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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Real estate agents and brokers are overwhelmed by technologies. Telemarketers pitching the latest and greatest gimmick inundate them. We have been changing this since 2010 and now serve 750,000 MLS and Association subscribers with straight shooting information. Let’s meet at NAR to discuss this top rated solution for your area. Trust the Real Estate Technology Leader RE Technology is an online source where agents and brokers can learn about how to use technology to win more listings, sell homes more quickly, and maintain stronger relationships with past clients. Currently agents and brokers have access to thousands of articles and product reviews, as well as the most comprehensive directory of real estate technologies available anywhere. What can RE Technology offer? A robust library of articles to help agents and brokers get the most out of technology. A comprehensive product directory. A customized daily and/or weekly newsletter. Live educational webinars Todd Smith, MLS Training and Project Support Associate at the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS writes “I even showed a broker who came by for MLS help RETechnology. I went to the site, logged in and showed her what she has access to and a free benefit for. She took down the MAAR url with enthusiasm. She was looking for vendors who make websites. As a trainer, I seek to be informational all the way around. Not just in what I’m training, but also resourceful with tools and tidbits that can help realtors be greater and do better. RETechnology helps me do that.” Check Us Out at the NAR Annual Conference Want to take RE Technology for a test drive? We’ll be at the NAR Annual conference in San Diego. To set up a meeting, give Leilani Bruce a call at (702) 302-6882 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to learn more about you and discuss how RE Technology can help.
WAV Group has just published a case study examining enterprise-level transaction management systems WAV Group Consulting works with real estate brokerages to perfect back office enterprise business. This case study tells the story of how Hunt Real Estate evaluated their choices for enterprise transaction management. The firm spans nearly a dozen MLSs across multiple states with a plethora of integration points for customer records, listing records, forms, and agent records.This case study is designed to represent a roadmap for other firms to consider when making such an important technology selection. Download the Hunt Real Estate case study HERE.
WAV Group will be publishing a case study later today about how Hunt Real Estate leveraged Instanet, and MLS solution to deliver more value across their brokerage. There is a lot of alignment between the broker customers and MLS customers of both firms. November 06, 2015, Irvine, Calif. – CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, today announced that it has signed an agreement to become the exclusive provider of Instanet Solutions® to clients of its market-leading real estate platforms, including Matrix™, Realist® and AgentAchieve®. CoreLogic real estate solutions are used by more than 900,000 real estate professionals across North America. Instanet is a leading provider of solutions that help streamline and automate real estate transactions. CoreLogic will offer the entire Instanet Solutions suite to its clients and will provide InstanetOffers®, a new marketing solution for agents and brokers, to its multiple listing platform clients at no cost. CoreLogic will also offer services from Instanet Solutions that enable multiple listing organizations to manage contractual relationships with subscribers and third parties. ‘Everyone at Instanet is thrilled to team up with CoreLogic,’ said Martin Scrocchi, chief executive officer of Instanet Solutions. ‘CoreLogic is a market leader in multiple listing and property information solutions; their endorsement and support will help Instanet Solutions connect with a wider audience than ever before. The special integration we’ve achieved between Instanet, Matrix and Realist empowers agents to instantly generate and auto-populate transactions and forms from any listing or property-and that’s a proven path to easier, faster transactions.’ CoreLogic clients who already use Instanet products will continue to work directly with Instanet. CoreLogic will continue to support clients of its own document and transaction management solutions while providing a smooth transition path to the Instanet Solutions suite for those interested in doing so. ‘Instanet’s rich history in the multiple listing and brokerage arenas, combined with the breadth and strength of the solutions they offer has no parallel,’ said Chris Bennett, general manager of real estate solutions for CoreLogic. ‘Forging a strategic alliance with the segment leader is the best way for us to serve our clients. We will provide ongoing support to our document management clients and are prepared whenever they are ready to upgrade to Instanet.’ For more information on CoreLogic real estate information technology, visit www.corelogic.com/res. For more information on Instanet transaction management technology, visit www.instanetsolutions.com. About CoreLogic CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading […]
