2015

LISLE, Ill., Dec. 17, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) –Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), Chicagoland’s multiple listing service (MLS), announced that its President/Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Jensenhas been awarded the Women’s Council of Realtors® (WCR) Chicago’s Elevate Award, which recognizes an individual or company that promotes and supports the advancement of women in real estate. WCR Chicago chose to recognize Ms. Jensen for her great accomplishments in the MLS industry and the wonderful example she has set for women in real estate. Ms. Jensen arrived at MRED on March 2, 2015. She has worked in the MLS industry since 1998, and for the eight years before MRED she was the CEO of Utah’s regional MLS, UtahRealEstate.com. She is a member of the Executive Committee for the COVE MLS group and the MLS Executive Advisory Board at Realtor.com.  Ms. Jensen also serves as Secretary for the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) and on the Broker Public Portal (BPP) Board of Managers.  Ms. Jensen is one of the Swanepoel 200 Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate and a Utah Business Magazine Forty Under 40 Honoree.  She has also been recognized as a 2015 Rising Star by HousingWire Magazine. “It was an honor to present the Elevate Award to the President/Chief Executive Officer of MRED,” said Sarah Ware, 2016 WCR Chicago President and Broker/Owner of Ware Realty Group.  “Although there are as not as many women leaders in our industry as we would like, we are making great strides to level the playing field. This also speaks to the core mission of Women’s Council of Realtors ‘advancing women as professionals and leaders in business, the industry and the communities we serve.’  Congratulations again to Rebecca” “The Chicago Chapter of WCR has recognized the amazing ability that Rebecca has to inspire greatness in others,” said Jeff Gregory, MRED Chairman of the Board and Broker Owner of Realty Executives Success.  “She is truly a leader that others want to follow. What she has done and continues to do in the real estate industry will impress and inspire others — for years to come.” “I cannot express how honored I am to receive the Elevate Award,” said Jensen.  “I have been a strong supporter of WCR throughout my professional career, and respect the organization’s strong commitment to education and the elevation of women within our industry.  I am flattered to join the list of successful individuals and […]

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RESO Elects 2016 Officers, Names New Directors to Its Board

by Kevin Hawkins on December 21, 2015

Art Carter

RESO just announced its new officers for 2016 and line up for its Board of Directors and that MLS firms reaching more than 600,000 Realtors have been Data Dictionary Certified. Here is the news release: Morrisville, NC – December 21, 2015 – The Real Estate Standards Organization, or RESO, announced today the election of its 2016 Officers and the addition of four new directors to its Board of Directors, as well as the re-election of two directors. Newly elected Officers of the Board of Directors: • Art Carter, CEO of California Regional MLS or CRMLS, Chair • Rob Overman, Chief Technology Officer of Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies, Vice Chair • Richard Renton, Chief Executive Officer of Triad MLS, Treasurer • Rebecca Jensen, President & CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data LLC or MRED, Secretary Newly appointed members to the RESO Board of Directors: • Cary Sylvester, Vice President of Industry Development of Keller Williams • Tom Flanagan, Vice President of Technology of Alain Pinel Realtors • Glenn Shimkus, VP Product of DocuSign Newly elected member to the RESO Board of Directors: • Pace Davis, Owner/CEO of Bridge Interactive Group LLC Re-elected members to the RESO Board of Directors: • Richard Renton, CEO of Triad MLS • Michael Wurzer, President of FBS (Flexmls) • Justin LaJoie, VP of Industry Solutions, Zillow (appointed) “Our 2016 Board of Directors and Officers offers RESO an amazing depth of knowledge and breadth of expertise that represents the full spectrum of the real estate industry,” says Jeremy Crawford, Executive Director of RESO. “These business leaders and technical strategists will be instrumental in guiding RESO. They will help us build on our successes as we continue in our rapidly growing quest to truly provide a streamlined industry through fostering standards creation, adoption and certification. We are honored to have them at the helm of RESO.” Current RESO Board members also include Mark Lesswing, National Association of REALTORS®; Chad Curry, National Association of REALTORS®; Ethan Bailey, CoreLogic; Mark Wise, MOVE Inc.; Jeff Young, Realtors Property Resource, LLC; Brian Donnellan, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS); Stuart White, MTRMLS Inc. (Real Tracs Solutions) and Craig Cheatham, The Realty Alliance. Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) creates and promotes the adoption of standards that drive efficiency throughout the real estate industry, including the industry’s innovative Data Dictionary. With the upcoming addition of the new Web API, this growing set of property […]

