associates and a full line of real estate related services. I’ve known the Hanna family for many years and our close relationship will allow for an easy transformation from out three decades of growth as Edward Surovell Realtors to our next stage as Howard Hanna Realtors.” Hoddy Hanna added the company’s exclusive 100% Money […]

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Many Associations and MLSs today are looking at ways to offset the membership losses of the past few years by generating new revenue other than membership dues. While generating non-dues revenue is a noteworthy and sound objective, it’s a lot harder than it looks. While I was at Fisher-Price, I launched the company’s first ever eCommerce program. Since then I have worked with several companies in many business sectors launching their own eCommerce programs. While the Fisher-Price eCommerce division is now one of the most profitable divisions of the company, it did not come without gaining a few bumps and bruises along the way.  Bottomline – eCommerce is a LOT harder than it looks. WAV Group would like to share its year of learning about online stores with you. We have scheduled a webinar for October 30th at 1:00 pm EST, 10:00 am Pacific time to help educate MLSs and Brokers about a path to a profitable eCommerce effort. To register for the webinar, click here! During the session, we will walk you through many of the elements that need to be considered when trying to find ways to generate non-dues revenue.  We will talk to you about what types of products you might want to consider, pricing options as well as best practices to effectively merchandise and promote an online store.  The session will also cover methods about how to define each of your customer segments – finding who are the most likely to buy products from their MLS as well as other research methods for identifying a winning combination of products and promotions. The session will also provide a brief overview of the eCommerce options available for Associations and MLSs today. We look forward to your attendance at this FREE educational session. To register for the webinar, click here!

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GNAIR launches Rapattoni Public Website

by Victor Lund on October 16, 2012

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., October 16, 2012 – Rapattoni Corporation (Rapattoni), a leader in software and services for the real estate industry, announced today that the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® (GNIAR) has launched their new website using Rapattoni’s Integrated Website Service (IWS) product. Rapattoni IWS offers tremendous flexibility by making colors, styles and other content configurable and easy to change. Extended features include document management, social media tools, calendars, member forums, online member polling, and blogging. Rapattoni IWS integrates seamlessly with Rapattoni’s other products and services, including their Association Management Software, Internet Member Services, and the Rapattoni MLS. Pete Novak, Chief Executive Officer of GNIAR, said, “Rapattoni’s IWS product is a great full-service solution that has allowed our staff to simply create a website with the look and feel that best suits our needs.” Andy Rapattoni, President and CEO of Rapattoni, commented, “We are thrilled that GNIAR was able to utilize our IWS product. Our list of customers moving forward with IWS is rapidly growing and we are looking forward to launching many more successful websites.” About Rapattoni MLS Rapattoni MLS is setting the standard with advanced features such as integrated GIS parcel mapping, an integrated member management and billing system, the industry’s most advanced RETS data exchange system, integrated aerial photography, a robust statistics and trends analysis package, language translation, the Rapattoni Secure Logon system featuring Adaptive Authentication technology, and the ability to operate a convenient Single Sign-On (SSO) identity portal. Rapattoni MLS is compatible with the Internet Explorer® and Firefox® web browsers and can be operated natively on PCs and Mac® computers. About Rapattoni NetMagic Rapattoni NetMagic, the newest version of Rapattoni’s association management software, combines Rapattoni’s extensive real estate industry knowledge with the latest technologies to give associations the most powerful, flexible, and intuitive productivity suite available for managing association needs. Rapattoni NetMagic features real-time connectivity with the National Association of REALTORS® NRDS central database and enables association staff to effectively track, manage, and communicate with members. Rapattoni’s Internet Member Services feature allows an association’s members to pay their dues, register for classes, and interact with the association online. About Rapattoni Rapattoni Corporation has been serving the real estate industry under the same name and management for over 40 years. The company provides an array of integrated products and services for real estate associations and MLS organizations, including an internet-based MLS, association management software, and key-less […]

