2017

Inside Real Estate Acquires BrokerSumo

by Victor Lund on December 14, 2017

BrokerSumo Logo

WAV Group would like to congratulate Inside Real Estate and BrokerSumo. Inside Real Estate acquired BrokerSumo in an all cash transaction today. Both real estate technology firms are clients of both WAV Group and RE Technology. WAV Group is highly impressed by the quality of the Inside Real Estate core product, kvCORE. Inside Real Estate acquired Kunversion last year and has expanded the platform beyond team to a full broker suite. The kvCORE platform includes agent and broker lead generation websites, smart CRM, transaction management, an application marketplace, and integrations into many of the most popular applications in the industry. For the most part, the combination of kvCORE plus Transaction Management integration goes a long way toward a true lead to close solution. But the one thing was missing was Accounting and Commission management. With the acquisition of BrokerSumo, they have completed the suite. BrokerSumo developed a product that allows smaller brokers and teams to manage commissions and integrate with Quickbooks. Brokers and teams can purchase the application for hundreds of dollars for a lighter system than the resources required for a Profit Power or Lone Wolf solution. I think that the largest BrokerSumo broker has about 1500 agents. In terms of total addressable market – we think that BrokerSumo is poised for outstanding growth in 2018 with the support of the well capitalized Inside Real Estate team. BrokerSumo founder Jeremy Shoenig and a small team have developed a great application and successfully brought it to market. Now they will have the marketing and sales power of one of the largest web services companies in the industry to power the expansion. There are about 85,000 brokerages in America. The top 500 are firms with more than 250 agents. WAV Group estimates that the bottom 20,000 are single broker offices. We believe that there are about 60,000 firms that have between 5 and 250 agents, and that is where BrokerSumo delivers the most value. The system supports every imaginable commission plan and invites commissions plans to be structured discretely for  individual agents within the firm. Agents are provided with access to all of their commission history and can view the expected future commissions on deals in the pipeline – features that even the big boys have had challenges with delivering – especially on mobile. Aside from developing great technology, Inside Real Estate is backed by the venture capital firm, 42.Ventures – […]

{ 0 comments }

The Houston Association of REALTORS® has long held the honor of celebrating success at the top of the MLS consumer facing website leaderboard. WAV Group has referenced this center of excellence in countless writings, research reports, and planning sessions. We turn once again to this well operated company to exhibit an example of how they are continuing to progress. One of the keynotes of driving consumer engagement is through email marketing campaigns. Today, RealInsights (the name of the HAR newsletter) is sent to an opt-in list of 800,000 consumers every two weeks! That is a vast consumer reach to promote Realtors and their properties to consumers. Even though the Broker Public Portal and Homesnap are fast approaching the heels of HAR success – they continue to shine bright in the great State of Texas. The Name Change All of us industry folks refer to HAR.com the same way that Texans say it “H-A-R Dot Com.” What some of you may not know is that they embarked on a mission to extend HAR.com to encompass all of Texas. As part of that strategic initiative, the letters have new meaning. No longer does H.A.R. stand for the Houston Association of REALTORS®. It now denotes a broader consumer brand name that is more encompassing and supporting of their expansion efforts. H.A.R. now denotes Homes and Rentals. Content Strategy Like many website operators, the creation of great consumer content requires great journalists. Common options for content creation include hiring full time staff or outsourcing to free-lance writers. Full time writers are expensive, often charging $60,000 or more plus benefits. You can hire free-lance writers for about $300 to $500 per article for good stuff, but you often run into a time management issue of finding the writer, following up on deadline, and the quality of work can sometimes prove difficult to manage. HAR found a great solution! HouseLogic®, a service of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATON OF REALTORS® is an excellent resource for content. You will notice that the articles in the HAR.com newsletter are all sourced from HouseLogic with attribution. In the footer of the article on the HAR website is the statement – Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. HouseLogic® has done a great job of generating content for consumers. The company comes under fire for their efforts to attract consumers to […]