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WAV Group would like to congratulate Stephanie Pfeffer Anton on being named to the Inman Top 101. This is a very well-deserved honor. Great work, Stephanie! CHICAGO – 12/17/15 – Luxury Portfolio International™ Executive Vice President Stephanie Pfeffer Anton has been named to the Inman Top 101, a list of industry leaders who are recognized for driving industry change through ingenuity, outspokenness, strength, conviction, power and persistence. A frequent industry speaker and an authority on marketing to the affluent, Pfeffer Anton has been with Luxury Portfolio since its founding in 2005. She is responsible for the program’s day-to-day operations, including its award-winning website, www.LuxuryPortfolio.com, which markets over 35,000 homes to over three million high-net-worth visitors annually. Luxury Portfolio is the luxury face of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com), a global real estate network comprised of the most powerful independent brokerages. Previously, Pfeffer Anton served as the vice president of marketing for a large Chicagoland real estate brokerage and as the director of communications and internet for an international real estate franchise. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Boston University and a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. To see the complete Inman Top 101 List, visit http://www.inman.com/inman101. ### About Luxury Portfolio International® Luxury Portfolio International® (www.LuxuryPortfolio.com) is the luxury face of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the largest global network of premier locally branded companies dominated by many of the world’s most powerful independent luxury brokerages. Luxury Portfolio International attracts a worldwide audience of visitors from over 200 countries/territories every month and annually markets over 35,000 luxury homes to over three million high-net-worth visitors. About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com) is a by-invitation-only network that encompasses over 500 firms and 120,000 associates in over 50 countries worldwide. Collectively, the group produces over one million transactions valued at over $320 billion annually. The organization provides its affiliates with a robust menu of products and services spanning the areas of lead generation; outcome-based learning for leaders, associates and staff; web technology and systems; and branding and marketing support, including its Luxury Portfolio International® division.

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We’re proud to announce that our founding partners, Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund, were recently named to Inman’s annual list of the top leaders in the real estate industry. The award recognizes their forward thinking visions about how the industry can and must adapt to change. Marilyn, according to Inman, is “an articulate spokesperson about the threats and the challenges faced by the industry,” while Victor is “an advocate for big strategic initiatives that the legacy industry must undertake to survive.” “It’s interesting to be acknowledged as one of the industry leaders because we operate a very small business,” Victor told me earlier today. “The recognition is more of a testament to the privilege we have to work with so many MLSs, brokers, and technology companies as their servant.” The recognition is also a testament to the huge potential impact of several key industry wide initiatives that WAV Group is working on: Supporting the communications of the Real Estate Standards Organization as they roll out Data Dictionary certification and the RESO API Supporting REDPLAN’s efforts to protect the assets of the real estate industry and to defend those assets against patent trolls and other nefarious activities Supporting the Broker Public Portal in its strides to build a national MLS consumer facing website Helping Project Upstream become operational now that they’ve secured the support of NAR and selected RPR as their vendor “We do these things at the liberty of the leadership that operates these initiatives,” said Victor. “I think a lot of times consulting firms are mischaracterized as the people doing these things when we’re merely the staff that supports them.” Regardless, WAV Group has been a driving force in pushing the industry to adapt to changing consumer expectations spurred by technology. To give you a better idea of WAV Group’s influential thought leadership, we’ve rounded up a sampling of their best articles from 2015: For brokers Upstream Revealed Top 3 Ways to Make the New IDX Rules Work for Your Brokerage Major Changes In Real Estate No HATERS in Real Estate Please! For MLSs Top 10 Ways to Become a Truly Broker-Centric MLS An Industry At Risk Enabling an Ecosystem of Innovation for Real Estate RETS Servers and Direct Feeds Understanding the MRIS-TREND Project Bad Customer Service Can WIPE OUT a LOT of Goodwill Away in Minutes! The Do’s and Don’ts of MLS System Selection It’s Time to Replace Core […]

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MLS Policy for Days On Market

