May 2017

Upstream Adjusts and Improves

by Victor Lund on May 31, 2017

Upstream Logo

WAV Group has played a humble role in the evolution of Upstream from a concept to where it is today. The effort has been shaped by the deep involvement of leading technologists from across the brokerage and franchise community. This week, we have been pummeled by questions arising out of their recent announcement during the 2017 Midyear REALTORS LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS & TRADE EXPO in Washington D.C. Upstream is a bright concept for improving data management in real estate today. If you understand the laws of America, you understand that Licensed Real Estate Brokers supervise agent and consumer real property transactions and are responsible for the data involved. This is a serious legal obligation. The law requires that the supervising broker protects the consumer’s interest as it relates to data collected during the process of representing the consumer. The procuring brokerage is fully liable for its practices with all data – listing data, consumer records, and agent records. Upstream is the most advanced broker data management software in real estate. The very best way for Upstream to communicate with any other MLS databases or Vendor databases is by using APIs. Application Programming Interfaces are the most modern and accepted methods for managing the exchange of data. This is not a disparaging comment against MLS systems – they are excellent too. However, with some exceptions like FlexMLS by FBS, they are slow to adopt APIs until this year. Today’s modern MLS systems are highly sophisticated applications that are customized to an MLS area. They are the data repositories that allow brokers to share data in a fair and orderly way. They have common rules that govern the relationships between firms and how data may be used through shared MLS services. The only commonly designated method for using MLS data was IDX – Internet data exchange. IDX is the concept that allows brokers who are participants in an MLS to display other members’ listings. That one-way push has evolved beautifully over the years to include full MLS data pulls, Virtual Office Website data pulls, and IDX pulls using an industry specific construct called RETS – Real Estate Transaction Standard. Thanks to the inspired efforts of the volunteers and staff of the Real Estate Standards Organization, nearly every MLS in America has launched API access for the first time! This is a really big deal. Shaping the data inside an MLS system to a […]

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As a Founding Partner at WAV Group consulting, I have the opportunity to talk to fund managers about their investments in real estate. Some investors are focused on supporting public companies such as Realogy, RE/MAX and others are betting against them with short positions. The truth is that we do not ever know the position of the investors when they ask questions. We just answer them as best we can. On a call this morning, I was asked a profound question about customer experience in two parts. Part 1. What brand has the highest customer satisfaction rating? Part 2. What brand has the highest agent satisfaction rating? These questions illustrate the importance of the customer experience for investors as they consider their investment strategies. Research from Bain & Company shows that companies who drive loyalty through great customer experience see increased growth and reduced costs.   Also, Watermark Consulting findings show that customer experience leaders dramatically outperform the market. As a leading provider of research to technology firms and listing services, we measure product and service satisfaction. We run a number of consumer panels to find out how consumers value the experience with Realtors® to influence Association strategy, but we have never benchmarked separate brands. I know that Century 21 wins the JD Power Award each year. But that does not tell the whole story. Customer Experience has become a science. McKinsey & Company found that measuring journeys is much more impactful than measuring individual touchpoints. With multiple touch points in a customer journey, they have a cumulative effect on the overall experience.  Benchmarking satisfaction can be helpful, but benchmarking metrics will not tell you where and how to improve the customer journey.  Regardless of a brand’s rank and score, organizations who are growing and innovating are constantly looking for ways to improve.  Simply watching scores will not drive these outcomes. Listening to feedback on the customer experience throughout every touchpoint is not as easy as simply flipping a switch. Many companies talk the talk about listening to the customer.  But actually understanding and acting on the voice of the customer is very difficult.  However, this can be done with the right technology and thought leadership.  As an example, Medallia has spent 16 years building technology and best practices by working with some of the most innovative companies in the world like Mercedes-Benz, Hilton, Farmers and many more.  They measure the […]

