In a recent meeting I attended of broker owners, there was a questions posed: What’s more important in your business – Recruiting or Retention of agents? There seemed to be an overwhelming lean toward recruiting and it is hard for me to understand why. When we look at operational effectiveness in a brokerage, we look at things like brand, leadership, and culture. Brand is measured by the opinion of agents and customers. Leadership is measured by the popularity of executives among staff, managers, and agents. Culture is the happiness measurement of executives, staff, managers, and agents. The common goal of building strong brands, leaders, and culture is accomplished over time. These are things that are developed through trust. Are we overly concerned about getting people in the door to the detriment of the people already amongst us? Sometimes broker are. Is the brokerage more concerned with lead generation than customer for life? Is the brokerage more concerned with recruiting new agents rather than completing the process of developing a successful agent who loves their company? For me, great companies are like families. Everyone is a part of something that they are vested in and have pride in. The fastest growing companies I know are succeeding by firing disruptive, selfish, and unproductive agents and managers. In doing so, they became recognized for quality by many of the elite agents from other firms. The company becomes attractive. They run their business like a private club for the best of the best. Obviously the answer to the question is that both recruiting and retention are vital to growth. Recruiting becomes the outcome of retention. My point is that retention precedes recruiting. Essence precedes existence. What are you recruiting people to? What are your core values? What are your core beliefs? How are you benchmarking or indexing those things? When you truly believe in your business, its impossible not to invite others to join the company. But you recruit selectively because you owe it to your colleagues to invite people who will add value, not detract from it. Of course it will add unit and revenue value, but more importantly you add to the culture. As business people, we all have a tendency to look at the logic and not pay enough attention to the emotion. How many companies pull monthly reports but fail to do a survey to ask agent and customers about […]
Arroyo Grande, CA – April 28th, 2015 – A nationwide group of leading Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and real estate brokerage firms supporting the creation of a national property search portal have elected their first board of managers. The initiative, known as the Broker Public Portal, was launched in January and includes a cross section of participants from 37 MLSs and 39 real estate brokerages representing the interests of 826,000 agents. WAV Group project consultant, Victor Lund explains that MLSs have long provided regional consumer facing property search websites. In December of 2014, a group of likeminded MLSs and real estate brokerages met to discuss the opportunity to build a National MLS consumer facing website to fill an unmet need in the online marketplace. At the first meeting of the organizers on April 22ed, 2015 in Dallas they elected the board of managers that will be included in their corporate filings as a Delaware LLC. “There is a tremendous amount of support and momentum throughout the MLS and brokerage communities to create a new choice for how and where to display their listings,” commented Robert Moline of Home Services of America. “And the formation of our Board of Managers is a significant step forward in our ability to deliver on that goal through the creation of a national broker public portal.” Large Firms – 5 Robert Moline – Home Services of America Merle Whitehead – Realty USA Hoby Hanna – Howard Hanna Real Estate Chris Heller – Keller Williams Joan Docktor – Fox and Roach Multiple Listing Service – 4 John Mosey – Northstar MLS Cameron Paine – Connecticut MLS Rebecca Jensen – Midwest Real Estate Data Kirby Slunaker – RE Colorado Midsized Firms – 3 Craig McCelland BHGRE Metro Brokers Richard Haase Latter and Blum Drayton Saunders – Michael Saunders Small Firms – 3 Mitch Ribak – Tropical Realty Paul Wells – RE/MAX Barrington Christina Ishabishi Bonner – Pacific Union # # # Media Contact: Kevin Hawkins | WAV Group Communications (206) 866-1220 | email@example.com