by Victor Lund on December 16, 2015

Depending on where you are, Days on Market could be a hot topic. Perhaps the most sensitive area to Days on Market is San Francisco. I had a chance to talk to Steve Mavromihalis of Pacific Union about this topic last week. Steve is one of the most productive agents in the nation. Every year, WAV Group watches the listing count for Pacific Union go down by two thirds starting just before Thanksgiving and lasting until March or April – that’s 5 months of the year. Clearly this has P&L implications and budgeting implications for the brokerage. The truth is that these listing are still kind of “for sale”, but the agents take them off the market to prevent Days on Market from accruing. Sellers authorize this, and every listing agent tells the story to every seller for every company in the area. This is not a specific agent or a specific company following an unwritten policy. “It’s the culture of selling real estate in the Bay Area,” according to Mavromihalis. “People want to enjoy the holidays or go skiing in Tahoe. Because of summer vacation, a lot of listings go off the market in August too!” Mavromihalis admits that if another agent were to give him a call, he could probably arrange a showing with his client. Because the volume of off-market listings can become vary significant in areas like San Francisco, many MLSs have incorporated a status called Coming Soon. It recognizes the need to manage data when a listing is not active or before it comes active. In hot markets, listings will sometimes go from Coming Soon to Pending without every having any active days. The big advance in policy here is that the MLS can get the data for comparables, CMAs, Market Reports, Market Share and other high value needs of the MLS, its agents, brokers, and consumers. Days on Market does not accrue during Coming Soon status. MLS Listings, the MLS to the south of San Francisco, has done a great job with the development of MLS policy around coming soon. MLS Listings CEO James Harrison and his then Board Chairman, Broker Robert Bailey championed policy development and shared their efforts with the industry. I am not sure how the other Bay Area MLSs have dealt with it. Overlapping market disorder is very prevalent in the Bay area – San Francisco listings are placed in […]

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Is there a hidden downside to lead generation?

by Kevin Hawkins on December 16, 2015

Real estate lead generation research tells us only about 1 or 2 percent of all purchased online leads become transactions. Another way to say that is 98 out of 100 times, an agent fails to turn a lead into a client, or 98 times out of 100, they are being rejected. Yet, the conventional wisdom in real estate is that you only need to turn one lead into a transaction to pay for all the leads you’ve purchased this year many times over. But is there a problem with this logic? Is it looking at only one side of the equation, that is, the upside? But isn’t there a downside once one considers all the collective human capital that is expended to find that one needle in the proverbial lead generation haystack? Is lead generation also creating a tremendous waste of human intelligence? The cost of human rejection Most of us probably don’t think too much about the impact of the massive rejection that online lead generation is creating in real estate today. There is a reason we have robo-calls and don’t have door-to-door sales anymore: As humans, it’s tough to tolerate this kind of continuous rejection. It’s likely the main reason why sales call centers have incredibly high turnover rates. When someone hears “no” 99 times out of 100 calls, it has to be demoralizing. Is it really any different in real estate? A UCLA-lead team of psychologists found that two key areas of the brain appear to respond to the pain of rejection in the same way as physical pain. The study’s lead author, Naomi Eisenberger, told ScienceDaily, “There’s something about exclusion from others that is perceived as being as harmful to our survival as something that can physically hurt us, and our body automatically knows this.” We know rejection is painful, yet real estate subjects tens of thousands of hard-working real estate agents to this process all the time. Is it any surprise, taking these numbers into consideration, that real estate agents struggle in following up on all the leads their brokers give them? (See this WAV Group study.) One has to wonder if online lead generation isn’t contributing to weakening teams and agents. Breaking bad habits An argument can be made that the correct way to handle this type of lead generation is to use employees and agents who are independent contractors to handle these leads […]

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Hire a Curator

by Victor Lund on December 16, 2015

A quick Google search brings up the definition of curator – it is a word derived from the Latin word curare – meaning, “take care.” A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally this word has a connotation of maintaining historical things because it is an official position in museums, but that is not the context intended here.  The role of a curator in today’s business is to keep things current. WAV Group Communications starts projects with an audit. We begin by understanding the variety of audiences that the company engages. We then take a look at how MLSs or technology companies, or brokerages are communicating with their audiences. What we find is typically dated, stale, gross. Under the watchful eye of a curator, this never happens. A curator scours every touch point with every audience and keeps it clean and fresh. Agent images are always uploaded and there are no grey skulls. Old logos vanish and are replaced with new ones. Documents that have not been used or updated in years are refreshed. Social media updates happen every day. Press releases happen monthly. Intranets are hydrated with how-to tips, community stories, and celebrations. Consumer sites have daily contributions and newsletters go out on a regular basis. A curator is not necessarily the person who creates all of this content. It’s a management and supervisory position that draws communications from across the enterprise to leverage the expertise of the organization. They find out from the help desk what the most common calls are and create a task to create training materials. They speak to leaders about successful strides in the business and work with a PR firm to distribute a press release. They monitor social media and build reports on reach and study effectiveness, and so on, and so forth. I challenge you to take a few moments and look around your business. Look at every communication to every audience. I guarantee that you will find dozens of flaws. If you don’t have time to do this, hire us to do it for you. If you need a curator, we can step in and build the plan and kick it off. We can even train or hire someone to manage it after it is on the right track. WAV Group Communications is a full service public relations and communications firm. We work on retainer with brokerages, technology firms, and MLS […]

