May 2016

Marketing Automation Can Be a Huge Risk

by Victor Lund on May 27, 2016

Marketing segmentation

This week I have gotten four open house notifications from a Realtor®. She is a friend of mine that has served in various capacities on the Board of Directors for an MLS 2,000 miles away from where I live. She sends me a monthly snapshot of what is happening in the housing market in her area, along with a note when she lists a new property. That is all good. But recently she caused me to hit the unsubscribe button by spamming me with an open house notification when I was clearly not a candidate to attend or buy. Marketing automation is a seductive song, like the legend of the sirens who lured ships onto the rocks. A great feature of today’s marketing automation tools is that they are full of strong content. They include MLS data feeds, public record data feeds, Inrix Drive Time, maps, fly over, virtual tours, market data, branding, lifestyle attributes, and so on and so forth. The biggest challenge is knowing what to send to whom and when. Segment Your Database For most agents, 300 customers is about the number of people that you have in your CRM or marketing automation tool. If you are an agent who has been selling for more than six years, you are likely to have around 500 contacts and sell a house a month. Don’t ask me why, but the data shows that agents who are connecting on a regular basis to 300-500 people tend to make a pretty good living in real estate. #goals! Today’s best solutions use a feature called “tags” to let you add attributes to your contacts, like city, neighborhood, kids, retired, business owner, fitness buff, arts enthusiast, dog lover, or whatever. These are the best systems because you can quickly sort your database according to those attributes and send more meaningful information through marketing automation. Never send the same thing to everyone unless you have high confidence that it will convey value to every person in your database. Marketing Automation is for Show A new approach to marketing automation is to consider it for show, not for productivity. You can create some very beautiful and engaging materials in a few clicks, and that is far more efficient than having an in-house marketing person build a custom piece or using Fiverr or 99designs to make something for you. Great marketing materials have never been easier […]

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The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Board of Directors voted yesterday that all MLSs currently Data Dictionary Certified – which is the majority of the MLS world – will now be able to get Web API Certified for free. RESO also announced that CMLS will host a soup-to-nuts dive into the RESO Web API Certification process featuring Michael Wurzer, President of FBS, and Rebecca Jensen, President & CEO at Midwest Real Estate Data LLC. According to the CMLS CEO Deene Evans, the webinar is set for Tuesday June 14 at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern, will be open to everyone and the registration link is here: Jeremy Crawford, who heads up RESO, just penned a column about the new Web API, which provides a good refresher on how this all came about. Jeremy writes: “The current NAR mandate for the WEB API states: “…MLS organizations owned and operated by associations of REALTORS® are required to implement the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Standards, including the RESO Web API by June 30, 2016. Today, the RESO Data Dictionary is now available to more than 1,100,000 members of Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) nationwide and that means the WEB API Certification process should be a breeze. It’s far less challenging than the Data Dictionary Certification process.” With this new move by the RESO Board, Jeremy is expecting to see a flurry of certifications as the NAR mandated deadline approaches, just about one month away: We know it’s possible for the majority of the MLS industry to meet the June 30th Web API deadline, as the process should be much faster and easier.” Web APIs are clearly in the spotlight these days and Jeremy’s blog reminds us first of what an API is: “API is the acronym for ‘Application Program Interface.’ For Multiple Listing Services, it is simply a way to transfer data that can eliminate the need to copy listing information between different servers. It is also the best way for an MLS to be the original and only source of MLS property data. As I have written before, an API makes everyone’s life simpler because it reduces the amount of time it takes for software developers to connect to, retrieve and organize listing data within a website, web application or another tool. The Web API technology will deliver efficiencies in the collection and use of MLS data by participants, vendors and MLSs. Finally, Jeremy details […]

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What’s Your Loyalty Program?

by Victor Lund on May 26, 2016

realtor-service (1)

A loyalty program is such a simple thing to construct, and they work. I buy from Amazon because I get Amazon Prime – free shipping – a loyalty program. I fly with American or United because they give me priority boarding, upgrades, and other perks – a loyalty program. In the latter example, I continue to use American and United even though I am not delighted with their service or price. But the perks have more meaning to me than other options. It is really hard to break free of loyalty programs. For years, we consolidated our hotel preference to Omni Hotels or Hilton Hotels. When you travel 100 nights a year, the perks make all the difference. We stuck with Hilton through two years of crappy hotels. This year, we sucked it up and converted to Marriott. The Marriott offers convenient locations, competitive pricing, but way better hotels than Hilton in the cities I tend to visit. My point is that switching from Hilton was really hard because of the loyalty program. My favorite quote of the year is “A lead is a customer that someone else lost,” by Brian Boero of 1000Watt Consulting. The story of listing syndication and online advertising and search engine optimization is a fool’s game if done ahead of affiliate marketing. Don’t you think that an agent or a brand should be marketing to the people that they know and have done business with before they try to convert strangers? Don’t you always give your family and friends a good deal when they purchase services from you? Don’t you expect the same when doing business with your friends and family? Guess what? That is a loyalty program, and I should not need to remind you that treating every customer like a friend or family member is the way to build long term trust relationships. I should also not need to remind you that repeat and referral business drives between half and three-quarters of all transactions. Top producing agents do not take on new clients unless the new client was introduced by a friend or past client. That is how the rich get richer. Take a look at all of your marketing and communications today. Look for your loyalty program. Look for it in your advertising and listing presentations, too. If you don’t see it, make a change. Make it now. You will be glad […]

