2016

Hacker Connect Agenda Released

by Victor Lund on December 29, 2016

Hacker Connect

WAV Group is excited to sponsor Hacker Connect. If you want to get the most out of Inman and you are in the technology side of the real estate industry. You want to attend this one day event on Monday before the full conference. Note: You can attend this for one day, or send your technical staff for one day without doing the entire conference. Connect is one of my favorite conferences in the industry for scheduling meetings with clients and leaders in our industry. It’s a conversation that is stimulated by counterpoint. Inman Connect breads thesis and antithesis in a way that either divides or generates synthesis on many of the leading topics in our industry. But Hacker Connect is different. As the agenda will illustrate, it is about learning. 9:00 – 9:30 DDOS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet Connected home technologies have the potential to leave clients vulnerable to harassment and attack. Get an inside look at the historical nature of technological disruptions, how cyber weapons have been used in the past and the very real implications of leaked information on the industry. Molly Sauter, author and researcher 9:30 – 9:50 API Successes to Replicate and Pitfalls to Avoid “Build it, and they will come.” Maybe. How you design, market and align you API makes all the difference. Learn what works and what doesn’t, straight from the trenches. Peter Goldey, WitLytic 9:50 – 10:10 Using Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Science for Designing UI/UX. Get a first-hand look at how designers are using emotional intelligence and brain signals to bring a more scientific approach to UX/UI design. Firat Parlak, Founder, Awesome UX & UI Design Agency 10:10 – 10:30 Protecting Real Estate Data Against Phishing Phishing and beyond. Data security issues that are plaguing the industry and how to combat them. Thomas Kinsella, Cyber Intelligence and Investigations Manager, DocuSign 10:30 – 10:50 Blockchain and Real Estate Blockchain/Bitcoin is poised to transform real estate in four distinct ways including: Disintermediation, Fraud prevention, Money 2.0, Smart contracts. Hear what’s next and about a pilot program in Chicago using a blockchain title and lien platform. Ragnar Lifthrasir, Founder velox.RE 10:50 – 11:10 Facebook Marketing Automation for Real Estate Tarun Sharma, Facebook 11:10 – 11:30 Next Generation Real Estate Chatbots Take a look beyond the ChatBot and see how next generation, “cognitive” real estate apps are being developed using machine […]

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Send Your Techies to Inman Hacker Connect

by Victor Lund on December 20, 2016

WAV Group is sponsoring Inman Hacker Connect. It is a one day conference for your product managers and technology staff. For this group of constituents, this may be the best one day event of the year. Our sponsorship does not pay the whole fee, but we are paying for a lot of it. Please take advantage. Reasons to Send Them Technology is always changing, but real estate technology is going to have a revolution in 2017 with the widespread availability of the RESO Web API and other APIs. Today, there are only a handful of technology firms developing around our industry standard APIs. Now that they are real and available, MLSs are going to be flipping on the switch to develoment. Is your staff familiar with this new landscape? If not, you may want to begin to socialize them with the concepts and the people who are planning to launch applications in your MLS area early next year. Top Initiatives Using Web API The two key initiatives that are launching with Web APIs are Upstream and the new MLS product from Realtors Property Resource called AMP – Advanced Multilist Platform. Managing huge databases using the 15 year old RETS standard has hampered innovation and data management across our industry. Now that RETS is in our rear view mirror, MLS data can be connected quickly, affordably and easily to applications that need it. MLSs and their technical staff need to be fluent in how these new data systems operate, even if only to keep your technology vendors in check. Agenda DDOS Actions, Hacktivism and Civil Disobedience on the Internet API Successes to Replicate and Pitfalls to Avoid Using Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Science for Designing UI/UX Protecting Real Estate Data Against Phishing Blockchain and Real Estate Next Generation Real Estate Chatbots Roadmap for the Portals: New Product Preview What Technology Will VCs Fund This Year? Lunch on your own Sharing Data Better Building Best Practices in Small Companies Model for Tech Partnerships Driving Adoption in Legacy Companies Integration: Life Made Easier With Portals How to Make a Marriage of Tech Startups and Legacy Companies Collaboration Forums Facilitated by Industry Leaders Next Generation Buying/Selling Experience Advancing VR Integration: Making Life Easier With the MLSs and Other Data Providers Collaboration Forums with Industry Facilitators Buy or Build? Who Decides and Why? Recruitment Made Easy Combating Cybercrime Data Standards in Real Estate Recommendations, Best […]

