2014

Spending Over $60K Per Month on Zillow

by Victor Lund on December 23, 2014

It is not very hard to find out who Zillow’s top customers are. Just visit the website and look at theAgent Reviews section. One of those top customers is Samer Kuraishi Group from the Washington, D.C. area. Samer is a second generation real estate agent. The brokerage, A-K Real Estate, Inc. (“A-K”) is a boutique 40 agent firm, located about two blocks from the White House, that was founded by his father. Together, they have grown the company significantly, supporting consumers in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Much of the company’s growth has happened over the past few years and was driven by advertising on Zillow. Samer indicated that the company did about $49M in 2012 when they first started buying advertising on Zillow. This year, Samer is expecting to do $27M+ personally and he expects to hit $150 million total in 2014 which is up about 50% from 2013 $101M in sales. Samer is purchasing Zip Code marketing on Zillow at a rate of about $60k+ per month. That is more than most brokerage firms. For that, Samer is guaranteed around 700,000 consumer impressions per month on Zillow. In truth, Zillow typically over-delivers on the contracted minimum impressions, so his actual impressions are over 1.2 million per month. That is a lot of online advertising. Most of his leads come from his group profile page. When Zillow markets its advertising impressions, it does so by creating a market value of those impressions by zip code. Some zip codes may be as low as $25 per thousand impressions. On the high side, the cost per 1000 impressions (CPM) can be over $100. Many markets seem to average about $50 CPM, and lots of markets around the nation are sold-out and have a waiting list. Samer even owns zip codes where he does not typically provide services, just to build his portfolio. Today, Samer owns 110 to 115 zip codes on the Zillow site, but he refers some of the generated business to local agents, whom he trusts. For $60k+ per month, Samer receives a little more than 700 leads per month. Additionally, Samer invests in other portals and has a technology partnership with Virtual Results for his website. He has a full suite of technology solutions that he admittedly built through trial and error. But Samer says that he has everything wired the way he likes it today. “I have a […]

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Your Communications Plan: An Editorial Calendar for 2015

by Kevin Hawkins on December 22, 2014

Real Estate has a problem when it comes to editorial calendars. We are an industry that often stares at the wall wondering what consumers want to know. It is really not that hard to craft a meaningful story to get pick up in your local newspaper or lead to a local radio or television interview. You just need a roadmap. This list was created by scouring the headlines from leading journalists to see what they were writing about. The best news (pun intended) lay in the data and that data is only an MLS search away. 25 headlines to make your own: Homes with views Top commuter communities Update on the housing recovery Housing affordability report for [month] in [local market]ds Home sales volume report for [month] in [local market] Top local housing trends you need to know Secrets of property search for [local market] Area real estate value grew/lost $Billion last month Signs you hired a great real estate agent Thousands of homeowners see value increase/decrease in homes See the most expensive homes for sale Hottest neighborhoods in 2015 [Seller/Buyer name] sells/buys $$$, most expensive home last month Shopping for a home? What’s open this weekend Foreclosure activity increases/decreases in [local market] Median home prices increase/decrease in [local market] Negotiating a low price on a home: What’s the list-to-sell ratio? Best bargains in town Home price appreciation slows/gains Homes for $ or less, [local market] median price What does the average home in [local market] look like? Lowest priced housing in area Rent vs. buy Buying an energy efficient home Flood zone housing Having a great title is the easiest way to start. Add a number to one of these and give it even more punch: Top 5 local housing trends or Top 4 commuter communities. Take these 25 headlines and you are well on your way to publishing a news release every two weeks. Keep in mind these 4 tips to a great news release: Make it local: Local data, local quotes means local pick up. The length of your story needs ideally is between 300 and 600 words. Don’t go cheap when hiring a writer. Most professional writers charge between $1 and $2 per word. Good things aren’t cheap and cheap things aren’t good. Put it on a paid wire: Marketwired, PRNewswire, Globenewswire or PRWeb are worth the investment, so budget a least $500 for a paid wire […]

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News Corp Announces New Leadership At Move, Inc.

