November 2014

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/

{ 0 comments }

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

{ 0 comments }

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, […]

{ 0 comments }

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 […]

{ 1 comment }

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

{ 1 comment }

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 […]

{ 0 comments }

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 […]

{ 0 comments }

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. […]

{ 0 comments }

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 […]

{ 1 comment }

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, […]

{ 0 comments }

Heithaus Named Chief Evangelist & VP of Sales of RBI & Hill Joins MRIS as VP of Mark ROCKVILLE, MD (November 6, 2014) — MRIS, the industry-leading Mid-Atlantic Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that facilitates nearly $125 million a day in residential real estate transactions, is pleased to announce new executive leadership for its organization and its subsidiary RealEstate Business Intelligence, LLC (RBI). Bringing more than 30 years of real estate industry experience, John L. Heithaus will assume the position of Chief Evangelist and Vice President of Sales for RBI. Heithaus, a third generation real estate professional, brings a deep perspective and understanding of residential real estate statistics, traditional and non-traditional market insights, and real estate-related technologies for consumers and professionals. Building on the great efforts at RBI to date as well as the success of GetSmartCharts.com, Heithaus will be responsible for developing strategic partnerships and overseeing sales operations to support RBI’s expansion goals and objectives. Previously, Heithaus served as Chief Marketing Officer of MRIS and most recently as Chief Operating Officer of BuyerMLS. Jonathan Hill is rejoining MRIS and will serve as Vice President of Marketing & Communications.  With a career spanning over 25 years in the real estate industry, Hill has accumulated extensive experience as a real estate licensee and as an MLS executive including sales, management, customer support, marketing, and product development. Hill, who started with the company in 1996, has a keen understanding of the real estate industry and will help to provide overall direction and strategic leadership for the company’s marketing activities. In his role, Hill will be responsible for MRIS’s extensive plans and roadmap for marketing, communications, education and events. For the past five years, Hill led RBI, MRIS’s wholly owned subsidiary. “John and Jonathan have made significant contributions and accomplishments in our industry and we are thrilled with these exciting changes at our organization,” said MRIS President & CEO David Charron. “We are more committed than ever to evaluate, innovate and bring more tangible value to our customers around the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. I look forward to seeing how two of the industry’s most forward-thinking leaders will take us to the next level.” ABOUT MRIS MRIS is Real Estate in Real Time™. We’re a leading provider of real estate information technology and services, and are frequently ranked among the most productive Multiple Listing Services (MLS) in the nation, facilitating over $45 billion in […]

{ 0 comments }

Real estate leaders share 2015 outlook on housing, economy

by Kevin Hawkins on November 6, 2014

Imprev arguably has come to own the real estate “Thought Leader” space with its bi-annual survey now in its third year, largely because it’s not a self-serving exercise. What we get from their latest Thought Leader Survey is a refreshing, unfiltered view from a broad cross-section of the leadership of America’s real estate brokerage and franchise operations, large and small. Collectively, the real estate execs surveyed represent firms and brands that generate about half of all real estate transactions each year. Individually, there’s solid representation among small and large firms: 15% of the respondents have 50 agents or fewer, 18% have 51-100 agents, 35% have 101-500 agents; 14% have 501-1,000 agents and 18% have more than 1,000 agents. Among the most interesting findings: Housing market enthusiasm is cooling, almost tepid, among real estate leaders. Two years ago, 70 percent of top real estate execs saw the market improving over the next 12 months. Last year that number dropped to 58 percent. Today it is 52 percent. No more exuberance: It’s now a glass half-full, half-empty scenario among a group that is often characterized as eternal optimists, which means this new data may alarm some. The bigger you are, the more bullish you are. Leaders of larger brokerage firms are typically far more confident about the outlook for the U.S. economy than leaders of smaller brokerage firms. Nearly two-thirds of top execs with firms of 1,000 or more agents say the U.S. economy will “improve,” compared to 34 percent of leaders of brokerage firms with 51 to 100 agents. The smaller you are, the better your outlook on profitability. Leaders of smaller brokerage firm are far more confident in their ability to be more profitable than larger brokerage firms over the next year. More than half of the leaders of the smallest brokerage firms are “very confident” in profitability over the next 12 months compared to 32 percent of the leaders of the largest brokerages. World economy outlook has tanked. This is significant and the biggest change year-to-year among all of the data Imprev released. More than half of real estate leaders surveyed this year – 55 percent – have become less confident in the world economy over the last 12 months. That’s more than double the percentage last year, which was 24%. Expect more news headlines in the future on the struggles of the world economy. Real estate leaders still […]

{ 0 comments }