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 WAVES OF CHANGE QUARTERLY INDUSTRY UPDATE is just around the corner! Reserve your organization’s seat at the table by signing up for the series TODAY! WAV Group Hosts NAR Recap / Industry Update Webinar on Thursday, May 26th Your subscription provides an opportunity for your members to participate in an online recap of NAR Midyear policy issues, announcements and news as well as important industry updates and best practices. Thought-provoking topics to share with your leadership, brokers and staff. HOT TOPICS • CMLS – DMCA November Ruling Update: Clarification Listing Content • How to get Free Web API Certification by June 30th Deadline • RESO Data Dictionary: 525 MLSs are now Certified; Over 1.1 Million Realtors now have Access to Compliant Data • Hispanic Homeowner’s Boom! • Latest News from Upstream, AMP and the Broker Public Portal • NAR Announcements and Developments Contact Marilyn Wilson of WAV Group to find out why progressive industry leaders depend on the WAVes of Change Webinars to navigate the Real Estate Industry’s exciting, challenging and constantly changing currents. WAV Group’s Quarterly Webinar Series is designed to provide “cliff notes” following the major industry conferences such as NAR Midyear, CMLS and NAR Annual along with new information vital to our continued commitment in moving the industry forward. Ensure your members are well informed with the essential information our Industry Leaders will share on the latest news and trends, cutting edge technologies, research findings, and strategies to navigate the challenges we all face. Successful MLSs, Brokerages and Associations understand the value of this exciting and affordable way to keep their members dialed in on industry initiatives that have a potential impact. WAV Group will also answer questions that your board and staff have about the climate of the industry, address technology changes, as well as provide guidance on some best practices. 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. By purchasing the WAVes of Change Series, up to 50 of your members can participate in four webinars throughout the year. You will also be provided with a recording of each session and the presentation assets to utilize and share. Other exciting topics to be covered in the WAVes of Change Series: • The Customer-Centric Association and MLS: Become the Real Estate […]

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Risk-Taking is Back and so is Rampant Innovation

by Kevin Hawkins on May 18, 2016

risks

My wife woke up this morning to the voice of Alec Baldwin telling her “Wake up Sunshine. Let me tell you something, I’ve been up since the crack of dawn…” before I shout out “off” and silence Alec in midsentence. No, Alec isn’t in our bedroom. Alec’s voice is an alarm option in Alexa, our household’s digital assistant that’s built into both our Amazon Echo and Dot. It’s simply the coolest – and most practical – innovation I’ve seen in decades. Alexa is a vibrant example of the rampant innovation emerging today. Life-changing stuff: self-driving cars, VR immersion technology, drones, nanobots, sensors, and the Internet of so many more “things.” But innovation requires risk for fuel. So for much of the last decade – with the exception of a handful of companies that were cash flush – innovation was stymied. That’s because hardly anyone could afford to take risks. We were too busy making sure we could just put food on the table, so to speak. After all, baby’s got to eat. Risk taker, rule breaker An exception was Amazon, one of the world’s greatest risk-taking firms. Alphabet (Google) and Apple are two others, but what is so powerful about Amazon is how its very culture embraces the reality that innovation is most often the result of massive failure. Just listen to what Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, said about 18 months ago: “A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.” Kindle tablet = $$. Amazon’s third-party marketplace = $$$.  Amazon’s data center business = $$$$$. And he added this: “Bold bets…pay for a lot of failures. I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com.” Think Fire Phone, hotel-booking site Amazon Destinations, and Amazon Auction, which was designed to compete with eBay, among dozens of others. Innovation is expensive, but the payback can be astounding: the combined current market value of the triple-A – Amazon, Alphabet and Apple – is currently more than $1.32 trillion dollars. Think about it: that’s a greater market value of nearly 10 IBMs or 28 General Motors. Two of these companies are less than 25 years old. Economy enables risks, spawns innovation Pull up a chart of VC funding over the last 25 years and put that against some of the most groundbreaking innovations, and you are likely to come to the conclusion that it takes money to empower innovation. […]