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Christmas Lights

A business colleague and friend sent me a text the other day with a link to a television news story on CLAP – Christmas Lights Addiction Problem. It was a tongue-in-cheek text, but Paul knows that for the last 20 years, I have gradually increased my annual light display to become one of the most visited Holiday spots on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from downtown Seattle. In fact, when he texted me with a link about this group, I texted him back that I was heading home to climb up on the roof to hang more lights. But his text reminded me that everything in life we have a passion for teaches us some of the most valuable lessons we can learn. They are lessons we can bring from our personal life into our business life and use them to become better practitioners at whatever we do. From understanding why we do things – like hang tens of thousands of lights – or the benefits that others receive from our actions can make us, well, better people. So in the spirit of the holiday season, here are a few lessons I have learned from the 40-50 hours my two boys and I spend over the course of several weekends and evenings creating our annual display. Is it a problem or a check?: I was asked if I fix a broken set of lights or replace them? I used to replace them: I have all the tools, including several of those red “guns” that find where the power ends and tests each bulb. But then I did the math. I was so focused on solving the problem I didn’t realize how much it was really costing me. Time is money. Time also is precious in December, as there is less daylight (Sunrise today was at 7:55 am and Sunset is at 4:20 PM). We battle wind, rain, sleet, snow and ice, depending on the year. Moore’s Law also has changed things with the price of LED lights rapidly becoming more affordable. And our local ACE Hardware takes old Christmas lights for a charity. Today, I replaced a burnt out set of lights because I realized it’s solved with a check, so it’s really not a problem. Plan your work and work your plan: I sketch everything out on paper with a pencil. No two years displays are ever the […]

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Keep Your Board Members Up To Speed for as Little as $12 Each

by Marilyn Wilson on December 20, 2016

Special Christmas Offer

As we end 2016, now is a great time to sit back and reflect on the best ways to help prepare your association for the inevitable evolutions and revolutions the real estate industry may experience next year. Do you sometimes feel like your Board of Directors and key staff are out of touch with what’s really happening in the real estate industry today? Do you sometimes feel a bit isolated and would like to know if other organizations are facing the same challenges you are? MLSs, Associations and Boards that do not stay close to trends can enforce outdated rules and regulations that hinder member success. They can make decisions in isolation of the needs of home buyers and sellers weakening the relationship of their members with the buying public. Worst of all, a Board of Directors that does not stay in touch may not even know it is out of touch if it does not reach out beyond its local community to see where the real estate industry is going. We Attend the Events so You Don’t Have To Our WAVes of Change™ Series means we attend the events so you don’t have to. Four times a year we present a live webinar which includes exclusive looks at WAV Group research, emerging technology trends, broker challenges, and policy discussion. Many successful MLSs and Associations already understand the value of this stimulating and cost-effective way to keep their members up to speed on industry initiatives that make an impact. The webinar series also allows for an opportunity for your voice to be heard, regarding issues we have in common, relevant questions as well as sharing potential strategies that lead to optimal success. The WAVes of Change Series allows every one of your board members and invited guests to keep in touch on the ever-changing trends in our business WITHOUT leaving the office. New Year Special Offer Right now, we are offering a New Year Special! If you subscribe for the 2017 WAVes of Change before the end of December and you’ll get 10% off your subscription price. Keep your board members educated for as little as $12 each. If this sounds like something your organization would benefit from please contact marilyn@wavgroup.com or camilla@wavgroup.com to schedule a call and take advantage of this one-time special!  Please join your Association and MLS colleagues for this insightful series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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What Will DocuSign Payments Mean for Real Estate?

by Victor Lund on December 20, 2016

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The ability to set recurring payments through DocuSign Payments is coming and will be a boon to the leasing, event space rental and other industries. DocuSign Payments will also support ACH and Electronic Check Payments in the future which will be a perfect fit for Earnest money deposits. As the industry standard for eSignature, DocuSign offers a major contribution to real estate. There are two major forms companies that provide services to the industry – ZipForms® and Instanet Forms ™. In the case of Instanet®, they offer Authentisign ™, in the case of ZipForms, agents have a choice to use either Digital Ink™ or DocuSign®.  Zillow® subsidiary Dotloop® is also a competitor in this space with its own signature solution. DocuSign has built the category and created consumer brand equity that has driven more than 250,000 companies and more than 100 million unique users to adopt DocuSign across 188 countries. Their Lead to Close strategy for Real Estate is enabling brokers and agents to integrate CRM, accounting, and, now Payments, to reduce manual data entry and minimize compliance challenges. DocuSign truly sets themselves apart with their world class security and unparalleled reliability, giving the industry complete control over their documents, information, and data. While Real Estate is certainly important to DocuSign, they have clients in virtually every other sector outside of the industry too. And the company’s launch of DocuSign Payments plays big in all of them. Slated for release early next year in partnership with international payment processor Stripe – and supported by Apple, Google and Visa’s Authorize.Net – DocuSign Payments saves time and effort by providing a fast and easy way to collect payments and signatures in just one step. This delivers a superior customer experience, instant payment, and an error free contract-to-payment process. At launch, the pre-built integration with Stripe will give customers the option to use Apple Pay, Android Pay or any major credit card; PayPal, Authorize.Net and other payment options will follow soon after. MLSs and Associations may turn to DocuSign for contract signatures and payments by members. For real estate, we see this as a way for buyers and renters to easily make deposits and payments on properties for sale or lease. Let’s face it, people rarely carry around a check book anymore. The DocuSign real estate team has not really said much about Payments yet. I would venture that they are focused more […]

