February 2014

One Real Estate Tool You Have to Have!

by Mike Audet on February 25, 2014

If you are not using retechnology.com on a regular basis or have not logged in lately you are missing some great tools that can help you improve your real estate game immensley.  These are also free tools, the best kind! Over 650,000 agents have access to retechnology.com through their MLS, but not everybody is taking full advantage of this great tool and may not be aware of some of the outstanding features it offers.  Like users of most MLS systems, that only use 10% of what a MLS system can do, many use retechnology.com for certain things like getting information on a specific product or company but many don’t realize how much more retechnology.com offers. Everyday you can find new information for brokers and agents on how to improve your business, use and find new technology and to just stay up to speed on the current trends. One incredible tool we recommend you try out is the free search tool.   At the top of every page on retechnology.com is a SEARCH button like you see in the graphic below. When you click on SEARCH it brings up a search window like the one below, where you can type anything you want and then choose to find information from any or all of the different information sections of retechnology.com, including: Products Companies Articles/Columns Webinars Review/Reports News As an example, I did a search just for “lead generation” and selected Articles/Columns/Webinars.       Here are the results that came up on a second! When I clicked on NEWS and REVIEWS I received over a dozen more reports and news updates. You can use this search bar to immediately drill down to whatever information you would like. Retechnology.com has thousands of articles and reviews in addition to specific product and company listings that make it a great tool for every broker and agent to use. MLSs and Brokers should make it a point to direct new agents to retechnology.com as a first step in getting information on any real estate topic or tool. Daily Newsletter – Sign Up If you haven’t signed up for the retechnology.com newsletter already, please do so today and you will receive our newsletter with the latest articles and product information right in your email.  Click here to sign up:  http://retechnology.com/subscriptions  Don’t Have RE Technology in your MLS? If you don’t have retechnology.com in your MLS already and would like to […]

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ePropertyExtra from CoreLogic

by Victor Lund on February 24, 2014

CoreLogic sent out an email recently about eProperty Extra that was forwarded to WAV Group by numerous MLS with tons of questions. Rather than answer each of them individually, here is an overview that may be helpful in understanding the program so that you may facilitate a consideration by your board of directors. What is it? eProperty Extra is a rewards and loyalty program. 30,000 brands make their products available at a discount. Moreover, users get points when they buy through the program that can be exchanged for other benefits and merchandise. Agents will save money on many of the things they buy the most thanks to you. Moreover, agents may enroll their customers in the program and extend the same benefits. The MLS version is co-branded to the MLS as a member benefit. When your subscribers enroll their customers, the program is branded to them. Some of the merchants using the program include Priceline, Lenovo, Expedia, Restaurants.com, Best Buy, HomeDepot, Nordstroms, etc. Fidelity Title has offered a similar program for more than a decade. Cost eProperty Extra is free. There is no budgetary consideration in offering this program to your subscriber base. Also, there is no catch. Nearly every fortune 100 company offers a program of this type to their employees. The difference here is that you would be making this available to your subscribers and they have the option of extending it to their customers. Its always free, all of the time. Adoption and Non-Dues Revenue I did a little web research, and companies like AT&T, JPMorganChase, Bank of America, and others offering these loyalty programs see an average monthly usage of 39%. As people use the service, revenue is generated from merchant advertising and split between CoreLogic and you. WAV Group does not have any information about the revenue being generated by the program with MLSs who are early adopters. You may want to ask CoreLogic about this, but I would not expect that they have enough information to predict what your revenue will be at this point. I would suggest that you expect nothing and hope for the best. After the first year, you can begin to forecast revenue relative to adoption. Do your research I have been trying the program for a few months and I have saved a lot on restaurants. I have not really used it for anything else. If you contact Kim McLean […]