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Don’t Make The Biggest PR Mistake

by Kevin Hawkins on May 18, 2016

foot crushing

The number one mistake I’ve most often encountered through the many years I’ve spent working in communications and public relations, is a CEO who calls back a reporter and tries to “wing it.” While I’ve been fortunate enough to work with several exceptionally media savvy CEOs throughout the years, they were the ones that never called back a reporter without being prepared. Russell Wilson, the NFL quarterback for the Seahawks, delivers the best practice for CEOs when it comes to calling back a reporter: “The separation is in the preparation.” CEOs that provide the best interviews for reporters are able to do so because they are prepared. Here’s how to avoid the biggest PR mistake: Develop your messages: The most critical step in preparing for an interview is developing your messages. You need to be prepared before you begin the interview by knowing what you must get across to the audience. Answer this question: What’s the story you are trying to tell? Three is the magic number: For every interview, prepare three main points that you want to be sure to get across. These are your core messages. Write them down and have them in front of you. For video recorded interviews, where you can’t use notes, you must commit them to memory. Rules for key messages Less is more: Limit your key messages to no more than three for most interviews. Otherwise, you will overload your story and overwhelm the interviewer and your audience.  When you provide concise, reasoned key messages, you will connect with the interviewer and their audience. What’s your SOCO?: Your single overriding communications objective: If you can get just one message across, and elicit just one response or action, what would that be? It’s always better to leave the audience with one thing to remember than to cover so many points, they won’t remember anything you said at all. Be brief: Even for print interviews, you will be most effective when you think about how to answer in “sound bites.” A key message should be no longer than one sentence. Remember that each key message must be tailored to the targeted audience that the interview will reach. Your core messages also can vary by medium: most television and radio programs reaches consumer audiences while a business publication reaches owners and business leaders. Think about what will resonate best with each audience. Why should they care […]

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The Best Kept Secrets for Agent Retention

by Marilyn Wilson on May 18, 2016

Top Secret Confidential Envelope Secret Information

There is nothing more devastating to a brokerage than losing a top performer. Many times these departures come as a total surprise that leaves the company scrambling to find ways to get them to change their mind and to stop more top producers following them out the door. So what can brokerages do to stop this painful bleeding that happens all too often? Here are a few suggestions that have proven to be successful. Ask for Anonymous Feedback We have worked with brokerages fielding surveys to get their agents’ input for everything from the technologies offered, the quality of yard signs to the aesthetics of the office.  Sometimes it’s much easier for agents to voice their opinion via a survey instead of talking to you directly.  These surveys have helped some of our clients uncover problem areas before they became too serious or led to a departure. They have found out what technologies are not working, troublesome relationships with office/sales managers, frustrating office situations, conflicts with other agents, etc.  Heading off these problems before they become too troublesome can be the best way to keep them in the game with you. “Office Hours” One of the brokers we work with has “office hours” just like your professors did in college.  She is available to discuss any topic, suggestion or complaint that is on the minds of their agents.  She takes notes and has an assistant sit-in so the agent knows that the issue is being recorded and taken seriously. They keep a running list of the suggestions/issues and then circle back with the agents every two weeks with progress updates.  This has proven to head off a lot of problems and has helped them tap into the brains of their agents to identify amazing suggestions. Constantly Promoting Your Own Programs We hear way too many times that an agent left because their competitor was going to give them free Zillow ads, a new social media tool or provide some other program hyped up by the competition.  Agents too often forget about the programs that you offer them and instead choose the “shiny object” being offered by the competition.  Brokerages are great at creating focus on programs designed to help homes, but they often forget to effectively promote the programs they offer their agents.  Without constant promotion of your technologies, support services, events, community involvements, etc. agents will forget about them […]

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Hand holding mobile smart phone with smart home application on s

