March 2017

First MLS logo

First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS), located in Atlanta, Georgia is seeking a new Chief Operating Officer. Founded by real estate brokers in 1957, First MLS was the first MLS in the state of Georgia.  It has a unique business model which is highly economically beneficial to brokers which creates strong loyalty and commitment. Currently FMLS serves more than 36,000 real estate professionals in Georgia with over 2000+ broker offices.  The FMLS database currently contains more than 39,000 active listings spread across 110 counties throughout the state. FMLS’ Mission is to “help fulfill financial dreams by providing superior technology, service and training to facilitate the success of our members.”   They focus on thoughtful products and services that not only meet the needs of today’s real estate professionals, but exceeds them.  Their Corporate mission drives how they do their daily work, from the way they answer the phone to the way they prioritize themselves. Atlanta, Georgia, FMLS’ location, is the only city in the country that still has two MAJOR MLSs with significant duplication in members.  FMLS has to continually innovate to remain relevant in this situation.  This position is ideal for someone who takes great pride in their work and wants to continually improve the value of its MLS services. The scope of this position is much broader than most MLS positions. As a Chief Operating Officer, this position oversees several areas of the company including Member Services, Training, Product, Administration and Finance, Human Resources and Technology. Because of the breadth of this position, it requires someone with deep technology skills as well as strong managerial, coaching and leadership skills. The ideal candidate will be in tune with the needs of today’s brokers and will have proven experience building strong relationships while satisfying the ever-changing technology needs of brokers and their agents.   They will be able to operate in a nimble and dynamic environment and be able to lead decisive and customer-centric teams. Here are the responsibilities of the position: Participates in the development and preparation of short and long-term goals and plans based on the broad organizational goals and objectives. Responsible for the measurement and effectiveness of internal and external processes and controls. Appraises and evaluates the results of overall operations regularly and provides reporting of these results to the CEO. Directs and prioritizes technology and IT strategy implementation, planning, projects and budgeting. Directs and prioritizes product management and escalate […]

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Don’t Miss Out on the Latest Trends in Real Estate

by Camilla Harvey on March 28, 2017

Dont MIss Out

With conferences and meetings in full swing, many associations and MLSs are sending staff and board members, however it is impractical to have everybody attend, every conference. The answer is simple, join us for the WAVes of Change. Don’t miss out on this rapidly growing webinar series in 2017! Did you miss AEI? Where you and members of your Board of Managers stuck in the office rather than being out at AEI in Denver a couple of weeks ago … ? …Not a problem! We attend the events and conferences so you don’t have to! The WAVes of Change webinars will educate everyone on your staff for a cost that doesn’t break the bank. 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 previous webinar topics are: 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 for Pricing! You cannot afford to miss out on this vital subscription! Please contact camilla@wavgroup.com for questions or to inquire about pricing!  Please join your Association and MLS colleagues for this insightful series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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Compass Article Inman

If you are a broker in a market where Compass is operating, you are watching them like a hawk. They have a keen ambition to recruit top producing agents. Yesterday they had a story in Inman News that exhibits the power of public relations. If you track real estate technology as WAV Group does, you understand exactly what this tool is and what it does. If you read the comments, you see that there are a number of technology companies that have offered this tool and functionality for a long time. But peel back the story a layer, and you will see a clear and evident public relations strategy that is working very well. We do not consult with Compass, so the PR strategy that I am going to highlight is my reconstruction of their plan. I do not really know if their strategy is what I think it is, but the article gives us a great sample of good strategy execution anyway. Compass is a venture-funded company that has positioned itself to disrupt real estate. Among other things, Compass shares the belief that brokers should provide consumers and agents with great collaboration tools for home buying and selling. This is a pretty common strategy among all brokerage firms. The PR spin here is that Compass is taking credit for offering a tool. The media does not care if everyone is using this functionality. If Compass is the only one talking about their technology tools, they become the de-facto industry leader. If you want to associate your brokerage brand with being a technology leader, you need to issue press releases to the media about your technology tools. Compass hit a home run with this article. You would not believe the number of brokers who emailed or phoned me yesterday about this article. For the most part, every company who contacted me already offered their agents similar functionality though other applications. I explained that they were not missing the technology strategy, rather that they were missing the public relations strategy. Compass is driving the conversation. This is not just a Compass thing, Fox and Roach were the talk of real estate all last year for their deployment of their seller lead strategy and client for life strategy.  Berkshire Hathway’s largest firm launched Buyside and ePropertyWatch. By all accounts, they are crushing their competition with it; not only driving seller leads, but […]

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When is the Last Time you did a Media Audit?

