November 2016

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

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

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The Power of Sharing

by Steve Cook on November 17, 2016

Woman reading blog on tablet

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

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2017: The “Magnificent 7” Tech Trends to Watch

by Kevin Hawkins on November 17, 2016

deep_learning_icons_nvidia

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

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Homes Portal Jumps Into Responding To Consumers

by Victor Lund on November 17, 2016

Consumer and Agent

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

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The Battle of Consumer Profiles

by Steve Cook on November 17, 2016

business and financial report with pen.Document is mockup

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

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Strategic Planning – More Critical Than Ever Now!

by Marilyn Wilson on November 17, 2016

Strat Planning

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

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Waves of Change Title

With the holidays fast approaching and the end of the year in the horizon many associations and MLSs have begun to budget and are thinking about what services they should offer their members in 2017 and beyond. Don’t miss out on the WAVes of Change in 2017, be sure to plan accordingly! Did you miss NAR? Where you and members of your Board of Managers stuck in the office rather than being out at NAR a couple of weeks ago … ? …Not a problem! We attend the events and conferences so you don’t have to! We understand that sending a whole team to several conferences can quickly add up and be expensive, we provide an opportunity to educate everyone on your staff for a much more desirable price! Four times a year we present a live webinar which falls shortly after major conferences. We provide exclusive first looks at WAV Group research, emerging technology trends, broker challenges, policy discussion and any other vital information which comes up at industry events! You’ll be joining many other successful MLSs and Associations… 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…… Contact Us Today! If you still have room in your budgeting you cannot afford to miss out on this vital subscription! Please contact marilyn@wavgroup.com or camilla@wavgroup.com to schedule a call and take advantage today!  Please join your Association and MLS colleagues for this insightful series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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2016 NAR Annual Moments and Musings

by Kevin Hawkins on November 15, 2016

NAR

Like many Americans, I was glued to the television on election night, and seeing the Javits Center instantly reminded me of my first NAR Annual Convention. It was in 1986 when the brand new Javits Center opened in Manhattan. I was a young PR Turk fresh into my first full year at Great Western Bank (then Great Western Savings). I went there to plot our long-term trade show strategy. It was also my first NAREE – National Association of Real Estate Editors – meeting, a dinner at a classic NYC steakhouse. That’s especially hard to forget because it’s where the legendary real estate columnist, the late great Bob Bruss, instantly greeted me. It was also my first personal encounter with David Jeffers, then of Fannie Mae fame, who gave the most politically incorrect slideshow presentation. Both encounters convinced me that this was my kind of organization. Fast-forward 30 years to last week’s NAR Annual Convention in Orlando, and most of the traditions remain the same. Here is my attempt at recapping my highlights and offering three takeaways: Journalist are back at NAR: I walked into the Press Room at the Orlando Convention Center and was delighted to see so many reporters working away in the press room. While the numbers don’t compare to what was common a couple of decades ago, there were more reporters attending then in the last three NAR Annuals combined. In addition to perennials attendees, such as Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News and the godfather of real estate columnists, Lew Sichelman, there were many fresh faces, including those from the new bread of media that can’t be categorized as journalists, but who create a plethora of real estate content. One example is Chris Cain, once the head of PR for the Florida Association of Realtors, Chris is both a RE/MAX agent in the Orlando area who both writes extensively about and specializes in selling vacation homes. A long-time member of NAREE, Chris was sharing his book called “Your Made in the USA Vacation Home.” Another stellar writer in the room was Bernice Ross, an Inman Columnist who also writes one of my favorite weekly newsletters, The Real Estate Coach. The big three trade media outlets were there: RE Technology, RISMedia and Inman News. Inman was very well represented, as Amber Taufen, Inman’s top editor and Deputy Editor, Andrea Brambila, were writing non-stop. Kudos to […]

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To Zap Or Not To Zap

by Victor Lund on November 15, 2016

ZapLabs

That is the question for many brokers today who are part of the Realogy® Franchise Group. This group includes brokers who may be a member of any number of franchises spanning Century 21®, Better Homes and Gardens®, Sotheby’s®, Coldwell Banker®, ERA®, and some others. As WAV Group detailed in this case study of BH&G Metro Brokers in Atlanta – the Zaplabs platform is excellent – combining an effective mix of agent website, CRM, Lead Management and other vital agent business tools. But the question to Zap or not to Zap is really not a question about technology at all. It is a question about strategy. Consider the Cost of Change Franchise technology solutions come in three business models – free, freemium, or premium. Sometimes the vendor is external, like Zillow, Smarter Agent, Marketleader, or DotLoop. Sometimes the vendor is internal like Zap or LeadRouter. If the vendor is contracting directly with your brokerage and not through the Franchise, there would be no cost of change. The cost of change comes when the franchise makes a choice to continue or discontinue a product. It is also the cost that you may have of migrating from your current solution to Zap. Are the customers and agents portable. Example: Smarter Agent Realogy just notified some or all of their franchises that they are sunsetting the relationship with Smarter Agent for their mobile app. It will be replaced by the Zap App. Both apps are excellent. There are a number of unanswered questions about what happens with the agent apps. More details to follow on this. Do not panic if you are using Smarter Agent today, but understand that changes are happening. Consider the cost of change that is related to the legacy customers who are using the app. Agents have been giving out that app for years to their customers. Brokers have made it the cornerstone of their mobile strategy. How will they port the customers from Smarter Agent and get them to download the new app? Will the saved searches and favorites be transferred? Who will retrain everyone? Who will rewrite all of the recruiting and marketing materials? Consider that there may be a day when you reverse your decision to Zap. What contractual assurances do you have that your firm and switch away in the future and keep the data exclusively? Realogy has made Zap the hub of the technology strategy […]

