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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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!
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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!
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 […]
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 […]