by Kevin Hawkins on March 28, 2017

Media Audit

African-American novelist, playwright, poet, and social critic James Baldwin put it best: “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.” That sage advice is at the heart of why every organization benefits from a Media Audit. Never heard of a Media Audit? You are clearly not alone, because despite its enormous value and incredible insight for business and communications objectives, most companies don’t use them. What is a Media Audit? A Media Audit is a survey – a deep dive into how a company and its competitors communicate, either internally and/or externally. A Media Audit looks at industry positioning, competitive media messaging, the effectiveness of that messaging by sampling over a specific period of time comparable media reach and coverage achieved, and subjectively analyzes PR/communication strengths and weaknesses. A Media Audit is all about a look back to where you have you been, what have you said, what digital footprint, if any, you have created, including baggage you’ve left behind. And it is all about benchmarking: Where are you and your competitors today? What is your share of voice? Are the right messages resonating? Are you winning in the right markets or are your competitors? Benchmarking with a Media Audit helps you measure – and justify – new PR/communication efforts and strategies. What are the benefits of a Media Audit? The purpose of an Audit is to assist in a constant honing of key messages, to identify competitive differentiators and adjust PR/communication strategies based on effectiveness, or lack thereof. Again, it’s the best way to get the metrics to measure success – and helps guide success as if you continue to Audit at key intervals, you can use this information to course correct. So why don’t more firms do Media Audits? Media Audits can sometimes show that the Emperor has no Clothes. In other words, it can expose weakness in PR/communication programs and strengthens in our competitors that some firms would rather not have their management see. In other cases, firms believe they already know what the findings will show – in nearly every case they do not – so they think they are saving money when in they end, they will end up likely wasting much more than they will ever save by not doing an audit. Those who do not do Media Audits are losing sight […]

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SEO Or Search Marketing For Brokers

by Victor Lund on March 28, 2017

SEO logo

We just escorted a client though a double audit of their search engine optimization on their broker website.  We reviewed Domain Authority and ranked it against their competition and saw a range of authority from 44 to 48 for leading broker websites. We reviewed Moz Report, CheckPageRank.net, and others. We carefully analyzed all area search keyword traffic using a combination of searches that include Neilson, ComScore, Google Analytics, and Hitwise. You can ignore any site data from a third party that is free (i.e. Quantcast and other free services are way off). Too often, firms look too closely at their Google Analytics. Google Analytics can only tell you what is happening on your site. Nielson, ComScore, and Hitwise give you a vision into the size of the online audience in your Demographic Market Area or DMA. They provide you with competitive matrix against your category competitors. These competitive sites include your brokerage competitors, national sites, and MLS consumer sites. They give you a look at the whole picture, not just your website stats. When you understand the total size of your consumer audience, you can review your share of consumer audience. You can understand your demographic audience vs. competitor sites. Armed with this information and the proper web development tools, you can develop your web strategy to be very focused and very targeted in your local audience. You can map your progress against competitors, and make sure that your strategy is working. To create your success, you will need a combination of SEO strategy, content strategy, social media strategy and search Marketing. Mostfirms fail by not having a good balance between these. It is very easy to be boring online, and the minute you are too promotional, you become spammy.  The last thing you want is for your real estate brand to be viewed by the consumer in the category of a belly-fat ad. Veteran online marketers, Prem Luthra and April Elgas are launching a new media network in partnership with This Old House. It offers super compelling content that can compliment a broker’s own content development. Brokers are doing well if they create one well-produced video per month (a.k.a – not something shot on a cell phone – a real, well edited video that you have invested $5k into). But firms should be pushing out a post every day on social media. This Old House has a huge repository […]

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Effective Ways to Generate Seller Leads

by Victor Lund on March 24, 2017

Lead Generation

WAV Group recently did an audit of a broker’s lead strategy, and it caused a bit of a eureka moment for the broker. We found they needed to stop focusing on buyer lead generation immediately and focus on seller lead generation. As a consulting firm, WAV Group has a full bag of executional tricks for firms to consider when they are setting strategy. The way that these activities are implemented and driven though the culture of an organization is the secret to success. We considered a few of these strategies in our latest study entitled Generate Seller Leads: Don’t Worry About the Buyers, They Will Come. Read the full study here!