{ 0 comments }

Jason Sanchez promoted to CEO of GEPAR

by Marilyn Wilson on December 13, 2017

GEPAR

I am SO happy to announce that Jason Sanchez has been promoted to CEO of the Greater El Paso Association of REALTORS(R). We have worked with Jason for years. He is one on the most progressive and thoughtful leaders I have met in our industry. He has a humility blended with a passion for our industry that makes him a GREAT leader! I absolutely can’t wait to see how GEPAR will continue to evolve with his Jason’s energy! We will miss Sharron Ramirez too. She is an amazing leader and has done a great job of developing her team to be prepared to assume the reins seamlessly! She will be missed for sure. I wish you the best Sharron in your next adventure! Read the full press release below! El Paso, TX — (December, 12th, 2017) —At the end of 2017 the Greater El Paso Association of REALTORS® will be seeing the retirement of long time CEO Sharron Ramirez. Sharron Ramirez has led the association for over seventeen years as the Chief Executive Officer. During her tenure the Greater El Paso Association of REALTORS® has grown to become the largest trade association in El Paso, TX. With over two thousand members. Current MLS Director Jason Sanchez has been chosen to take over as the new CEO. Current REALTOR(R) Board President Dan Olivas commented on Sharron Ramirez’s retirement. ”While we are sad to have Sharron Ramirez retire, she leaves the association in great shape. We wish her the best in a well-deserved retirement.”   Coming in as the new CEO will be industry veteran Jason Sanchez. Renowned nationwide for his work within the MLS Industry. Jason brings with him over sixteen years of experience within the association. He currently sits on multiple boards and councils. Which include Corelogic, Zillow, CMLS & Project Upstream. Jason hopes to continue his work into making the local association among the most progressive in the nation. Jason commented: “I would like to thank the Greater El Paso Association of REALTORS’s leadership for having the confidence and trust to choose me as GEPAR’s next CEO. I promise to continue the standard of excellence that GEPAR has established as an organization. I am deeply humbled and excited for the future and I will work tirelessly each and every day with our leadership, staff and members to take this association to new heights!” Board President Dan Olivas is very […]

{ 0 comments }

MLS and Association consolidation has delivered a path to solve many problems for Realtors® and brokers operating in markets where there is overlapping market disorder. With the exception of the San Francisco Bay Area, most large NFL cities have removed the need for Realtors® and brokers to subscribe to multiple MLSs, pay duplicate fees for MLS services, and manage listings in multiple systems. There are plenty of markets that should continue to purse consolidation discussions, but by and large, the MLS industry is on the right track and that is cause for celebration. However, real estate forms continue to be cloistered by the same antiquated policies that listings faced a decade ago. It’s time to rethink forms licensing to Realtors® and brokers, and for the betterment of serving consumers through the transaction process. We call for a standard license agreement and data standard that allows all transaction management systems to integrate Association, MLS and Broker forms with “live” data that can be, with the broker or agent’s opt-in permission, securely shared across software applications. Where Forms Come From When WAV Group works with brokerage firms to integrate their transaction workflow across multiple markets of Associations and MLSs, the first question we address is “Who is the forms provider?” It’s a difficult question to answer because “it depends.” Forms come from multiple sources in each marketplace. The State Association of REALTORS® The best news for Realtors® is that, for the most part, real estate transaction forms are available through a branch of the National Association of REALTORS®. Typically, there are forms that are crafted by State Associations of REALTORS® that cover the buyer and seller representation agreements and contracts for most transactions. To some degree, there are also a number of common disclosure documents that are applicable statewide. The State Association normally includes the forms license costs in member dues, contributing an enormous value for membership in the REALTOR® Association. These forms are copyright protected by the State Association. The value of the forms needed for a single transaction more than justify Association membership. The Local Association of REALTORS® Before the digital age, Realtors® would drive to the local Association of REALTORS® to pick up their forms packet for a transaction. The local Association was in the printing business. It is important to understand that this was a key source of revenue to the local Association (along with lock boxes and […]

{ 1 comment }

Results From Real Estate’s First HyperLocal Survey

by Kevin Hawkins on December 13, 2017

Hyperlocal

WAV Group and other consumer research have consistently shown that buyers want neighborhood expertise above all else. It’s more important to consumers than an agent’s ability to negotiate or communicate. It’s often even more important to consumers than trust. So you would think that the most common agent business model would be designed to exploit that opportunity, right? But you would be wrong. Yet if you ask agents, they will tell you they indeed have deep local expertise – often they see themselves as being the “top” local expert. But if you look at what they do in their day-to-day business, they certainly don’t market their business or themselves that way. That’s some of the findings of the first-ever Hyperlocal real estate study WAV Group recently conducted for Colorado based technology firm, zavvie. The headline for the survey could very well read: “Agents, teams and brokers say one thing, do another.” Importance of HyperLocalism WAV Group found that a stunning 95% of agents, teams and broker-owners and real estate exes say local market knowledge is either “Very Important” or “Extremely Important” to their consumer clients. Two-in-three say it is “Extremely Important.” Hornung, CEO and Co-founder of zavvie, points out that real estate pros by and large are just are not making HyperLocal marketing a priority, despite all the research that shows how important it is to the consumers. Hornung explains that HyperLocal agents and teams focus their marketing activities specifically on a neighborhood or group of neighborhoods, which Hornung says is generally 3,000 homes or about 10,000 people. But only about 1 in 8 agents actually say they specialize in neighborhoods. “In fact, the study found that most real estate professionals are doing the exact opposite of HyperLocal marketing: they are casting the largest net, trying to throw draw their marketing circle as broad as possible,” Hornung points out. Not Really Local The study found that more than 60% of individual agents and 65% of teams say they “specialize” in a large regional or metro area. That’s like saying you “specialize” in collecting transportation or cars, versus rare Ferraris. “You can’t even specialize in a city or a town – its just too big of an area, geographically to be a ‘go-to expert’ that knows every single home in that size of a market. Yet that’s what folks were claiming,” says Stefan Peterson, COO of zavvie. There really is “a […]