Behold, changes are taking place in real estate. We are seeing significant efforts like Project Upstream, RPR AMP, Broker Public Portal, Fair Display Guidelines, and RESO mandates that are shaping the future of our industry. It makes you wonder what is driving this explosive cocktail of industry wide initiatives. At the heart of many of these developments are brokers. When they survey the world around them, they rue the existence of poor data management and profit taking by others. Poor Data Management I believe that it was MRIS CEO, David Charron who coined the term Overlapping Market Disorder. He was referring to situations where MLS areas overlap. It is a condition that causes brokers and agents to participate in more than one MLS and struggle to keep data clean and abide by different regulations. MLSs have long established unique data schema and rules to “differentiate” themselves from a neighboring MLS. MLS of choice caused this. And in many ways, Association of choice amplified it. Today, nearly every MLS supplies brokerages with different IDX and VOW data feeds. For the broker and their vendor, maintaining these different types of feeds and rules is time consuming and painful. The Real Estate Standards Organization seeks to make it better. They are doing an excellent job and the Data Dictionary – the effort to normalize field names and attributes will see the day of light by the end of this year and into 2016. It will be a slow transition, but brokers will finally be able to get a data feed that is normalized across multiple markets. At least we are optimistic. The lever to cause the data dictionary to be adopted is the NAR MLS Policy Committee. Technically, MLSs not adopting the standard would be subject to penalties from NAR for non-compliance. We will see how seriously NAR and MLSs take this requirement. For its part, the MLS Policy Committee has done an excellent job of evolving the MLS model rules. For example, last year they standardized rules relating to the access and display of sold property data in the IDX model rules. Profit Taking Ask different brokers around the nation what they hate the most and they will tell you stories about how others are profiting from their data unfairly. Some will tell you that third party listing websites have been making extraordinary profits off the backs of agents and brokers. The […]
Sophisticated real estate companies in metropolitan areas do a lot of international business, or at least aim to do international business. To facilitate international business they belong to networks like Christies, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Luxury Real Estate, or international franchise organizations. International is also a significant strategic development initiative for brokerage firms with strong relocation departments. The trigger to securing inbound referrals from abroad is relationship building. If you are not reaching out to international corporations with locations in your area, or taking trips to develop referral relationships with feeder markets, you are not likely to have much success. Some firms even open offices in foreign cities. The goal is to get in front of international buyers and sellers and deliver a compelling presentation that assures the perspective client that you have experience handling international transactions. Here is a checklist of a few convincing details that may support your goal of handling international transactions. Line up translations services. Find firms that can take your communications and translate them into foreign languages. All of your materials communicating to international customers will be in English – that is the international language. However, providing a copy of the materials in their native tongue demonstrates your experience and dedication. Do not rely on Google Translate International Property Search – works with service providers like Immobel or Proxio to deliver an property search in their native language. Skype – Skype dominates international communications. Have a skype account and include your Skype id on your business cards and marketing materials. Format your phone number for international dialing – this is a simple thing, but it speaks volumes to project your attention to international customers add the +011 before the area code and local dialing number Have other ideas for demonstrating your focus on international business – leave a comment below.
Real estate’s annual May pilgrimage begins in a couple of weeks. Its formal name is “REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo,” but I’ve never met anyone outside of NAR that doesn’t call it NAR Midyear. Even the url for the location on realtor.org labels it “midyear” (http://www.realtor.org/midyear.nsf). For several days – this year May 11-16 – local associations as well as state and regional associations leadership descend on Washington D.C. It’s a time largely filled with policy meetings, committee confabs and a full-court press for face-to-face meetings with legislative reps. Tucked in the middle of all this is a trade show that runs for just two days: Wednesday, May 13 and Thursday, May 14, from 10 am until 6 pm. This year more than 100 vendors will be vying for a few minutes of everyone’s time. After all, many have flown 1,000 miles or more, have invested thousands of dollars on their booths and travel expenses, all for just that 16-hour window. The scope of the Midyear Trade Show is nowhere near the size of the exposition at the NAR Annual so it doesn’t always feature the biggest players nor their mega-exhibits. On the contrary, the vendor list is often comprised of the most ardent NAR supporters of all sizes, providers of “official” NAR this or that, and many also are in