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2017 Housing, Economic Outlook from Boots on the Ground

by Kevin Hawkins on December 20, 2016

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It seems in real estate, the same handful of economists are always making the news about their annual housing predictions. Then mortgage interest rates jump a full percentage point practically overnight, and all of them scurry to readjust their predictions. Starting 2012, in the fall, Imprev real estate’s leading marketing automation firm has conducted a survey of top real estate executives: broker-owners and real estate franchise C-level leaders (CEO, COO, CMO, CTO, etc.), to get their perspective on what they think will happen in the economy in 2017. We keep hearing from the Generals, but if you really want to know what is happening, you have to talk to those who have boots on the ground: those who are battling it out in real estate every day. The Imprev Study this year was remarkable for a few reasons. First, it was conducted just before the election, so it is a snapshot in time before all the post-election political gyrations and wrangling. Second, it secured feedback from 240 respondents, not just the opinions of a handful of economic geeks who never sold a home or originated a mortgage loan in their life. Third, the survey talked to the leaders in the business who collectively are responsible for organizations that provide more than half of all U.S. residential real estate transaction last year: 15% of the respondents represented firms with more than 1,000 agents; 17% represent firms with 501 to 1,000 agents; 42% represent firms with 101 to 500 agents; and 26% represent firms with 100 agents or fewer. Key Findings Conventional wisdom says that real estate folks are optimists, and that a survey of their views on subjects like the economy and housing might be skewed towards a positive view. Even if we assume this is true, the magic of the Imprev survey is they’ve been asking the exact same questions of real estate leaders for the last several years. So that could mean that any change in direction of opinion – positive or negative – is significant. The major headline this year was clear: Real Estate Leaders’ Outlook for Housing, Economy Softens for 2017. So there goes the idea that leaders are always optimistic. As Imprev CEO Renwick Congdon said, “In fact, confidence for 2017 is lower across nearly all questions related to housing and the economy.” How much has it soften? Compared to two years ago, the number of […]

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2017 Growth forecast concept

2016 has been a great year for real estate. On many levels we see the entire industry rethinking. Giving credit where credit is due – this is an initiative that was powered by the National Association of REALTORS® – but morphed into many other things. Consolidation 2016 saw the most rapid consolidation of MLSs and Associations in history. WAV Group worked on many of them. The common drive is the notion that there are “too many MLSs and Associations.” But what we learned from deeper investigation through services reviews and satisfaction reviews is that there were “too many ineffective MLSs and Associations.” As Californian’s often remark, there are not too many winemakers in California, there are too many that make bad wine. In 2017 and beyond, organizations need to take broker and agent satisfaction more seriously. Associations and MLSs that put a bad wine on the table and expect their members and subscribers to drink will quickly learn that they are obsolete. The real estate industry is at war with well funded outside companies that intend to disrupt it. Areas of the country that do not provide outstanding services to brokers and agents will see disruption first. Consolidation 2.0 – it is worth mentioning the largest consolidation effort in America – Bright MLS – the new company founded by the bundling of Trend MLS, MRIS, and about eight others to create the Nation’s largest MLS. In this case of consolidation (and there are many other examples), a number of great MLSs with exceptional services and subscriber satisfaction are joining together to reimagine how they can serve brokers and agents even better. It is not just the approach of economies of scale – as you will see in the coming year – its about providing an MLS service that is far different, and far better than any other. This is a group that is highly strategic and highly skilled. Their future is indeed, Bright. RESO – Real Estate Standards Organization Perhaps the leading indicator of failing MLSs in America is RESO Data Dictionary compliance. To pass compliance, the MLS must format a data feed that uses an industry standard for the fields and field names. This is not hard folks. Out of more than 720 MLSs, there are still 50 that are not in compliance. These organizations had two years to plan and implement. And now they are more than a […]

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Four Brokerage Leaders Join RESO Board of Directors