by THE WAV GROUP on December 18, 2014

Ryan O’Hara Named CEO New York, NY (December 17, 2014) – News Corp announced today that Ryan O’Hara will become Chief Executive Officer of Move, Inc. (“Move”), effective January 5, 2015. Mr. O’Hara will replace CEO Steven Berkowitz, who has led the company since January 2009. News Corp acquired Move, a leading provider of online real estate services, including realtor.com®, last month. “We are excited to have secured Ryan O’Hara to take the helm at Move, given his record of transforming businesses in the digital age and his clear determination to accelerate the growth of the company. We are also extremely grateful to Steve Berkowitz for his years of astute and principled leadership, during which period he secured greater operating flexibility for the business and put the company on a solid growth trajectory,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “Ryan’s experience in the digital media and entertainment industry and his deft management skills will be invaluable assets as we pursue the rapid expansion of Move in this era of exponential change. We believe he has the ability to leverage the relationship with our existing US media properties to the benefit of all and to make the most of the significant expertise at REA, our majority-owned, notably successful and still growing digital property site in Australia.” “Ryan will begin at Move in the first week of January, when we will also be rolling out a broad-based marketing campaign across The Wall Street Journal Digital Network to drive quality traffic to realtor.com®,” said Mr. Thomson. “He also looks forward to working closely with the National Association of Realtors®, a key and crucial partner of Move, knowing that Realtors® are at the heart of American real estate transactions.” Mr. O’Hara most recently served as a President at the Madison Square Garden Company, leading the MSG Media, technology and marketing partnership divisions. He previously was President and CEO of The Topps Company, a leading entertainment trading card and consumer products business. During his time at Topps, Mr. O’Hara grew market share, formed key partnerships with major sports leagues and player associations, and expanded the business digitally and globally. Before Topps, Mr. O’Hara was with several News Corporation businesses, including Gemstar TV Guide International/TV Guide Company from 2002 to 2010, the last five years as President of the TV Guide network and several digital businesses. He led the TV Guide network’s transformation from […]

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What’s Your Big Idea?

by Victor Lund on December 18, 2014

Our lives become intense at this time of year. As the door closes on 2014, we are consumed with things undone, like holiday shopping. We also consider the goals that we expected to reach, and the number of days to reach them. If you are thinking about your next big idea for 2015, it is a good time to build some lists and to get rid of clutter. It took me a few years, but I finally learned to leverage the Notes feature on my Apple devices. Unlike paper, I have them with me most of the time and can open up my list on my phone, ipad, or laptop. I find myself adding notes in-between things, like meetings, stop lights, elevators, or flights. Some of my notes are to-dos, others are things to ponder, business ideas, things I want to do for my family, or any other note I need. I get up a little earlier this time of year to take a look at that list and see what I can accomplish. This time of year that I also find myself to be more liberal than usual at simply deleting things that I can never build up the energy or courage to do. Without a burning desire, many things are not worth doing. If you spend much time around me, you know that I tend to divide things into two categories I call painkillers or vitamins. If you are keeping your list, you may want to consider doing the same. A painkiller is something that you must have. A vitamin is something that is nice to have. Focus on the painkillers first. It’s only human to do so. Having a long list of vitamins is a symptom of taking on too much, and possibly focusing on the wrong things. It is difficult not to think about sacrifice this time of year. It is a major theme of the holiday season that is curiously juxtaposed against a gluttonous abundance of celebration and gift giving. As you look at your list, try to find things that you can sacrifice. Sacrifice is interesting because you learn how easily it is to go without many of the things you hold sacred. There is a peace that is found in minimalism that few of us ever realize except in small ways. Clean out your inbox. Try as I may throughout the year, it […]

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I have to tell you that every time I think about the MLS Policy Meeting at this year’s NAR Conference in New Orleans, it puts a big smile on my face.  For the first time that I’ve witnessed, four important, but fundamental changes were made to the IDX policy with absolutely UNIVERSAL acceptance.   Brokers, MLS Executives, Associations and Technology Companies also spoke from one voice about the relevance and importance of the changes that were proposed and approved. Check out my blog post from a few weeks ago to see the details about what was approved at that time.  In a nutshell there were four new policies adopted: ·      Adopting the RESO Data Dictionary and offering an API by January, 2016 ·      Allowing co-mingling of data among multiple MLSs on one broker site ·      Requiring data be updated every 12 hours instead of every 3 days as the previous policy stated ·      Requiring each MLS to offer brokers the ability to include solds in their IDX feed as desired; an exemption of this rule were included for non-disclosure states Now that we’ve proven as an industry that we CAN actually work together to get things done, we don’t want to lose the momentum. There are still several more areas of opportunity for brokers, MLSs and technology companies to work together to strengthen a broker’s ability to attract and engage potential customers on their websites. Just to catch you up quickly if you haven’t followed the story, Pam O’Connor, CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World engaged the WAV Group to help work with her organization’s TAC (Technology Advisory Council) to come up with practical suggestions about how to help make IDX feeds work harder for brokers that use them.  Below are the remaining areas of opportunity that were outlined.   I would love your input to help us prioritize the next round of IDX policy enhancements that we should focus on. In the wise words of Henry Ford,  “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”  Let me know what you think. The remaining areas to be addressed as outlined by LeadingRE brokers are outlined below. The policy suggestions center around three overarching tenets to the suggestions we are making:  Consistency, Timeliness and Flexibility.  Below are excerpts from the letter that was sent to the MLS Issues and Policy Committee for consideration: Consistency: While we […]