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BHI Logo

WAV Group saw this news release come across the wire today.  What we would like to see is a much stronger collaboration between home builders and REALTOR organizations. Just about every area in the country is low on inventory right now. Why not partner with homebuilders to offer up their inventory. The industry can work with the homebuilders to be sure that REALTORS are getting adequately compensated for the work they do with builders.  Associations can also provide training to agents to teach them how to work effectively and professionally with homebuilders.  Homebuilders have been forced to go it alone to encourage consumers to buy new homes because we have not created this relationship.  See the press release below: Builder Homesite, Inc. (BHI), an Austin-based consortium comprised of 32 of the nation’s largest home builders, announced today the launch of a new initiative to positively influence public perception of new construction homes. The new initiative represents a significant industry first, supporting home construction as an entire industry and uniting home builders nationwide. This multi-year, multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaign is aimed at increasing preference for new construction homes among potential home buyers who are comparing new homes with existing homes. In collaboration with advertising agency GSD&M, BHI has developed a campaign focused on redefining the “new” in new home. The initial campaign launch is driven by digital advertising cleverly demonstrating the many benefits of new construction homes. Future campaign elements will include a comprehensive website, produced and user-generated videos, interactive games and other tools that highlight the joy and freedom of new home ownership. “We understand that consumers today face a wealth of choices when it comes to buying a home,” said Tim Costello, president and chief executive officer of Builder Homesite, Inc. “New homes offer many advantages for today’s modern home buyer, however, many consumers simply aren’t aware of the benefits of new home ownership. Our goal is to arm prospective buyers with the tools needed to make an educated decision that best fits their needs and lifestyle.” Research conducted by BHI in partnership with Hanley Wood revealed that buyers shopping for a home are most interested in lower cost of living through lower maintenance, improved energy efficiency, modern floor plans suited for today’s family and superior construction quality. Existing homes are often outdated and unpredictable, requiring home owners to make little compromises which often lead to costly repairs […]

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Mobile Realty Apps has experienced outstanding growth over the past 12 months and has established itself as a leader in mobile technology for MLSs and real estate companies.  Winner of the 2012 “Most Innovative Real Estate Startup” at the Inman Conference in July 2012, Mobile Realty Apps offers a full set of leading edge mobile products for real estate professionals and the consumers they serve, from their custom branded native apps to their augmented realty technology HomeSpotter. Mobile Realty Apps is currently interviewing individuals who will lead their  sales to MLSs  nationally.  This individual will work closely with the national Broker sales manager to reach company sales objectives. WAV Group has been retained to help find the ideal candidates to continue to drive new growth for the company and to manage existing account relationships. Interested candidates should be experienced sales professionals with an established network of MLS relationships, looking to move into the new core technology of our industry. POSITION TITLES: National Sales Manager MLS Accounts REPORTS TO: Chief Executive Officer CLASSIFICATION: Exempt OPPORTUNITY: Mobile Realty Apps a leading provider of mobile products for the real estate industry is seeking to hire a sales executive for the position of National Sales Manager MLS Accounts.  The position will be responsible for building revenues by securing new MLS customers for their mobile technology products and for managing existing account relations and renewals.  The position reports directly to the CEO. Mobile technology is the new core technology for each level of the real estate industry.  Mobile Realty Apps offers a full range of leading edge products for the full range of mobile devices, combined with deep integration with existing MLS systems to allow for photo upload and mobile editing as well as their award winning augmented mobile realty technology, HomeSpotter.  Learn more about why Mobile Realty Apps is the choice for MLSs and real estate companies nationwide. ORGANIZATIONAL DESCRIPTION: Mobile Realty Apps is a profitable, funded startup that has experienced substantial revenue growth in the last twelve months. Founded in 2009, the company provides best-of-breed, white-labeled tablet and smartphone app solutions to the real estate industry. The company was recognized as the “Most Innovative Real Estate Startup” at the Inman Conference in July 2012 – in large part due to its industry leading solutions, including its augmented-reality HomeSpotter technology and its unique approach to deep MLS integration with its edgeMLS product line. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the […]

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Goomzee Shines A Light on MLS Pricing

