August 2013

Join WAV Group for an informational webinar on advertising in an Association owned MLS! This webinar will feature a Q & A session with GLVAR, BNAR, and GEPAR – three leading Association-owned MLSs who have launched advertising programs to help generate non-dues revenue. If your Association or MLS is considering adding or modifying your advertising strategy, be sure to register today! You are encouraged to prepare questions and invite your leadership to attend this webinar as well. There is no fee for attendance but the capacity of the meeting room is limited to 1000. Register early to ensure your access. Date: September 12th, 2013 Time: 1 pm Eastern / 12 pm Central / 10 am Pacific [Please adjust for your time zone!]   Click here to register   Moderator: Victor Lund, WAV Group, Inc. Panelist:     Nelson Janes – CEO, GLVAR will discuss how advertising on their public website (http://homelasvegas.com/) funded a new website, along with an overview of feedback on the strategy from the perspective of the membership and the board of directors.     Linda Doane – Vice President and Publisher, BNAR and operator of the public site, 2FindYourHome.com will talk about how their print publication and online search site combine to compliment the advertising strategy. They have been particularly successful at attracting Brokers, Agents, and Homebuilders to advertise in their publication and on their website. Learn why members would rather purchase advertising from the Association than the newspaper or other magazine publications.       Jason Sanchez Jason Sanchez – Director of MLS and Technology, GEPAR. The GEPAR board of directors took a bold initiative by placing advertising in the MLS system. Sanchez will talk about the process of developing the strategy and the feedback from the membership.   Disclaimer: This webinar is sponsored by CoreLogic. The company launched a new advertising program called CoreLogic Real Estate Advertising Network (CREAN) in 2012. The webinar will not be providing any product information. Please contact your CoreLogic account manager or Todd Costigan (tcostigan@corelogic.com) if you would like information about their ad network. WAV Group and RE Technology do not endorse any product or service. We strongly encourage Brokers, Agents, MLSs and Associations to thoroughly investigate a variety of solutions before selecting a vendor for any service. For a complete list of suppliers of Advertising solutions, visit RETechnology.com

{ 0 comments }

Product Overview of BombBomb for Real Estate VMail

by Victor Lund on August 28, 2013

BombBomb is a video mail program. You can record yourself talking on your computer or mobile device and send that recording as an email. It is a streaming email, so you are not sending a large file. Beyond vMail, BombBomb allows you to vLog or video blog. You can publish the recordings you make in newsletters, on your blog, website, or social media page. Suffice it to say, once the video is created, you can ship it anywhere. Using BombBomb for the first time was quick and easy. I entered a little bit of profile information and was off creating my first video within less than a minute. However, there are a few areas where I believe there could be improvement. The good news is that they are all very fixable. Suggestion 1: Don’t Change My Password – When I registered it asked me for my password. In the registration email confirmation, there was a password which was system generated that I did not set up. Suggestion 2. Promote the Mobile App – I feel like vMail is something that is more impactful and more efficient on mobile. I would rather talk into my phone than try to type – especially when I am on the go. None of the registration pages or confirmation emails mentioned anything about support for iPhone, Android, or Windows Mobile. Fixing this is a simple matter of dropping in some icons and linking those icons to the application stores. Suggestion 3. Contact Sync – Once I set up my account, I would expect to be taken directly to add contacts. They do support uploading a CSV file – but agents will not do that unless they have a burning desire to adopt vMail or vlogging. Even those that do will be constantly challenged to keep contact records in both places. As a company that consults with enterprise business, I would tell you that without Gmail Contact Sync and Microsoft Exchange Sync, it would not be licensed for all agents. Again, this is not heavy lifting for any skilled development team, so I would expect that BombBomb may be able to add this functionality inside of a month or two. My guess about the reason that they do not do contact sync is because they bill by the number of contacts you add, which I believe is a mistake. I would counsel them to bill on […]

