October 2016

Piggy bank

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. Will YOU benefit? Does this sound like something your Association or MLS could benefit from in 2017? It’s the perfect way to boost your board members education without ever having to spend the money to send them to conference after conference. Boards of Directors who do not stay in touch with the ever-shifting sands of real estate can enforce and pass outdated rules and regulations that will impede their member’s success. Upcoming Topics… WAV Group also answers any questions that your board and staff have about the climate of the industry, addresses technology changes, and provides 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. An example of the upcoming webinar topics for November can be found below: NAR Annual Policy Update Consumer Attitudes About Agent Ratings The Power of Consumer Research Panels The Power of Client Relationship Management Effective Ways to Increase Adoption of your Service Governance for the Nimble Organization AMP, Upstream, RESO and Broker Public Portal update Broker Hot Buttons Data Sharing/Consolidation Trends and lots more…… Last Chance Savings – Get 5 Educational Sessions for the Price of 4! Right now, we are offering a Halloween Special!, If you subscribe for the 2017 WAVes of Change before Halloween you’ll get one WAVes of Change™ session free.  Your group will be able to attend 5 sessions instead of four, including one in mid-November THIS year. You can start your organization on the path of being more informed in just a few weeks! 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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San Diego

October 25, 2016 (San Diego) – A dispute between the three largest real estate trade associations in San Diego County has resulted in new legal action intended to dissolve San Diego’s regional multiple listing service (MLS) that provides information on available homes for sale to more than 19,000 local real estate professionals. The local MLS, called Sandicor, Inc., is owned by three local real estate trade associations, including Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS® (PSAR), the North San Diego County Association of REALTORS® (NSDCAR) and Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS® (SDAR). PSAR has about 2,500 members, NSDCAR has more than 5,300 members and GSDAR has about 12,000 members.  Members are real estate professionals who pay dues to access the MLS through their association of choice. Attorneys for PSAR and NSDCAR recently filed a complaint in San Diego Superior Court to dissolve Sandicor as a legal entity. SDAR’s position on this filing is still unknown. As a replacement to the local MLS, leaders with PSAR and NSDCAR aim to provide their members with access to the statewide California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS), which is used by more than 80,000 real estate professionals and lists data on properties in most of southern California and other parts of the state. “Transitioning to a more robust Statewide MLS like CRMLS benefits all consumers, as well as agents and brokers who work in San Diego County’s real estate industry,” said Anthony Andaya, 2016 president, PSAR.  “A move to an MLS that is controlled by brokers who own the data and endorsed by our state association provides our agents with an enhanced ability to serve the clients.” In January of this year, SDAR’s board approved the filing of a federal lawsuit against Sandicor, an entity it partially owns, and against PSAR and NSDCAR. In the complaint, SDAR alleged that Sandicor had been used as an “anticompetitive weapon” by the other two REALTOR® associations. Since then, the court granted motions to dismiss two earlier versions of SDAR’s claim. “SDAR has previously attempted to block progress to improve Sandicor, and to investigate the benefits of a merger between Sandicor and CRMLS, despite our members’ requests,” stated Raylene Brundage, NSDCAR 2016 president. “For the future growth and stability of our industry in San Diego, it would be best to simply dissolve Sandicor and protect our members’ best interest through an enhanced partnership with CRMLS.” “About half of all […]

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customer reports

Real estate values are constantly changing, challenging agents to provide clients with the most detailed, up-to-date property reports available. While there are many valuation services available, selecting a solution that provides agents with the ability to deliver strategic comprehensive property reports can maintain valuable connections between agents and consumers. To understand how a property valuation service can optimize agents’ long-term relations with their customers, Swanepoel undertook a case study of how Berkshire Hathaway HomeService (BHHS) Fox and Roach successfully implemented ePropertyWatch, a company-branded solution that effectively cultivates a client-for-life strategy. Here is a summary of the Swanepoel T3 Sixty report. Property Valuations Aid Client Retention Generally speaking, valuation services look at local property tax assessments and other public data including sales price histories for comparable properties in an area to derive a trend line that can applied against the target property’s assessment to estimate its market value. The reports generated by the various services differ with regard to the scope of data they include, and the way they present it. Property valuations provided by different services can differ significantly as they may use varying property comps and proprietary algorithms. In addition, the data sets that each service relies on can diverge in quality and comprehensiveness. As a result, when agents leverage their valuation service to implement stay-in-touch programs with past clients they may actually be providing information that could undermine a trust relationship. When the valuation services are not based on accurate and comprehensive data, clients may not feel the agent is reliable or knowledgeable on local area trends. In addition, while most programs enable agents to provide clients with information on area statistics and sales, they do not provide detailed answers to customer’s most compelling question: What is my home worth if I sold it today? Agents find it cumbersome to compile personalized reports for the potentially hundreds of contacts in their CRM. BHHS Fox and Roach examined all of the options available on the market with an eye toward advancing their client-for-life strategies and, in the end, selected CoreLogic® ePropertyWatch™. This valuation solution is a customer opt-in program that delivers agent-branded property reports based on comprehensive and current data based on the company’s CoreLogic database. This database is comprised of more than 3.5 billion records, representing more than 99.8 percent of the population, in addition to data from public and non-public sources and contributions from lenders—all of which […]