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Time for WAV Group’s MLS Technology Survey

by THE WAV GROUP on December 18, 2014

WAV Group would like to invite you and your MLS to participate in the fourth annual WAV Group MLS Technology Survey. This is a free, non-sponsored survey we provide for the benefit of the industry.  The more participation we have, the more accurate and valuable the findings will be for everyone. In 2013 we had over 75 MLSs participating with over 15,000 agents completing surveys. With your help, we will surpass that number this year. We are modifying the approach to the survey process. This year we will be fielding the survey in two stages for the purpose of saving the valuable time of your staff and members. The first survey is for you and your staff. The second is for your subscribers. The objective of the annual MLS Technology Survey is to provide high-level comparative satisfaction ratings of the MLS technology used in our industry as well as trending information from year to year, in regards to this technology.  It can also help educate MLS selection committees about MLS systems available today. Combined, the two surveys will provide a more comprehensive measure of the tools delivered by the nation’s leading MLS organizations. There is no cost to participate. Each participating MLS will in turn receive three reports: National Results for all MLSs Your Vendor Specific Results Your MLS Member results in a system generated report 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 and its many components. Your staff is very important to making the results as valuable as possible for all of us and we hope to have your participation To include your MLS in the survey, email jenna@wavgroup.com. Feel free to reach out with any questions about the survey or WAV Group research. By Jenna Woodruff

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As we end 2014 now is a great time to sit back and reflect on the best ways to help prepare your organization for the inevitable evolutions and revolutions we may experience next year. Do you sometimes feel like your Board of Directors and key staff are out of touch with what’s really happening in the real estate industry today? Do you sometimes feel a bit isolated and would like to know if other organizations are facing the same challenges you are? Is your organization suffering from stifled and cumbersome decision-making? Here’s what can happen when an organization is out of touch. They can delay decisions because they seem difficult or controversial causing the organization to fall behind or lose its competitive advantage. Instead of responding to the waves of change, organizations can be torn apart by the jaws of defeat. MLSs and Boards that do not stay close to trends can enforce outdated rules and regulations that hinder member success. They can make decisions in isolation of the needs of home buyers and sellers weakening the relationship of their members with the buying public. Worst of all, a Board of Directors that does not stay in touch may not even know it is out of touch if it does not reach out beyond its local community to see where the real estate industry is going. When conducting strategic plans we hear from brokers and board members that their organization is out of touch with today’s reality. So how do you get your board in touch? You can pay thousands of dollars for several of your board members to attend industry events. Many of these events can be very valuable for the content that is presented and the networking and peer to peer learning. The CMLS conference and the AEI conference are two great opportunities for MLSs and Associations to get in touch. WAV Group is now offering another method for staying in touch with trends and learning from progressive MLSs and Associations around North America. We call it the WAVes of Change™ Series. This exciting new online program allows every one of your Board members and department heads to keep in touch on the ever-changing trends in our business WITHOUT leaving home. This quarterly live webinar will include exclusive, early looks at WAV Group research as well as the ability to learn from industry experts about technology trends, consumer […]

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There Will Be No Gifts This Year

by Victor Lund on December 17, 2014

Every year, WAV Group and RE Technology have adopted a family at Christmas. This year is no different. However, we have elected to take on a huge family that really needs a lot of help. This year, we are helping out a mother of four who has been living with an abusive drug addict. There is a boy age 1. There is a boy age 4. There is a boy age 6. There is a girl age 16. We learn very little about the families we help each year. We just know that we have helped someone. Our local CASA is part of a National CASA network of more than 1,050 programs across America. The program we are supporting is Casa of San Luis Obispo County. The organization is almost fully volunteer. Most of the time these mothers escape their circumstances with little more than a backpack. They have nothing. It is sobering to learn that nearly 20% of all foster children in the United States are here in California. In some way, we hope that our efforts will keep this family together.