by Victor Lund on December 15, 2016

For the past three years, the most impactful development in real estate technology has been driven by the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO). This nonprofit entity defines how MLS information is formatted for use by agents and brokerage. For years, this board of directors was mostly led by a combination of MLS executives and technology vendors. However, with today’s announcement you can see that brokerage involvement has reached its highest level. But that’s not all, other new executives from many of America’s largest and finest MLSs have also volunteered to step up and participate in guiding RESO into 2017. Executive Board of Directors Art Carter, CEO. Mr. Carter runs California Regional MLS, the nation’s largest MLS supporting over 80,000 subscribers. Alon Chaver, CIO, HomeServices of America. HomeServices is the second largest brokerage in America behind NRT. Chaver brings incredible technical acumen to RESO having owned and operated iHomefinder, executive role at Trulia, Director for Broker Public Portal, and other significant leadership roles. Richard Renton is the CEO of the Triad MLS, a regional MLS that covers 11 counties in North Carolina. Renton has been a long time industry leader with long standing support of RESO and the Council of MLS. Cary Sylvester, VP, Keller Williams, has been steward of the technology solutions at Keller Williams has they ascended to becoming the largest franchise organization in America. Sylvester is also a key contributor to Broker Public Portal and Upstream. New Members David Gumpper, Michael Saunders Steve Byrd, Carolina Multiple Listing Services Chris Carrillo, Metro MLS Tim Dain – Austin Central Texas Realty Information Services Reappointed Glen Shimkus, DocuSign Craig Cheatham, The Realty Alliance Ethan Bailey, CoreLogic Mark Wise, MOVE Mark Lesswing, NAR Chad Curry, NAR Tom Flanagan, Alain Pinel Tim Ford, dynaConnections Jeff Young, RPR Michael Wurzer, FBS. WAV Group strongly encourages brokerage firms to join RESO. Remember, this is a non-profit organization whose focus is to improve the data that brokers use. It is a vital resource to brokerages, and one that will not prevail if unsupported. Joining costs very little, and the investment pays massive dividends in improving the data infrastructure that is the lifeblood of our industry.

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John Aaroe Group of Los Angeles Merges With Pacific Union

by Victor Lund on December 14, 2016

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John Aaroe Group of Los Angeles has entered into a merger agreement with Pacific Union.  The combination of the two firms will bring them in line with both Alain Pinel Realtors and RealtyONEGroup, two other California based firms in the National top 10 with sales in the $12 Billion range. John Aaroe Group will retain all of its branding and management. John Aaroe Group is one of the leading independent firms on the west side of Los Angeles with more then 400 agents across 9 offices in the communities of Pasadena, Downtown LA, Toluca Lake, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Baldwin Hills, Sunset Strip, Brentwood, and the fabulous Rodeo Drive office in Beverly Hills. The firm does just under $2.5 Billion in transactions and currently has just under 200 listings ranging from a low of $840,000 to a high of $135 Million. Here is an overview of the combined entity. This is the second deal of this size completed by Pacific Union CEO Mark McLaughlin. No one is really sure what inspired McLaughlin in 2009 when he was operating his boutique Morgan Lane office. But inspired he was. That was the year that he purchased Pacific Union from Brookfield which was the same size as the John Aaroe Group. At the time, Pacific Union was doing about $2.2 Billion in transactions with 430 agents across 17 offices. Since that time, Pacific Union has grown to one of the 10 largest real estate firms in America with sales under $9 Billion. Pacific Union was grown by developing brokerage operation excellence, hard work and the development of great agents. The expectation is that similar growth projection are available for John Aaroe Group. The similarity of the transaction size is uncanny. The two firms have the same DNA, they are independent, strong brands, great agents, full service, offering luxury real estate services to the middle and upper price points of the market. Both firms work smart, agile, and 100% focused on the culture within their company. To be sure, a real estate agent has arrived in real estate when they are invited to join Pacific Union or John Aaroe group. Neither firm wants very many agents, but both seek to attract the industry’s best professionals and to support each one at cultivating a strong, successful book of business. Pacific Union has seen some remarkable growth through many of their technology innovations that John Aaroe […]

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Who really has the pulse of the U.S., World, State and Local Economies? Those with boots on the ground versus those sitting in Ivory Towers, I’d argue. That’s why I look forward to Imprev’s annual study that examines the confidence that the top real estate broker-owners and executive management at franchises have in the housing market next year. There have been 240 responses this year from leaders who run brokerages that together, are responsible for one of every two home sales transactions in the U.S. It’s the most comprehensive study of real estate industry Thought Leaders, and it has shown to be incredibly accurate. The message this year: Realtors are not always the eternal optimists they are portrayed to be as they are not as bullish on 2017 as they were on 2016. Here’s a look at their news release from today — with a link to a Summary Results PDF — that discloses the hard data from this survey: Study Shows Real Estate Leaders’ Outlook for Housing, Economy Softens for 2017 Imprev Thought Leader Study Also Reveals More Brokerages Feel Profitability Pressure  December 7, 2016 – Bellevue, WA –Top real estate executives’ confidence in the U.S. economy and housing market for 2017 has softened compared to two years ago, and 42% have grown less confident in the world economy since January, according to the latest Imprev Thought Leader Real Estate Confidence study. “Real Estate leaders are clearly less bullish about the coming year than they were two years ago,” says Renwick Congdon, Chief Executive Officer of Imprev, a top provider of automated marketing services for real estate. “In fact, confidence for 2017 is lower across nearly all questions related to housing and the economy.” “When we compare past studies, an interesting trend emerges: Executives and broker-owners are less confident in the global economy and far more confident in their local economies at the end of each year than they were at the beginning. In fact, their confidence grows stronger the closer the economy is to home,” Congdon explains. “This year, while only 4% of leaders say their confidence in the world economy has grown this year, 35% say their confidence in their own local economy has grown; while 13% have gained confidence in the U.S. economy, 26% have more confidence in their own state’s economy.” Respondents included nearly 240 broker-owners and top executives at leading franchises and independent brokerage […]