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WAVes of Change: Spooktacular Savings – Halloween Special

by Marilyn Wilson on October 24, 2016

Piggy and Pumpkin

With the end of 2016 only weeks away, and 2017 fast approaching, ensure your members are well informed with the essential information we’ll be sharing on the latest news and trends, cutting edge technologies, research findings, and strategies to navigate the challenges in the real estate industries. 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. 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. An example of the upcoming webinar topics for November can be found below: NAR Annual Policy Update Consumer Attitudes About Agent Ratings The Power of Consumer Research Panels The Power of Client Relationship Management Effective Ways to Increase Adoption of your Service Governance for the Nimble Organization AMP, Upstream, RESO and Broker Public Portal update Broker Hot Buttons Data Sharing/Consolidation Trends and lots more…… Spooktacular Savings – Get 5 Educational Sessions for the Price of 4! Right now, we are offering a Halloween Special!, If you subscribe for the 2017 WAVes of Change before Halloween you’ll get one WAVes of Change™ session free.  Your group will be able to attend 5 sessions instead of four, including one in mid-November THIS year. You can start your organization on the path of being more informed in just a few weeks! 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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Bill Miller

Sacramento, CA (October 18, 2016) – MetroList®, Northern California’s largest multiple listing service (MLS), announced today that Bill Miller has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Under Bill’s new leadership role, he will assume the day-to-day operational management of MetroList Services, Inc.Bill is a seasoned executive, and has been with MetroList for the 20 years, serving most recently as its Vice President and Corporate Secretary. MetroList also announced that Bob Greenspan has joined their executive team as Vice President, Business Development. Tom Beede will continue in his role as President, CEO and CFO. Bob brings over 25 years of industry experience and expertise to MetroList, most recently as Vice President for realtor.com where, during his 14-year tenure, he built a nationwide team of Industry Relations’ experts and supported the business relationships between realtor.com and both the California Association of REALTORS and the National Association of REALTORS. “Bob has been a part of MetroList’s successes beginning in the late 80’s when he supported the installation of our initial regional online MLS system,” said Bill Miller, MetroList’s Chief Operating Officer. “Bob’s support for MetroList continued more recently through introducing realtor.com’s “Find” property-centric search application to the MetroList membership.” Prior to his work with realtor.com, Bob launched and managed the MLS service shared by the BayEast and Contra Costa Associations of REALTORS in the San Francisco East-Bay area. Previous to that, Bob served as General Manager for PRC/GEAC-Interealty, a major MLS technology company that has since been acquired by CoreLogic. “We are thrilled to have such seasoned business professionals as Bill and Bob on our executive team, as we continue to explore shared technology and other opportunities with other MLSs throughout the State,” said Tom Beede, MetroList President and CEO. “For more than 30 years, MetroList has provided industry leadership and unparalleled MLS services to its Participants and Subscribers, as we continue to develop innovative business solutions for the real estate brokers and agents that rely on our services.” Bob holds a BA degree in Communications from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, and completed the Executive Management Program at Harvard University. He and his family reside in Alameda, CA. About MetroList Services, Inc. MetroList Services Inc. is the largest multiple listing service in Northern California, headquartered in Sacramento, the state’s capital. Formed in 1985 by the Sacramento Association of REALTORS®, the Placer County Association of REALTORS® and the El Dorado […]