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Using your brand to build relevance for your MLS organization

by Marilyn Wilson on December 17, 2014

I can’t tell you the number of times I have asked an agent what MLS they belong to and they tell me “Paragon”, or “Rapattoni” or “Matrix”.   They don’t even know the name of the MLS organization they belong to. How can you build value in your brand if your customers literally do not know even know your name? Some of the best organizations like TheMLS/CLAW have taken the time to create a naming convention.   First of all, check out this amazing list of products and services they offer to their members. Pretty impressive. Next I would like to draw your eye to the names of the products they offer. While not every product they offer has been re-branded, a large percentage of them have. So what can consistent branding do for you? First, it reminds your customers of the breadth of services you offer. It’s much easier for them to remember THEMLS Mobile App and THEMLS Document Manager, than it is the individual names like most MLSs offer.   Every time they use a product, they remember that it is coming from their MLS organization. This helps reinforce the value that you deliver to them every time they use one of your products. Second, it helps them understand that their MLS organization offers them a lot more than an MLS system. Many MLSs offer a suite of products that the bulk of their members are not even aware they offer! We just completed a customer satisfaction survey for one of our clients. One, by the way, that has a highly skilled marketing team. Even with a variety of communication tools in place and regular outbound communications 2/3 of their customer were not even aware of many of their products.   Using a consistent name can help them associate every product you offer with your brand. Third, it puts an ownness on the MLS organization ONLY to offer products that the company is WILLING to put their name on. It gives each MLS an additional method to evaluate the relevance and value of a solution before offering it to their members. If an MLS is NOT willing to put their name on it, then they probably should not offer it to their members at all. Finally, on a practical note, it makes it much easier to roll-out and promote new products. Your marketing team builds one look and feel and then every […]

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Are you delivering customer service or lip service?

by Kevin Hawkins on December 17, 2014

[Part 1 of 2] I have a theory: Customer service provided by most technology companies sucks. Ask yourself when was the last time you told someone or posted something on Facebook about a great customer service experience from any technology company with a first letter other than “A” (Apple, Amazon don’t count). Better yet: When have you ever posted a rave review about your customer service experience with a real estate technology company? Or a vertical technology company for any industry? My guess is that’s as rare as rain in the Sahara. Yet how many tech firms tout publically that are “customer centric,” or they have a “customer-first culture,” or some variation on this theme? I don’t think we are getting customer service today from the vast majority of players in this industry; I believe what we are getting is a lot of lip service. Maybe my standard is too high of what I consider to be good customer service. But don’t blame me, blame my father. My dad was in the hotel business for 43 years before he retired: As a manager at the Fontainebleau Hilton on Miami Beach, the W on Michigan Ave in Chicago, and the Whittier Hotel on Lake Michigan in Detroit. He cut his teeth working at several iconic places, including a resort in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York, where he ran errands for Errol Flynn, the hottest movie star of his day. Dad started his career as a bellboy at the old Hollywood Beach Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. It was in the 1930s and “land was going for $1 an acre,” he used to tell me. Before I could ask why he didn’t buy a bunch of land, he immediately followed that statement with “but I was young and dumb and didn’t know any better, or I could have made a fortune!” The one thing my dad did know more about than anyone I ever met was customer service: He lived it 24-7, from the day he put on a hotel uniform, until the day he hung up his tie. He taught me my first customer service lesson when I went to work for him as a messenger at the Fontainebleau when I was 15 years old. He said, “Son, here’s the secret to success in the hotel business: Treat everyone as if the were a King or a Queen, it’s that simple.” […]

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Automate Your Business with zipForm® Plus and Zapier