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Stop Buying Technology

by Victor Lund on December 16, 2015

It’s the season. WAV Group is fielding satisfaction surveys to determine how agents and brokers use or don’t use technology offerings. We even encounter a curious situation where we are measuring satisfaction with broker solutions and MLS solutions in the same market. Sometimes the easiest answer to a strategy is the simplest. What WAV Group sees today is that less is more. Too many technology solutions is real estate have feature creep. Regardless if it is a broker CRM or the MLS system – they are too complex.  In real estate technology, usability trumps functionality. Change is Hard The most difficult thing for anyone to do in life is change. Moreover, the older you are, the harder it is for you to learn or change.  Real Estate people are old. We see this constantly, and even NAR yells it from the rooftops. Before you switch systems, think very carefully about the overhead that it will cost your organization and users in functionality. Everyone takes a big hit. In most cases, you are taking your user intelligence way backwards to inch forwards. Tread very carefully and try not to change too often. Training Trumps Everything WAV Group does not have a specific gauge on training effectiveness. But we are deriving certain solutions that can help. First, training needs to be offered every day in every way! Remember, every day there is a pile of new agents entering the business that need to learn everything. Moreover, unless you have been training hard for years, even your most experienced agents are not trained on everything. Think about training plans for each product you offer. Create training for Expert, Intermediate, and Beginner. Think about training methods – concierge 1 on 1, in office, online webinar, How to Articles – FAQs, recorded webinars for all levels of experience. Watch your help desk calls! Inform your trainers of the top 10 reasons why people are calling and use that to drive training. Yes, you do need to begin every training session on how to recover your password! Measure Success Surveys are pretty cool because you can see (by email address) exactly who is screaming for training. Section that group out of each of your surveys and have your trainers attack them.  After 3 months, go back and survey the same people who were looking for training and survey them again, again, and again. There is a […]

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Advertising contrarian Bob Hoffman gave a talk at Matt Beall’s Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers’ Worthshop 5 conference last week, which is a wake up call to real estate agents and brokers everywhere. Why are we spending so much time, energy and money marketing to 18-34 year olds when the greatest, wealthiest, most powerful spending group in the world in nearly every major product category is 50+ years old? Remarkably, Bob helps us answer that question and a more important one: How should we be marketing to the over 50 crowd? Full disclosure up front: The majority of the marketing world hates Bob Hoffman and thinks he’s dead wrong. The only problem with this is that all the facts and research say he’s right. Why do we market to Millennials? Bob has researched this extensively and his findings are jarring. His overall conclusion is that most marketers have a herd instinct: They are marketing to Millennials because everyone else is and somewhere there must be someone who has the facts and knows “why the hell we are doing this?” Bob’s been looking for that someone and looking for the facts to support this movement, but has come up with contrary research at every step. He cites Nielson, saying: People over 50 are the most valuable generation in the history of marketing They are responsible for over half of consumer spending They outspend the average consumer in nearly every product category: food, household furnishings, entertainment, personal care, etc. They account for 55 percent of all package goods sales and dominate 94 percent of consumer package categories They outspend other adults online two-to-one, on a per capita basis They buy about 60 percent of all cars He also shared this nugget: “You know how you see all of those Millennials in car commercials? Well, people 75 to dead buy six times as many cars as people 18-24.” Then he dropped this statistical bombshell, met with gasps from the audience: People over 50 account for more than 70% of the wealth in the U.S. If they were their own country, they would be the third largest economy in the world – bigger than India, Japan and Germany. The biggest problem, says Bob, is this: People over 50 are the target of only 10% of all advertising in the U.S. Marketers are not over 50 Listening to Bob, you immediate start to ask yourself, […]