{ 0 comments }

Study Says Longer Tweets are Better

by Victor Lund on December 13, 2017

Twitter for real estate is a curious strategy. There was quite a bit of discussion about Twitter in some of the Facebook groups that I am in. #thatsfunny. In all seriousness, when WAV Group evaluates the effectiveness of social media marketing and advertising (those are two different things), the numbers prove out that Facebook is far more effective in every matrix of reporting. The data suggests that Facebook is core, Twitter is niche. If you do market on Twitter as part of your surround sound system, you likely already know that Twitter extended the number of characters from the old 140 to the new, abundant 280. A study published by SocialFlow outlines the following results from their research: Average Clicks – This is interesting. If your Twitter strategy is to get people to click though to your website – the number of characters in your post does not really matter. Their article publishing the research tells us that they evaluated 30,000 publisher tweets. I have no clue what the 94.46 means – but that is certainly not the click though rate! Suffice it to say that the click through rate does not seem to vary in relation to the longer or shorter tweets. Retweets did show a significant increase in engagement. Looks like the publishers in the study were doubling the number of retweets. This is great news for the ability to extend your messaging beyond your group of followers and reach their followers. Think “new business.” Average Likes – Who does not like to see the love from the followers you have on Twitter? The good news is that the more you say, the more your followers like you. Although not quite as significant as the enhanced performance found with retweets, the number of followers that will like your posts jumps up dramatically. To be sure – Twitter made a good decision in extending the number of characters from 140 to 280. Now your opportunity is to learn how to tweet in the extended format to improve your online effectiveness. Twitter is not for everyone, but plenty of people are into it – mostly media, marketing, and technology folks. We find this to be a particularly effective way to develop relationships with local journalists. Remind your PR folks! disclaimer – Facebook is a WAV Group client – Twitter is not. @victorlund

{ 0 comments }

Holiday Lights Obsession, Explained

by Kevin Hawkins on December 12, 2017

Hawkins Lights

No, my house has not been featured on “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” My thousands of lights are neither programmed nor synchronized to holiday music. The International Space Station can’t see my Bainbridge Island, Washington home from orbit. I am just a guy who every year, for the last 20-plus years, has found the time to squeeze in dozens of hours to brighten our home for the holidays. From climbing ladders and walking on our high-pitched (formerly wood-shake) rooftop, to donning lights, stars and a blazingly bright cross made by our then 8-year old son and his granddad, to blanketing our front yard with classic cartoon character blow molds, animated blow ups, rope lighted deer and tens of thousands of LED lights. Christmastime for me means it’s time shine a lot of light to make the season bright – literally. Where I live, I have one of the most decked out homes that, for many on the Island, has become an annual drive-by tradition. In fact, I can’t go anywhere this time of year without bumping into someone I know asking me, “Are your lights up yet?” This routine starts the day after Thanksgiving and does not end until I post a video of the completed project on Facebook. This year, I am running way behind. WAV Group’s success has yielded the busiest November and December on record for me. I have traveled to three different states so far. Good for business, bad for having any extra time to hang lights. Now when I am about to be asked, “Are your…” I interrupt and say, “Ask me in about a week,” as I know the question that’s coming. I even hired a bunch of students from the robotics team at the high school I mentor last weekend to help out. We only made a dent after working a half-day in the pouring Seattle rain. Oh, the challenges of decorating in December in the Pacific Northwest! Why do I do it? When our two boys were little, no one ever asked me why I put up such an elaborate holiday display each year. I guess the assumption was that I did it for our boys. That was true and still is to a degree, even though both are in college. They still love the lights. My oldest spent last Sunday helping me catch up, as he did the weekend before helping […]

{ 0 comments }

This year I am proud to say that through our member satisfaction survey efforts with our MLS partners we have been able to survey over 250,000 real estate agents and brokers. We have learned a lot about where the real perceived value of an MLS is derived. While many respondents are very satisfied with the technologies, training and support offered by their local MLS, few appreciate or even understand the marketing power that a multiple listing service delivers to them. Just think about it, MLSs offer a myriad of ways to help brokers succeed and yet get VERY LITTLE credit for it. Here’s a SIMPLE TIP to help your members understand the FREE marketing exposure they are getting as part of their MLS membership. MLS Consumer Sites can throw off thousands of FREE leads to their members.   Interestingly, though, when we surveyed agents about the quantity and quality of leads they receive from their local MLS, few are aware of the marketing value they are receiving.   Most don’t even see their MLS as anything more than the MLS system, even though many MLSs spend thousands and even millions of dollars on a myriad of products designed to help REALTORS® succeed! SIMPLE TIP!  While turning the tides and helping subscribers understand the marketing power they receive from their MLS, there are simple steps you can take to start to change attitudes over time. Here’s an extremely simple tip to improving awareness of the leads your local MLS site generates for your members.   Check the subject line of the emails that go out telling an agent that they have a listing inquiry from their site.  Most default message are something like “Customer Inquiry for 123 Main Street” Instead of something generic like that, change it to: “Hurry! You have a new lead from XYZ MLS!” Every time one of those emails is received by one of your members, it will start to educate them about the business generation power MLSs bring them every day. Instead of thinking of MLSs as a utility, members can start to think of the MLS as a Marketing Network – harnessing the collective marketing power of agents in the local area to provide exposure and sales opportunities to every member in the MLS. I have heard from technology leaders at several MLSs that this change will literally take about 5 minutes!  This simple step may be the […]