One announcement that was made around the Council of MLS meetings was the intention of the California Regional Association of REALTORS to offer the Paragon MLS system alongside the CoreLogic Matrix system. This was a big topic of conversation in our recent webinar, the most recent installment in our ongoing WAVes of Change series. Just think about it – they will be running in parallel forever. History CRMLS is a complex MLS. They support 78,000 subscribers and they plan to grow. California has a lot of Paragon installations in California, including some large MLSs like San Diego County and a more modest sized MLS in the Eastern Bay of San Francisco. There are much smaller accounts scattered around the state. San Diego is a neighbor to CRMLS and they share overlapping membership in Northern San Diego County. Strategy From a strategic perspective, the size of CRMLS is justification enough to offer different systems. We have witnessed this before in Chicago where they offered three systems years ago, and in the Dallas and greater northern Texas market where CoreLogic’s Innovia system was offered because of its support for mobile web and Mac OS. Front end of choice has been around. In Chicago the thought was that one system would rise above the other. That did not happen. Agents will not change systems unless they are forced to. For CRMLS, front-end system of choice provides their subscribers with variation. Different systems appeal to different audiences. Offering system variety is also not foreign to the company. When CRMLS was formed, they offered Discover MLS, MLXchange, and Tempo. In many ways, I think that CRMLS drew success from system flexibility and this may be an effort to return to those roots. Rapattoni, another heavily adopted system among California MLSs, has recently shared that they are not opposed to operating their application as a front end of choice. Complexity One of key complexities of the construct is getting the vendors to work together in a way that does not require CRMLS members to pay for two systems. WAV Group’s understanding is that payments are only the active users on each system – not a site license, will pay vendors. The means for calculating users is not public at this time. I think this will create some healthy competition among the vendors to deliver excellence and innovation. The Single Sign On to supporting applications to each […]
Lingchi is the roughly the word that the Chinese use to describe a form of torture whereby a person is executed by 1000 cuts. Dying the death of a thousand cuts has become a familiar business term that can have any range of meaning. WAV Group fielded a question from large brokerage firm – “how do we reduce email in our company?” Communication in a company is good, but too much communication as an adverse impact. What follows is my reply. Calculate the spoilage – If it takes each member of the company an hour to clean out their inbox each day, how many hours of productivity per day is the company losing? You can only control how many messages you send. Do an exercise where you look at the emails that you send and count the number that you could have not sent. Set a goal for each person to reduce the number of emails sent each day by 20% – 1 in 5 emails sent by professionals is typically the number that is easy to reduce. Carbon Copy is the devil. Never copy someone unless they are pivotal to the conversation. We live in a forward world. We see something that we like and we forward it. Consider putting those things into a folder and creating one email per week with your highlights. Reply with care. Don’t just Reply to All. Reply with a purpose. Turn off Read Receipt – If you are getting a read notice on all of your emails, you are insane. Turn that off. Make it o.k. for managers to discourage email use and coach offenders. Curate Content Expand the range of weekly reporting to bi-weekly or monthly. Develop a corporate bulletin board on your company intranet or send out a company newsletter with notes from around the company. Encourage the use of Facebook for broadcast publishing Here is a series of articles about Inbox Zero: http://www.43folders.com/izero
Today, 85% of homebuyers are white, but that is changing rapidly in America. The new and growing homebuyer population is Hispanic or Latino, and most do not speak English well enough to have confidence in a real estate transaction written in a foreign language, with an agent who is not bilingual. Yikes or Opportunity? We think opportunity. From 2010 to 2012, the number of Hispanic homebuyers increased 38%! Today, only 20,000 of the nations’ 1.2 Million members of the National Association of REALTORS is Hispanic. By the way – all of the stats quoted here look at data collected in 2010 and 2012. You can figure that the growth rates have gone up significantly. From 2010 to 2012, the number of Hispanic Households grew from 4.25 million to 6.69 million – a 58% increase. The number is likely well over 10 million in 2015. A Simmons Market Research survey