Today, we had our Logictech Harmony Ultimate Home automation experience installed. From a single controller or mobile device, anyone in our family can controls connected lights, locks, thermostats, home entertainment devices, and even schedule when devices turn on or off. Everything is connected. Smart Homes May Add More Value This week, Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CEDIA announced a collaboration to develop a smart home curriculum for real estate sales associates. Coldwell Banker and CNET, the world’s largest and most trusted online source of consumer technology news and reviews, also developed the definition of a smart home which is illustrated below. At the onset, Coldwell Banker will be culling smart home features from their database through keyword search to determine listings that qualify for the designation. By pulling qualitative data from the Coldwell Banker database in the form of key words in the property descriptions, they hope to begin measuring benchmarks in relative price per square foot and days on market for Smart Homes. Today consumers can search for Smart Homes on ColdwellBanker.com/smarthome but the company expects that they are at the beginning of a long road to lead the industry into support for Smart Homes. Coldwell Banker recently released research that indicates that 87% of consumers value Smart Home features. Coldwell Banker to Lead the Industry in Smart Home Adoption “After conducting extensive research both on our own and in partnership with CNET we both felt that it was critical to bring consistency and credibility to the term “smart home” by creating minimum requirements,” said Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. “For eight months, CNET has been testing smart home products in a house in Louisville, Kentucky to further recommend which smart appliances, apps and platforms are most valuable for consumers. The definition came out of this research and insight.” The partnership to develop the definition with CNET could not be better. CNET is connected to the core and the edge of the technology development for Smart Homes. In the newest phase, Coldwell Banker, in partnership with CEDIA, has developed a smart home curriculum available exclusively for the Coldwell Banker brand and its affiliated franchised brokers and agents. CEDIA is the international trade association and central touch point for 3,700 member companies who design, manufacture, and install technology for the home. RESO, NAR, and MLS Support For Smart Home designation on properties to really […]

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broke_pockets

Real estate is a fascinating industry when it comes to making choices about something vs. nothing. Again and again, we see individual agents, brokers, Associatons, MLSs, and Franchises make choices to set something when getting nothing may be the better strategy. I doubt that this article will have any change on the bearing of the industry, but in some small way it may influence one or more decisions today or this week by a few people. Why Do We Sacrifice Long Term Success for Short Term Gain? In our industry, people too often say “yes” to a bad deal. An example of this would be the business model whereby an agent will rebate their commission to a consumer.  Why would a real estate agent accept a $500 flat fee for a transaction? Every one of us knows the hours of time and the level of training, tools, and expertise it takes to represent a consumer in a property trade. $500 is like accepting below minimum wage. I understand the justification. We hear stories like “well, its only this transaction,” or “we will make it up in volume.” That is shear craziness. Every time a real estate agent agrees to offer their services at a loss, the feed the beast that will overrun their fair compensation. What I am trying to illustrate is that nothing would be better than something. Not accepting the loss on the transaction would be superior to accepting the $500. Whenever I make this assertion, I get no argument. Everyone agrees, but in agreement they deposit one caveat, “If I don’t take the $500, someone else will.” Why Do We Take Unreasonable Risk with Listing Syndication? Listing syndication is another example of saying “yes” to a bad deal – or a place when I believe that nothing is better than something. The rationale for making the bad choice of providing data with no return is rampant in our industry. An example of this common practice is turning listing syndication on for everyone. When we ask brokers about it, they say “you never know, we may get a deal.” It is the philosophy that “distribution trumps destination,” as argued by Saul Klein.  WAV Group evaluates the effectiveness of syndication every day for an array of brokerages. We see a long list of destinations that do not provide a listing view.  We see even more destinations that do not […]

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Broker Public Portal Reveals Partnership and Plan

by Marilyn Wilson on May 18, 2016

BPP logo

It is with much excitement that I would like to announce some major news for the Broker Public Portal project!   We have been researching the value of consumer property search sites like the Broker Public Portal since 2005 and we’re thrilled to announce a game-changing opportunity for agents and brokers to captivate consumers! Broker Public Portal has executed a binding letter of intent with Homesnap, a creator of highly rated apps for consumers and agents, to launch a national home search experience defined by simplicity, integrity and common sense.   The program will be marketed under the Homesnap brand. Homesnap is already the top-rated real estate app for consumers, and Homesnap Pro is already the leading mobile app for real estate pros. So what is the Broker Public Portal?  It is an initiative that was formed by an unprecedented partnership between 115 MLSs and real estate companies, including franchisors, independent brands, big brokers, and small brokers, operating in diverse markets across the country and collectively representing over 500,000 real estate agents. The goal of this project is to provide consumers with a simple, easy to use, mobile-first solution to get real-time data directly from REALTORS themselves.   In essence, the Broker Public Portal operates very much like a local MLS Consumer-facing website, but is a nationwide collaboration.  We have learned from our years of research about MLS Consumer Websites that consumers really like these sites because they are unbiased, simple and allow them to connect directly to the brokerage and listing agent that is MOST familiar with the property.   The consumers that use these sites are not looky-loos. They are the more serious buyer that is further down the sales funnel and serious about buying or selling a home. Prior to this announcement, only BPP MLS Board members could sign up for the BPP.  Still, four significant MLSs have each announced their intent to participate in the BPP at launch: Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), an MLS representing nearly 40,000 real estate agents and brokers in greater Chicago Connecticut Multiple Listing Service (CTMLS), representing more than 10,700 real estate agents and brokers across Connecticut. Northstar MLS, representing more than 16,300 real estate agents and brokers in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors®, (BNAR), representing more than 3,000 real estate agents and brokers in Western New York. We hear that more MLSs are expected to follow immediately. Why Homesnap as a […]