{ 0 comments }

FBS and ARMLS: 10 years done, more to come

by Kevin Hawkins on December 11, 2017

When you are a technology provider and can say you’ve had a client for more than a decade, you’ve really have achieved something remarkable. FBS has been providing its Flexmls software to ARMLS, the largest MLS in Arizona, and its more than 38,000 subscribers for the last decade. When you also announce you’ve just signed a new multi-year contract extension with that same client, you’ve achieved something exceptional. That’s the news from Fargo, North Dakota today and Michael Wurzer, CEO of FBS, Creators of Flexmls. According to their news release, what has made the relationship long-lasting is leadership that are of the same minds: both have forward-thing leaders who also are customer-service centric. The focus FBS has on customer service is nearly legendary, with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) consistently north of 80. That puts FBS in a league of its own, as that’s an NPS companies with stellar customer service reputations haven’t achieved. ARMLS CEO Matthew Consalvo says he looks forward to the “evolution of our partnership.” Well if the past is an indicator of the future, it is very likely to be a very happy and beneficial one. Here’s the full news release: FBS and ARMLS® move forward together with long-term contract for Flexmls® and Spark® software platform. Fargo, North Dakota – December 11, 2017 – FBS, creators of the industry-leading Flexmls® System and Spark platform, announce a contract extension for their Flexmls software with ARMLS, serving the greater Phoenix-metro area with more than 38,000 subscribers. This multi-year contract extension comes after a decade of service to ARMLS subscribers. CEO Michael Wurzer FBS is equally proud of strides made in the past as he is anticipatory about great things to come. Wurzer says, “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in partnership with ARMLS over the last decade. We’re excited to sign this long-term extension so that we can continue that partnership, leading the way together on new technologies and innovations.” ARMLS CEO Matthew Consalvo said, “we are grateful to continue our long-term relationship with FBS. The folks out in Fargo are among the best in the industry. We look forward to the evolution of our partnership.” While the two operations teams have worked closely and extensively together during the last ten years, the partnership and growth mindset starts from the top. Wurzer explains, “Working with the leadership at ARMLS is a true blessing for us at FBS because […]

{ 0 comments }

I just love to see great companies in our industry get recognized BEYOND the real estate industry for their hard work and dedication to building a strong corporate culture.  eXp REALTY’s growth over the past year has been unprecedented, They have grown from 1000 agents to over 5000 agents in less than 18 months.   Revenue growth, according to their Q3 earnings report was up. Revenue increased 203% to a record $48.1 million from $15.8 million in the third quarter of 2016. This represents 22% growth quarter-over-quarter, from $39.6 million in the second quarter of 2017. Gross margin grew 96% year-over-year for the same quarter to $4.81 million; $12.1 million year-to-date compared to $5.3 million for the same nine-month period in 2016.  They are not yet profitable but they are moving in the right direction.  Q3 Net loss was $7.8 million, or $(0.15) per diluted share, compared to net loss of $14.6 million, or $(0.29) per diluted share in the third quarter of 2016. Congrats to the team that is working hard there to create a strong culture, albeit a virtual one while finding new and exciting twist on the traditional real estate brokerage!  We can all be inspired by this success story!      Here’s the full story below: BELLINGHAM, WASH. — Dec. 5, 2017 — eXp Realty, LLC, the largest residential real estate brokerage by geography in North America and a subsidiary of eXp World Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: EXPI), was named as a best place to work in Glassdoor’s 2018 Employees’ Choice Awards. The company was ranked No. 12 among all small and medium businesses on Glassdoor. The award is based solely on anonymous employee feedback via Glassdoor, where employees were asked to rate their company based on culture and values, work/life balance, senior management, compensation and benefits, and career opportunities. Currently on Glassdoor, eXp Realty has an overall 4.9 out of five stars. eXp’s Glassdoor profile reveals that culture and values, senior management, and compensation and benefits are among the top ranked characteristics among employees, with a noteworthy five out of five stars. Additional highlights on eXp Realty’s current Glassdoor profile include: 100 percent of employees approved of the CEO, Glenn Sanford. 99 percent of employees said the company has a positive business outlook. 99 percent of employees would recommend working at eXp Realty to a friend. “At eXp Realty, we work incredibly hard to maintain an innovative, transparent and collaborative culture that aligns […]