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WAV Group is leading an effort to help Pacific Union International (PUI) find a Vice President, Business & Digital Intelligence (VPBDI). The person in this position will lead PUI’s work in market dynamics based analytics, business and digital intelligence and client demographics. This strategic role will be responsible for business and digital intelligence programs and models to drive market share, client retention and decision support for our regional executives, real estate professionals and related business units throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. This key role will lead the industry and our company as the “go to” authority for new technical and digital initiatives around data mining, client demographics and analytics. Pacific Union International boasts one of the strongest brands in the real estate industry today. The company is a leader in the residential real estate industry as well as a formidable competitor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Commanding nearly twelve percent (12%) market share in the nine Bay Area counties, PUI has grown from $2.2 billion in sales volume in 2009 to nearly $7.5 billion in 2015. PUI’s relentless pursuit of Vision 2020 will drive strategic initiatives to further grow the business by increasing market share in the Bay Area and growing our geographic footprint throughout the Western USA. If you have demonstrated abilities to lead organizations by providing rich insights and new approaches to residential real estate and thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented, technology-intensive environment, then this is a position for you. Responsibilities include rapidly building and overseeing business intelligence, internal and external communications and a willingness to be or become an industry spokesperson. Success will be dependent on collaborative and productive relationships with our Regional Executives, marketing, public relations, finance and technology leaders. To learn more about the position and Pacific Union, contact Marilyn@wavgroup.com or jenna@wavgroup.com.

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POSITION TITLE: Director of MLS REPORTS TO: Chief Executive Officer LOCATION: New Orleans, Louisiana ORGANIZATIONAL DESCRIPTION: New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS®, Inc. is seeking a new MLS and IT Director to run their MLS operations for their wholly owned subsidiary, Gulf South Real Estate Information Network, Inc. The Gulf South Real Estate Information Network Inc., New Orleans, LA., is seeking an MLS Director to lead its 5600 member Multiple Listing Service, GSREIN. The company is looking for someone to administer and direct the activities, operations and staff of the Multiple Listing Service of the Association and oversees its IT Services. The ideal candidate is someone who has a working knowledge of the real estate industry and its technological trends. They must also possess MLS related job experience along with an understanding of the issues and challenges facing today’s MLS and its Participants. A candidate must have excellent work ethic and possess great organization, communication, management, technology skills and people skills. The company is looking for a progressive Leader and Manager adept at creating positive change for MLS systems while being considerate of the needs of the organization’s members. FUNCTION/ROLE: The New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS(R), celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015, has a long history of providing amazing service, support and advocacy to its members. The company’s MLS and IT Director will be responsible for supporting and promoting a suite of highly useful and effective technologies, training and support services to help NOMAR members get the most out of their MLS offerings. The successful candidate will also be the point of contact for coordinating with IT and Network support vendors to maintain the company’s IT infrastructure. The role requires a strong ability to digest the needs of staff, leadership and members as well as sensitivity to the ever-changing demands of homebuyers and sellers. They will work closely with the CEO to ensure full transparency of the technology path and programs, communicating all plans, milestones and any pertinent challenges regularly. Finally, the Director of MLS and IT will be highly focused on benchmarking results against the plans outlined and will critically evaluate the success of technology programs and course correct in real-time. REQUIREMENTS/JOB SKILLS: Administer and direct the activities and operations and staff of the Multiple Listing Service of the Association, consistent with the policy and procedures as directed by the Board of Directors, MLS and Electronic Keybox Rules […]

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Syndicate like you Facebook

by Victor Lund on November 20, 2015

By now, everyone has experienced social media. The pinnacle of social media is Facebook. One of the early criticisms of social media marketing is that it is essentially spamming your friends. Posting the same thing every day is not going to make it more interesting. There is a lesson to think about here…let’s switch sites. Every month, MLS systems are estimated to send out 200 million emails to consumers notifying them of new and updated listings. I think most people refer to them as auto-alerts or auto-notifications. That number of 200 million grows larger when you include the number of notifications that go out through mobile apps, broker sites, agent sites, buyer tools, and even portals. Guess what? You are publishing the same thing every day! Oops. Lets go back to social media… The most effective way to engage an audience in social media is to curate your content. Experts talk about publishing strategies that include variation, emotion, etc. Advertisers do this too. Changing things up is a hedge strategy against ad fatigue. In parlance, it’s a campaigning strategy. Lets go back to listing notifications… Depending on the market, properties across America typically trade within a window of 120 days. Most of the time, the photos of the property and the description text remain static and unchanged throughout the listing term. The only part of the listing that changes is the price. How can we create a campaign strategy for listing notifications? Think Differently… WAV Group has written about the strategy of using price changes to trigger email alerts in the past. Lower the price by any amount and every system will trigger an email alert. The more price changes you have, the more direct marketing gets triggered to the people who have saved searches for the property you are marketing. This boost in audience impressions drives more engagement, or leads if you prefer. But the risk is spamming or lead fatigue. The audience will begin to ignore the effort if you do not switch things up a bit. Use the Facebook Lesson If you are going to use this strategy of price changes to market the property, think about what we know about social media spamming and advertising fatigue. Curate the information to keep it fresh. At the very least, be sure to change up the primary photo. By the way, experiment with interior shots; they often get more […]