by Victor Lund on November 26, 2014

Most people have heard the devil is in the details, and to achieve success, the goal is to eliminate that devil. For real estate professionals these smaller details, like keeping address books synchronized, can become a large nuisance. To help with this zipForm® Plus has integrated with Zapier. Zapier specializes in connecting web applications utilizing ‘If This – Then That’ automation. This enables anyone with basic knowledge of multiple applications to easily connect them by defining a trigger, the ‘If This’, that causes an action, the ‘Then That’. Currently 360+ of the most common applications are available to connect immediately, in many ways that can make you the champion of multi-tasking. zipForm® Plus has joined the large group of web applications that is ready to connect within a few steps. Some of the applications that are sure to be the staples of real estate professionals are LinkedIn, Twitter, Office 360, Gmail and Exchange. Just imagine the ability to add a contact to your Gmail account, then have that information delivered to your zipForm® Plus address book only saving it once. Each connection created is called a ‘Zap’ and creating these connections are simple. See some of the following ‘Zaps’ are waiting for you in Zapier today. If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then a invite is sent to connect on LinkedIn If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then add that contact to Contactually If a new contact is added to Gmail contacts, Then add the contact to the zipForm® Plus address book If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then create a Evernote note for that contact There are many more pre-defined ‘Zaps’ that are available. Each ‘Zap’ is free to use as defined or modify to your needs. If inspiration strikes you can always create your own. In the first Zapier release for zipForm® Plus, contacts will be the focus of available connections. Post release plans are being made to add support for transactions and documents in Zapier. For additional information on how to zipForm® Plus with Zapier see: http://www.zipLogix.com/zapier To learn more about Zapier see: https://zapier.com/ To learn how zipForm® Plus and Zapier work together see: https://zapier.com/zapbook/zipform-plus/

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Beverly Faul

by THE WAV GROUP on November 20, 2014

November 20,2014 Dear Friends and Partners, Our team is heartbroken to share the news that our colleague and dear friend, Beverly Faull passed away earlier this week after a brave battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. An accomplished real estate industry veteran, Beverly became a member of the Down Payment Resource team in 2009 and recently celebrated her fifth anniversary with the company. We have all admired her professional spirit and tenacity over the years. Beverly believed wholeheartedly in the company’s mission of helping homebuyers access down payment programs. She worked tirelessly to grow DPR to 21 MLSs and Realtor Associations. Prior to DPR, Beverly served in countless leadership roles in the real estate industry, including CEO of the Tucson Association of REALTORS and MLS, CEO of North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, vice president of operations atHomeSeekers.com, head of the MLS division for Fidelity National Real Estate Solutions and ran her own consulting company. Her long standing relationships across the industry demonstrate her strong work ethic. We were also privileged to witness the dedication she has to her family and faith. She leaves behind three sisters, two daughters and two grandchildren, Ciarra (17) and Zaylor (3), whom she adopted and was raising over the past two years. Beverly’s family requested that any donations be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We’re also compiling messages and memories from her real estate colleagues in a special book for her family. If you wish to share a message, please send it to us at info@downpaymentresource.com. Our team has the highest admiration for Beverly, both personally and professionally. We will miss her dearly. Sincerely, Rob Chrane and the DPR team

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Building an Online Brand – The “Sparkles” Example

by Marilyn Wilson on November 19, 2014

For any of you that follow either Victor Lund or I on social media you know that we are very proud parents. We share the latest news from our 11 year old daughter Alexandra, who has been named “Sparkles” by her fellow dancers because of her sparkling personality and propensity to wear glittery clothes regularly! As a proud parent, I have to share the great news that “Sparkles” will be appearing on the finale of Dancing with the Stars on Monday, November 24th in an opening number promoting the upcoming re-release of the classic story Annie coming to theaters around the holidays!   Dancing with the Stars is on ABC-TV and airs at 8:00 pm. This experience has been amazing for her and for us.   There is nothing more awe-inspiring to watch your child engage in an activity that they absolutely LOVE! She has learned about hard work, discipline, networking, focus and poise. All great things that she will carry with her for the rest of her life.  She has a ton of other exciting projects coming up as well. Can’t wait to share with them our friends in real estate too! Recently we have engaged on a whole new adventure with Sparkles, jumping into the world of social media and trying to figure out how to build an online entertainment brand. What an amazing marketing experiment. Alexandra has friends that have successfully figured out how to capture nearly 800,000 followers on Instagram – a feat that no businesses in real estate has come even close to. This new generation of entertainers has learned how to tap into the power of YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to generate excitement for their dance, modeling and acting skills. Many of these kids are launching their own DVD tutorials, clothing and even make-up lines. They are absolutely phenomenal! It is so fun to be a student of today’s marketing programs. Kevin Hawkins, the president of our new Communications Division is playing an integral role in building Alexandra’s brand, tapping into the national and local press to promote her appearance on #DWTS and her skills in dance.   He has led efforts to build a new video series for Alexandra working with “Director Brazil”, a veteran in the video promotion space working with huge artists like Trey Songz along with large corporate video promotions.   In addition to being one of the best videographers I’ve ever worked with, […]