by Victor Lund on October 11, 2012

Goomzee Logo

WAV Group is often contacted by companies who are looking to offer their products to agents through the MLS. The common term for this is site license – whereby every MLS subscriber will benefit from the service. Depending on the product, most site licenses are only pennies per member per month. Although MLSs are legally prohibited from sharing details of their contracts and pricing with other MLS – there is no such prohibition for vendors. Goomzee lifted their skirt today and published their MLS pricing to the world. This move is sure to shake up the mobile providers who target site licenses to MLS. The leaders in MLS market penetration are normally the MLS vendor products, but third party leaders are probably Kurio, MobileRealtyApps,  Smarter Agent, VoicePad and Goomzee. In this era where agents are screaming for mobile solutions to enhance their productivity when they are away from the office – the fact that mobile is so affordable leaves no excuse for not offering a solution. There is a bigger story here too. The pricing changes relative to the size of the MLS for the same service. A small MLS with fewer than 5,000 subscribers pays $1.25 per month for the Goomzee Home Connect Service. A large regional with more than 50,000 subscribers (ie. CRMLS is alone in this category) the pricing is only $.40. Perhaps this tells the story of why CRMLS is able to provide smaller Associations in California the ability to offer more MLS services for lower prices than they can negotiate on their own. This is not only true of Mobile, but true of all site licensed products. In this illustration, CRMLS would pay 1/3 the price of the Santa Barbara Associaton of REALTORS or even the San Francisco Associaton of REALTORS. Here is the Goomzee Press Release and their Full Pricing Sheet: PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE GOOMZEE GOES PUBLIC; OFFERS TRANSPARENCY IN MLS PRICING October 10, 2012 – Missoula, Montana – Amidst the overwhelmingly positive response about Goomzee’s new Mobile MLS Apps during this year’s Council of MLS (CMLS) conference held in Boston September 26-28, the company just announced it will “go public” with its pricing models and offer a pre-sales discount incentive. Goomzee, a longtime mobile technology provider for real estate professionals and MLS technology partner, introduced its Mobile MLS solution with rave reviews and was even touted as “Best New Mobile App” by […]

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Technology Adoption Strongest with Top Producers

by Marilyn Wilson on October 10, 2012

Sales-Success

MLSs face many decisions about what technology services to offer to their members.  Budgets are tight and decisions need to be better justified than ever before. MLS technology committees and leadership need to sift through hundreds of products and multiple presentations before deciding what types of products make the most sense for their members. It is a difficult and expensive task to provide meaningful, relevant and contemporary product offerings to help agents and brokers better serve the needs of their clients.  The first annual WAV Group MLS Technology Adoption study was designed help MLSs better understand the types of technologies being used most often. The attached report is deigned to MLSs have a better understanding of what successful adoption looks like.  The report is also designed to provide you with tangible ways to improve adoption of the technologies you have chosen to offer to your customers. Here are a few of the takeaways from the study that we found most interesting: Top Producers DO Matter More The study proved, once again, that the 80/20 rule is alive and well.  In just about every case, 20% of MLS subscribers complete 80% of the transactions. It is clear that top producers and aspiring top producers are the two most important groups for technology adoption.  These groups are the most proactive in many respects and their technology adoption patterns are no different. They use more technology than others because they are transacting more business and looking for new ways to differentiate themselves. To ensure a successful rollout, MLSs need to consider the needs of top producers. Even with this type of sales concentration, most MLSs still think of adoption based on their entire subscriber base. This is simply not realistic and can even be dangerous. If an MLS chooses technology based on the need to achieve adoption for the masses without thinking about the true value of the tool, they may make decisions based on the lowest common denominator, rather than providing the best tool for the most active producing agents Technology decisions need to be made to serve the needs of those that are driving the industry with transactions.  Instead of thinking about achieving 40% adoption of all customers, how about thinking about 50% adoption of the most productive agents? Here’s a more meaningful way to project and calculate adoption of technologies considering the concentration of sales success among top producers: Top Producer Adoption […]

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A New eCommerce Model for MLS

by Victor Lund on October 9, 2012

Lauren Hansen, IRES CEO

IRES MLS understands that the MLS cannot build software that is going to meet all of the needs of their subscribers. Rather, they embrace the rich development community that is flourishing in real estate industry today. IRES recognizes that marketing is the greatest cost to offering software as a service. As such, IRES is launching the IRES Success Store. The Store will benefit IRES Subscribers by putting technology at their fingertips, and benefit software developers by providing them with a marketplace for their products. IRES is a unique MLS, like their peers at The MLS, Trend MLS, NABOR and others, they develop and maintain their own MLS software rather than the traditional model of licensing software from an MLS vendor like CoreLogic, LPS, FBS, Solid Earth, Rapattoni, and others. They write code, which is an important distinction in the level of software acumen by this MLS. They have a lot of respect for software developers. Lauren Hansen, IRES CEO, believes that the IRES Success Store should not increase the costs of software purchased by their subscribers. Although the primary mission of IRES is providing MLS services, their software development experience makes them sympathetic to the challenges that face software vendors who offer software as a service to real estate professionals. They honor the efforts of software developers who are trying to drive adoption and satisfaction of their product. As such, the company sought a solution for eCommerce that supported the vendors and their subscribers alike. In doing so, they developed a new eCommerce Model for MLS. The IRES Model: Software vendors pay $600/year ($50 per month) slotting fee per product to be placed in the IRES Success Store. The slotting fee model is the first of its kind in real estate. It avoids costly and time-consuming contract negotiations associated with reseller agreements and complex integrations. It is a simple construct that defers the MLS costs to providing and maintaining the store. IRES selected RE Technology as a partner to build the IRES Success Store. IRES MLS in northern Colorado provides MLS services to 8 Boards and Associations of REALTORS®.  . They also display listing data for Metro Denver and Colorado Springs areas through data-sharing efforts with Metrolist MLS and Pikes Peak MLS. They serve more than 5,000 real estate professionals. If you would like to offer your product in the IRES Success store, please send an email to info@IRES-net.com for […]