{ 8 comments }

More Brokers Offering More Services

by Victor Lund on August 26, 2013

WAV Group consults primarily with enterprise brokerages who offer full services. We frequently refer to full services as home services, not to be confused with the Berkshire Hathaway company of the same name. Home services refers to the variety of needs that a customer has during a real estate transaction and beyond. In residential real estate, this may take the form of Mortgage Services, Homeowners Insurance, Title Insurance, Home Warranty. Some residential companies even offer contractor services, maintenance services, landscaping services. Resort areas have brokers who offer concierge services where they will clean you home before and after your visit, even do some grocery shopping before you arrive. Beyond residential real estate, there are a plethora of other product lines offered by brokerages. They include relocation services, commercial sale and leasing services, property management services, etc. All of these full service companies often operate as separate corporations or joint ventures, principally to adhere to RESPA laws. Perhaps the best way to connect these operations together is through data sharing. The more information that you can share with a partner about the needs of a common client, the better level of service that consumer will get. “An interesting caveat to this trend is that many of the MLSs in the United States and Canada have not expanded their data services to support the broker’s need to handle property management data or commercial real estate lease and sales,” notes WAV Group partner Marilyn Wilson. There are some who have, but most MLSs buckle under the challenges of supporting business models that are different from the residential format for offers of compensation. WAV Group firmly believes that MLSs should step up and follow paths that other MLSs have made toward offerings for residential and commercial business lines that brokers have today. It is a great way for MLSs to grow in support of their clients. Marketing Technology provider, Imprev released an interesting study today that confirms that more brokerages are focusing on full service, which they refer to as “one stop shopping.” In a press release issued today, they note the following: From Imprev: According to a recent survey of top real estate executives by Imprev Inc. the “one-stop shop” is becoming the norm: A remarkable 75 percent of top real estate executives responding said their brokerage firms offer at least one major ancillary service; Mortgages are the No. 1 additional offering: 89 […]

{ 2 comments }

RE Technology Top 5 Articles of The Week

by Victor Lund on August 24, 2013

Each week, RE Technology publishes the top 5 most read articles. These articles may be republished by MLSs and Associations in newsletters or blogs for free. If you are not offering RE Technology as a member benefit, join more than 82 MLSs currently offering the service. There is never any charge. The top article of the week was submitted to RE Technology from listing syndication service provider Listhub, a product of MOVE, Inc. Agents Need To Leverage Marketing Remarks In The MLS More Effectively Since the information you enter in the MLS is the source of the marketing content that is ultimately displayed to consumers, shouldn’t we invest time and thought into what we enter here? Of course! When entering your listings in the MLS, get creative with how you present the property to prospective buyers to ensure that your listing stands out from the thousands of other properties online. Include high quality photos (not ones like this!), descriptions of the neighborhood, information about the local schools, etc. Is Facebook Advertising Worthwhile for Agents? Social media marketing – isn’t that an oxymoron?  Most real estate marketing consultants caution agents not to overly market themselves and their listings, to the exclusion of social posts, and they’re probably right. Facebook advertising, however, doesn’t happen on your business page, it occurs on everyone else’s Facebook pages. Promote Growth with Referral Incentives Referral incentives are a great way to encourage your existing clients and peers to bring new clients your way. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. It is an inexpensive way to promote your brand and create direct leads without exerting a lot of effort or cash. The key, of course, is promoting word of mouth referrals through your exisiting network. 5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings Right Now! It can be difficult to know where to start with SEO.  But, higher rankings almost always translate into more business, it’s important to start somewhere! Here are five things you can start working on to improve your rankings.   Choosing a Lockbox A lockbox can be so much more than a mere security and accessibility tool. It gathers valuable data that can be used to make important strategic decisions about your listings. By doing your research and being selective, you can unlock the possibilities of this new technology.

{ 0 comments }

QM QRM Shock Wave Set for January 1st

by Victor Lund on August 21, 2013

The National Associaton of REALTORS® and companies like Down Payment Resource have been sending information to real estate brokers for years now about the impact of QM and QRM in real estate. These new regulations are about to hit in January and they are are going to hurt. In all seriousness, I do not think that brokers or agents are prepared. The lending restrictions are going to impact the number of buyers who will qualify to purchase a home, significantly truncating demand. Moreover, the requirement that banks keep more loans in house will restrict lending capital to fund loans. QM – Qualified Mortgage. This federal regulation requires that the bar be raised to ensure a homebuyer’s ability to repay a loan. QRM – Qualified Residential Mortgage. This federal regulation addresses risk retention, requiring lenders to keep a certain percentage of mortgages on their books. Only loans meeting the QRM definition will be able to be sold in the secondary mortgage. The Impact: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that 25% of home buyers in 2011 would not have qualified for mortgage financing. What can you do about it? The federal government has put back stops in place to help people. There are abundant programs, some of which apply to the property and some of which apply to the buyer. The challenge is finding the right program that meets the needs of your buyer and the home they are purchasing. It is a complex matchmaking game. Edina Realty along with a number of leading MLSs have adopted Down Payment Resource as a service. They match properties and consumers with federal and state programs. They inspired this post. Here is what they released today. It is worth a read http://retechnology.com/news/press-releases/mortgage-finance-regulations-expected-to-increase-consumer-interest-in-homeownership-programs