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HomeSmart Logo

HomeSmart has acquired Cherry Creek Properties, a large real estate brokerage serving the Denver, Colo., metropolitan area, the company announced Wednesday. The acquisition makes HomeSmart the No. 1 real estate firm in the state based on agent count, according to the company. The addition of Cherry Creek Properties’ 1,500-plus agents brings the firm’s total agent count to over 13,000, and widens its reach to 123 offices in 16 states. HomeSmart and its franchises’ closed sales volume, combined with Cherry Creek Properties’, totaled more than $14.6 billion in 2016, with more than 53,000 in closed transactions, according to RISMedia’s Power Broker Report. “The HomeSmart model works exceptionally well in major markets, and Denver is an exciting major market that also presents a timely opportunity for us to build upon our existing marketshare,” says Matt Widdows, founder and CEO of HomeSmart. “Cherry Creek is one of the largest and most recognized brokerages in Colorado and their presence expands our office footprint in the entire state. In addition, we’ve developed a great working relationship with their leadership, specifically Dino Sarganis, which is key to any successful transition.” “HomeSmart’s commitment to agent service and success is second to none, and I’m very pleased to be able to announce that Cherry Creek Properties has become part of this growing network,” says Sarganis, managing broker and CEO of Cherry Creek Properties. “I agreed to this acquisition knowing that it would greatly benefit our agents through technology, training, resources and services that will, in turn, allow these agents to better serve homebuyers and sellers in Colorado.” “Dino and I have discussed bringing our teams together on a couple of occasions,” Widdows says. “I’ve always had regard for him, and the synergies between our transaction-based models are apparent.” With the acquisition, Cherry Creek agents will gain access to HomeSmart’s proprietary systems and technology. HomeSmart is deploying a support team to Colorado to facilitate a smooth transition, with Sarganis serving an integral role in converting its assets. “Continued growth in Colorado has been a key objective for some time and expands on what we’ve already added this year in Texas, California, New York, Rhode Island, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona,” says Bryan Brooks, senior vice president of Franchise Sales at HomeSmart. “Our model performs at a higher rate than any other in the industry and rigorously captures operational data to back it up. It continues to be proven in Phoenix, but […]

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Highlights and Lowlights at NAR Midyear

by Kevin Hawkins on May 25, 2017

NAR Brochure

The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is a mouthful, so we all just call it NAR Midyear. This one was a scorcher: both inside, as Upstream was the hot topic, and outside, as the temperatures were in the 90s in mid-May and the humidity made me remember why everyone leaves D.C. in August (except the tourists). CMLS Brings it to the Table For me, this was the highlight of the conference and it really isn’t even officially part of Midyear. It’s a tangential track that the Council of Multiple Listing Services hosted at American University, about 15 minutes north of the Marriott and Omni. The setting was in a meeting room inside its new Innovations building at AU that was so new, it wasn’t even on GPS, so finding it was a challenge for Uber and Taxi drivers. The content was stellar. Brian Boero of 1000watt introduced this clever, simple slogan to define what an MLS is with “Making the Market Work.” Brian did give me my favorite quote of the day: “No other group of 1 million people could be more different than REALTORS®.,” he said. Marilyn Wilson, our founding partner at WAV Group was tasked at presenting the results of the MLS Benchmarking survey that WAV Group conducted for CMLS. The benchmarking survey sampled the behavior of more than 200 MLSs representing over 1 MillionREALTORS®. There are certainly opportunities for improvement and CMLS best practices education leads the way. Fewer than 1 in 5 MLSs do an annual technology review Fewer than 1 in 3 have a marketing program, yet 2 in 3 say they promote products regularly Less than half measure customer satisfaction 40% use customer satisfaction benchmarks Fewer than 50% track calls Only 40% require board training for understanding financials 58% have no written succession plan Throughout the day, some of the best minds of the MLS industry shared their thoughts and visions, candidly, including Lauren Hansen (consolidation), David Charron (consolidation), Kathy Condon(broker engagement) and Chris Carrillo (The Grid). I loved what David observed: what prevents consolidation is a clashing of cultures. How true! It was at lunch that Upstream’s Alex Lange made the announcement that was heard around the industry almost immediately, creating an instant debate among PR people about whether the word “pivot” should have been used – or not. Upstream will now integrate with MLSs like a data share – allowing brokers a […]