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There IS hope for the real estate industry!

by Marilyn Wilson on November 19, 2014

I had one of the best days I’ve ever had since I’ve been a part of this industry at the NAR conference this year!   I witnessed what I believe to be a historic moment in the real estate industry where MLSs, Associations, Brokers, Franchises and Technology companies ALL came together for the greater good of the industry.   No drama, no conflict, just unity! Hallelujah! Kudo’s to the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World for bringing forth a set of balanced recommendations to the Emerging Issues committee on behalf of large and small brokers around the nation. I am proud to say that I facilitated discussions with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World(LeadingRE’s) “TAC” or Technology Advisory Council that includes several of the nation’s best and brightest tech leadership from brokers of all sizes from around the U.S.  Together we brought forth a reasonable and well thought out set of recommendations that are designed to help everyone and simply allow brokers and agents to be able to use technology and data more effectively to attract new customers. These enhancements to the IDX policy could never have been approved so easily without the hard work and leadership of the Emerging Issues Committee led by Robert Bailey of Bailey properties. Behind the scenes, the Committee  invited LeadingRE to come and present the ideas developed by the TAC committee at their last session. They led a respectful, open and collaborative discussion trying to better understand the issues outlined and then asked LeadingRE to help them prioritize the issues to be brought forth to the MLS Policy Committee.  They also invited further discussion on other concepts suggested by the LeadingRE beyond the four that were presented and approved on Saturday. During the MLS Issues and Policy Meeting at the NAR conference, representatives of the Emerging Issues committee did a masterful job of explaining each of the proposed rules changes in simple terms to make it easy for the audience to understand the value of each policy enhancement. Special thanks to Henry Brandis of HomeServices for doing a masterful job of representing the needs of brokers and franchises.  Jonathan Bednarsh, CEO of Onboard Informatics also did a great job outlining how the Web API will help create efficiency, speed and innovation for real estate technology companies and their broker clients. The MLS Policy Committee brought forth four well-thought out revisions to the IDX […]

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REALTOR(R) Productivity is stronger than expected

by Marilyn Wilson on November 19, 2014

The world is looking up in real estate.  Cautious optimism abounds.  So now the real question is…how many REALTORS® are back in the game for real?  How many have captured the hearts of sellers?  How many have sold properties in the past 6 months?   We believe the information that we have just gathered is encouraging. It looks like the wealth is being spread around to more REALTORS® than expected. We thought the numbers would reflect the 80/20 rule – In reality, it looks like the 60/40 rule is running the day. Just under 60% of REALTORS have had a transaction in the past 6 months according to the 2014 WAV Group REALTOR® Productivity Survey.  Interestingly just about the same number of REALTORS® log into their MLS system daily. So what does this all mean for MLSs and Brokerages?  Other than creating optimism that membership and revenues will continue to increase, the actual number of productive agents in the market today can also alter the way an MLS, Brokerage or other technology provider calculates the actual adoption level of technologies. If you assume that 100% of your audience is ripe for technology adoption, you may want to think again.  If only 60% of your target audience is actively logging into the MLS system every day, the likelihood they are going to be seeking out and adopting new technologies beyond the MLS is pretty slim. Check out the WAV Group Productivity Study to learn more about how to calculate the TRUE adoption of technologies in your MLS and brokerage today

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The two valves that constitute the heart of consulting are benchmarking and case studies. Benchmarking is measuring an industry norm. Case studies focus on telling the story of new strategies deployed by pioneers for products or tactics. Both provide organizations with insights that sharpen their aim or expand their aspiration. A great example of a benchmark is WAV Group’s report that 4 in 10 real estate professionals have not done a transaction in more than a year. Take a look at this study that surveyed data from MLSs across the nation. WAV Group recently compiled a CRM case study with two of America’s leading brokerages that are highly committed sales driven organizations. As dedicated sales driven organizations, the agent sales funnel and the agent presentation tools are regarded as the most important assets deployed by the firm. In both cases, Windermere and Long and Foster revealed the success found through changing client relationship management software providers. WAV Group invites you to download a complimentary copy of this whitepaper. In the case of Long and Foster, the company switched listing presentation/CMA providers. In doing so, they were able to level set the buyer and seller presentations across the entire salesforce. They gained design and information control. They also supported agents by delivering a solution that works on all devices – mobile and desktop. Today the company reports higher much higher utilization of broker supplied presentation tool and higher conversion rates. In the case of Windermere, they took on the goal of rolling out a CRM solution to all agents in their company and franchise. A unique feature of the CRM is that it is centered around a sales funnel and coaching by the office manager. They solved problematic adoption challenges by integrating with the company’s MS Exchange email, calendar, and contact solutions. As you will see, the sales impact in market share has been significant and led by greater sales penetration in the middle 60% of the agents. We hope that you will enjoy this study with our compliments. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. If you are exploring a new strategy within your company that you would like us to look at for a case study, please let us know. By sharing information across the industry, we will keep the broker and agent as the centerpiece of real estate trades in America. See the […]