{ 0 comments }

RE Technology Buying Guide

by Victor Lund on August 21, 2013

RE Technology published a Technology Buyers guide. Brokers, Associations, and MLS are welcome to pass it along to agents.  2013 Technology Guide! The 2013 Technology Guide provides information on leading technology companies and products, and is designed to assist real estate professionals in selecting the best technology solutions for their businesses. The guide is available in two formats–as a PDF for download and as a web based flip book. The web version offers extra functionality by giving users the option to create and download a custom version of the guide containing only the products that interest them most. Guide readers can select products from categories including CRMs, iPad, document and transaction management, eSignatures, lead generation, MLS systems and eCommerce, mobile, online marketing, and more. Use this guide to help schedule meetings for CMLS and NAR Annual! We’ve also written a series of articles to supplement the Technology Guide for those who need help getting started down the path to new technology! Check the links out below: Choosing a Back Office Solution Choosing an iPad App Choosing an IDX/VOW Choosing an Ad Network Choosing an Electronic Signature Solution Choosing a Document and Transaction Managment Solution

{ 0 comments }

MLS – It’s All About The Community by Carl DeMusz

by Victor Lund on August 19, 2013

If you know anything about the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) you know they are communities and they are better when they are more inclusive than exclusive. A more inclusive MLS will generally have more members, more listings to share with its members and more opportunities for those members to make sales. That makes members happy but it also makes their consumers happy. It would be hard to make the case that less members and less listing content would make an MLS better than a MLS with more members and more listing content looking at it from either the member or their client’s perspective. Therefore, we see more regional MLS’s in the country today than ever before and many smaller MLS’s are either merging or data sharing than in the past. The latest trend seems to be regional MLS’s merging, consolidating and or sharing data for the same reasons. Given those facts what could cause a merger or consolidation to fail? There are many possible reasons why some MLS’s do not manage to come together. Here is a short list of the most popular reasons I have heard in my 35 years in the business: It is not in the best interest of the Executive Officer Their governance does not match ours (broker control or agent control) and we like ours It is not in the best interest of the largest broker in one MLS (big fish in a small pond) It is not in the best interest of “special markets” (don’t want those people getting in my market) Our MLS Rules & Regulations don’t lineup with theirs and ours are better Why should we merge with those people up there? I don’t do business up there Our Board counts on MLS revenue to survive and we can’t cut any of it for this merger They are much larger than us and would swallow us up. We would have no say in decisions Why should we go with their vendor when we’ve had ours for 12 years with no problems Of course there are others but these are very common issues raised in an effort to kill a merger. In fact it is possible for an MLS to split for many of the same reasons. While this would be very rare, it has happened. Here in the Northern Ohio Regional MLS (NORMLS) we covered six counties in the Cleveland Ohio region. […]

{ 1 comment }

RE/MAX, One Step Closer To An IPO

by Marilyn Wilson on August 19, 2013

RE/MAX, one of the world’s leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services, today announced that it has publicly filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. According to the press release from the company, the RE/MAX brand name has held the number one market share in the U.S. and Canada since 1999. The timing, number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. RE/MAX intends to apply to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s interesting to see one of the industry’s largest brands trying to bump up its market power by going down the path to becoming a public company.  According to a letter sent to RE/MAX staff today, if the IPO occurs the company will have much deeper capital resources to fund new initiatives to continue to strengthen the RE/MAX brand.  While there were no specifics mentioned as to how the additional funds will be used it would make sense that the company would likely focus on continuing to strengthen its online presence as well as programs to strengthen their franchises’ business opportunities. The filing does NOT make RE/MAX a public company. It is the first step to achieving an IPO. Copies of the preliminary prospectus relating to the offering may be obtained, when available, from Morgan Stanley, Attention: Prospectus Department, 180 Varick Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10014, or telephone: 1-866-718-1649, or email: prospectus@morganstanley.com ; BofA Merrill Lynch, 222 Broadway, New York, NY 10038, Attn: Prospectus Department or email: dg.prospectus_requests@baml.com; or J.P. Morgan, Attention: Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717, or telephone: 1-866-803-9204. In case anyone was wondering if our industry is in a state of flux at the moment, this is another clear indicator that we’re entering a new phase. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.  