someway, connected to the MLS industry, which is ever-present at Midyear. Yet every once in a while a new company, new business model or new technology use NAR Midyear for its coming out party. Sometimes these firms are exhibiting; sometimes they are just hosting a suite in a nearby hotel, or meeting with CEOs in the lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel because they are bootstrapping it. Years ago, as the first Marketing Director for HomeGain, which at the time was a hot-new startup during Internet 1.0, the head of sales and I attended NAR Midyear with our pop-up HomeGain booth, tucked in the back of an annex that was added to accommodate last minute exhibitors like us. We didn’t make a lot of sales, but we generated a buzz and introduced ourselves, in person, to a lot of industry ‘thought leaders and influencers’ (whom we called ‘movers and shakers’ back then). This year, at Midyear, the WAV Group wants to know what should we be looking for? Is there a new business model, a hot new […]
Bigger is better. At least that’s what Apple discovered when it unveiled larger iPhones. The sales numbers stunned everyone: 74.5 million iPhones in the first quarter of release. That’s more than 34,000 phones an hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even Tim Cook was taken aback, telling analysts the “Demand for iPhone was staggering,” adding, “This volume is hard to comprehend.” Every major smartphone vendor has discovered that when it comes to consumer preferences, they are turning to larger screens. The bigger story But what is happening here goes beyond record sales numbers for Apple, Samsung, Google, LG or HTC. What the dominance of bigger screen smartphones in the marketplace is doing is accelerating the dominance of mobile in every aspect of our lives. Mobile growth has exploded with 71% U.S. market penetration, but I think we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s coming and coming on fast. This is what real estate professionals need to pay attention to. It’s more than just about market share of smartphones. It’s the behavior change that these big screens are creating. Just take a look around you every day and what are you seeing? I am seeing large screen smartphones everywhere I look. I was on a flight from Atlanta to Seattle and as I walked through the aisles, nearly everyone was in the prayer position: Head lowered, hands clutched, holding a large screen smartphone. On the ferry ride home, I saw the exact same thing, from every demographic group, young and old. If my wife’s parents, who are in their 70s, are a bellwether for how smartphones appeal to an older demographics, we going to see even strong sales – and greater behavioral changes. For years my in-laws held out getting a smartphone, coveting their pocket flip-phones. But this winter, they made the switch and got matching large screen smartphones. They said they could see everything so much better on their big screen phones. But what is most fascinating to me is how they too now whip out their smartphones when we are on the ferry, heading into Seattle. They used to give our teenage sons a hard time about “always being on their phones,” but now they too have the bug. They’ve also discovered the Zero Moment of Truth – the ability to Google search anything for an immediate answer during a purchase decision – and that is […]
Largest REALTOR® Event in San Diego County Explores Industry Changes SAN DIEGO, CA–(Marketwired – April 22, 2015) – With the recent Zillow-Trulia merger and changes to real estate listing syndication in San Diego, what is the future of online real estate search portals? That’s the big question to be answered by a panel of real estate marketing heavyweights — including Zillow/Trulia Vice President Curt Beardsley, WAV Group Consulting Partner Victor Lund, and Move/Realtor.com Vice President Russ Cofano — at the annual San Diego County REALTOR® Expo & Conference on Friday, April 24. WHAT | The annual San Diego County REALTOR Expo & Conference, widely recognized as one of the best networking and educational opportunities for REALTORS® in Southern California. It includes: General Session Luncheon (12-1:30PM) featuring a discussion on “The Future of Search Portals” with a panel of real estate marketing executives Six educational breakout sessions on everything from using drones for real estate listing photos to safety and self-defense in the real estate workplace A broker focused breakout session on risk management, BRE compliance, and common ethics violations A trade show with more than 200 real estate vendors A swearing-in ceremony for new REALTORS® Free evening reception featuring raffles and giveaways WHEN | Friday, April 24, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. WHO | The Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS®, 24 professional speakers and 2,000 real estate industry professionals WHERE | San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego, California, 92101 General Session Luncheon in Ballroom 6 A/B Breakout sessions in Ballrooms 8, 9 and 10 Trade show and evening reception in the Sails Pavilion MORE INFO & SOCIAL MEDIA| sdarexpo.com Follow along on Facebook at Facebook.com/RealtorsSD, or hashtag #SDAREXPO on Twitter. ABOUT SDAR | With more than 12,000 members, the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS® is the largest trade association in the county. We help our members, who adhere to a code of ethics and professional standards, sell more homes. We also help people realize the dream of home ownership, and we are dedicated to protecting private property rights. You can follow SDAR on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