{ 0 comments }

Boyenga Team Delivers Online Excellence Through Chime

by Victor Lund on December 4, 2017

Eric and Janelle Boyenga are a husband and wife real estate team working with buyers and sellers in one of the most technology focused markets in the world for two decades. California’s Silicon Valley is not only the epicenter of global technology, but also real estate technology. To position their company, the Boyenga Team comfortably promotes themselves as Property Nerds. They aim to deliver the best digital experience to their clients with an abundance of software applications. They target their services to engineers and other employees of online companies like Google, Facebook, Sun Microsystems, Apple, and the many leading technology firms in the Silicon Valley. “You cannot grow a successful real estate team in the Silicon Valley without a constant investment in cutting edge technology,” says Eric Boyenga. The genesis of creating online engagement with consumers started for the Boyengas early in their careers with Intero Real Estate. Intero was among the first brokerages in America to deliver agent websites with full CRM, lead management, and transaction management in the early 2000s. At the time, Intero’s partner was the AgentAchieve platform that is now offered through CoreLogic. As the Boyenga Team grew and evolved, they found themselves moving further away from the technology offered by their brokerage and towards investing more in their own suite of applications. That shift, combined with the business model and team support ideology, caused the Boyenga Team to move their business to Keller Williams in 2012. Customer-Focused Technology Over the years, the Boyengas have pursued many strategies to engage consumers online; manage the relationships forever, using a variety of tools from a wide spectrum of real estate technology innovators. Although the Boyenga Team is expert at operating real estate technology solutions, they are not programmers. “We listen to our clients who share stories about their buying and selling experience,” says Eric Boyenga. “That influences the strategic direction that we pursue in delivering online excellence.” The Boyenga Team is fortunate to be able to solicit feedback from customers who have expertise in technology that overwhelms that of any real estate agent, team, or brokerage. “Our customers are the people who have reimagined how the internet operates at its core, and they have their hands on developing the amazing technology applications that shape how the world engages online,” says Boyenga. For example, when it comes to developing a strategy for listing syndication, the Boyengas learned from their […]

{ 0 comments }

FBS Acquires Solid Earth

by Kevin Hawkins on December 4, 2017

If 2018 does indeed turn out to be “The Year of Consolidation” in the MLS world, then the stage was set today in the MLS technology world by FBS. One of the most respected and innovative tech firms serving the real estate industry just helped with the consolidation trend. Michael Wurzer, who heads up FBS, creators of Flexmls System and the API that started it all (Spark Platform), announced today the acquisition of Solid Earth’s Spring software platform and the hiring of the Spring team, including its CEO Matt Fowler. This marks FBS first acquisition. Ever. Considering the company was established over 30 years ago, this is a BIG deal. FBS is known for industry “firsts” in the MLS tech world. It was the first to offer a native mobile app, first to create a Web API with its Spark API technology, and earlier this year, first to power on-demand IDX websites for agents with AgentSquared. Now it has its first acquisition. Read the full news release here: FBS acquires Solid Earth’s Spring software platform to achieve powerful industry vision Fargo, North Dakota – December 4, 2017 – FBS, creators of the industry-leading Flexmls® System and Spark Platform, announce acquisition of Solid Earth’s Spring software platform and the hiring of the Spring team. The trio of the Spring® Portal, the Spark® API, and the Flexmls® System creates a new, powerful platform that puts MLSs, brokers, and agents in full control of their data and brand to clearly and beautifully showcase their unique value propositions to their client-bases on both web and mobile platforms. Michael Wurzer, CEO of FBS, says he looks forward to building on the foundation established when FBS and Solid Earth announced a partnership earlier this year to build the Spring Portal on the Spark API. “Spring is the best MLS consumer portal in the market and powering it with the Spark API reduces duplicate entry and data lock-in for brokers and agents,” Wurzer said. “Today, MLSs, brokers, and agents need to clearly and beautifully communicate the full-breadth of the powerful value proposition they deliver together, and Spring is laser-focused on creating the best portal to deliver on that value proposition.” With Spring MLS consumer portals already being deployed in a number of MLS markets, both Wurzer and Solid Earth CEO and co-Founder Matt Fowler (who will continue his role leading the Spring team at FBS as a […]