{ 0 comments }

Top 5 Ways to Become More Relevant with Consumer Research

by Marilyn Wilson on August 16, 2013

The real estate industry suffers from what I call the “lowest common denominator” phenomenon. Every one of the business models in the industry – associations, MLSs and brokerages are built on attracting and retaining as many agents as possible.   Many real estate entities collect monies every month from every participant – regardless of their productivity.  While these models each have their own reasons to exist, they have created a major problem in my view.  Real estate organizations are so busy attracting sales professionals that many ignore the needs of the most important group – the customer. It’s no wonder that the real estate industry focuses mainly on the needs of agents – every business model depends on them.  The problem is this focus has distracted us away from paying attention to the real drivers of the industry – consumers. We forget that without them we will have no business.   They decide what inventory levels will be available in a market. They decide when supply will exceed demand and when prices will increase because of a buying frenzy.  The economy sets the stage for buying behaviors, but consumers ultimately decide how healthy the real estate market is going to be. I believe it’s time for our industry to expand its focus beyond agents and start thinking about the needs of consumers.   When I say this in meetings, some people respond to me politely and say, “Yes, I get that the consumer is important, but ultimately my business depends on agents. I need to consider their needs first and foremost. If I don’t I will lose them and they will move to a different brokerage or they switch to a new association or worse yet, they may leave the REALTOR® family completely.” I really believe it’s time for us to get over this outdated perspective. Let’s look at what our ignorance of consumer needs has gotten us so far…..anybody remember the Zestimate?   The industry refused to share AVM’s with consumers so they found their solution somewhere else.   How about sold data? There are many MLSs today that refuse to share solds via their IDX feed because agents do not want them to. How crazy is that when solds are available on literally thousands of third party sites today? So how do we avoid the next major faux pas that opens up even more opportunities for every company EXCEPT those in organized real […]

{ 0 comments }

Call for MLS Technology Survey Participants

by Mike Audet on August 15, 2013

WAV Group will be fielding the third annual WAV Group MLS Technology survey in September.  We are inviting all MLSs to take part.  This is a free, non-sponsored survey we provide for the benefit of the industry.  The more participation we have the more valuable the data will be for everyone. There is no cost to participate. Each participating MLS will in turn receive three reports: National Results for all MLSs Your Vendor Specific Results (i.e., All results from users of MLXchange); Your MLS Member results in a system generated report Your MLS will receive the reports prior to the NAR national conference in November.  Survey Objectives The objective of the annual MLS Technology Survey is to provide a high level comparative satisfaction rating of the MLS technology used in our industry. The report will also provide you trending information from year to year in regards to this technology.  Surveys should never be the basis for choosing a MLS vendor and system but should be used as part of your overall due diligence and strategic planning. Survey Design In 2012 we had over 75 MLSs participating with over 15,000 agents completing surveys.  In 2013 we expect to have even more participants.  The WAV Group survey, from its inception, has always measured both staff ratings and user ratings. Staff MLS Ratings: Your MLS staff work with vendors and systems on a completely different level than the general members.  Staff insight is crucial to understanding how vendors are to work with, how quickly they respond to issues, how well they provide general support, and how they respond to feature requests. Member MLS Ratings: Members, will rate the MLS system on usability, and the features and functions they use every day in their real estate practice.  Our survey only collects ratings from those that use the specific features and functions being rated and all questions in the survey are role appropriate. Choosing a MLS Vendor and System Reviewing MLS vendor options is a complex process.  Surveys are a valuable tool to be used as one component in the process, however, they should never be used as the sole basis for making a vendor selection. WAV Group assists MLSs each year in evaluating MLS technology from a full RFP process to Technology Updates.  If you would like more information on our MLS technology evaluation and selection processes please contact us at mailto:mike@wavgroup.com or call […]