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CoreLogic Upgrades Trestle

by Steve Cook on March 22, 2017

corelogic logo

Close to 100 multiple listing organizations representing approximately 500,000 subscribers have signed up for Trestle IRVINE, Calif., March 22, 2017— CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today announced the launch and immediate availability of an upgraded version of Trestle™, the national data marketplace created by CoreLogic to address the fundamental data access problems that real estate brokers, technology providers and multiple listing organizations struggle with every day. The upgrades support core contracting and data distribution via the Trestle platform. The endto-end workflow makes it easier for technology providers to establish business relationships with multiple listing organizations and obtain unified data feeds that comply with the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) the dictionary and API standards. Close to 100 multiple listing organizations representing approximately 500,000 subscribers have already signed up for Trestle—with many more likely to participate. “This kind of early success heralds a very bright future for the Trestle platform,” said Chris Bennett, general manager of Real Estate Solutions for CoreLogic. “Up next, we’ll be rolling out all the bells and whistles that will truly make Trestle a premier data management solution, including full ecommerce capabilities and access to our gold-standard property data and AVM content.” To help technology providers get up to speed with Trestle, CoreLogic has collaborated with RESO and the Austin Board of REALTORS® to deploy the Developer Reference Server. Powered by the Trestle platform, the Developer Reference Server provides access to a full compendium of RESO-compliant listing data from the previous year. “By providing effective developer tools and resources, we aim to spur rapid adoption of Trestle among technology vendors in 2017,” said Bennett. “Single-point on-demand access to enhanced listing and property data is the way of the future, and CoreLogic is delivering it.” For more information on Trestle, visit corelogic.com/trestle. About CoreLogic CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider. The company’s combined data from public, contributory and proprietary sources includes over 4.5 billion records spanning more than 50 years, providing detailed coverage of property, mortgages and other encumbrances, consumer credit, tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information. The markets CoreLogic serves include real estate and mortgage finance, insurance, capital markets, and the public sector. CoreLogic delivers value to clients through unique data, analytics, workflow technology, advisory and managed services. Clients rely on CoreLogic to help identify and manage growth opportunities, […]

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Bright MLS logo

Associations gave birth to the MLS, and have maintained a colorful relationship with their technology progeny. Types of MLSs in America include Association owned and member governed; Association owned and broker governed; and of course, broker owned with no Association involvement. The relationship generally couples the non-for profit trade Association with the for-profit MLS technology company. The MLS pays dividends to their Association parent that stimulates non-dues revenue for the Association. One of the keystones of the incredible consolidation that created Bright MLS is the diversity of the 43 Association stakeholders. Mindful and respectful of the Association heritage of Bright MLS, the company announced yesterday the launch of their new government affairs support program. The program is designed to assist its stakeholder Associations with the costs associated with developing, maintaining or expanding their local government affairs efforts and help ensure that local public policy decisions that affect real estate are creating a healthy climate for housing, our industry and the real estate consumers. The funds can be used to pay for dedicated government affairs staff, education, monitoring legislation, reviewing legislation, community outreach, or other efforts of the government affairs department in an association. This is a clear signal from Bright MLS that the role of the Realtor® Association in government affairs is fundamental to the success of MLS subscribers and consumers. MLSs have long supported the role of the association at communicating economic housing information to the public as well. For Bright’s stakeholder Realtor® Associations, there is a simple process to apply for program funds to support specific government affairs efforts. Bright will evaluate the applications and grant funding that fits within the program specifications, and helps the associations’ efforts to be successful. Full Press Release Below Bright MLS Introduces Government Affairs Support Program Mid-Atlantic’s largest MLS will assist stakeholder associations in expanding political influence on government regulations Rockville, Md. and King of Prussia, Pa. (March 14, 2017) – Bright MLS, the Mid-Atlantic’s largest multiple listing service (MLS) that serves approximately 85,000 real estate professionals across 40,000 square miles, today announced a new program to assist its 43 stakeholder associations with the costs associated with developing, maintaining or expanding their local government affairs efforts to ensure that consumers’ property rights are protected. The program is designed to support Bright MLS stakeholder associations in managing the potential impact of government regulations, which can have a dramatic impact on local real estate and […]