It is always welcome news whenever fresh capital comes into the real estate industry. It’s the fuel for innovation. Lone Wolf joins the list of private companies like DocuSign and others that are getting the support from investment capital. WAV Group partners Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund had a phone interview with Lone Wolf CEO, Lorne Wallace to talk about the strategy of bringing on an investor. “We are in an unusual time in our company’s growth,” says Wallace. Through growing core products like Broker Wolf and strategic acquisitions, Lone Wolf has grown revenue to over $25 Million in sales. “Having a minority partner like Vista Equity Partners brings two important capabilities to the company: the capital for future acquisitions; and, the consulting expertise Vista has developed in growing other enterprise software companies” Lone Wolf in entering a new phase of company growth that has expectations for doubling the size of the company at a fast but well managed rate. Vista was selected from a pool of investors that have been in pursuit of investments in real estate technology. Wallace focused on finding a partner that would ask the right questions that would lead to the success of all of their product lines. Vista has deep experience on measuring customer support, churn, and compensation levels. Recently, Lone Wolf purchased Millennium, an MLS software developer with 11,000 seats across 30 small boards. “The MLS software completes our horizontal technology footprint,” says Wallace. With this new product, Lone Wolf supports the delivery of solutions to every vertical in real estate – MLS, Association, Franchise, Broker, and agent. Future plans Lone Wolf is highly focused on connecting all of the systems that operate the real estate industry – MLS to Franchise to Broker to Agent. Last year, they hired Rob Overman as their CTO to pursue this mission. Now, with Vista Equity partners, Lone Wolf will be able to approach acquisitions of firms with between $5 million and $20 million in revenue.
Jeremy Crawford joins RESO from MLSListings, where he has been Chief Operating Officer since 2012. He was responsible for all aspects of Enterprise Information Technology, including infrastructure, design, development, implementation, and management for MLSListings, Inc. Crawford has more than 15 years of information technology experience in the real estate, financial services and education sectors. Since 2013, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Real Estate Standards Organization. Crawford also serves on the DocuSign Executive Advisory Council, the Interop Advisory Board, and is the lead for the Council of MLS technology sub-council. Crawford was awarded San Diego’s Information Technology Executive of the Year in 2010 and holds a B.S. degree in computer science from East Tennessee State University. Mark Lesswing, RESO Board Chair stated: “Speaking on behalf of the RESO Board of Directors, we are thrilled that Mr. Crawford has agreed to join RESO as our new Executive Director. Jeremy has both the required skills and knowledge for the position as has been an active leader in the standards communities for many years. The next era of RESO is upon us.” “Over the past fifteen years, RESO has successfully driven the creation and adoption of standards for real estate data, proactively driving efficiency and low cost technology innovation using MLS data. With the game-changing launch of Data Dictionary and API standards alongside a formal certification program in conjunction with the National Association of REALTORS® policy, RESO continues to establish significant standards breakthroughs, directly contributing to the business and technology needs of all industry stakeholders,” Crawford states. “RESO’s current executive director, Robert Gottesman, has led the organization far beyond expectations and has paved the way for standards adoption nationwide,” he adds. “As the next executive director of RESO, I am excited for the opportunity to build on his success with an immediate focus on fostering standards creation, implementation, adoption, and certification, and a long-term goal of national data standards and industry collaboration across all aspects of real estate data.” Crawford will begin his new role April 27. Current Executive Director Gottesman will continue during the transition until mid-May. The Board of Directors thanks Gottesman for his excellent service and numerous contributions to the industry during his tenure.