{ 0 comments }

Revenue Generation Emerges in MLS strategy

by Victor Lund on August 14, 2013

MLSs are for profit entities. They have investors and a board of directors and have a stated goal of providing returns. Normally, the investors in the MLS are the Associations of REALTORS® or brokers that put up the initial funding for the MLS. The MLS was the natural extension of sharing property listings between real estate professionals pre-dating the founding of NAR. When printed listings were replaced by the electronic MLS, the business model, payment per month by members continued. That model still exists today and is in line with how software as a service (SaaS) is typically delivered across all enterprises. MLSs have a choice each time they add a new service. They may supply the new service as a component of monthly subscription fees, or allow agents to pay for it a la carte. There is a current debate today between Agents, Brokers, MLSs, and Associations about what is included in subscription fees and what is not. Some MLS constituents want the MLS to provide a robust and comprehensive suite of services – MLS, Tax, CMA, CRM, Listing Syndication, Agent Website, Lead Management, Marketing through an MLS consumer site, , Virtual Tour, Appointment Software, Lockbox, eSignature, Transaction Management, Document Management, Forms Management, Data Licensing, Newsletter Marketing, Demographic Data, Market Data, AVMs, Market share data, Training, Reverse Prospecting, MLS Security and Single Sign-on, WalkScore, Custom Reports and Property Flyer Maker, Floor Plan software, Data Checking software, Data Sharing with other MLSs, Photography services, Foreign language support, Data Feeds to agent and broker technology vendors, school data, sign riders, and agent ratings. That was the best I could do at picking categories – there were 38 in all – and all of these services cost dollars rather than pennies. Here is the debate. Many large brokers who contribute the most revenue to the MLS do not want the MLS to add services that duplicate tools they already provide to their agents. They call this practice – “leveling the playing field.” From the list above, aside from MLS, Tax, and lockbox – most large brokers offer these services. They offer these services to their agents for a number of reasons, including recruiting, retention, and to differentiate their services to the consumer. If the MLS offers the service, the broker and its agents are compelled to pay for them, and the broker still carries the financial burden of duplicating the services for […]

{ 0 comments }

Top Digital Budgeting Mistakes Brokers Make

by Victor Lund on August 14, 2013

As summer draws to a close and fall sets upon us, it is incumbent upon all businesses to build their budgets for 2014. The old adage rings true, failure to plan is a plan to fail. Too many brokerages in America are guilty of this. Here are a few tips that will improve the planning process in your company. It is a good idea to print this out and provide it to your team as a reminder.   Look at data first. Many brokerages fail to take a close look at the effectiveness of digital marketing programs. Dig deeply into your reports and look for performance and performance trends. Google Analytics will help you determine partners that send you traffic and those that do not. Contrast that with leads by lead source. Also, look carefully for changes in performance as partners grow or shrink. Contrast performance with pricing. Get proposals from everyone for annual benchmarking. Most online portals grew revenue in 2013 as a result of raising prices, not expanding their customer base. Plan by department. Many WAV Group broker clients operate more than just residential brokerages. They operate commercial departments, relocation departments, mortgage companies, insurance companies, and title companies. All too often, these companies are not planning their media buying together to leverage discounts and to cross advertise. Consumer’s appreciate full service, one stop shopping. Be sure you communicate that in your marketing. Make adjustments. Too many brokers set a plan and forget it. It is wise to build in a construct for monthly reporting and success management. The reporting will help you to identify when programs are not being executed correctly, or when program changes are impacting your expected outcomes. For example, data feeds break or sites change their layouts in a way that impacts your performance. Furthermore, new programs with existing partners emerge. You may not need to have monthly review meetings, but quarterly review meetings are advisable. It is also an interesting practice to share your results with your partners. If Trulia is crushing Zillow in traffic and leads, let Zillow know. Monitor competitors and stray from the pack. Resist the temptation to copy your competitors. If your competitor is focused on the newspaper or a particular portal, focus your efforts on something else. This will allow you tooptimize your partnership elsewhere and differentiate your marketing for agent recruiting and seller presentations. Don’t be trendy. For […]