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Losing the Convention of Conventions

by Kevin Hawkins on November 19, 2014

It was 1986. Inflation was under 2 percent, the Dow Jones closed under 2,000, a gallon of gas was under a buck, Americans were being held hostage in Iran, and it was the year the US bombed Libya. It was also the year of my first NAR Convention, held in New York City at the then new Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. I had convinced my employer at the time, Great Western Savings of Beverly Hills, to let me scout the event for exhibiting, sponsorship and press opportunities, as the bank was ready to grow its lending model nationally. The media opportunities I discovered at NAR that year turned out to be an amazing start to a career-long journey. NAR was the ‘go-to’ real estate convention when it came to making connections, meeting reporters and pitching story ideas. I had been invited to attend a dinner of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, NAREE. It was held at an established Manhattan steakhouse, in a second floor private room. David Jeffers, head of PR for Fannie Mae at the time, had a slide projector queued up when I arrived. Legendary consumer real estate columnist Bob Bruss greeted me before I could sit down, and we soon became fast friends. He had me signed up as a member before I walked out the door. This was an era when NAR would host press conferences that were packed with reporters. It was a great place for journalists to mine news stories they needed to fill their gigantic newspaper real estate sections. Steve Kerch of the Chicago Tribune, Kirstin Downey of the Washington Post, and H. Jane Lehman, would pepper the NAR officials and their chief economist with tough questions that yielded better reporting for everyone in the room. The Dearth Today Fast-forward to NAR in New Orleans the beginning of this month. Today the press room is practically barren, with just a couple of bona fide journalists camped out, conducting an interview or two, filing a couple of stories at best. The back-to-back press conferences have been replaced by lightly attended media briefings. NAREE still holds its annual installation of new officers meeting and dinner in conjunction with NAR, but even NAREE has to wonder if the trek is worth it these days. I pinged a dozen reporters in advanced to see if they were attending. After all, many were NAREE members […]

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When the Department of Justice and the National Association of REALTORS® agreed to a settlement that made virtual office website platforms available to every broker in the Nation, WAV Group expected widespread adoption and innovation of client servicing tools leveraging full/VOW data. It did not happen. Perhaps it was because of the economy was slumping or perhaps it was because of category killers like Listingbook, rDesk, and AgentAchieve. Regardless, we have kept our eyes open for innovation. A Silicon Valley based company called RealScout jumped up on the radar in a significant way this week with the announcement of over $6 million dollar funding round. We were aware of the company because the tool has been in use by one of America’s top teams – Ken DeLeon, always ranked among the top teams in America by sales volume. Ken DeLeon is in a super competitive marketplace where massive firms Alain Pinel Realtors, Intero, Coldwell Banker NRT, and Sotheby’s NRT are duking it out. Moreover, tech brokers like Redfin and NRT’s Zip Realty have a massive online presence that rivals Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com. Moreover, MLS Listings has a superb client-servicing tool To stay on track with a goal of $500M in sales this year, Ken has put RealScout front and center as the means for servicing the firms clients. All of his agents are employees, not independent sales reps. Today, he employs 42 staff members, many with degrees in accounting or law to augment their real estate license. It is a unique and impressive organization. Before DeLeon’s brokerage-wide launch of RealScout, his clients were mostly using the MLS Portal or Redfin. “With RealScout, my clients can use natural language search – large backyard, near Google Shuttle Stop, etc. – 17 sales have come from RealScout as defined by customers. Clients use it as their primary search tool,” said DeLeon. I spoke with him at 6:30 Sunday night, where he is easy to find in his office. “My customers love the categories and tagging solutions in the RealScout search. Clients can leave notes for our agents.” As you see in this press release, “RealScout is focused on increasing the number of transactions for real estate agents by improving agents’ close rates with buyers who are actively in the market for a new home.” That means moving fast in the Silicon Valley area where many neighborhoods have days on market below 10. […]