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It is a new day in Connecticut, the Constitution State. The Connecticut Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (CTMLS), and the Greater Fairfield County CMLS (GFC CMLS) together representing over 17,000 real estate professionals in Connecticut, will merge to form one MLS that will be called SmartMLS. Connecticut is the third smallest state in America by landmass, but at over 3.5 million people, the state is the 29th in population. It boasts the highest per capita income in America. The combined MLS will be among the 20 largest in the nation and perhaps in the top 10 in terms of dollar value at $13 Billion in trades. Both MLS are on CoreLogic Matrix systems. Congratulations to Kathy Elson and Cameron Paine on the merger of their companies. I can also personally attest that Michael Barbaro, President of the newly formed Smart MLS contributed extraordinary leadership in finding the right synergy to pull this together. WAV Group works with many MLSs to support mergers and acquisition. If you would like to discuss our services, please reach out to Marilyn Wilson or Victor Lund. Full Press release follows. Press Release Two Largest MLSs in Connecticut Approve Merger WALLINGFORD, CT March 14, 2017:  The Connecticut Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (CTMLS), and the Greater Fairfield County CMLS (GFC CMLS) together representing over 17,000 real estate professionals in Connecticut, will merge to form one MLS that will be called SmartMLS. The merger announcement follows the successful, unanimous votes of Directors and Brokers in both multiple listing services (MLSs) as well as the Board of Directors of Connecticut REALTORS®.  “I could not be more proud of the Realtor® spirit of this merger whereby the combined leadership of the CTMLS and GFC CMLS Board of Directors made a conscious decision to stay focused on the best outcome for our Realtor® members and the clients they serve,” said newly named SmartMLS President Michael Barbaro, he continued “as a result we were able to make it to today’s announcement in record time of four months.” The combining of the backend MLS databases is already in progress and full live operations will begin summer of 2017. Agents that previously belonged to both MLSs will instantly realize $522,000 in savings once SmartMLS begins operations. The driving force behind the merger is the recognition that overlapping MLS systems require agents to belong to multiple MLSs and perform duplicate listing entry.  Consumer expectation is that […]

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What Does $1 Billion Look Like?

by Kevin Hawkins on March 10, 2017

Ben C Infographic

Last year HomesUSA.com’s Ben Caballero, who has been atop of the REAL Trends/WSJ “The Thousand” list of real estate agent rankings for both total dollar volume and number of transactions since 2013, became the “World’s First Billion Dollar Producer.” It’s a feat that’s hard to get our heads around because we toss around the term “billion” so frequently we forget how truly breathtaking this accomplishment is. From a PR point-of-view, it presented a significant challenge in finding a way to put what Ben had done in the proper perspective. That was the test we faced at WAV Group Communications when Ben became our client. A picture is worth 1,000 words One of my favorite quick reads as a young writer was Harper’s Index. It was really the first textual version of the Infographic, as it made numbers interesting and put a clever spin on numbers related to obscure and often startling facts and figures. It’s also what sparked the idea of a great way to tell Ben’s story: make it a visual one and bring those numbers to life. And that’s why we turned to creating an Infographic that could put in perspective exactly what Ben had accomplished. The goal was to show the awesomeness behind being the first to break the billion-dollar barrier. Think about it: One agent responsible for more than $1 billion in home sales during a single year! We also didn’t know if Ben would ever hit that level of volume again. After all, Ben’s markets were all Texas-based (Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio) and conventional wisdom at the beginning for 2016 said that most of the Texas markets that were exploding with new home construction would soften. Nearly 100% of Ben’s business is new home construction listings for builders. But a funny thing happened in 2016. Ben shattered his first billion-dollar record, increasing his business in ONE YEAR by more than 40 percent. In 2015, Ben sold homes totaling $1.022 billion – some 2,491 units. In 2016, Ben’s new record totaled $1.45 billion in home sales volume – some 3,565 units. The good news, this year, is we have an even better, bigger story to tell as Ben’s business growth continues to defy conventional wisdom. That means our Infographic this year is even more powerful because the numbers tell a truly remarkable story. Here is his newest Infographic that shows what it means to […]

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The start of 2017 has been like no other in real estate. We have just completed our cycle of strategic planning for brokers in real estate and every large broker is facing the same issues. Remember the folklore about the dodo bird. The species lived in a world that was so plentiful; it lost its ability to fly. In the end, that was its undoing. If large firms are not careful, they could walk off the same cliff. Small Firms Are Out Recruiting Large Firms Large real estate firms have become easy recruiting targets for small firms. The big guys have lots of business rules and lots of normalization of around commissions. They have lost a lot of their agility, and are compensating by accepting less broker dollar. Most of all, very few have adopted the requirement that managers have 40 recruiting meetings a month. This is easy to fix with focus. Focused On Lead Generation Instead of Listing Generation The biggest ask from real estate agents today is “feed me leads.” In truth, leads are typically buyer leads. Sure, they are nice to have. But what agents really need is listings. Large firms that leverage their historical data can design programs that drive seller lead generation. They can monopolize on new home development. They can leverage their mortgage customers, title customers, and property management customer databases to stimulate listing appointments. Large firms have so many unfair advantages that small firms only dream about. Large Firm Messaging to the Consumer and Agent Forgets to Mention Advantages Large firms have unfair advantages. There are so many things that they can deliver as a result of their size that empower the sales associate and delight the consumer. In fact, most brokers have been delivering their unfair advantages for years, but they forgot that they must continue to take credit for it. When you ask a consumer about real estate brands, they mention the household names. Small firms are never household names. Remind people of that. Large Firms Are the Only Ones That Can Compete On Customer Experience Today’s large firms (I would include franchises in this mix) have the opportunity to innovate faster at scale, wire customers into every decision, see themselves as customers do, and drive accountability at all levels. Small firms have no opportunity to operate like this. Their only opportunity is to win on commission split and/or office culture.  […]