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phone dial

One of my favorite people in real estate is John Reinhardt of Fillmore Real Estate based in Brooklyn, New York. I am not sure why, but everything competitive in the New York City area seems amplified. Like his peers, John is always building his business, one great agent at a time. Among John’s favorite recruiting lessons is the spot. In John’s case, his spot is Peter Luger’s Steakhouse. “It is the one place that agents cannot deny a free meal.” John is a recruiting machine – among the best in the business. The last time I sat down with John, I shared a story about a phone call that I received from an agent. In this case, the agent shared that her brokerage of 20 years had just been taken over. She was very uncomfortable with the new owners, so she split out with some other agents that started a new firm. The one thing that she did not contemplate in the transition was the loss of the transaction manager, the loss of the broker website, the loss of her listing presentation, and so on. And, although she did not mention it, probably a loss of her office friends. My sixth sense told me that this agent was having a case of buyer’s remorse. The decision to join the new brokerage was emotional. Now that reality has set in, the agent was rethinking her decision. It occurred to me that if her old broker had called her back that day, she would have promptly returned to her old office, back to that familiar group of friends, and back to the tools that she knew how to use to service her customers. The soft call back – Sotto Voce. Change is Hard Real Estate agents hate change. They love new things, but they hate change. Change is hard work. Change is disruptive. And, whenever you change something for the better, you wind up losing something in the process. This agent lost everything that she had “set up” and was facing the consequences of rebuilding and relearning. WAV Group has researched the productivity results of agents who switch firms. Our methodology for this research is to use BrokerMetrics by Terradatum. When a firm is under a recruiting attack or on a recruiting mission, we look for data points that that help tell a story. Unfortunately, the data rarely supports the cause. As […]

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The subheadline on the news release issued during NAR Midyear tells the real story for Florida Realtors and its Form Simplicity transaction management software: NEFAR offers 6,500+ professionals Form Simplicity Ultimate Edition as member benefit Form Simplicity, built for Realtors by Realtors as Florida Realtors points as a key competitive advantage, continues to grow.  See for yourself why  at the NAR Midyear meetings this week. Check them out at Booth 818.       Washington DC – May 10, 2016 – The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors is helping its more than 6,500 members extend their paperless capabilities, signing a long-term agreement with Florida Realtors® to provide its Ultimate Edition of Form Simplicity – one of the real estate industry’s most popular and advanced paperless transaction solutions – as a member benefit beginning in July. The announcement was made today during the National Association of REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo being held this week in Washington D.C. “NEFAR members have long benefited from actively using the Professional Edition of Form Simplicity, as it’s a standard Florida Realtors benefit,” said Ron Stephan, CEO of RealtyWEB.Net, the entity that runs NEFAR’s Multiple Listing Service. “By empowering NEFAR members with the newest Ultimate Edition of Form Simplicity, we are helping them expand their paperless activities for all of their property sales activities,” Stephan said. Stephan notes that the Ultimate Edition includes unlimited access to eSign, the highly-secure electronic signature feature of Form Simplicity, and unlimited document storage. “We are providing NEFAR members with an end-to-end online forms process that eliminates the need for what is still too often a paper-intensive process,” he added. Bill Martin, CEO of Florida Realtors, says he expects agents and brokers to “embrace going paperless,” explaining that the Ultimate Edition and its unlimited features will make Form Simplicity “the key go-to technology to help agents and brokers digitize their workflow.” “Form Simplicity takes the parts of an agent’s or broker’s job that are commonly thought of as time-consuming and daunting and makes them much easier,” says Martin. “Enabling NEFAR members through the additional benefits and features found in the Ultimate Edition of Form Simplicity will mean that they will be able to spend more time helping consumers and less time tracking paperwork,” he adds. Martin also noted Broker Transaction Management is now included as a standard feature in Form Simplicity. This creates a single place for real estate brokers […]

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Clareity’s New Dashboard Review