recorded that 19% of Hispanic American origin speak only Spanish. Ergo – 1 in 5. Only 17% of Hispanics are fully bilingual, and 55% have limited English proficiency. The United States has more Spanish speakers than Spain. Does anyone have a truly end-to-end bilingual home buying or selling brokerage? In the 20112 censuses, 17% of Americans are Hispanic. If you are a Broker in New Mexico, 44% of your population is Hispanic. Texas is 31% Hispanic, followed by California at 30%, Arizona at 25%, Nevada at 20% Colorado at 15% and Illinois at 12%. Total US Hispanic population is now is nearly 35 Million people and growing. If you do not operate a fully bi-lingual brokerage, you are missing a huge opportunity. California has 14 Million Hispanics with housing needs and more than half of them are not proficient enough in English to contemplate a real estate transaction. When we talk to brokers about this, the common answer is that “we have some Spanish speaking agents.” #FAIL! Dive a little deeper and you see that they do not have bi-lingual forms, bilingual inspectors, bilingual appraisers, bilingual property managers, bilingual marketing materials, bilingual listing presentations, bilingual agent contracts, bilingual websites, bilingual mortgage, etc. – Bilingual everything! Whites have a birth rate of 1.1 for every death. Hispanics have a birth rate of 8.9 for every death. Over 1 Million new Hispanic households were formed in 2012 compared to a decrease of 704 Million non-Hispanic households. The market is changing folks, Vamonos! It’s […]
The Iowa Association of REALTORS® (IAR) is pleased to announce the hiring of Gavin Blair as the next Chief Executive Officer of the 6,800-member association. Mr. Blair is the current CEO of the Dayton Area Board of REALTORS® in Ohio. Blair oversees the over 2,400-member organization and the Dayton Regional MLS with over 3,000 members. “We conducted a nationwide search and interviewed several excellent candidates. We felt Gavin Blair was the best fit for IAR with his background in government affairs and his track record of progress and innovation in his previous positions.” IAR President Jon Yocum stated. Prior to his role at the Dayton Area Board of REALTORS®, Blair was the Government Affairs Director at the Columbus Board of REALTORS® for three and a half years. Blair is involved in several workgroups and committees at the National Association of REALTORS® including the Association Executive Committee and the Professional Standards Committee. “I look forward to leading the Iowa Association and continuing a tradition of innovation and leadership.” Mr. Blair said. Blair has earned his REALTOR® Certified Executive (RCE) Designation and is a graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Political Science. He is a sports fan and a lifelong Buckeye supporter, and enjoys running and golfing. He is looking forward to making Iowa his new home.
It’s November, the beginning of budgeting and planning for a successful 2016. WAV Group studies the online effectiveness of many of today’s leading brokers and provides audits and advisory services on optimizing these programs. The true measure of online effectiveness is closing a transaction. Unfortunately, we have observed that closing a transaction is coincidental to online marketing and not a direct correlation. The relationship between an agent and a consumer is akin to dating. Both parties must be attracted to one another. There needs to be a connection and the development of things like trust and confidence. It’s a dating game where decisions are based upon emotion rather than facts and numbers. If I were to build a lead conversion team for a real estate brokerage today I would start by doing a personality profile to find the types of agents who are easiest to like and trust. Smoke that in your lead management pipeline. Obviously this does not work for real estate because of the democracy of a brokerage culture. We are all equally qualified, right? If you agree that you cannot force a relationship between a willing buyer and a random agent who gets a lead, then you can position the process of online marketing differently. Online Marketing is for Sellers, Recruiting, and Retention. Online marketing is for sellers. During a listing presentation, the agent explains that buyers always use the Internet in the process of looking for property. Your firm will place the property on all of those popular-kid sites. This is so easy to do and say that I doubt any seller would be “like-wow! That’s amazing.” So you need to do something different than blast listing syndication because everyone does that. Heck, it’s a free service from every MLS in the nation. That is why I am so bullish on Buyside – it allows the agent to tell a seller how many buyers they are working with today who is looking for a home like theirs. If I am hungry to sell my house, I would choose the agent who has 10 buyers in their hand over an agent that plans to go shake the bush to find one. Show results from online marketing, not your online marketing plan. Tell the seller “every agent you interview is going to tell you about how they are going to plaster your home all over the Internet. I […]