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Millennial Marketing Madness

by Kevin Hawkins on November 14, 2014

The fervor about marketing to Millennials peaked for me during the National Association of REALTORS® Convention in New Orleans last week. Surely you’ve seen some of the recent headlines: “Millennials could hold the key to housing recovery,” “Millennials need to be wooed,” “Insights about Millennials’ path to homeownership,” etc. One of the seminars at NAR had this in its title:” “Generating Referrals from Millennial Home Buyers.” Say what? Try this headline: Millennials are broke. Yes, Millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y), those who ages range from about 19 to 38, may comprise the largest segment of the U.S. population at 86 million strong, but they don’t have any money. They are student debt rich and cash poor. Worse they don’t make much either. Millennial Malaise I was awakened by this fact by one of my favorite daily bloggers, economist Elliott Eisenberg, Ph.D. who pens a 70-word blog five days a week (see econ70.com). He shared these facts: In 2010, households headed by those under age 35, the Millennials, had median income of $37,600, now it’s just $35,300. Worse, 41.4% of them have student loans, up from 33.6% in 2007 and 23.3% in 1998 Their student loan balances are up from $10,000 in 1988 to $17,300 in 2013. Moreover, just 38.6% hold equities, down from almost half in 2001. Their median net worth is a paltry $10,400 Re-read these numbers: Median income is $35,300 and median net worth is $10,400. If you do the mortgage math and assume all of their other monthly debt totals no more than $500, the maximum home the average Millennial can afford is about $87,000. That’s why Millennials are renting, or living in mom and dad’s basement. The total student debt number in America is staggering: Over $1 Trillion – that’s $1,000,000,000,000 dollars, more than double what it was just 8 years ago. As demographer Peter Francese told Barron’s,“These people have a mortgage and no house.” And they are not just talking out loans, they are defaulting on them: Ten percent of all borrowers defaulted on their student loans in the most recent year available, the highest since 1995. That’s going to kill a lot of credit scores for a very long time. “Hopefully, they are saving,” said the NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yu during his press conference last week, who also noted job creation will help them significantly. But half will still likely be renters. For those […]

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CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO (NOVEMBER 7, 2014) – Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies, the industry leader in real estate solutions and services, announces a new integration with Instanet Solutions Authentisign Signit eSignature module. The Authentisign integration allows Lone Wolf clients to electronically sign the Transaction Record Sheet for each real estate transaction. It is a complementary service that streamlines the transaction management process and enhances the efficiency of brokerage operations. “This partnership showcases the true value of integrated solutions for a real estate brokerage and is an integral component in reducing manual processes for our clients,” says Chris Avery, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Lone Wolf. “Our goal has always been to offer one point of data entry through solutions that integrate and streamline brokerage operations. With the Complete Enterprise Solution and this new partnership, we’re providing more time for our clients to focus on growing their business and servicing their customers.” Brokers, agents and administrators are often required to go through multiple steps when processing a real estate transaction. This includes manual processes such as printing, signing, scanning/faxing and uploading documents. With Lone Wolf’s Complete Enterprise Solution and the new Instanet Authentisign integration, brokerage processes and transaction data flows seamlessly, significantly reducing the time and manual processes required to complete a real estate transaction. “Instanet Solutions has always been a leader in providing solutions to optimize the workflow in real estate. The integration of the Authentisign Signit API into Lone Wolf’s Transaction Record Sheet is a perfect example of how brokerages can reduce operational costs, save time and become more efficient through the use of Instanet Solutions technology,” said Martin Scrocchi, President and CEO of Instanet Solutions. In recent months, Lone Wolf has focused on expanding their partnerships in the forms and eSignature space for their transaction management solution, loadingDOCS. loadingDOCS, and its partnerships, cover the five steps of going paperless for a real estate brokerage including creation, execution, submission, review/approval, and storage of transaction documents. ### About Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies Inc. is the North American leader in real estate solutions and services with almost 10,000 offices utilizing their fully integrated product lines. Lone Wolf’s Complete Enterprise Solutions is comprised of its core products and services – brokerWOLF back office management solution, WOLFconnect front office management solutions, globalWOLF website solution, loadingDOCS paperless office solution, mobileWOLF mobile solution, WOLFmedia ad revenue generation service, […]

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