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When Ben Caballero became the first individual real estate agent to break the $1 billion production number in 2015, very few folks really understood how Ben did that. This year Ben will obliterate his own record with a stunning 35% increase in business. That’s a number north of $1.375 billion and a total of more than 3,400 home sales, up from 2,491 in 2015. Ben has won the Inman Innovator Award, was honored on stage by Gary Keller at Keller Williams MegaCamp (even though Ben is CEO of HomesUSA.com, a non-KW firm), and has been atop the RealTrends Thousand as published in the Wall Street Journal for several years straight – for both total sales and total production. Ben has produced more home sales than any real estate TEAM in America. Heck, his numbers make him the #1 real estate agent in the World. How does he do it? Many real estate agents cry foul when they see Ben’s name at the top of production lists because what Ben does is VERY different than what any other top producer does. Like others, Ben has a system. Unlike others, Ben targets only new home builders — 100% of his business — but also built his Cloud-based platform that powers his business. He also is the only name on every listing he posts on the MLS for his more than 50 builder brands, so he gets credit for every single sale. Technology is what allows Ben to do what Ben does, but it is just one part of his listing and marketing system for builders. What Ben’s system also does is connect real estate agents – buyers’ agents – to builders. Builders often struggle with marketing their listings to real estate agents and explaining why the new home sales process is different – and needs to be different – than an existing home sale. Ben helps real estate agents understand the opportunities with builders. Ben’s HomeUSA.com system for new home builders has made him the most efficient real estate agent in the World as well, and has increased the efficiency of listing and marketing homes for his builders. For the bottom line of a builder it’s pretty simple: using Ben and his system helps builders sell their new homes faster and Ben has the data to prove it. Yes, Ben is unlike any other top producing agent or team — he is a listing machine – using his technology to make builder […]

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WAV Group DMCA Safe-Harbor Alert

by Victor Lund on December 6, 2016

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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides some protection to website owners from tiresome litigation when an image or other copyrighted content is found to be on their website.  Before December 31st 2017, you should electronically register your designated agent. Even if you filed before using the old paper method, you must refile electronically by Dec. 31, 2017 or your DMCA safe-harbor will no longer be in effect. By now, I think that every website owner has gotten some form of letter from Getty Images or other copyright trolls – and this will continue. In fact, now that the Copyright office allows firms to electronically submit thousands of images for copyright protection, it is likely to cause more copyright claims for photos. The safe-harbor provision works something like this. First, you must have a DMCA notice on your website. WAV Group recommends that you have an attorney review your DMCA and your Terms of Use each year to assure that you are in compliance with current laws. While you are at it, plan to update the copyright on your site to © 2017. Also make sure that you incorporate the National Association of REALTORS® guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act by adding a statement into your terms of use like “If you have a disability that is preventing you from experiencing this website, call…….” The most important part of compliance with the DMCA safe-harbor is that you pay a fee and designate an agent for any copyright violations.  Under the safe-harbor act, if you are found to be infringing, the copyright holder will notify you to take it down. If you comply with the notice, the issue should be resolved unless there are extenuating circumstances. There is a lot more information on the copyright.gov site below. https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/onlinesp/NPR/faq.html Many thanks to Mitch Skinner of the law firm, Larson Skinner for this heads up on this! While you are thinking about copyright, I would also recommend that you review your photography policy at your brokerage.  Make sure that you secure the copyright on every photo, or get perpetual rights to use it. Many professional photographers have template agreements that only provide you with the rights to use the photograph during the marketing of a home – which means that you are responsible for getting those photographs off the internet and the MLS. The best practice is to have a work for hire […]