by Victor Lund on May 10, 2016

Clareity Security is staging the release of their best Single Sign-On dashboard ever. As a quick primer, Clareity Security was born to prevent password sharing and other unauthorized access to the MLS system. The MLS has confidential fields that must be protected and Clareity’s software also prevents theft of service and provides revenue assurance to the MLS. Over the years, they extended the platform to ensure that valid MLS users could securely access other licensed solutions offered by the MLS. This “Single Sign-On” convenience not only manages authorized access, but also relieves the agent’s stress of remembering more usernames and passwords. The MLS is the single most used daily business application in real estate, but certainly not the only one. Some products that agents access every day may be offered by the National Association of REALTORS®, or the corresponding state or local AOR. Agents also access broker provided applications and, often, franchise provided solutions. This causes agents to run all over the internet logging in and out of dozens of services. It is among the single highest points of frustration with Software As a Service according to WAV Group satisfaction research. Today, Clareity released a dashboard capable of solving that frustration by putting all of these applications in one place, including broker resources! As you can see from the illustration, the dashboard has tabs to differentiate types of services between MLS or broker. These tabs can be configured however you like, so  every broker tab is customized to include the applications and services they offer their agents. Each tab also has some categories – like NAR member resources, local association resources, broker affiliated companies, or whatever. RE Technology is an application that is available on the Clareity Security Dashboard. When a user clicks the RE Technology icon or news source, they pass along the user credentials. It lets RE Technology know what MLS they are from, what association of REALTORS they are from, and what brokerage they are from. It allows RE Technology to highlight and organize information that is specific to each agent by knowing who the agent is! The same is true for broker applications. Not only does the dashboard authorize access, but it features the broker’s products to their agents whereever they are – including the MLS. For example, if a Long and Foster agent logs into MRIS, they have one-click access to Long and Foster tools […]

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Rate Plug PMS

Many real estate brokers have modified their strategy with their mortgage affiliations as banks have fled the JVs and other joint arrangements. This has opened the door to MLSs like MLS Listings to partner with RatePlug to display live mortgage rates from leading local lenders. Let’s face it, for most families, it’s not the price of the home but rather the monthly payment that triggers affordability. Agents who can secure the lowest interest rates for their clients can leverage that to put deals together. A great thing about RatePlug is that brokers can invite their mortgage partners to display their rates in the tool as featured lenders. It is a subtle reminder to agents when there is a preferred lender or partner.  There are no fees to the MLS organization or the broker or agent (this is considered part of the services provided by their membership dues, so no additional cost). RatePlug does charge the lender a license fee to be displayed and for other services. The license fee per Loan Officer is either an annual fee of $435, or a monthly fee of $59. This fee allows the lender to work with as many agents as they would like.The enrollment process is achieved online via a landing page RatePlug sets up for each participating MLS. The broker or agent would provide the contact information for the lender, or lenders, that they would like to have displayed. The Broker or agent could also call RatePlug at 877-710-0808 to enroll and refer their lending partners. Here is their announcement timed for their appearance at NAR Midyear, and they are at Booth 623: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Washington D.C. – May 10, 2016 –MLSListings, the premier multiple listing service to real estate professionals in Silicon Valley and the northern California region, is now making RatePlug’s new mortgage technology available to more than 15,000 real estate professionals and their clients. RatePlug helps home buyers better understand affordability issues at the beginning of the home searching process, and it strengthens the relationship between agents and their local lender online. RatePlug, which made the announcement in Washington D.C. today at the National Association of REALTORS® midyear meeting, has become the nation’s leading mortgage technology integrated into the MLS. RatePlug is now available to 60 percent of all real estate agents and brokers in the U.S. – that’s more than 705,000 Realtors® nationwide. RatePlug delivers and displays real-time […]

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Upstream™ Names Alex Lange President and CEO

by Victor Lund on May 9, 2016

upstream

    WAV Group is pleased to officially announce and welcome Alex Lange to the UpstreamRE project as its first CEO. WAV Group has worked with the Upstream founders and Board of Managers as their consultant, curating the vision, shepherding the vendor selection process, working with the technology workgroup to kick off development, and now transitioning to Alex. I have known and worked with Alex for years and believe that the Board of Managers made an excellent choice. Working with our industry’s leadership has been a most rewarding experience. I am especially thankful for the support of so many fellow teammates – especially Craig Cheatham, Dana Strandmo, Cary Sylvester, Gurtej Sodhi, and all of the board leadership. It has been a pleasure to serve at your side. Press Release to follow. UpstreamRE, LLC, the broker-owned company responsible for the Upstream data management solution, announced today that Alex Lange has been named president and CEO, effective June 1. Lange is the first employee to be hired for the highly-anticipated initiative. In his role, Lange will work with the Upstream™ board of managers to ensure that the organization has a well-articulated, long-range strategy in addition to a successful initial launch. A primary task will be to monitor the operational and technical work of Upstream’s vendor, Realtors Property Resource (RPR), and ensure that software development, testing and implementation remain on schedule. He will establish working relationships and cooperative arrangements with all stakeholders, including brokers and agents, MLSs, vendors and partnering organizations. “Alex is passionate about the potential of Upstream™ to streamline data management in our industry,” said Pam O’Connor, president and CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and the leader of the Upstream™ CEO search committee. “He has all the attributes we were seeking – a solid grounding in technology, successful start-up experience, a deep understanding of the various constituents, strong communication and consensus-building skills, and the strategic mindset that can shape this initiative well beyond initial implementation.” “Volunteers have moved this project from an idea to something tangible,” said Robert Moline, president of HomeServices of America, CEO of its Brokerage Division and chairman of the Upstream™ board of managers. “That is a remarkable feat, considering the team members all have demanding positions in large organizations. The addition of any staff member would increase what we would be able to accomplish, but to have someone with the vision, talent, and […]