{ 0 comments }

Associations Rethink Forms Licensing Policy

by Victor Lund on November 29, 2017

Document Management

If you were in the real estate business before the days of email, you may recall the experience of driving to the local Board of REALTORS® to pick up a forms packet for a transaction. Alternatively, your brokerage may have had a forms file with every type of printed form that you might need. Simply stated, forms were printed until pioneering State Associations of REALTORS® learned to share them electronically. Today, electronic forms management is a member benefit for all Realtors® as a member benefit of The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). When Realtor Associations learned about this policy and product offering from the National Association of REALTORS®, they started to internalize and rethink their forms licensing program. Why Do We Love Standard Forms? Ages ago, and in some States of America, you had to hire a lawyer to do the documents for a real estate transaction. For the most part, this is busy work for Attorneys. In most States, licensed real estate professionals can complete forms and they are reviewed by their broker and processed by a title company. Most States have taken on the responsibility of creating standardized forms that handle the variety of transactions encountered by most Realtors. Standard forms have all of the legal terminology needed transactions, so the agent fills out the information about the subject property and the information about the party they represent on each form, along with things like price. The standardized forms make the contracting process simple, easy and fast. The Realtor fills in the blanks, gets signatures, and its done. Copyright is Owned by the Forms Author The use of the word “standardized” is a little misleading when it comes to forms. Written works of any kind fall under the protections of the federal Copyright Act of 1976. According to the Act, copyright is available “in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device,” United States Constitution 102(a). When you look at a form, you will notice a copyright statement on the bottom of each page. This tells you who owns the copyright. This is usually your State Association of REALTORS® who updates the forms from time to time as necessary. They invest a lot of the membership treasury in the […]

{ 1 comment }

An Invitation to Broker-Owners and Other Top Brokerage Execs

by Kevin Hawkins on November 29, 2017

Thought Leader

How confident are you in the US economy? That’s just one of the questions that for the last six years Imprev has asked top executives as part of its annual Thought Leader Real Estate Confidence Survey. Its 2017 Survey is now underway, and if you are a brokerage industry Thought Leader, Imprev wants you to participate. The Survey is designed expressly for broker-owners, and C-level executives – Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, basically every title that begins with a “C” – who manage real estate franchises or brokerages. You can access it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/thoughtleader Two great things about this survey, which Imprev CEO Renwick Congdon crafted back in 2012. First, Imprev has been tracking the data for these same questions year-after-year and the results always provide great insight to outlook real estate leaders have going into the new year. Because Imprev has no dog in this hunt, it shares the data with everyone for free. And if you participate in the survey, you get the results first. Second, Imprev uses the survey to help brokerages generate local publicity, again for free. Here’s how the free publicity part works. At the end of the survey, after you have completed all 9 questions, which should take all of about three minutes, there is one more question Imprev asks: “May we share your contact information with journalists as a source for a quote when the survey results are released?” Imprev has this really smart PR firm (that shall remain nameless to protect the guilty and make this column seem less self-serving) that creates local media lists based on everyone who shares their contact info. When Imprev issues the findings in its news release, every local reporter in each market is sent the contact information of the local broker(s) in their area as a potential resource for a quote, since the broker(s) participated in the survey. It’s a win-win as brokerages have been getting free local publicity for years as a result and Imprev has gained more visibility in local markets across the country as a result. Again, if you are a real estate brokerage executive, the link to participate in this survey is below, but please hurry, as Imprev will be closing this survey link within the next few days: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/thoughtleader

{ 0 comments }

Consolidation: What PR Tactics Can Help?

by Kevin Hawkins on November 29, 2017

Process Integration

2018 could very well be the “Year of Consolidation” in the MLS industry. With the recent NAR move towards an “MLS of Choice” policy, we are likely to see a huge momentum build towards consolidation, especially in the second half of next year. That’s because smaller MLSs are going to find profitability under their current pricing model impossible. The simplest (and most often the best) solution will be to merge. By failing to plan for the role communications and PR plays within a consolidation, you are planning to fail. That’s because an effective communications and PR plan is vital to the success of any consolidation. Without it, at the very least, you will fail some of your members as they will not feel included, and at the worse, you will fail all of them, as they all, may feel, in some way, left out. Importance of PR PricewaterhouseCoopers wrote about mergers “the need for effective communication is often overlooked or underestimated in the flurry of activity surrounding a deal. Executing a strong and clear communication strategy is critical to successful integration.” That came from an accounting firm: the folks that typically ask why you are spending so much money on advertising and PR?! Ask any professional consultant who has lived in the world of company consolidations about the importance of internal communications and external public relations. You’ll quickly understand this is a corner you do not want to cut. It is a vital business tactic. In some ways, consolidations are all about communications. Let’s look at just a few of the practical tactical communications and PR activities that are needed for planning any successful consolidation: Strategic Communications What are we telling our employees, our vendors or strategic partners, our investors, or other stakeholders about the goals, timeline and expected outcomes of the consolidation? When are we telling whom, what and when? What are the best internal communication channels we can use to communicate to our staff? What are the right messages for each phase, and when do we communicate these and why do we use just these channels and the right timing? How do we mitigate the chances of internal communications being leaked externally, keeping internal messages internal? Pubic Relations What is our story, the story we want to tell? What are the key phrases that we want to emphasize and resonate with our key audiences? What are our core […]

{ 0 comments }

What is a Brand?