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What MRED Teaches Us About Mobile

by Victor Lund on February 14, 2014

Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) is the MLS of the Chicagoland area. It encompasses Chicago and the surrounding region. It is among the largest MLSs in the nation. As you know, here at WAV Group, we love data and charts. Any ability to track trends in our industry that are supported by data lends credence to the strategic planning efforts across our industry.    Copyright 2014 Chicago Agent magazine, reprinted with permission Lets take a closer examination of this graph. Adoption Curve The first thing you’ll notice is that mobile adoption is not a hockey stick. It was in 2011 and 2012 when adoption doubled from 7500 users to 15,000 users (62% growth for those who are counting). But it failed to grow to 30,000 users in 2013 (41% year over year growth). The numbers in the chart represent use by MRED Realtor® customers only. MRED has just recently begun tracking the client use of mobile when accessing data sent to them by their broker. If you were to add those numbers to the chart above, you would see parallel growth amongst consumers – with volumes reaching an 8-fold increase in counts per device type. Device Type In the graph above, the purple tips are Windows 8 tablets. The green is Android. The red is the Apple iPad and the Blue is the iPhone. Within a reasonable range of variance, this graph would indicate that there is little market shift in the utilization of Android vs. Apple. This is notable because Android devices outsell Apple devices by a significant rate. You will also notice that Blackberry is officially in its grave, resting peacefully beside its fallen brother, Palm. What is remarkable here is the emergence of the Windows 8 tablet. If you are in the technology business, you need to go out and purchase one of these devices immediately. I have been using the Microsoft Surface. It is an extraordinary device that marries the mobility of the iPad with the utility of a laptop. Moreover, it runs full desktop versions of your installed applications. That means full versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Explorer. It also runs mobile apps, and it syncs with iCloud. All of my favorite iPad apps are available on the Surface – including Evernote, Flip, Skitch, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Bank of America, Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, ESPN, YouTube (plays all videos, even the ones that […]

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Association Standards – It’s definitely TIME!

by Marilyn Wilson on February 11, 2014

Jeremy Conaway, Dale Stinton, and Bob Moline used the Swanepoel Trends report to push the real estate elephant into the spotlight in America. There are simply too many REALTOR® Associations not providing adequate service and support to their members. Today, 1100 of the 1400 REALTOR® Associations in America have fewer than 300 members. Many of these smaller organizations have a difficult time delivering the depth of services and training REALTORS® need to effectively serve the needs of their clients and stay relevant with all of the technology options available to today’s demanding consumers.  At the end of the day real estate aren’t associations supposed to exist to help their members be successful, while nurturing a thriving community and real estate market?  It is time for us as an industry to try to figure out how to get every REALTOR® member a comprehensive and relevant suite of services and support no matter what local association they belong to. These issues and struggles are not limited to the United States.. The Quebec Boards of REALTORS® separated from the Canadian Real Estate Association in absolute protest of some of CREA’s policies that they did not believe were in the best interest of their members.  The revolution took courage, but these Canadian boards were able to live up to the challenge and make it happen.  The good news…. the revolution created positive change, and now CREA and the Quebec Boards of REALTORS® have new terms in their relationship. Conaway mentions in his contribution to the Trends Report that “what one won’t find at the annual (NAR) meeting are demonstrators, protesters, dissenters, revolutionaries, or counter culture types…”  It shouldn’t necessarily have to come to this, but I think we’re all growing weary of little progress being made about an obvious problem in our industry.  It’s too easy to ignore the need for change without a crisis or critical event to bring it to our attention. I fear blanket condemnation of small boards.  There are some boards that deliver an amazing suite of services and demonstrate total member-centricity.  There are some larger boards that are much less responsive to their member’s needs than smaller boards. They bring an arrogance to the table that is not at all welcome with their members.  Some have staff leadership that has been in place WAY too long and has grown completely complacent.  My personal experience has taught me that just […]

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Hybrid Regionalization – Right For Your MLS?