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Visit the new HowardHanna.com!

by Victor Lund on November 18, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA (November 18, 2015) – Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the 4th largest real estate company in the U.S.A., invites the public to try the new website for the first time today. Working collaboratively with 1000Watt, the leading agency focused on real estate and mortgage branding, marketing and innovation, the new HowardHanna.com is widely regarded as the most powerful real estate site in the entire industry. HowardHanna.com achieves new milestones in real estate brokerage navigation by combining active listings, recent sales and public records data for properties within a clean, modern design that highlights the strength of the Howard Hanna brand. It is easy to navigate and provides the information and features that consumers love. “Why did we do this? Consumers want INFORMATION!” said Helen Hanna Casey, President of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. “We challenged ourselves to break through the thinking that limits most real estate company websites. Why can’t a real estate website serve prospective sellers as well as buyers? Why can’t we display information on every property and not just those for sale? Why can’t our agents enhance the user experience through their own contributions? Our new site demonstrates what is truly possible.” The website delivers three industry firsts: 1. Combined search for active listings, recent sales and public property records The new HowardHanna.com offers consumers something they won’t find on any other website: the ability to get details on any property, whether it’s for sale, recently sold or off the market. By combining up-to-the-minute updates from over 30 MLSs with millions of public records, we can offer any consumer – buyer, seller, or a property owner thinking of selling, a complete picture of the housing market. And by offering all of this information on our site, it gives Howard Hanna agents the opportunity to connect with prospects online in new ways. Studies show that consumers who are ‘thinking of selling’ often seek price histories and recent sales prices to gauge the market. They can now get this information at HowardHanna.com, along with clear calls to action to also get the expert assistance of a Howard Hanna agent. 2. “Hanna View” neighborhood photos People don’t just buy homes, they buy a place to live their lives. That means they want to see what a community or neighborhood is like before they make the commitment. The Hanna View feature gives them that by displaying current photos of […]

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First Month Impact of TRID

by Victor Lund on November 17, 2015

TRID has caused a lot of concern for residential real estate. The high percentage of home sales that include purchase loans makes the relationship between mortgage and home sales vital to the health of the industry and the national economy. There was an enormous amount of preparation to adjust to the new TRID regulations that were implemented October 1st, and a clear belief that closing periods would be dramatically extended. We reviewed the performance of many of our brokerage accounts to see what happened. October was the kind of month that researchers like the WAV Group would prefer to remove from results, or at least circle. Whenever certain technical anomalies like the implementation of the new TRID requirements impact home sales processing, it throws off the data. The Adjustment Results Across our brokerage accounts with Mortgage businesses, we saw an acceleration of closings in September ahead of the TRID implementation as everyone worked at a peek pace at the end of the month to get deals done. In most markets, mortgage purchase applications were up in October over 2015, but not nearly as high as the September or August year over year comparisons. We think that this is a TRID impact, and may account for about an 8% forecast adjustment. November should be interesting as we get into the second month of TRID and a seasonally adjusted softening in the market. The FHA reported some good news. They have reached their required 2% capital fund reserve requirement ahead of time. This is good news that may lead to one of two outcomes – reduction of premium rates or improving availability of credit standards. The reserve requirement is to hedge against risk. It seems that FHA is more focused on improving availability than reducing rates. This should broaden lending for FHA qualified applicants. There was a lot of concern that TRID was going to impact loan availability across the housing industry. It would seem that with the exception of a lot of anxiety, the implementation in October did not have an uber-dramatic impact as changes took place across the market. We will see what November brings, but for now – congratulations to everyone for making the TRID adjustments. Your efforts and planning have paid off.