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MFRMLS Launches New Consumer Website

by Victor Lund on March 9, 2017

My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS) is one of the five largest MLS companies in America with more than 50,000 subscribers serving the central Florida region, including major US cities of Orlando and Tampa. They have operated an MLS consumer facing website since 2008 at MyFloridaMLSHomes.com . In an effort to improve the effectiveness of their consumer site as a subscriber benefit under NAR’s basic service guidelines, they have launched an entirely new site at https://www.state27homes.com/ When large MLSs launch consumer facing websites, WAV Group examines the strategy to observe best practices that other MLSs may learn from. There are a number of keynotes to this new site that should not go unrecognized by MLSs who are considering a new site or the relaunch of their existing site. Name Change Changing the name of your website is no easy consideration. There are benefits to maintaining an established online URL that include name recognition and search engine optimization. The old brand of My Florida Homes MLS was certainly a long brand, but it did a very good job of stuffing many SEO rich keywords into the URL. The new brand was contrived through a process of crowd sourcing possible names from leaders and subscribers to the MLS. Each name was evaluated for its domain name availability and social media name availability. In the end, the shorter name of State 27 Homes was established to recognize that Florida is the 27th State in the Union. It lacks the MLS keyword that consumers know and trust, but their communication plan around the brand compensates for that. The Transition MFRMLS made an important decision in the conversion. The old site had some very important features that made it effective. Principally, the old site was constructed with a purposeful intent to allow the site to be completely branded as an agent’s IDX website. Since 2008, every MLS subscriber has been provided with a personal URL, like myfloridahomesmls.com/agentname. Agents have long been able to provide that URL to their clients. Registered clients have been able to search the entire site and have all communications and leads from that personal URL go explicitly to them. Agents have tens of thousands of consumers registered to their personal URLs on the old site, with lots of saved searches and daily notifications. To abandon the old site could have been very disruptive to the relationship between the agents and their registered […]

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CoreLogic just announced a significant agreement that will integrate its Matrix MLS platform with Centralized Showing Service (CSS). The scope is huge as Matrix is North America’s most popular multiple listing platform and today serves 650,000 real estate professionals. Under the agreement, CoreLogic will integrate and offer CSS appointment scheduling services to clients of Matrix and other CoreLogic real estate solutions. This is a big win for CSS too, which before this announcement, reached 170,000 agents. The CoreLogic connection will deliver to CSS a much bigger footprint with the Matrix integration. Here is the news release:  CORELOGIC TO INTEGRATE CENTRALIZED SHOWING SERVICE WITH MATRIX IRVINE, Calif., March 2, 2017—CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today announced a new agreement to integrate Centralized Showing Service (CSS) functionality with its real estate solutions, including the Matrix™ multiple listing platform. With four call centers serving more than 200,000 agents across the U.S., CSS is the nation’s leader in real estate showing management. Under the agreement, CoreLogic will integrate and offer CSS appointment scheduling services to clients of Matrix and other CoreLogic real estate solutions. Matrix is North America’s most popular multiple listing platform and today serves 650,000 real estate professionals. “This collaboration is momentous,” said Kevin Hughes, vice president of Business Development for CSS. “By directly integrating our showing appointment management functionality into Matrix, agents are empowered to improve their workflow, minimize missed showings, collect feedback and close more sales. It’s exciting to see our teams coming together to enable more agents to reach higher levels of productivity.” “Forging a relationship with another industry leader like Centralized Showing Service is a major win for both of our companies—and for our clients,” said Chris Bennett, general manager of Real Estate Solutions for CoreLogic. “This agreement will give more multiple listing subscribers integrated access to premier showing management services. I’m thrilled to team up with CSS and look forward to working together to find new ways we can serve our clients better.” About CoreLogic CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider. The company’s combined data from public, contributory and proprietary sources includes over 4.5 billion records spanning more than 50 years, providing detailed coverage of property, mortgages and other encumbrances, consumer credit, tenancy, location, CoreLogic® to Integrate Centralized Showing Service with Matrix™ Page 2 hazard risk and related performance information. The markets […]

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