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Matterport Has Gone Mainstream

by Victor Lund on December 6, 2016

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Matterport delivers the most immersive virtual tour experience in the marketplace for consumers to view property. Immersive is a term used frequently in business to describe something that is deeply engaging. But, the real definition is more than that. Immersive describes a digital technology or images that actively engage one’s senses and may create an altered mental state. Indeed, if you have sampled the Matterport experience, it does just that. The realism of the experience is mind altering, but it comes at a price. The cost of the tours varies by market, combining expensive and patented camera technology with sophisticated software for hosting and viewing these novel experiences. But, the result is a truly differentiated type of marketing that transcends two-dimensional media. Moreover, it woos! Matterport was founded in 2011, and according to Crunchbase, the company has raised $61 Million in 6 rounds of financing by 20 investors. This has provided the company with ample funding to mature the product and explore the possibilities of how the experience can stretch the boundaries of 3-dimentional experiences. RE Technology is excited to have the opportunity to invite you to this free webinar to get a first hand update on the company, the products, and the future of Matterport. Today, the product is a listing tool first and a buyer’s tool second. WAV Group understands from Matterport clients that sellers are impressed by the technology. Sign up here for the webinar – held December 8th at 11 am pacific, 2 PM Eastern. Webinar Title: Learn what it takes to win more listings and outsell the competition. Overview: The real estate business is changing, and it’s more important than ever to understand the new tools and techniques available to savvy REALTORS® today. Do  you want to be recognized as one of the most tech-forward, marketing savvy businesses in your market? Attend our live webinar to learn why Matterport is the future of property presentation and how you can get in on the ground floor of the growing #D movement in real estate.

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Time For Brokers To Clean Up Online Profiles

by Victor Lund on December 1, 2016

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Real Estate Agent and Brokerage Profiles Online are a mess. Specifically, agent and broker profiles on the broker website, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Homes.com are naturally in disarray at this time of year. With transaction volume low during December, it is a very good time to clean everything up. Most brokerages audited by WAV Group consulting average 10% inaccuracy, which reduces lead generation and undermines a firm’s online reputation. Start With Data Collection It is a relatively easy task to collect the data necessary to update profiles. Start with your offices. “Offices have identities,” says Marilyn Wilson, partner with WAV Group. “When we audit brokerage firms we find that companies who have moved offices rarely put forth the effort to remove the old offices from Association Data Bases, MLS Data Bases, Brokerage websites, and syndication websites,” according to Wilson. There are services that can do this for you. WAV Group has resources that can automate the process on major search sites like Yelp, Google, and others. But the syndication sites require more effort, typically requiring the broker to log into the publisher site to make corrections. Agent profiles are the heavy lifting. It is vital that you collect the profile image of all of your agents, detail their contact information, and help them curate a reasonable bio of at least 250 words. Here is a quick guide for 5 Best Tips to Create a Powerful Bio (Sherry McCormick) Audit December is a great time to audit your syndication websites. Look not only for agent and broker profiles, but you may also want to measure the effectiveness of the sites where you syndicate. “If you are going to share your property listings with third party websites, you should do so with intention,” says Victor Lund, listing syndication specialist with WAV Group. Here are a few things to consider” Does the website adhere to the fair display guidelines (see fairdisplay.org)? Do you get leads from the site? Test it – inquire about one of your listings on each site to see if the lead is produced in your lead management system. Review the terms of use. Many brokers may not be aware of the terms, especially the liabilities related to listing content and copyright. Check the agent profiles for every agent in your company. If they are incomplete, you may be missing out on leads and lead conversions. Document “It is a good idea […]

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It is indeed a bright day in the MLS. The largest MLS consolidation in history is on the countdown to launch. A memo was released today to REALTORS® who will be impacted by the project called MLS Evolved – revealing the new name of their future MLS – Bright MLS Memo from Tom Phillips, CEO of Trend MLS As we continue to update you, TREND, MRIS and 7 other organizations are working to consolidate and create the next era of the MLS. I am excited to announce the name of this new MLS organization will be Bright MLS. 

We chose this name based on our vision for the new organization and a desire for it to: Inspire belief that each day is an opportunity to give real estate professionals all they need to shine, today and tomorrow. Instill the vision of something that empowers our customers for a successful future. Lift us out of the sea of acronyms most MLSs use. These acronyms are often based on geographies or basic descriptions of informational databases. Be imaginative, clever, empowering, and supportive. Project leadership and innovative thinking. As I’ve mentioned before, you likely have questions about the new MLS and in January we anticipate being able to provide you with more information.   MLS Evolved is one of the most impressive initiatives in America. It is a shining example of how organizations can place self-interest to the side and have an open and transparent business discussion and critical evaluation of the future of our industry. And, the role that MLSs must play to support REALTORS and Brokers in the best possible way. Anne Bailey of Pranix Consulting had a very moving discussion on stage at CMLS with David Charron of MRIS, a company that, along with Trend MLS, is at the heart of this MLS consolidation. Charron asked Bailey the question of “How many MLSs should we have in America?” It was a longish answer that centered on the notion that over 700 is too many, and one is probably too few. MLS Evolved covers multiple States, demonstrating that State lines are not necessarily the answer. There are many statewide MLS initiatives. Perhaps the number is 10 or 20 or 30. We do not really know. With Bright MLS, and California Regional MLS, we are seeing the emergence of two mega MLSs. For the first time, we will see multiple MLSs with […]