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Aculist Edge for Brokers – Big Data, MLS Powered

by Victor Lund on October 19, 2016

Aculist Logo

There are a few companies that have developed analytic and business intelligence tools for real estate. Terradatum, RBI, 10K, Altos Research, Trend Graphics, Realtors Property Resource and others. But this past year, one of America’s leading MLSs, MLSListings launched a new product called Aculist Edge™ under the banner of their subsidiary, Aculist (the name denotes accurate listings). Based in Sunnyvale, CA, the heart of Silicon Valley, MLSListings has some of the most advanced software developers in the MLS industry, and they have leveraged those resources in ways that only an MLS operator can. Aculist Edge is something that is truly special. MLSListings is a broker-governed MLS. It is important to understand that because this fact sets the scene around why an MLS would invest in a business intelligence product rather than purchasing one off the shelf. Board members representing firms such as Coldwell Banker NRT, Alain Pinel, Intero, Keller Williams, Sotheby’s, Berkshire Hathaway, RE/MAX, and others demand more information that allows them to better manage their brokerage business. Their feedback influenced the development of Aculist Edge, resulting in a product that fits how they work and use data. Aculist Edge is different than many of the other solutions in two ways. The first is design. Great effort was spent in creating simplicity on top of complicated data, making Aculist Edge easy to use and the reports look terrific! The second component of Aculist Edge is its connectivity to the live MLS database. Many solutions in the marketplace today update only once a month, others once a day. Aculist Edge is happening in real time. Because Aculist Edge is an MLS creation, they have re-imagined some reporting that is not readily available in the market from other solutions. Here are a few examples: Analyze sales data to identify where your next office should be Report on closed transactions and pending transactions Highlight listings that may have an issue with too many days on market Highlight listings that are in escrow too long Those are the special things, but Aculist Edge does the hard work that is not offered as seamlessly in many other competitive solutions, delivering benefits such as: Competitive comparisons by firm, office, team, and agent Agent performance Market trends by County, zip code, city, and school district Company and agent performance by property type, price point, market area, etc. Aculist Edge was built by one of the nation’s leading […]

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Down on the Farm with Data

by Steve Cook on October 19, 2016

Online House

The most famous mash-up of valuation data and marketing applications was Zillow’s “Zestimate,” the centerpiece of Zillow’s national launch in 2006.  Zillow’s PR folks at the time positioned their new tool aggressively.  I was VP of Public Affairs at NAR at the time, and I will never forget the phone calls we received from national reporters suggesting that maybe now consumers would no longer need Realtors to sell their homes because they could find out their home values online. Though the early Zestimates needed further refinement, there’s no doubt that the launch was a tremendous PR success.  Automated valuation models (AVMs) like Zillow’s multiplied like rabbits, not just because they can be great traffic generators but because they are also hugely profitable ways to generate leads for brokers and loan officers. Over the past decade, the marriage of real estate data and marketing tactics has taken different forms.  I worked for Allan Weiss for several years to support his extraordinary Weiss Analytics maps and reports on individual properties.  Unlike most other valuation tools, he Allan has assembled a massive Big Data database covering millions of homes and uses four repeat sales indexes to create extraordinary accuracy at the house-by-house level.  Over the past year, Allan has joined with Brad Inman to create what may be the best valuation tool ever developed for real estate professionals.  It not only gives current values based on house-specific data, but it also forecasts near term valuation trends on a micro level—information worth its weight in gold for sellers, buyers, and investors. Now several start-ups are taking valuation data a step further.  They are combining valuations with a wide variety of lifestyle and personal financial data ranging from marital status, family size, employment, the length of ownership and even hobbies to generate “predictive analytics” that resemble the algorithms Amazon and Starbucks developed to anticipate customer preferences for their products.  These real estate applications create “trigger” data that identify specific homeowners for brokers to market. These new tactics, borrowed from retailing and wrapped in real estate lingo, are immensely appealing.  Who would not want to forego the cost of hit or miss mass mailings and mind-numbing cold calling to focus on the family that’s having dinner table discussions on selling their home?  Isn’t it time to move real estate farming into the digital era? The jury is clearly out.  Review and comments from agents who have […]