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WAVES OF CHANGE QUARTERLY SERIES continues Thursday, May 26th with an online recap of the policy issues, announcements and news coming out of NAR Midyear as well as important industry updates, best practices and other thought-provoking topics to share with your leadership, brokers and staff. Sign up TODAY to ensure your organization benefits from the essential information our Industry Leaders will share on the latest news and trends, cutting edge technologies, research findings, and strategies to navigate the challenges we all face. WAV Groups Quarterly Webinar Series is designed to provide “cliff notes” following the major industry conferences such as NAR Midyear, CMLS and NAR Annual along with new information vital to our continued commitment in moving the industry forward. Progressive MLSs, Brokerages and Associations understand the value of taking advantage of this exciting and affordable way to keep their members dialed in on industry initiatives that have a potential impact, answer questions that your board and staff have about the climate of the industry, technology changes, as well as provide guidance on some best practices. It 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. By purchasing the WAVes of Change Series, up to 50 of your members can participate in four webinars throughout the year. You will also be provided with a recording of each session and the presentation assets to utilize and share. Some of the exciting topics that are covered in the WAVes of Change series: • Latest news from Upstream, AMP and the Broker Public Portal • NAR Announcements and Developments • The Customer-Centric Association and MLS – How to become the Zappos of the real estate industry • Highly Productive Board of Directors – How to make every minute of your board meetings more valuable • Fueling Innovation and Relevance – New Business Models for Associations and MLSs • The State of Agent Ratings and Testimonials • Gotta Have Technologies for Associations and MLS • Best Practices from Associations and MLSs • The evolving role of Zillow • The Next Generation of RESO Standards and how they will help our industry thrive • Voice of the Consumer – What are the key strengths and opportunities for REALTORS to serve their customers better? • The next generation of IDX rules For more information or […]

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There is an unsightly lack of holistic information that is being made available to consumers by full service brokerages. Until now, brokerage mobile applications provided plenty of information about properties for sale, but little information about brokers’ other service centers in mortgage, title, insurance, commercial properties, and property management (rentals). Long and Foster partnered with Xome’s Real Estate Digital division to deliver mortgage information to consumers through their real estate mobile application in an impressive way. For those of you who know Long and Foster, they provide a full array of real estate services through their company owned providers. Under the guidance of Long and Foster Chief Marketing Officer, Barry Redler, the firm is reaching across boundaries to provide consumers with “easy access to information” that combines comprehensive property search with mortgage calculation offerings. When Xome set the strategy of working with brokers, one of their touchstones was to advance mobile technology for enterprise brokers that think more broadly about the business that can be generated for mortgage and other broker service lines. In the case of Long and Foster, this application invites mobile visitors to the Long and Foster website to access the mobile application and get the same or greater access to information on their mobile device – including cost of ownership information like mortgage payment. Another great feature of the new Long and Foster mobile app is called Virtual View. If you are planning to attend the National Association of REALTORS® Midyear convention, you may want to download the app and experience this new search experience. Using your phone’s camera, you can point to properties and get information about them. It’s fantastic. I believe that Elliman was the first firm to debut this functionality in a mobile app.

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Addison, TX (May 4, 2016) – America’s number one Realtor® for the last four straight years – Ben Caballero, president of Texas-based HomesUSA.com – has become the first billion-dollar producer in the world for total home sales last year. Caballero personally was responsible for 2,491 home sales, totaling $1,022,000,000 in 2015. Uniquely, nearly all of his transactions were new home sales for more than 40 homebuilder brands that he represents throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin metro areas. Caballero’s feat is the result of a highly inventive technology he developed: an online listing management platform that streamlines the MLS listing and marketing process for homebuilders, charging a flat-fee versus a sales commission. “HomesUSA.com allows the hands-on ability to update the information as often as needed or to change the status of the home listing the moment a sale occurs. This allows Toll Brothers to maintain a consistent and accurate level of home listing information among all inventory, a key factor for the success of Toll Brothers’ available homes for sale in the state of Texas,” said D’Anne Lancaster, Toll Brothers National Online Sales Concierge Manager. Caballero is expected to keep his top ranking when The Wall Street Journal and REAL Trends announce its new list of “The Thousand” top real estate producing agents in June. He has been the number one agent in the USA for the last four years, outranking all others on the list in two categories, (1) number of real estate sales transactions, and (2) cumulative transaction (dollar) volume, and he also is the only agent to surpass these same two categories for real estate teams. In 2014, Caballero registered 2,383 home sales representing $925 million in volume. The second-ranked agent had 463 sales, meaning Caballero sold five-times as many homes as the second ranked U.S. agent. From 2010 to 2015, Caballero total home sale volume tally is $4,503 billion. To put his 2015 new home sales numbers in perspective, Caballero sold an average of more than 47 homes per week, or more than one sale every business hour. How he does it Caballero explains how his HomesUSA.com online platform empowers him to manage this massive sales production with a support staff of just ten. “Our Internet-based technology allows us to maintain an average 13-minute turnaround for posting requests to the local MLSs, which then syndicates the listing to sites such as realtor.com and […]