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ListHub’s API and Golden Ruler Report Helps a Broker

by Victor Lund on October 5, 2012

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There are all kinds of reasons why a company wants analytics on the performance of their online marketing. Listhub provides this service to brokerages that use their syndication services. The fee for the service is typically just a few dollars per month per agent, but it will track where your listings appear online – for better or for worse. WAV Group has gained an appreciation for the reporting by reviewing MLS level reports that show a federated view of all listings syndicated in the market through Listhub. I will be using these reports in my upcoming talk at the Colorado Association of REALTORS® meetings. They are far more valuable than the small fee charged by Listhub. They inform great decisions about where to send your data, and the effects of online marketing (if any). Listhub offers their syndication services through Franchises – REALOGY, Keller Williams and others have deployed the service. Brookfield uses reDataVault from Real Estate Digital (RED). The Canadian Association of REALTORS® or CREA uses Point2. Here is what I have noticed. For brokers who are part of a Franchise, there are usually preferences to the way that a broker’s listing is displayed. For example, Century 21 Brokers syndicating through the franchise program benefit from not having competitors displayed on their listings, among other privileges like discounts on enhanced listings. For Century 21 Brokers, the Golden Ruler Report is free. Unfortunately, none of these solutions track listings everywhere. For example, the report does not include the number of times a listing was viewed in the MLS, or on another broker’s website, or on the newspaper’s website, or even on the broker’s own website. Listhub and others like Onboard 360 are offering APIs that can be installed on any website. Century 21 Hometown Realty wanted to make the Golden Ruler Report better, so they installed the Listhub API on their Wolfnet website. It is not easy to get a company to put someone else’s code into their product. The Listhub API is a little code snippet that works a little bit like Google Analytics. Every time you ask a website to do something, it adds one more task that slows a website down. Furthermore, there is some remote chance that they can bring the site or even the server down. Let;s just say that Wolfnet did a lot of diligence and testing before they put the Listhub API on […]

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Come join the partners of the WAV Group as they draw on their experiences in eCommerce to talk about ways to create new revenues for your organization. While I was at Fisher-Price, I launched the company’s first ever eCommerce program. Since then I have worked with several companies in many business sectors launching their own eCommerce programs. While the Fisher-Price is now one of the most profitable divisions of the company, it did not come without gaining a few bumps and bruises along the way.  Bottomline – eCommerce is a LOT harder than it looks. WAV Group would like to share its year of learning about online stores with you. We have scheduled a webinar for October 30th at 1:00 pm EST, 10:00 am Pacific time to help educate MLSs and Brokers about a path to a profitable eCommerce effort. To register for the webinar, click here! During the session, we will walk you through many of the elements that need to be considered when launching an eCommerce effort.  We will talk to you about what types of products you might want to consider, pricing options as well as best practices to effectively merchandise and promote an online store.  The session will also cover methods about how to define each of your customer segments – finding who are the most likely to buy products from their MLS as well as other research methods for identifying a winning combination of products and promotions. The session will also provide a brief overview of the eCommerce options available for MLSs today. We look forward to your attendance at this FREE educational session. To register for the webinar, click here!

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October 3, 2012—The WAV Group today published the results of an independent study of 11 major markets that found local real estate brokerage websites give consumers the most complete, accurate and timely information about homes for sale. The study evaluated sites from three local brokerages with real estate agents who help consumers buy and sell homes, comparing listing search results to those found on two national portals, Trulia and Zillow, which operate almost exclusively online. In the markets analyzed, the study concluded: Local real estate brokerage sites display 100% of the agent-listed homes for sale compared to about 80% for the national portal sites. Local real estate brokerage sites show newly listed homes for sale seven to nine days earlier than national portals. Local real estate brokerage sites almost never show a home listing as active that has already sold; about 36% of listings that appear as active on national portals are no longer for sale. The WAV Group, a national consultancy specializing in real estate technology, conducted the study. Independent analysts verified the study data, record by record. Redfin, a technology-powered broker with more than $5 billion in home sales sponsored the study.  Listing data from the websites of Long & Foster, one of the largest independent real estate brokerages in the U.S. and Windermere, the largest regional real estate brokerage in the Western U.S., was also included in the study. “We analyzed a sample of more than 6,000 listings in 33 zip codes in 11 markets, comparing the data on various websites against 14 local Multiple Listing Services,” said WAV Group CEO Victor Lund. “The findings are clear: real estate brokerage websites showed by far the most homes for sale, recognized which homes were no longer for sale, and displayed new listings much earlier.” The source of brokers’ advantage is direct access to local real estate databases. In each U.S. city or area, all real estate brokers subscribe to a local association known as a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to share the listing data collected by their agents with consumers. Each MLS tracks locale-specific attributes about listings, noting for example which Seattle homes have waterfront access or which Virginia homes are historic. Only real estate brokers can be members of a local MLS. In contrast, national portals mostly rely on individual agents or real estate brokerages to re-post MLS listings on the portal websites, or the portals aggregate […]