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Redux: Minding Your Trade Show Manners

by Kevin Hawkins on October 19, 2016

Manners

Last year, I wrote about the 5 rules for trade show etiquette. Several clients and non-clients have told me they share this with their teams just before they attend a trade show.  However, the last couple of trade shows I attended were still brimming with exhibitor faux pas. As we enter the heart of trade show fall mania, with two of our industry’s biggest ones on the horizon – MBA Annual next week in Boston and NAR in a couple of weeks in Orlando – hopefully, even more people will realize that trade show manners matter. The RESO Conference in Nashville is up next. There, I’m hopeful that these rules will be followed because large or small, every trade show offers unique opportunities for belly-to-belly engagement that’s become highly prized in our increasingly digitized universe. Trade shows offer remarkable convenience. You can get on a plane, travel to a half dozen cities, and go through 10-grand or more to see a few dozen people. Or you can go to a trade show and reach a few hundred, with an opportunity to engage with some who would never be able to pencil you in on their calendars. The upcoming RESO Conference is that kind of place, and so being strategic in how you manage your trade show appearance is vital to achieving the best outcome for you firm. Let’s do two things: First, let’s revisit an abbreviated version of the 5 rules for trade show manners, and second, look at 3 ways you can improve your team’s effectiveness at your booth. 5 Trade Show Rules Redux Don’t drink the water (unless you do it discretely). Food and beverages are best consumed elsewhere, and not at your booth. Remember, your goal is to get people to approach you when you are at your booth, not leave you alone. If you’re eating or drinking at your booth, they’ll keep walking by. Stand, don’t sit. Over 90% of communication is non-verbal. When you are standing at a booth, you are signaling that you’re approachable. When you are sitting, you’re signaling that you are either tired or not engaged. If you have to sit, take a break somewhere away from your booth. Booths with barstools signal laziness. Is that the message you want to convey? Buy comfortable shoes instead. Eyes forward, please. And don’t forget to smile often. This is not a time to surf […]

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Six Ways to Get The Most From PR Wire Services

by Steve Cook on October 19, 2016

PR

Public relations wire services like Businesswire, Marketwired or PR Newswire pre-date the Internet, but they hardly resemble their early versions.  Back in the day, they were born to feed releases directly to wire terminals in news media news rooms and investment news services like Dow Jones and Bloomberg.  A major source of their business was—and still is—publicly held companies required by securities laws to release news that materially affects their stocks.  They also have a long history with political campaigns in need of a way to reach news outlets quickly. The online world has created a greatly expanded role for PR wire services.  No longer are they just vehicles to deliver news releases to editors’ desks, though they still fill that need with national, regional and industry-specific wires that target beat reporters.  Now some services also deliver news releases directly to the desktops of consumers and other targeted audiences. Today the services themselves have become a news medium in their own right.  Their offerings are carried in their entirety and verbatim by thousands of mainstream news media ranging from the Wall Street Journal to local TV stations and business weeklies.  Though most traditional news outlets segregate news releases from PR services on their back pages, PR news services are providing them free content that can build their SEO in the eyes of Google and Alexa.  In turn, those who use PR news services also benefit from the high readership of traditional sites because their releases will receive elevated status from search engines. PR wire services also deliver news releases directly to social media like Twitter and Facebook as well as leading bloggers and reporters who work for local and a national real estate online news outlets like RE Technology, Inman News, and RIS Media.  Blogs and sites that carry news content, which in real estate may include local brokerages, MLSs, Realtor associations and lenders, publish news releases for the same reasons as traditional sites: to augment their offerings and build their SEO. The expanded role for these services has also created opportunities for new services, especially those that specialize in working with social media.  Communicators have a range of new choices; selecting the right service depends on their needs, including the audiences they want to reach, the content they want to deliver and, of course, their budgets. Here are some tips on how to maximize the dollars you spend on […]

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The Convergence of PR, Traditional Media and Social Media