by Victor Lund on November 22, 2017

Brand

A brand is the difference between a pair of running shoes and a pair of Nikes. A brand is what people feel about you your product, the service you provide, or your organization. It’s part rational but mostly emotional. People will forgive a strong brand if it makes a mistake. likewise people won’t forgive a weak brand if it makes a mistake, remember Gateway computers? We thought so. WAV Group is not a branding agency – we leave that to leading firms like 1000 Watt. But WAV Group starts every project with an understanding of your brand. Marilyn Wilson, former Exec. Vice President of Marketing at Fisher Price managed the Fisher Price brand for nearly a decade. Fisher Price is one of the most valued and iconic international brands in the world. She did not build or create the Fisher Price brand, but every product they delivered (hundreds every year) had to deliver the brand promise, and everything WAV Group does for a client – strategic planning, communications, recruiting, and vendor selection – starts with brand. So what is the secret of a strong brand? The answer is surprisingly simple, focus. I’ll say it again, focus. Great brands stand for something, not a lot of things. One thing. For decades, Swedish car maker Volvo defined their brand with a single word, safety. Well, it seems to work for them. Sometimes you have to think beyond the category to know what your brand stands for. Harley Davidson makes motorcycles, want to guess what they stand for? Freedom.  Not a more powerful engine and not a more reliable bike or a smoother ride. Freedom. Brands are experienced. Take Starbucks. They differentiate themselves in many ways and offer a consistent brand experience in every Starbucks you visit. They even have their own language. Starbucks has created a unique community of coffee lovers that speak Starbucks-ease, and are true brand ambassadors – it’s customers. It doesn’t get any better than that. Starbucks has realized they aren’t in the business of serving coffee. They are in the business of serving people. What is a brand worth? So can you put a monetary value on a brand. The people at Interbrand research do that. Think about the fine folks at Coca-Cola. Guess what their brand is worth? According to Interbrand, about 61% of the value of the Coca-Cola corporation is brand. That is a lot of […]

{ 0 comments }

IRES & REcolorado Sign Binding Merger Agreement

by Victor Lund on November 13, 2017

IRES

Approval from Shareholder Boards is Next Step to Form One MLS for Denver and Northern Colorado IRES and REcolorado have taken another step toward creating a single MLS that will serve 26,000 real estate professionals in northern Colorado and the greater Denver Metro Area. Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES, and Kirby Slunaker, president and CEO of REcolorado, today announced the commitment between the two MLSs has now gone from a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU), as announced in September, to a binding merger agreement. The merger agreement has been signed by Hansen and Slunaker and has received approval from both the REcolorado Board of Directors and the IRES Board of Managers. The  next step needed is shareholder approval from the boards of the eight REALTOR Associations that are the owners of the two organizations. REcolorado’s shareholders are Denver Metro Association of REALTORS, South Metro Denver REALTOR Association, and Aurora Association of REALTORS®.  Shareholders of IRES are Boulder Area REALTOR® Association, Fort Collins Board of REALTORS®, Greeley Area REALTOR® Association, Longmont Association of REALTORS®, and Loveland Berthoud Association of REALTORS®.  The shareholders are expected to review and vote on the merger agreement in the coming weeks. “Thanks to the great work of the REcolorado and IRES shareholders and their boards, our vision of creating a future-focused MLS that serves REALTORS, Brokers and consumers along the Colorado Front Range is becoming a reality,” said Kirby Slunaker. “Colorado real estate professionals have told us they want the benefits that can only come from one MLS, which include the best products and services, faster pace of innovation, and world-class customer care.” A merged MLS organization serving the Colorado Front Range would bring substantial benefits to Colorado real estate professionals, which would be passed on to consumers. Benefits include comprehensive data, a broad set of technology tools and services, and powerful consumer-facing websites. “REALTORS, brokers, appraisers, and consumers deserve the most comprehensive, accurate, and timely data possible, as well as technology tools they can use to serve the needs of well-informed buyers and sellers,” said Lauren Hansen. “Bringing our MLS organizations together is what brokers want and what the market needs.” Chris Osborn, with Foster, Pepper PLLC, will continue to facilitate the merger process with REcolorado and IRES. “We continue to move at a steady pace, thanks to open lines of communication between REcolorado and IRES, as well as a shared commitment to work in the […]

{ 0 comments }

Exciting news from one of the hottest new technologies in the MLS space – REMINE.  They have recently partnered with First American to include detailed property information for 100% of the properties in America. This will allow REMINE customers to conduct even deeper searches to uncover prospecting opportunities through their local MLS. For those that haven’t heard about this new company, their platform analyzes property records, transnational history, consumer data and delivers actionable insights on an intuitive user interface.  With just a few clicks an agent can identify a specific type of audience they would like to target – investors, long-term homeowners, etc. and then seamlessly create a Facebook ad to target those specific customers.  Many of our MLS customers are pretty excited about this solution. Here’s the full press release below: Irvine, CA — (November 10th, 2017) — Remine, a real estate intelligence platform for Agents, now includes detailed property information on 100 percent of the U.S. housing stock from First American Financial Corporation, a leading provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions. The Remine platform analyzes property records, transactional history, homeownership data and delivers actionable insights on an intuitive user interface. “Our MLS clients want deeper data integrations, including autopopulation of property information, our machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions. The demand for this service exceeded our expectations; 2018 is going to be a transformative year,” said Jonathan Spinetto, COO of Remine. “We’re pleased to provide our industry-leading property data to the MLS industry and realtors through our work with Remine, a true innovator in the MLS market,” said George Livermore, executive vice president of First American’s Data and Mortgage Solutions division. “The integration of our data with Remine’s best-in-class platform reflects our commitment to provide innovative businesses in the real estate industry with the data needed to achieve their goals.” About Remine Remine is a real estate intelligence platform for Agents that is delivered exclusively through the MLS. The platform analyzes property records, transactional history, consumer data and delivers actionable insights on an intuitive user interface. Many of the nation’s largest MLSs representing more than 500,000 Realtors have signed up for Remine. Visit Remine.com or call 855-217-0171. About First American First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is a leading provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions that traces its heritage back to 1889. First American […]