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The Power of Sharing

by Steve Cook on November 17, 2016

Woman reading blog on tablet

Today many leading news sites and blogs welcome by-lined posts and articles from respected professionals willing to share valuable knowledge and insights with their readers.  Good, free content helps boost their SEO, readership, and prestige. For companies who sell to brokers, agents, lenders, and consumers, the explosion of real estate blogs locally as well as nationally creates unprecedented opportunities to build brands, advance careers and position products and services.  The only cost involved might be the time of a professional writer experienced in the residential real estate to turn concepts into great copy. The publishers who operate these sites make a living from advertisers who pay for space.  Allowing contributors to fill their pages with posts that are blatantly free ads not only costs them money but will quickly diminish the value and credibility of their site or publication to their readers. If you are intending to submit by-lined articles to bloggers or other media, you must make sure that it is news. So, blogs and publications that accept outside contributions have very clear guidelines outlining what kind of content crosses the line.  One leading mortgage publication for originators, for example, encourages quality contributions by will not allow any references to companies, their employees or their proprietary products; the author’s name and affiliation are considered adequate payback for the quality content.  Most accept—and reject—pieces on a case-by-case basis, on writing quality and their value to their readers. Here is some advice on how to make guest contributions a powerful tactic in your outreach efforts: Begin by inventorying potential outlets.  Start with a solid understanding of the opportunities available to you and what they are looking for in contributors. Spend some time surfing sites, not just those you read daily but others you may not know.  List them by the audiences they reach brokers and agents, lenders, vendors, consumers.  Include local as well as national.  Locally, include weekly business you Think broadly and remember that your professional audiences read consumer outlets and that an article in a consumer or business publication.  Build a large list.  You will reach more people and build a “surround sound” image by appearing in several outlets. As you are researching, subscribe. Also be sure to make a plan to engage with their content by sharing your favorite articles on social media and by commenting on the article in thoughtful ways (i.e. don’t just say “great article, […]

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2017: The “Magnificent 7” Tech Trends to Watch

by Kevin Hawkins on November 17, 2016

deep_learning_icons_nvidia

When Gordon Moore, Founder of Intel, in 1965, observed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since its invention, “Moore’s Law” has become the predictor of what’s happening in technology. Granted, in 1975, the “law” was changed to say every two years and since then, modified often to say every 18 months, but the point remains the same – technology in the lab progresses wickedly fast. Today’s Moore’s Law is the moniker to describe changes in more than technology, including social and economic change, changes that technology has helped to speed up. As a novice tech junkie, I am fascinated by “what’s next” and in 2017, there are seven tech innovations and trends that have my attention. The implications for real estate are fairly profound. My Magnificent 7 for 2017: Automation, Ghosting, IoE, Intelligent Apps, Deep Learning, Security and your Digital Twin. Automation It’s not that automation is new – the Automat, the first automated food restaurant dispensing food from vending machines debuted in 1902 – it’s what’s happening in Automation in real estate today that’s profound. A day in the life of the real estate agent is being changed forever. For marketing activities alone, agents no longer need to design flyers, postcards, single property websites or YouTube videos. Heck, they don’t even need to update changes on their marketing materials when a price changes. Everything is done for them – automatically. Imprev is at the forefront of fundamentally changing that part of the agent’s life, and nearly everyone in the marketing space is jumping on the automation bandwagon. It’s not just a wave, it’s a tsunami: automation will be pervasive in everything that touches an agent’s life, from back office support, to transaction management, to driverless cars for taking their clients on home tours. Ghosting Chad Curry heads up NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Technology and mentioned the concept of “Ghosting” at the fall RESO conference in Nashville. Imagine taking a client on a home tour without every leaving the office – and the client without ever leaving their home. Shared AR is the best way I can describe it. A light comes on in your office, indicating your client is ready for a tour. They are at their home as a light comes on, indicating you’re ready. Through a shared Augmented Realty experience, you take a tour of each home together, […]

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Homes Portal Jumps Into Responding To Consumers