by Mike Audet on February 10, 2014

We all know there are too many MLSs in the US and over the years the real market areas have expanded forcing agents to belong to multiple MLSs in many areas.  This means more costs, data inefficiencies and often the need to learn and operate multiple MLS systems.  It isn’t good for brokers, agents or consumers so why hasn’t their been more consolidation of MLSs more quickly? The answer, of course, is protectionism.   Even though consolidation would be in everyone’s best interest there is still a local desire to maintain control and identity at the MLS level.  Brokers also worry that outsiders will come in and steal their business.  Whether this is true or not isn’t important because perception is everything and controls the day. Did you know there are really good options available today in MLS systems that would allow you to provide most of the member benefits of regional MLS without having to lose your local identify and control?  If you knew this would it allow you in your local market to consider regionalization at a faster pace?  Read on to learn what can now be done with Hybrid regional approach, it might be right for your market area.   The Hybrid Regional A Hybrid Regional is one in which multiple MLSs decide they want to work together to share the same MLS technology but they don’t want to dissolve their local MLSs.  They want the benefits of a broader database and the economies that come with a larger MLS.  They don’t want to have to learn and operate multiple MLS systems.  For these MLSs the Hyrbrid Regional makes a lot of sense.  In addition, thanks to enhanced regional features in MLS systems today, there is still the ability to control many elements of the system at the local MLS level.   The Structure Most Hybrid regionals we work with are managed by a regional task force made up of members of each MLS.  This group works together, as needed, to make those decisions impacting all of the members of the regional such as property sheet layouts, report designs and when to install upgrades, etc.  In some cases, actual approval for some decisions may have to go back to the individual boards of each member MLS but, the process works.  It works because the participating MLSs have placed a high value on being part of a broader regional […]

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As real estate agents and brokers strive to develop process to improve every area of their trade, technology supports them. However, with so many solutions, it is difficult to understand what solutions count the most and to whom. Think of the long list of solutions – website, lead management, CRM, drip marketing, email marketing, CMA, email, transaction management, document management, online advertising, SEO, listing syndication, tax systems, mobile solutions for everything, scheduling software, accounting systems, market stats, digital signatures, forms software, recruiting tools. It is quite a list. The goal of the Broker Technology Adoption Survey is to understand who uses which tools and their satisfaction level with them. Who buys them? The agent? The broker? The Franchise? The Association? The MLS? All of them? Some of them? None of them? Understanding these tendencies will provide the industry with a better grasp of the role that technology plays in real estate, along with who we look toward to finding the solutions practitioners need to be successful in real estate today. Please share this link (http://www.cvent.com/d/w4q07r) in your organization. We will run the survey for a few weeks and compile the results of the data into a report that will be provided to you with our compliments by email. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact jenna@wavgroup.com.    

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Swanepoel Trends Report Book Review

by Victor Lund on February 4, 2014

If you buy one book this year, make it the Swanepoel Trends Report. It is excellent. Swanepoel took a different approach to his annual report this year and its brilliant. Swanepoel outlines 10 topics and invites industry leaders to write a page or two about their impression. At the end of the chapter he wraps it all up into a summary. Gary Keller on Change and Innovation states that there ”is a battle over who will provide the public with their listing data….brokerages are beginning to realize that if they don’t step up and become the solution they will at some point become expendable.” Followed by Brad Inman “From the bottom, brokers are being squeezed by the growing independence of tech savvy real estate agents….and by portals that control the consumer relationship.” The tonality throughout the book indicated that, by all extents and purposes, the biggest sector of the real estate industry that is likely to change or become extinct is the broker. The chief reason is mostly technology and marketing. Portals, Franchises, MLSs, and even Associations of REALTORS® are providing products and marketing that make the broker less relevant. Budge Huskey has a quote that pulls the entire Trends Report together when he says “historic swim lanes in the real estate pool are increasingly being ignored as others jump in.” Alas, all is not lost, we hear from great leaders like Gino Blefari, Cameron Merage, Harold Crye, and Helen Hanna Casey about how brokers will lead the industry forward. Brokers must step up to serve the agent and consumer better – and they must fight back to keep people in their swim lanes – especially those entities that seek to replace the broker role using broker data. Ian Morris sums up the broker strategy nicely by acknowledging that “brokerage companies who have chosen to provide tools for their agents…..are…providing multi-platform innovation.” The second most obvious tone of the book is focused on the resistance of smaller Associations and MLSs to consolidate. Dale Stinton recognizes this, and articulates the problem nicely. There is also an impassioned plea of support from Bob Moline of HomeServices of America. Perhaps my favorite page in the book comes from Kevin McQueen who outlines the solution – we must detach the Association Membership from the MLS. There are some key insights offered around the role of the portal in real estate. To be sure, Zillow, […]

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