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SALT LAKE CITY, UT (PRWEB) NOVEMBER 10, 2016: Inside Real Estate and Kunversion announced today that they completed a transaction to combine their businesses. They will operate under the Inside Real Estate name with Kunversion becoming the brand for their marketing and sales software platform. The combined business becomes a leader in marketing and sales software for residential real estate agent teams and brokers. Kunversion brings its leading software platform and marketing solutions delivered to agent teams and brokers while Inside Real Estate adds unique capabilities for larger brokers including seamless integration with transaction systems, full marketing and sales lifecycle tracking and analytics, and other emerging enterprise features. The acquisition comes after a flurry of recent product releases from both companies, including a new CRM Mobile App, Facebook Lead-Generation tools, Advanced Lead Routing and Agent-Management capabilities and integration with other industry solutions including Dotloop, SkySlope and BrokerMint transaction management systems. Because both companies operate with common technologies, integration of their software solutions will be a seamless transition. In fact, substantial integration steps have already been completed allowing customers to begin taking advantage of the broader functionality of the combined platform. The integrated Kunversion platform will be capable of serving the unique needs of small agent teams all the way up to large, multi-region, multi-office brokers. Justin Tracy, founder of Kunversion, spoke about the combination: “We couldn’t be happier to have found a partner that has the capacity and experience to take Kunversion to heights considered unachievable by the current leadership. We now have the infrastructure and funding to not just play with the big boys, but to truly take the lead in the real estate CRM marketplace.” Mr. Tracy will be the Chief Technology Officer of the combined business. “We have a lot of respect for what the Kunversion team has accomplished,” said Inside Real Estate founder and Chief Revenue Officer, Joe Skousen. “We’re very excited to break down barriers between smaller, limited team solutions and antiquated enterprise platforms. We are aggressively bringing teams, brokerages and enterprise companies the strongest, most integrated solution on the market.” The combined leadership team will be headed by Chief Executive Officer, Ned Stringham. Stringham has a strong track record of successfully building sales, marketing and cloud-based software businesses and also acts as an Operating Partner of NexPhase Capital as well as being the principal owner of 42 Ventures which has been successfully investing in […]

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NAR Annual: Looking for 2017 trends, tech and tactics

by Kevin Hawkins on November 2, 2016

This week, Orlando is more than home to Disney World and tens of thousands of happy tourists across the globe: it also will house nearly 20,000 enthusiastic REALTORS®, other industry organizations (RESO Booth #609), MLSs executives and staff, lenders, title firms, closing agents, technology providers of every shape and size, and of course, the Scarf King. Navigating through the maze of more than 400 exhibitors is challenging, but kudos for the NAR for making it highly accessible. The Trade Expo kicks off on Friday afternoon with its Grand Opening at 3:00 pm, running to 6:00 pm. The official hours: Expo Hours Friday, Nov. 4, 3:00pm–6:00pm (Grand Opening) Saturday, Nov. 5, 9:00am–4:00pm Sunday, Nov. 6, 10:00am–5:00pm Monday, Nov. 7, 9:00am–1:00pm If you are not planning to access the terrific sessions, seminars, workshops and NAR meetings, and you just want to spend your time checking out the latest and greatest at the Expo, the NAR has made it VERY affordable: Admission for all four days is just $50. A link to a list of exhibitors and floor map is here. If you wanted to attend just one hot session – my pick is always RISMedia’s “PowerBroker Forum” – you can do both for just $90 with advance registration. Tip: The best time to tour is always Sunday and Monday, if you want to spend quality time and avoid the crowds. This is when the serious shoppers, information gatherers, walk the halls. Hot spots This is the 21st Annual Power Broker Forum by RISMedia, and their panel is always packed with some fresh faces whom are actually doing the business. I tend to get a few great takeaways, that often include a new recruiting tactic, current pain points, an innovative marketing strategy, or a business challenge with a unique solution. This year’s panel is no different. John Featherston always plays host with a guest moderator, and this year, it is Rei Mesa, who heads Florida Real Estate Services and is President & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty. Panelists are set to include: Craig Beggins, President/CEO, CENTURY 21 Beggins Enterprises (Tampa/St. Pete area, Florida); Robin Dickson, Executive Vice President, J. Rockcliff Realtors (East Bay, San Francisco); Marti Hampton, Broker/Owner, RE/MAX One Realty (Raleigh, NC); Matt Widdows, Founder & CEO, HomeSmart; and Charlie Young, President & CEO, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. The theme after Carpe Diem or “Seizing the Day, Winning the Future.” Friday, November 4, […]

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