by Victor Lund on November 17, 2016

Consumer and Agent

The top online real estate search destination Homes.com recently announced a new lead conversion tool that solves one of the industry’s most puzzling weaknesses—timely consumer responsiveness. More than half of real estate consumers consider response time before selecting their agent. Yet, research by WAV Group indicates that 48 percent of buyers never receive a response and those that do wait an average of 15 ½ hours. The Instant Response Technology (IRT) by Homes.com, comprised of a fresh Lead Concierge service and a location-based application TalkNow, aims to boost REALTORS’ ability to successfully capture those leads by enabling faster direct communication with online leads. Zillow has been doing this for a number of years now. The Lead Concierge service saves REALTORS’ valuable time by pre-qualifying online leads before transferring them directly to the agent. Brokerage giant Howard Hanna purchased tech start up One Cavo to deliver this service on their brokerage website. Experienced call center assistants answer initial inquiries from prospects and vet their home-buying readiness by eliciting information such as whether they already have agent representation or financing. Qualified leads, or those that do not have a REALTOR and are poised to buy soon, are immediately connected to an agent or broker. Leads that are less time-sensitive are forwarded to the REALTOR’s online dashboard for later follow-up. “In effect, we’re providing real estate agents and brokers with a personal assistant to help them never miss a call,” says Homes.com President David Mele. “No one can always be available: if they’re actively engaged with a client, they can’t stop to answer a call or respond to a text. Homes.com Lead Concierge will perform that service for them, and more importantly, will help qualify and prioritize leads.” The affiliated Homes.com TalkNow application gives REALTORS the competitive edge by facilitating even more direct online lead engagement. Agents simply set their availability to field consumer inquiries and the application automatically sends an alert when a prospect expresses interest in a property within their service area. The first REALTOR that accepts the inquiry is connected to the prospect in real time. Since nearly a quarter of online consumers expect an instant response and 50 percent anticipate communication from a REALTOR within an hour, making the connection immediately is a powerful benchmark in a successful lead conversion cycle. “These may be the hottest leads an agent can get,” explains Mele. Both the Lead Concierge and the […]

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The Battle of Consumer Profiles

by Steve Cook on November 17, 2016

business and financial report with pen.Document is mockup

Long the bible of consumer data in residential real estate, NAR’s venerable Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers now has competition. With the 2016 Profile, which was released on Halloween and is based on a massive survey of both buyers who have participated in recent residential transactions, NAR celebrated 35 years of annual publication.  When the Profile was launched in 1981, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for his first term, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” opened in theaters and the median value of a home was $55,300.[1] in recent years, the Profile has been the source of information that defines residential real estate today, such as these often-cited findings: The percentage of home buyers who used the internet to search for a home increased to 95 percent in 2016 after holding steady at 92 percent for three years in a row. Sixty-four percent of sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative or used an agent they had worked with before to buy or sell a home. FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes; FSBO homes sold at a median of $185,000 last year (down from $210,000 the year prior), and significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $245,000. While the venerable NAR Profile set the standard for years as the “go to” source of consumer data, now it has a competitor with some different ideas about what measure and how to present its results.  Just a a few weeks before NAR releases its 35th edition, Zillow introduced the first Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. The Zillow report differs in number of ways.  It is based on surveys of more than three times as many consumers than the NAR study and includes rentals as sales.   Its samples included not just recent but also long-term sellers, buyers, homeowners and renters.  Its analysis and discussion of key findings was included a discussion of generational trends. Here are two interesting findings that give a sense of how the Zillow study takes a generational approach: Younger buyers (50 percent of Millennials and 54 percent of Generation X) are significantly more likely than Baby Boomers or the Silent Generation (38 percent and 39 percent, respectively) to consider newly built properties. Nearly half (48 percent) of all buyers are considering new homes. The older the buyer, the more likely that buyer is using an […]

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Strategic Planning – More Critical Than Ever Now!

by Marilyn Wilson on November 17, 2016

Strat Planning

Never before has our industry been moving more quickly.  Industry initiatives like UpstreamRE, Broker Public Portal and AMP are coming are way.  Consumers are looking for more and more transparency.   Agents must learn how to use technologies effectively if they are going to survive working with Millenials. What is YOUR organization doing to adapt and adjust to the fundamental changes that are upon us? WAV Group conducts strategic planning sessions regularly for MLSs, Associations, Brokerages and Technology companies. There are five fundamental questions that every organization needs to ask itself today. What’s our organization’s TRUE value?  If your organization was going to market today, would it be viable?  Would it have unique value to its customers?  Would it have what it takes to attract customers of all shapes and sizes?   Would you be able to secure funding?   How would you quantify that it has value? If the answer is no, then its time to do some thinking about what your customers really need and how you are going to provide vital solutions for them. How good are we at telling our story?  Getting Adoption? While most organizations that we work with offer an amazing collection of services and support, I have never worked with ANY organization that is satisfied with the level of engagement, adoption and usage they have achieved.  Organizations sometimes fall into the trap of “checking it off the list”.  They say to themselves, “yes, I offer a really powerful suite of technologies” or “my customer support is available 24/7” or “my training programs are diverse and helpful”. While all of these statements are probably true, it’s not enough just to offer great programs.  It takes a commitment to on-going promotion of all of the services that you offer and a vigilant monitoring or adoption, usage and satisfaction. We hear stories all the time about how an agent switched from one brokerage to the other because they were offered free Zillow advertising or some other “shiny object”.   We also talk to agents and brokers who spend money unnecessarily on programs that are ALREADY offered by their MLS or brokerage because they’re not aware its available to them as part of their regular MLS subscription. If you don’t effectively promote your services, there’s no way you’re going to get credit for them.  If you don’t effectively promote your services, you’re wasting money and you’re not building your value proposition. […]

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