by Kevin Hawkins on October 19, 2016

Pinboard

One of the most profound changes in the media we consume in recent years is going largely unnoticed. The convergence of public relations, traditional media and social media is causing lines to be crossed – or at least blurred – and that’s making it nearly impossible to distinguish PR, from traditional media or social media. It appears that this convergence is accelerating and what that means is content today is often a bit of everything mixed together. Let me explain. Traditional media – newspapers, radio and television – once ran news only created by their own reporters or from wire services that also used only journalists. The role of public relations was to work with these journalists to “pitch” or suggest story ideas that would interest the reporters because it would be of interest to their readers or audience Today, as traditional media makes is digital transformation it is morphing into something else. The online news sites created by traditional media still features content written by journalists. But today only a portion of online news content is actually written by independent journalists. More and more executives, consultants and other experts are contributing Blogs to online news sites. While their content may appear to be independent, much of this content involves skilled public relations professionals providing guidance, if not crafting the entire piece. Most importantly, for most readers, it is nearly impossible to tell what content was written by a journalist and content created by a non-journalist. This blurring of the lines between PR and traditional media is important, because revenue models today for news sites are driven by traffic. If a blogger has a bigger following than a journalist, who’s content is more important or valuable for the media entity? Many of my journalist friends today are being forced to change as well. Most where two hats: journalist and blogger. Often they are not the same in terms of the content that is created. What they write for the paper may be one thing, and what they write online another. What has also changed because of this digital transformation is today’s professional journalist is being forced to alter their writing based on metrics. Most of the journalists I know are being held accountable to the web traffic their stories generate. Headlines are often nothing more than click-bait, which overpromise and the result is a story that underwhelms. For broadcast journalists, […]

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Annual Strategy Planning and Management Retreat

by Victor Lund on October 19, 2016

Puzzle Strategy

There is a curious coincidence about the relationship between strategic planning and success. Large, successful companies always have strategic plans and management retreats to celebrate accomplishments and recognize opportunities for success. Interestingly enough, start ups do the same thing. Where is the middle ground? For whatever reason, companies that are in the middle of the pack typically do not have plans. Or, the plan they do have is stale – the product of a moment in time when the leadership or board of directors insisted to cobble something together which, in turn, was saved in a remote desktop folder or shoved into a drawer somewhere. For decades, WAV Group has been providing strategic planning facilitation for leading real estate brokerages, technology firms, large MLSs, and large Associations. We have also reviewed strategic plans and business plans for the most ambitious young start-ups. If you are planning your strategic plan to launch your business powerfully into 2017, be sure to consider a proposal from us. Organizing your strategic planning session will be unique to your business and culture, but here are some elements of strategic planning that may point you in the right direction. Discovery – Interview the board of directors and key staff to understand their perspectives about the business. Great boards and business leaders are often closer in their perspectives about the strengths and weaknesses of a company than you might expect. Using an outside facilitator opens the door to more candid discussion. Research – Every Company has its Key Performance Indicator – it may be onboarding new agents, satisfaction with technology, consumer satisfaction, retention, growth, or whatever. Update your KPIs and understand how you are tracking toward your goals. The benefit of using a firm like WAV Group is that we can benchmark you against peer groups to better understand your performance. Preparation and Event Planning – Strategic planning is an event. You need to create an environment that is conducive to effective planning. This requires preparation to make sure that participants arrive in the right frame of mind. WAV Group performs a number of strategic plans each month. Preparation is a science. Start the day with an industry overview. When you being your planning, you need to begin with your lens zoomed way out. Be sure to spend about an hour reviewing recent events and industry initiatives that are shaping our industry today and into the future. […]

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phone dial

Let’s face it. We operate in a very social industry.  We’re all a bunch of sales people. We love to go to parties, catch that final drink at the bar after dinner and attend swanky events sponsored by technology companies. In general, we just love to schmooze!  Its part of our real estate DNA! I definitely count myself on the list of schmoozers. We host at least three parties a year and countless dinners and events beyond that. They are a great way to get to know people and start new relationships. All of this networking is great, but we all need to be cognizant of something. When it’s time to make an important decision about what MLS system to purchase or what Transaction Management solution will work best for a brokerage, we have to try to separate the schmooze from the substance. Just because a company has bought you a drink or a dinner doesn’t mean they offer the best technology solution for your company. When we facilitate RFPs for MLSs and Brokerages, we sometimes hear a lack of interest in a very viable candidate. What is the reason? We don’t “know” them.  That’s code for we haven’t partied with them at Mid-Year or Inman or any other conference. We haven’t been wined and dined by them. While, of course, trust relationships enter into any decision when choosing a new technology partner, I sometimes feel like our industry is biased more toward the schmooze than the substance.  If you are making decisions for your members or your agents, it is incumbent upon you to separate your personal connection so that you can truly try to examine the company and the quality of its technology offerings. Written Requirements Going through a disciplined selection process with WRITTEN product requirements and a formalized method for actually testing the product with users is critical to making a successful decision. Company Strengths Looking beyond just the technology is critical too.  How is the company funded? Are they a start-up with a shiny new object or have they proven their worth with your peer organizations?  How profitable are they? Tailored Offerings Do they currently service customers with similar needs to your own?  I just heard an example recently where an MLS was using a technology that was used mostly by brokers. While the product in question did a great job of meeting the needs of […]