{ 0 comments }

Improving Second Tier Help Desk Performance

by Victor Lund on August 13, 2013

The Help Desk experience has been a cornerstone of innovation in business over the past decade. An enormous amount of investment has been placed on every corner of allowing consumers to help themselves. WAV Group routinely consults with enterprise brokers, MLSs, and large real estate technology companies on streamlining help desk to improve customer service and reduce costs. We have developed a new paradigm around encouraging self-help that you may want to consider. The customer who uses automated self-help tools like product FAQs and video before calling for support is normally the most dissatisfied customer. About the self-helper The self-helper is someone who dreads calling in and being placed on hold. This is a person who has a high degree of self-confidence in their ability to learn how to work through problems and is handy at configuring software. They understand how computers, software, and the Internet work. The broken first-tier experience We have all had help desk experiences. The routine is always the same. You call the support line and you wait in a queue. You are directed to first tier support. This person walks you through the FAQs that are on the self-help menu. For the self-helper, this is a huge burden as they may have performed these activities multiple times before calling in. This is a significant point of frustration that typically turns the customer irate and burdens your first tier support to run through exercises that have already been performed by the customer. After exhausting the first tier support routines, the customer is placed into the second tier support queue to start all over. The direct to second-tier experience Advanced call centers are crafting a direct to second-tier paradigm for users who go through the self help routines before calling in. They effectively skip the first-tier experience, sit in shorter queues, and are supported by more experienced support staff. The Results Companies who have deployed these second-tier direct solutions have increased the number of users who try to help themselves before calling for support. Their overall help desk calls have been reduced. Satisfaction with second-tier support calls has increased. An extra tip Your advanced self-help user is pretty cleaver. Once they get ahold of the tier 2 support phone number, they will use it. So you need to hide it. You should use a call back solution or generate a unique case pin number once the user […]

{ 0 comments }

Leads are for Losers!

by Victor Lund on August 13, 2013

If America’s real estate agents and brokers had to build their business on online leads, they would be out of business. On all accounts, online marketing and lead generation tactics over the past decade have left brokerages with lighter wallets and little to show for it. Recently, the world’s largest real estate organization, REALOGY posted that they had generated 1.56 Million leads over the past 6 months for 239,000 agents. It is not really fair to double that number and annualize it to 3 million per year because November through January is a pathetic lead generation period. Regardless, even at 3 million leads per year, that equates to about 1 lead per agent per month. Consider the millions of dollars that piled into generating those leads and you will soon observe that this is an ill-fated strategy for real estate. Consider the broad and recurring observation that fewer than 50% of those leads are ever responded to and you track toward a keener understanding of the effectiveness of online marketing. Move down the funnel even further and look at the lead to close ratio of 100 to 1 and you begin to realize just how off track our industry has become. Online marketing is a drag on brokerage and franchise resources and does not provide ROI for outcomes. Don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe that consumers should have access to real estate listing information online. I strongly believe that the source of that information should be based upon MLS data (accurate, timely, detailed). I strongly believe that behind every listing should be a responsive and informed professional real estate agent. There is no doubt that the purpose behind online marketing is seller driven. Sellers believe the hype that online marketing sells real estate. Somehow, our industry has failed to promote the MLS, and cooperation among real estate brokers as the true source of generating maximum exposure for property marketing. Why aren’t we publishing seller reports about the number of times a listing appeared in an MLS search result? Why aren’t we publishing seller reports about the number of times a listing detail page was viewed in the MLS? Why aren’t we publishing the number of times an agent, representing a buyer, inquired about a listing? Why aren’t we publishing the number of times a property has been emailed to buyers from the MLS system? Brokers are failing to communicate […]

{ 2 comments }

If the real estate technology industry had an Old Boys club, Andy Rapattoni and Rex Marr would most certainly be founding members. They have each contributed their life’s work to the advancement of our industry. WAV Group would hope that you will join us in congratulating these industry pioneers and leaders on the celebration of their 45th year in our industry. Below is the announcement. Rather than clog up their email with congratulations, consider sharing a note on Facebook: Here is a link to their company page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rapattoni-Corporation/374152779313159 SIMI VALLEY, Calif., August 13, 2013 – Rapattoni Corporation (Rapattoni), a leader in software and services for the real estate industry, announced today that industry veterans Andy Rapattoni and Rex Marr celebrate 45 years vending MLS and association management systems to the real estate industry this August, 2013. Andy Rapattoni, President and CEO of Rapattoni, recalled, “Rex and I have known each other since August of 1968, when we both went to work for Realtron in Michigan, the first computer MLS system in the country. Rex joined Realtron just three days after I did so I beat him by just a bit. I left Realtron in 1970 to form Rapattoni Corporation and I was thrilled to have Rex join us in May of 2004. It’s been a great ride with many changes in 45 years and I’m bringing up a new generation to carry on the traditions at Rapattoni.” Rex Marr, sales representative at Rapattoni, added, “Yep, we started the same week in the business back in 1968. I worked for Realtron for over 30 years and was the vice president of Realtron for 21 years before it was purchased and became Interealty; and I was with Supra four years after that before joining Rapattoni in 2004. Boy, I’ve been to a lot of conferences and expos in 45 years and met a lot of wonderful people. It has been very gratifying to be involved with Rapattoni for almost ten years and be part of its contributions to the industry.” Ralph Hoover, Senior Vice President and COO of Rapattoni, remarked, “Having two icons in the industry mentor the team at Rapattoni is like getting a doctorate degree in industry history. Rex is still actively involved in all of the sales activities and national events. Andy oversees the company and the many exciting things we are putting together for the future.” About Rapattoni Rapattoni […]