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Update on Dot MLS Domains Association

by Victor Lund on October 2, 2012

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There is some interesting news on the effort of a bundle of MLSs to procure the Internet Top Level Domain of MLS. But first, let me begin with a sidebar about Canada and trademark. In Canada, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) filed a trademark on the brand, MLS®. To avert a long winded discussion of the implications – think of it as a trademark that provides CREA with all of the rights that the REALTOR® trademark provides to the National Association of REALTORS®. It was a brilliant move that prohibits anyone from using the term MLS® in Canada. In Canada, only. MLS®, Multiple Listing Service®, and the associated logos are all registered certification marks owned by CREA and are used to identify real estate services provided by brokers and salespersons who are members of CREA. In America, the early colonists of MLS data did not seek such protections under United States Trademark law. As a result, the term MLS is not much different than the term Property Search. It is a common use word that may be adopted by anyone in marketing or otherwise. This has created a problem whereby some cleaver marketers are using the term MLS to falsely lure consumers who are seeking information about real estate listings and real estate services. Because there is no trademark protection, there is little that the real estate industry can do. Their only effort was to pass a NAR rule forbidding any REALTOR® from using the term. This effort has largely stopped REALTORS® from using the term, but non-realtors are free to do as they please. ICANN, the global policy maker on Internet Domain Names recognized that they are running out of possible Dot Com domain names on the Internet. This is astounding – but lets leave that appreciation aside. ICANN recognizes that there is benefit to creating classes of top level domains (TLD) on the internet. For example, Dot Gov relates to government; Dot Edu relates to education; Dot Sex relates to…well you get the picture. These classes help consumers access websites with information on the Internet and provide the surety that the domain names are sincere. The Dot MLS Domains Association submitted an application for the top level domain of MLS in an order to create a benefit for consumers and real estate professionals to differentiate property search online. If successful, Dot MLS would effectively provide benefits which […]

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Average Time on Market

I am a big fan of client servicing portals that leverage full MLS data rather than IDX data. The key here is that the consumer can see the full compliment of business intelligence powered by the MLS. Clearly, days on market, price changes over time, and recent sales history in the area are the fundamental elements of understanding listing price. Market Analytics are really helpful in informing predictions on what will happen in the near term for hyper local markets and hyper refined property attributes. If days on market for a 2 bedroom condominium in a building in San Francisco is 8 days; and three identical units have sold in the past 2 weeks – you can predict that the new listing in that building is also likely to sell in 8 days – especially if the listing price of the condominium unit is within the boundary of the list to sale price of comparable units. Consumers need to know this information and agents need to be able to share it with buyers dynamically. The technology exists, but it is off in a product silo that consumers cannot access. There are plenty of companies that have analytic solutions that show pricing and market velocity (here is a list), but for illustrative purposes, I will reference Pricing Analysis which is a component of Terradatum’s AgentMatrix product, also known as Clarus Resource in California. Pricing Analysis uses the full compendium of MLS data facts to predict days on market for a particular property at a particular price. It is astoundingly accurate. Comparable homes pricing below the market sell in fewer days on market. Comparable homes pricing above the market take longer to sell. (note: Terradatum has proven that homes initially priced high are more likely to finally close for prices below the average). Every day, millions of listing alerts are sent from real estate professionals to consumers. These consumers have enrolled in automatic notifications that inform new listings and updated listings (like price changes). It would truly be a beautiful thing if these listings alerts said something like “Based upon data from the MLS, this property is likely to sell in ____ days.” Click here to see market data that explains why. Let the race begin to develop this functionality. Here is my prediction. Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia will have this feature available to the public faster than any other company. Listingbook […]

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