It is with great sorrow that Rapattoni Corporation announces that Andy Rapattoni died April 8, 2015, at age 75 at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California, after complications following lower back surgery. Andy Rapattoni, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Rapattoni Corporation, a national software firm located in Simi Valley, California, became an industry icon in the world of organized real estate in the 45 years he headed the company. In 1970, Andy and his wife, Niki, founded Rapattoni Corporation to provide cutting-edge technologies to the real estate industry. Beginning with just the two of them in Westwood, California, near UCLA, the company currently employs over 100 employees and services Realtors® throughout the country. Rapattoni Corporation has continued to provide software products and services to customers throughout the United States for 45 years. Its Rapattoni MLS software is used by more than 200,000 real estate professionals, and its association management software customers represent more than 80% of the nation’s Realtors®. Mr. Rapattoni has received recognition for his contributions to the industry and for being a visionary. In 2009, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders by Inman News, one of the leading sources of independent real estate news and information in the United States. Joining Andy on this list were Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist.org) and Ben Bernanke (Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board). In 2010, he was selected as the Chaffey High School Alumni Tiger of the Year for his contributions and achievements, and gave the baccalaureate address to the graduating seniors. Andy was also named one of the “200 most powerful people in residential real estate” for 2013 and 2014 by Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200), a research service that analyzes over 1,000 industry leaders in residential real estate every year. Andrea (Andy) Rapattoni was born in 1939 and grew up in Ontario, California. He met Niki Brown in high school in 1956; they became sweethearts and married in 1960. He attended Chaffey College, Los Angeles City College, California State University LA, and UCLA, where he majored in engineering and minored in business. Mr. Rapattoni began working in the real estate industry in 1965 as a commercial real estate broker. In 1968, he joined Realtron Corporation of Detroit, Michigan, the first computerized real estate multiple listing service vendor in the world. Outside of work, Andy and Niki engaged in many […]
WI Homes is the consumer facing website of Milwaukee Wisconsin based MLS, Metro MLS. The website is a regional powerhouse for providing consumers with access to search the MLS property search database. In an effort to advertise a differentiation between their website and websites that they call “Zulia and Trillow,” they created these rather humorous radio ads. The first ad talks about the two biggest events in a couple’s life – when they buy a home and when they have a baby. In the second ad, they talk about a family buying a home of their dreams to outline how sometimes, when you search on sites like “Zulia or Trillow” the information about the home of your dreams could be way off. This is not the first time that competitors have gone after syndication websites. Realtor.com ran a campaign last year that still may be running. This entire competitive strategy is rather interesting. Largely speaking, consumers do not know the differences between third party websites and websites powered by MLS. Moreover, with publishers getting direct feeds from the MLS, the differentiation my soon go away. Since they launched their unique visits have increased by 160%
In one of my favorite articles from 2008, WAV Group suggested that newspapers are like nursing homes. At that time, newspaper advertising was in a steep decline as a result of the emergence of more affordable online options that promised better reach. My argument was, “This obsolete technology sucks millions of dollars away from more cost-effective marketing tools while delivering less every year. There are better uses for your budget, especially if you market goods and services to people who don’t remember the Truman Administration.” Job seekers go online to Craigslist, Monster.com, or Careers.com to find employment. Consumers go to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Homes.com, and HomeFinder. Want a date? There is a website for that too! Unfortunately, the economics of the online sphere are catching up with the economics of the newspaper economy. Affordability is becoming an issue for online marketers. The price of online marketing is going up, and the number of publishers is increasing. The effectiveness is also going down as more listings are advertised. Remember the good ol’ days when you just had to get your few lines of text in by Thursday at noon? In some ways, I am pretty sure that marketers pine away for that process again. Just one high-res photo and a few lines of text for your Homes & Land ad. The goal was “make the phone ring,” and ring it did! In truth, online marketing is far more complex. But print marketing was not easy either. It took administrative and marketing staff hours to do ad copy collection. It still is hard. Online marketing is hard, too! Listing syndication is complicated and feed trumping often has unsettling outcomes for how your listings are displayed. Moreover, you need to be concerned about who else is advertising on top of your advertisement. There is some good news. Once you have listing syndication configured correctly it will work for your business. Sure, the price is going up but even if it doubles, it is a relatively efficient marketing strategy. More importantly, it is much easier to get sellers to “buy into” your online marketing strategy than it ever was with print. There will be endless discussions about the volume and quality of leads. Since more than 50% of leads go unanswered, I have resigned myself to the fact that a lead is only as good as the person who gets it. To me, all […]