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Each year, the National Association of REALTORS releases a study of homebuyers and sellers, which is my favorite REALTOR research publication. The NAR Research Group publishes publishes excellent research  — including its superb daily Economists’ Outlook — but this one is especially chocked full of golden statistical nuggets, which is ideal for a data junkie like me. These are the kinds of facts I love to pull from research because these data points are what help tell a story, and that’s a great way to earn the attention of a reporter who covers our industry. Here are seven facts from this brand news report that you may or may not find surprising, but my guess is your clients would: Most home buyers have no kids at home. A full 63% of home buyers did not have a single child under the age of 18 living at home. What are we going to do with all these McMansions? Home buyers in the South are more diverse than those in the Northeast, or Midwest. Southern diversity (82% White) among home buyers significantly eclipses both the Midwest (93% White) and Northeast (90% White), and almost ties the West (81% White). We have a lot more work to do as an industry in this space. The Northeast by far had the most First-Time Buyers in the last year: As a percentage, 43% of all home buyers in the Northeast were First-Time Buyers, compared to 26% in the West, 30% in the South, and 38% in the Midwest. One would think the Midwest or the South, with lower price homes might be higher, but lower incomes clearly play a role. First-time home buyers have plummeted as a percentage of all buyers: First- time buyers only account for 32% of buyers, that’s down from 42% in 2001, a high of 50% in 2010 and was even down from last year (33%). Millennial research may provide more insight here. Only 1 percent of all buyers say “Tax Benefits” was a primary reason they purchased a home. Please don’t tell this to your Congressional leadership. Nearly one in four home buyers say they will never buy again: 23% of buyers say they are never moving, as they are in their forever home. Think how this could impact your lead nurturing strategy. Yard Signs are still cool. More than half of all homebuyers (51%) counted the Yard Sign among […]

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Solving for Technology-Confused Agents

by Victor Lund on November 11, 2015

WAV Group supports organizations (Brokers/MLS/Associations/Franchises) to develop support services for the technology applications used by agents. To kick off these programs we audit the systems that an agent has access to. This is an administrative process whereby we inventory all of the tools that they access from any source. 7 Sources of Real Estate Agent Technology (with one common example) National Association of Realtors – RPR State Association of Realtors – Forms Local Association of Realtors – Lockbox Multiple Listing Service – MLS system Franchise – lead management Brokerage – eMail Self – website The Big Problem: 7 different channels of training and support Forget about training and support for a second. Let’s start with a basic observation: For an agent to even know what each of these tools do, they would need to spend at least 1 hour on a demo to get an overview. In reality, something as sophisticated as the MLS system would take at least two hours just to show an agent around. A fundamental problem with real estate today is that this basic process of introducing an agent to the tools they use is optional. Set up and basic training must be a key component of onboarding a REALTOR®. If you look across the horizon of these seven entities, there is only one logical source that can consolidate training – the brokerage. Where is your customer support directory? I constantly ask this question during our kickoff audit and the reaction to this basic question is the cornerstone of the tragic comedy that we face in our industry. Some people know part of the answer, but nobody knows the entire answer. And, to be fair – I did not list all of the applications that an agent would need to use. In most cases they have 5 or 6 services from their MLS, six to seven more from their brokerage and franchise, and another 2 or 3 on their own just considering the third party publishers. Fix this and sell more real estate. The old adage is true. If the agents would only use the tools we provide, they would sell more houses. Simple Steps To Solving This Problem Create a list of every product, making sure to contact every company to understand what the product does. Write a brief description of the product. Find out if each product vendor has a schedule for training Create […]

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What’s “News” at WAV Group?

by Victor Lund on November 11, 2015

WAV Group strives to provide up-to-the-minute information about developments in real estate practices and technology. This means that we are always updating our blog with new articles to keep you informed and on top of things in our industry. Some exciting things have happened since our last newsletter! We’ve collected our recent articles here so that you can get up to speed heading into the NAR meetings. You can also get our updates in real time by visiting our home page (click here) and subscribing to our RSS feed. Tech Helpline Now Available to Orange County Association of REALTORS® CoreLogic Extends Trestle RETS Server to other Systems for FREE Damien Huze Joins W&R Studios’ Leadership Team As Chief Design Officer Online Marketing is for Sellers, Recruiting, and Retention Gavin Blair Named as New CEO of the Iowa Association of REALTORS® WAKE UP BROKERS! Hablas Español? Is Email Volume Killing Your Company? America’s Largest MLS Offering System of Choice CoreLogic and Instanet Get Married

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5 Hot Trends in 2016 to Look for at NAR