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WAVes of Change: The Fright Stuff – Halloween Special

by Marilyn Wilson on October 17, 2016

Halloween special

With the end of 2016 fast approaching, and 2017 on the horizon, now is a great time to reflect on the best ways to help prepare your organization for the evolutions and revolutions which may happen next year. Are you Making Informed Decisions? Many things can happen when an Association or MLS is detached and not paying attention to the transient nature of the real estate industry and market. They can delay or even completely avoid decisions because they simply seem too difficult or controversial, causing the organization to fall behind or lose its competitive advantage. Even worse, Boards of Directors who do not stay in touch with these shifting trends can enforce and pass outdated rules and regulations that will impede their member’s success. Is your Travel Budget Limited? How do you kick your board into touch when you don’t have the budget to send several of your board members to attend multiple industry events each year? You can enroll in the WAVes of Change™ Series and 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, policy discussions and industry initiatives. We also discuss the key threats and opportunities that face our industry today, helping everyone to find new ways to improve the relevance of their organization and ensure its long-term viability. The agenda is ever-changing based on the hot topics of the day! Get 5 Educational Sessions for the Price of 4! Right now, we are offering a Halloween Special!, If you subscribe for the 2017 WAVes of Change before Halloween you’ll get one WAVes of Change™ session free.  Your group will be able to attend 5 sessions instead of four, including one in mid-November THIS year. You can start your organization on the path of being more informed in just a few weeks! 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 many of your Association/MLS colleagues for this insightful educational series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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Elm Street Technology Poised for Acquisition Growth

by Victor Lund on October 10, 2016

Prem Luthra founded Elm Street Technology this year, and they are off to a fast start. Before founding Elm Street Technology, Luthra was a member of the senior leadership team at Real Estate Digital when the company was sold to Nationstar Mortgage, the parent company of Xome. After serving as Xome’s Chief Marketing Officer for over a year, Luthra decided to leave Xome to pursue his vision of creating Elm Street Technology, which he formed in February with a group of investors. In July, Randall Kaplan joined Elm Street as its Chairman through the first acquisition, Listingbook. In September, Elm Street also acquired RLS2000 a well-known broker and agent website provider and marketing services firm based in the New England. Elm Street Technology is in the process of rolling up successful technology and service companies that when complete, can deliver everything a broker or agent needs from lead generation to customer for life retention solutions. Luthra has had a string of wins in the real estate industry, with DNA that connects to the core of the evolution of real estate technology. His career was launched as a member of the team at realtor.com that I call the Four Horsemen – Prem Luthra, Ben Graboske, Marty Frame, and Errol Samuelson. This team was instrumental in Realtor.com’s success. Graboske left to join First American, spun out and led CoreLogic before leaving to become an executive with Black Knight Financial. Marty Frame left with Luthra to start up Cyberhomes for Bill Foley of Fidelity National. Frame was part of the team that sold/licensed Cyberhomes to create what is now NAR’s Realtor Property Resource. Samuelson extended his career at realtor.com and then jumped ship to join the executive leadership at Zillow Group, where he has been active in M&A activities. Luthra joined the Real Estate Digital executive team, where they sold the company once, bought the company back, then sold it again. The investment thesis for Elm Street Technology is pretty simple, but very astute. They intend to roll up best-in-class companies that have been in business for at least 5 years, have an established customer base, and are likely to have a revenue rate of between $1 million and $5 million per year. The $20 million revenue barrier is magical because it attracts the attention of investment bankers. Lone Wolf recently completed a similar roll up resulting in an investment from the $14 billion […]

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2017 RESO Board of Directors Nominations

by Marilyn Wilson on October 10, 2016

RESO Real Estate Standards logo

      RESO is now accepting nominations for five open seats on the RESO Board of Directors. The RESO Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of RESO and development of the organization’s Strategic Plan. Two Vendor seats are available (Class B-5), for Vendors with revenues over $25 million. Three MLS seats are available (Class C 1-4), for MLSs with fewer than 50,000 members.  All five positions are for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2017. Candidates for the Board must be an employee of a RESO member organization. With the exception of NAR, no more than one person from a given company or its subsidiaries may serve on the Board of Directors at the same time. If you or someone you know is interested in lending your voice and talents in leadership to our organization’s goals of development, adoption, and implementation of standards, please complete a nomination form here (google form). Nominations will be accepted until midnight Eastern, November 10, 2016. Nominees will be published online at www.reso.org October 15 and updated as additional entries are received. Thank you for your support of RESO.