{ 0 comments }

Hits and Misses from NAR Chicago

by Kevin Hawkins on November 7, 2017

Exhibits

Chicago is a baseball town. Even with the Cubs disappointingly not returning to the World Series this year, you can’t escape seeing someone wearing a Cubs or White Sox hat or shirt every day in Chicago, even in November. McCormick Place, home to this year’s REALTORS® Conference & Expo, sits just two-and-a-half miles north of Comiskey Park, where the Sox play – their South Side team. So you get an idea of how far away this convention center is from the heart of downtown. And the proximity to a pro baseball park also gives me the perfect excuse to use baseball terminology to review some of the hits and misses I found this year’s conference in the City of Big Shoulders. Host city: Grand slam for hotels choices, restaurants, entertainment, and bars. But it’s a strikeout as a convention city when half your meetings are located 30-45 minutes away at hotels on Michigan Avenue. Even with the fantastic busway, an express lane that takes only convention busses from downtown hotels directly to McCormick Place, it took door-to-door, between the average shuttle wait time, at least 30 minutes because traffic clogs the arteries to the hotels. For me, that’s just too much wasted time spent on a bus, even with all the technology we have in the palms of our hands today. Oh, and the weather sucks in November. 2018 Woman NAR President: Elizabeth Mendenhall, a Realtor from Columbia, Missouri was a refreshing sight as she stepped up to the plate at the annual new NAR President press conference to field reporter’s questions. First, it’s been way too long since NAR has had a woman president. Second, she’s at least a generation younger than most of her predecessors. She came across as energetic, smart and politically savvy. She gave props to CAR’s WomanUp, a powerful new Women’s Initiative, and she laid out NAR’s agenda for 2018. She adeptly fielded questions from reporters. She was hitting the questions reporters were throwing at her solidly. That was until Inman News Bernice Ross  threw a curveball at her. Bernice is spearheading a woman’s initiative of her own. So she asked Mendenhall – since it’s been so long since we’ve had an NAR female President – if she had specific plans to support women Realtors during her tenure at NAR. Elizabeth just stood there, and let that beautiful slow pitch Bernice threw at her sail over […]

{ 21 comments }

Steve Murray Appointed to Lone Wolf Board of Directors

by Victor Lund on November 7, 2017

WAV Group would like to congratulate the Lone Wolf board of directors for expanding their ranks to include Real Trends President, Steve Murray. It’s a great move and brokers should celebrate! About Lone Wolf: If you are not familiar, Lone Wolf is among the largest technology providers in the real estate industry with a focus on broker back office solutions where they are the market leader. Their accounting solutions have profound market share – likely exceeding 50% of all brokerage firms in America. Last month, Lone Wolf acquired Instanet – making Lone Wolf either the #1 or #2 provider of forms and transaction management solutions for brokerage. Lone Wolf has a vast array of tools that complete the full footprint of any technology stack that brokers want to deploy in their business today. If a company is looking for a complete lead to close solution, Lone Wolf may be the only company that has the entire system. About Steve Murray: Real Trends has been consulting with the broker community for decades and Mr. Murray is clearly the most experienced consulting firm at putting together brokerage mergers and acquisitions.  Murray has a keen eye for helping brokerage firms develop profound and meaningful value in their company as an asset. When you look at business development and operations though that lens, Real Trends is expert. WAV Group Observations Lone Wolf is a company in transition. Lone Wolf founder, Lorne Wallace continues to lead the company as Chairman of the Board of Directors. He has handed the operational reins of the company over to CEO Patrick Arkeveld. The remaining director positions are held by the company’s investment banking firm, Vista Equity Partners. Vista Equity Partners are masters at delivering the same kind of advice to software companies that Murray provides to brokerages. Companies need to set goals on customer acquisition, customer retention, lifetime value of customers and dozens of other KPIs. Vista delivers a vast amount of experience helping companies manage to those KPIs and benchmark against their other portfolio companies to keep the business in line with excellence. Call for Celebration The problem with running a software company like a software company is that there is a risk of not staying grounded in the needs and relationships that you have with your customer. We have seen this time and time again in real estate as some of the greatest software companies on […]

{ 0 comments }

Page 1 of 1012345...10...Last »