by Kevin Hawkins on November 11, 2015

This year’s REALTORS® Convention & Expo in San Diego traces its origins to the first Chicago meeting of the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges held May 12-14, 1908. One hundred and seven years later, some 20,000 real estate professionals will visit the San Diego Convention center where more than 400 organizations will display their offerings and pitch their products. 2016 promises to be a pivotal year of rapid adoption of sweeping innovations and the emergence of new powerhouses in the residential real estate matrix. Here are five hot trends to look for and listen at the workshops to learn about to get the most out of NAR to help you next year. Full disclosure: All of these trends identified here come from my own personal biases and prejudices, having delved deeply into these subjects over the last several months. Trend #1 – Marketing Automation It’s is a no-brainer that Marketing Automation will dominate the minds of broker owners in 2016. This is what solves the low adoption rates by agents of new technology offerings their firms provide. It’s also a huge boost for broker ROI as it removes agents from the quagmire of self-created marketing materials. Agents waste a huge amount of time creating marketing materials to promote a listing and themselves, and Marketing Automation allows them to focus instead on the things they are good at: Generating listings and closing sales. Take the agent out of the equation when it comes to creating, deploying and promoting listings by automating the marketing for them and you have 100% agent adoption and deliver zero wait time to promote properties for every seller. Bill Yaman, President of Imprev, a leader in this effort, has written extensively about this topic in his blog, here. Trend #2 – Mobile everything It’s go mobile or go home in 2016. It’s not just Google driving this accelerated change, it’s also your clients. Zillow is saying that 70 percent of its weekend search traffic is coming from mobile devices. Mobile First remains the best strategy and companies that understand the difference that this approach brings – versus the shortcut of building responsive websites or just mobile apps – are going to distance themselves from the competition when it comes to lead gen. At NAR, look for firms that really are committed to a Mobile First strategy. Trend #3 – Mobile Admin Speaking of mobile, forward-thinker Randall […]

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Top 10 Ways to Become a Truly Broker-Centric MLS.

by Marilyn Wilson on November 11, 2015

Ever since the now infamous Gripe List was published, MLSs have been scrambling to find out they can better serve their MLS Customers.  I was honored to moderate a panel of brokers at the highly successful RESO conference last week as part of the first business track. I asked them what they believe an MLS must do to become broker-centric. Since there is no official definition of what a broker-centric MLS is I thought I would take a crack at it to get the conversation going. The following list is a compilation of their answers along with interviews we conducted with brokers throughout the country and even our own experiences with MLS organizations working on behalf of our broker clients. Here you go: 1. TRULY understands and addresses broker’s needs The broker-centric MLS goes to school on their brokers – they spend time truly listening to their brokers and uncover new ways to help them be successful in the ways that brokers are interested in.  Importantly, they DO something about what brokers need – they don’t just postulate about it 2. MOVES quickly – solves problems and create opportunities Brokers are entrepreneurs by definition. They work in a highly competitive and undifferentiated environment. They need to solve problems every day to open up doors of opportunity for their agents and for their clients.  MLSs who do not have a sense of urgency are slowing down a broker’s ability to get it done and make a sale. When a broker calls, she needs an answer quickly.  As soon as you slow down the potential for a new sale or a new line of business an MLS is NOT being broker-centric.  We get complaints all the time about MLSs who simply say no or worse yet, don’t respond at all to requests. It’s also important to support the companies that work for the brokers.  Some MLSs treat technology companies like lepers. They portray a genuine disinterest and even disgust for vendors that have been hired by brokers to deliver services.   The attitude of broker-centricity needs to extend to ALL of the companies that support them, not just to the brokers themselves.  We just had a hellish experience with a small MLS in New York State that simply refused to answer questions that we were requesting on behalf of one of the MLSs clients. We weren’t asking for anything other than public information […]

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Brokers Need To Sharpen Their Value Story

by Victor Lund on November 11, 2015

WAV Group is re-launching a number of brokerage brands today. Re-launching a brand does not require a brand to change, but the brand communication changes. We review how the brand is communicated everywhere, but especially where the brand has the greatest reach – in your technology applications. A brand re-launch begins with a strategy to tell the story about why your brand is a good choice. We identify why your managers (employees) work for your firm so competitors do not hire them away. We define the reasons why agents (contractors) work for your firm so they cannot be recruited away. But most importantly, we identify why consumers trust your firm so they do not wonder elsewhere. The single most important place to reinforce your brand is in your presentations. What is the story that you tell managers when you are recruiting? What is the story that managers tell agents when they are recruiting? What is the story in your listing presentation that agents are conveying at the kitchen table? In most cases, the brand story is old and tired. When I show the story to principles, they are appalled. Firms forget to update their brand story. Moreover, everyone’s listing presentation is looking the same these days, and that is a problem for brands. WAV Group thinks that brokerage firms should perform an hygienic cleansing of a brand each year. We are happy to help. Marilyn Wilson of WAV Group is among the top marketing professionals in our industry. Before her decade-long experience as a founder of WAV Group, she was the EVP of Marketing for Fisher-Price, one of the top 10 international brands in the world. Here is a short paper that talks about some innovative solutions that WAV Group clients are implementing in one area of their new brand communications – the listing presentation. It’s a free paper that hopes to give you some good ideas. If you want to dig in deep, give us a call.

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