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CoreLogic has unveiled Trestle. Here are the details on the real estate industry’s first “Data Mart” for MLS content, not to mention ongoing RESO compliance – huge news: IRVINE, Calif. —CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, announced today the upcoming release of Trestle™ by CoreLogic, a software solution suite that will fundamentally change the offering of multiple listing service (MLS) data to brokers and their vendors. Trestle will be the real estate industry’s first “data mart” to benefit brokers, their technology partners, and the MLSs in which they participate. Chris Bennett, general manager of real estate solutions at CoreLogic, commented that “The industry’s progress with RESO standardization was the perfect invitation to re-imagine the best possible solution, one that delivers both MLS content and CoreLogic property and analytic information content to support the industry’s expanding needs.” Bennett also noted that “Because CoreLogic already aggregates and normalizes data for more than 300 MLS platforms, we have the scale and capacity to rapidly deploy Trestle, whether an MLS is on a CoreLogic platform or uses another vendor’s system or is even a homegrown solution.” By implementing Trestle, brokers, and the technology providers supporting them, will be able to develop solutions combining MLS content with gold-standard data from CoreLogic, bringing unprecedented power to their websites, mobile solutions and in-house systems. For each MLS, Trestle will provide administrative controls to assure its listings appear only where authorized. Trestle will also maintain RESO standards with respect to the data dictionary and API access, removing a future concern and cost for MLS participants. “Trestle will streamline the way that brokers can access real estate information” observed Bob Hale, President and CEO of the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). He continued: “Brokers and their franchisees that span multiple markets will be especially excited about Trestle’s ability to provide unified and standardized data sets. Beyond basic listing information, the system will also provide access to public records and analytics. This is an efficient solution provided by one of our most trusted and reliable service providers”. Merri Jo Cowen, CEO of My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS) agreed. “The brokers in my market have definitive pain points that Trestle relieves. As in the past, CoreLogic is a trusted solutions provider whose approach aligns with those of MFRMLS and its participants. We intend to take part in Trestle for the benefit of our own participants—and […]

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NEW YORK, May 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Charles Williams IV, CEO and Founder of the leading real estate analytics company Buyside has announced that Michael Pressnall, a respected and tenured industry executive and DocuSign veteran, has joined the company in the newly-created role of Vice President of Industry Engagement. “Mike is an ideal addition to our team as the Buyside platform continues its nationwide expansion and adoption by brokers, team, and agents looking to grow their top-line business income and serve customers more effectively. His success at DocuSign shows a stellar track record in bringing transformational technology tools to real estate brokerages of all sizes. Mike’s depth of knowledge in the real estate industry means that the company can better craft solutions to meet and exceed marketplace needs and solve inefficiencies in customer engagement and monetization,” says Williams. As one of the early stage employees of the now industry leader DocuSign, Pressnall led efforts to create partnerships and alliances with key real estate brokers across the country. With 12 years total in the real estate industry, including six at DocuSign and two as a key member of their Real Estate Leadership Committee, Pressnall’s background is perfectly geared towards bringing together industry leaders to deliver state-of-the-art technology products. “Just as I knew DocuSign was going to forever change the way a house was a bought and sold, I know Buyside helps real estate brokers to leverage a Billion dollar asset they already own- their buyer database. With Buyside gaining strong industry adoption and further honing its enterprise platform and technology tools, I could not be more excited to join such a dynamic and progressive company.” Pressnall is scheduled to attend the National Association of REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo event in Washington DC next week and can reached at 484-580-9268 or by email at mpressnall@getbuyside.com. Buyside puts buyer data to work for brokerages by generating seller’s leads, matching buyers to active and upcoming listings and delivering predictive analytics to drive productivity. The company serves over 20,000 agents across North America representing many of the leading brokerage firms and respected real estate brands. Turn your buyer data into leads, listings and profits with Buyside. To view the original version of this article on PR Newswire, visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/buyside-ramps-up-nationwide-adoption-and-engages-industry-veteran-to-lead-expansion-initiatives-300262271.html

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