{ 0 comments }

FBI Overstates Mortgage Fraud

by Victor Lund on August 12, 2013

President Obama’s administration released a report from a year long mortgage fraud initiative conducted by the FBI. This probably hits home with many MLS who have been cooperating with FBI investigators who are using MLS data to detect potential fraud. Sadly, the report was found to be way, way out of line, overstating the scope of the problem by significant margin. According to the initial report, the FBI indicated that they had criminally charged 530 people. The restated report indicated that they only charged 107 people. According to he initial report, the FBI indicated that total losses from the fraud were estimated at $1 Billion. The restated report indicated that the total losses were about $97 million. According to the initial report, the FBI indicated that the total number of victims were 73,000. The restated number of victims was 17,185. Here is the even better part. In 2011, the FBI indicated that fraud was $10 Billion!  View the release here http://waves.wavgroup.com/2011/08/12/fbi-targets-realtors/ There is an interesting back story to the restated report. As many MLSs may recall, the initial mortgage fraud program was conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Obama administration moved the mission to the FBI. When the report was released, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was shocked. They knew the low frequency of fraud they had uncovered, so they fact checked the FBI report and found the errors. Apparently, the original FBI report issued was based upon a “survey” rather than a count. “Please be sure to update any online materials posted by your agencies to reflect these changes,” the FBI told the other agencies in the memo. I hope everyone got the memo. Bloomberg put out a nice story on this. Many thanks to Phil Mattingly http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-09/u-s-mortgage-group-forced-to-correct-initiative-stats.html

{ 0 comments }

POSITION TITLE:  Director of Broker Sales REPORTS TO:  Chief Executive Officer Opportunity Immobel is seeking to hire a seasoned real estate technology sales professional for the position of Director of Broker Sales to generate new broker customers for the company.  The successful candidate will have proven success selling web and technology solutions to large brokers.  They will also bring a robust database of engaged brokers they can tap into. Since Immobel helps brokers expand their presence Internationally, the ideal candidate will have experience selling to luxury brokers that already understand the importance of the International market. They will also be able to evangelize the importance of the International market with data and information provided by Immobel.  They will have strong experience generating new business contacts from the trade show floor of broker trade shows like Century 21, ERA, Coldwell Banker and others. The successful candidate will have proven skills in prospecting and cold-calling potential new broker clients throughout the country. They will also have a strong track record in closing a significant number of their clients within a reasonable timeframe.  They will be adept at working with CRM solutions like Salesforce.com and will be comfortable providing regular updates on the status of the sales program. They will be proactive in suggesting new sales programs as well as feeding new ideas to the company based on customer feedback. ORGANIZATIONAL DESCRIPTION: Immobel invented the concept of global real estate marketing more than 12 years ago. The company is the leading provider of global real estate marketing services in the industry.   Immobel has invested over 12,000 man-hours in building the most robust and reliable global marketing platform available. Progressive broker organizations around North America have partnered with Immobel to provide an opportunity for their agents to market their properties globally and attract buyers that speak in over 25 languages.  Since top producers that focus on the International market generate 50% more revenue than those that don’t, many brokers are very interested in global marketing expansion. In addition to the broker products, the company also offers an agent self-serve product. This site called RealBuzz is ranked  #1, 2 or 3 on International search engines.  This has helped the company create a robust and profitable agent product as well, which has become an important focus for the company. SPECIFIC DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Director of Sales Responsible for prospecting daily to significantly expand the sales funnel […]