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MLSs and Brokers Misunderstand RESO

by Victor Lund on October 7, 2016

Working Programmer

Our industry is in the dawn of a new day. With some measure of struggle, the Nations’ MLSs and their Vendors have endeavored to adopt a set of standard fields for standardized data transportation from the MLS system to applications that support the real estate industry.  I consider this the dawn of the effort because, for the very first time, MLS adoption of the real estate standards are more strictly mandated by the National Association of REALTORS® MLS Policy. For years, the National Association of REALTORS® supported and funded the Real Estate Standards Organization, which is referred to by its acronym, RESO. Despite being a free standing non-for profit with an independent board of directors, the bulk of the funding for this standards organization came from NAR, and was supplemented by MLS vendors and a few others. Today, the Real Estate Standards Organization has blossomed into one of the most collaborative industry wide efforts we have ever seen, with funding from vendors, brokers, Associations, and MLSs. The effort ties MLS Vendors, Broker and Agent Technology Vendors, MLS Operators, Associations of REALTORS® and many brokerages together. This group is funding and directing a massive overhaul of how information (data) is used today, and laying a strong foundation for the future. It is inspired transformation. Like anything new, different, and technical, there is also a massive level of misunderstanding that is frustrating the efforts. In some small way, my hope is to clarify some things to set some people straight. We try hard to understand before disagreeing, and disagree without being disagreeable. The MLS system has a native database. When agents enter listing information into that database, they most often enter data that is not RESO certified. We refer to this as entering data into the NATIVE MLS Database. Despite the 1,078 fields and 1,475 values within the most current version of the RESO Data Dictionary, the MLS has additional fields, business rules, database logic, and numerated values that are beyond RESO standards today. With few exceptions, NATIVE MLS Databases and listing input forms have not been converted to the RESO Data Dictionary standards. If MLSs were to adopt the RESO Data Dictionary standards for MLS fields, it would require an MLS conversion. I imagine that most of you reading this have suffered through an MLS conversion, so you can appreciate the expense and pain that it would cause to convert all […]

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Are You Going to Get Blind-Sided in 2017?

by Marilyn Wilson on October 7, 2016

woc

As we head to the end of the year in 2016, now is a great time to sit back and reflect on the best ways to help prepare your organization for the inevitable evolutions and revolutions we 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? Are you busy doing your daily tasks and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the speed of change coming at you from within and outside the industry? Are you worried that there could be something around the corner that you’re not thinking about that could ultimately TAKE OUT your organization? Is your organization suffering from stifled and cumbersome decision-making? Here’s what can happen when an organization is out of touch: Decisions can be delayed because they seem difficult or controversial causing the organization to fall behind or lose its competitive advantage. Instead of responding to the waves of change, organizations can be torn apart by the jaws of defeat. MLSs 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 homebuyers 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. When conducting strategic plans we hear from brokers and board members that their organization is out of touch with today’s reality. So how do you get your board in touch? You can pay thousands of dollars for several of your board members to attend industry events. Many of these events can be very valuable for the content that is presented and the networking and peer to peer learning. The CMLS Conference, Association Executives Institute, and two RESO Conferences and are four great opportunities for MLSs and Associations to get in touch. WAVes of Change Series For those that cannot afford to send a bunch of people to each of these conferences, WAV Group is now offering another method for staying in touch with trends and learning from progressive MLSs and Associations around North America. We call it the WAVes of Change™ Series. This […]

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Today, all MLSs in America are prepared to provide a standard set of data from across the nation. It’s the kind of data that portals have been aggregating for years, which is now being made available to real estate brokers. With great effort Redfin championed this strategy to become one of the most successful broker websites in America. We will be hosting a webinar surrounding these topics on Tuesday October 11th at 10:00am PDT. Register here today! Our panelists on this exciting webinar include:                                 For too long, brokers and their vendors have struggled with the difficulty of managing the different data structures and business rules of more than 700 MLSs. Today marks the beginning of a new era, where each MLS is synthesized into a single common format allowing brokers to provide services, across MLS boundaries without differentiation.  Be sure to register below for this one hour webinar to be hosted on: Tuesday October 11th at 10am PDT CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!

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