{ 0 comments }

Trulia To Collect More Agent Data

by Victor Lund on August 5, 2013

To optimize your online effectiveness in the real estate business, you need to think strategically. This is the kind of strategic thinking that WAV Group works with brokers and franchises on every day. When a company that does a great job at online marketing and search engine optimization focuses on a strategy like enhancing agent information, we pay attention. Typically, when Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, or homes.com makes a change, it is with intent to find improvement. It’s the way everyone should think. Why Agent Profiles Are Important When consumers search, they use keywords. In our broker website effectiveness study, we learned that most consumer keyword searches that direct them to broker websites involve the company name or the agent name. A robust agent profile increases the likelihood of a consumer selecting an agent. If you have not Googled your broker name or agent name in awhile, you should do so, and look at the results. Broker Name Keyword Search Trends Brokerage Name keywords generally display the brokerage website at the top of the list. If they are a franchise, the franchise page for the brokerage tends to follow, then it becomes a bit random from there. Yellow pages, Yelp, and a host of other sites are fighting for top slots. *The only portal that I recognized in my sampling of brokerage searches was homefinder.com. They build company landing pages on their site for brokerages that seem to get indexed quite well. Agent Name Keyword Search Trends Agent name keyword searches yield different results. If the agent has a website that uses their name, that is typically the top result. Beneath that, you will typically find social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Yelp, etc. Beneath that, you may find the broker website or the franchise website. *Today, my testing did not yield any portals who display on the first page of Google search results for any of the names I tested (20 top producers from around the county). Why Should You Care? In 2008, if you used Google to search for a property address of a home for sale, Realtor.com, a franchise website, or the broker website appeared at the top of the search results. Today, broker websites rarely appear on the first page of Google for an address search at all. When you do see a broker, it is Redfin, ZipRealty, Wiechert, or a few of the mega brokers like Long […]

{ 0 comments }

Not All eSignature Platforms are Created Equal Webinar

by Marilyn Wilson on August 5, 2013

Screen shot 2012-03-20 at 11.00.39 AM

Are your electronically signed documents compliant with the laws governing electronic signatures? If you’re not sure, you MUST attend this webinar. While using eSignatures comes with many benefits such as saving the time, money and hassle of driving around town to obtain a signature it also requires that agents, brokers and MLSs be thoughtful about their choice of providers. In this webinar, you will hear from eSignature providers DocuSign and Authentisign, along with Russ Bergeron of MRED, on best practices, what you need to know and how important it is to do your homework. Not all eSignature solutions are the same. Date: Thursday August 8th, 2013 Time: 1 pm Eastern / 12 pm Central / 10 am Pacific [Please adjust for your time zone!]     Moderator: Marilyn Wilson, WAV Group, Inc. Speakers: Tom Gonser, Chief Strategy Officer, DocuSign, Inc. Martin Scrocchi, CEO, Authentisign Russ Bergeron, President, MRED  

{ 0 comments }

1 plus 1 Equals Video

by Victor Lund on August 1, 2013

Doing research like our 2013 Broker Website Effectiveness Study (BWES) helps WAV Group identify and measure a multitude of strategies that brokers may deploy to improve their online performance. One key trend today that is working very well is video. I am not sure how long video will help brokers gain an edge, but today it works. Some of the facts we gathered in the BWES included that Google is the #1 search engine by a significant margin, capturing 75% of all search traffic (see image) If you combine the predominance Google with an understanding of how search results are displayed, you recognize that for every keyword search, Google attempts to display a video search result above the page on the first page of results (see image insert). This has been a keynote strategy that we have long appreciated with virtual tours. Today, virtual tours by most vendors are automated. They rely on data feeds from the MLS or Listhub to acquire the data ingredients, including photos that are stitched together, price, description, etc. In many ways, the information found on a virtual tour webpage today is a comprehensive IDX display. Turn every virtual tour into a video and leverage it! Here are 4 tips for your virtual tour solution. Dynamically publish the tours to Facebook, Twitter, and to YouTube. Do not let your virtual tour provider syndicate Include the virtual tour link in your Listhub, Point2, or other broker listing feed to portals. Make sure that the URL of the virtual tour (both branded and unbranded) resolves on your domain name e.g.virtualtour.brokerdomain.com/brokername/agentname/property address rather than on the virtual tour provider’s domain name e.g.:realbiz360.com/MLSnumber (By the way, realbiz360 constructs the domain names correctly – do not infer anything from the example). New thinking: 1 plus 1 equals video If consumers like video and google indexes video, why aren’t brokers converting every MLS listing to video? A progressive IDX solution should display video rather than images – or both. Here is another hidden benefit. Video cannot be scraped. That means that a broker’s data would be protected. About the Author Victor Lund is a founding partner of WAV Group Consulting along with Marilyn Wilson and Mike Audet. WAV Group provides strategic business consulting services to enterprise real estate brokerages, Multiple Listing Service providers, REALTOR® Associations, and real estate technology companies. Victor Lund is also the Chief Executive Officer of RETechnology.com, the […]

{ 0 comments }