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New! FREE RESO Marketing Toolkit!

by Marilyn Wilson on May 25, 2017

Help brokers understand how RESO standardized data delivered via the RESO Web API will help them bring new technology solutions to market and differentiate their messaging, lead gen, market statistics and green marketing. Thanks to MLSs across the country who have done a great job of embracing the Real Estate Standards Organization, the RESO Data Dictionary and RESO Web API. Today, 93% of all REALTORS® in America work with MLSs that are RESO Certified. Congratulations! In practical terms that means that brokers can now improve their ability to capture leads, save searches across multiple devices, promote green properties and take credit for the listing exposure they are generating, expand into new markets more quickly and save time and money on data normalization personnel. While RESO has done an amazing job, there is still little awareness among technology suppliers and brokers about the core advantages of RESO. That’s where YOU come in!   RESO is asking that MLSs help drive DEMAND for RESO Data Dictionary and Web API based data feeds. RESO knows how busy you are. That’s why they hired WAV Group to help bring you the FREE RESO Marketing Toolkit.  There are a variety of pre-created videos, banners, articles and information guides that you can provide to your technology partners and brokers to help drive interest in RESO feeds. It’s a very tangible way to demonstrate how much you are looking out for your broker’s best interest. Click HERE to request your FREE marketing toolkit! Your brokers will thank you for it!

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Putting Storytelling Back Into a News Release

by Kevin Hawkins on May 25, 2017

StoryTelling

The art of storytelling is celebrated today as one of the most effective ways to communicate. When I first started practicing public relations, the most effective news releases were the ones that told a story. They were called feature news releases. I’m not sure what happened to them, but over the years, that term has all but disappeared from the PR vernacular. In fact, Google yields a paltry 5,700 search results for the term, which makes me very sad, as it once was the most effective way to get a reporter or editor’s attention. It was a great way to cut through the clutter of the boring, mundane and often useless and news-less releases that were being sent out – and stand out from the competition. I once wrote a feature news release that was about Home Equity Lines of Credit, or HELOCs, for Great Western Bank. Three different magazines picked it up verbatim and a dozen newspapers quoted its content. Recently, I convinced a hot startup we work with – zavvie out of Boulder, Colorado – to let me bring back the feature news release. I thought it could be the single most effective way to tell the story of how zavvie helps consumers. Reporters and editors, I argued, would be stuck on thinking of zavvie as solely a B2B product. Because when we launched zavvie in Colorado, we focused on how it was a digital farming tool that leveraged social media for real estate agents. Trying to break out of a reporter’s B2B mindset is extremely challenging, I told our clients. But a feature news release that could tell a powerful consumer story – from a consumer’s point-of-view, might at least help change the mindset and begin a new dialogue. Authenticity is key The key to a good feature news release is having a great story to tell. Fortunately for zavvie, they have some phenomenally talented agents, and one in particular, Chris Cote out of Castle Rock, who works for 8z Real Estate — owned by the same folks who created zavvie –was more than willing to help me out. The key was to be able to tell the story from the consumers’ point of view, and Chris had the perfect couple with a terrific story to share. So I built the entire feature news release not around Chris the real estate agent, which is what most PR […]

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Get More Leads

Think about this for a second: The more highly qualified leads that an MLS generates all represent clients who are serious about buying or selling a home. It makes sense. If those buyers are smart enough to be looking at an MLS or brokerage website instead of combing a portal at 2 a.m. for a home, then they’re probably a more serious buyer or homeowner looking at whether the time is right to sell their home. So why do MLSs insist on selling their ability to generate serious business opportunities short?  MLSs are lead-generation machines that give brokers a bounty of high-quality potential clients to fill a sales pipeline, and yet most brokers and agents do not give MLSs credit for effective lead generation services. Something else to think about: MLS members are already using your services to find leads. Here’s how MLSs can take advantage of that use and show their members that the data hosting is only part of the story — there’s a lead-generating machine underneath that data-hosting utility-company facade. Start with step one and move up. There’s a FREE service available to MLSs called ListTrac that can be the foundation of a campaign to build awareness of the business potential generated by MLSs. ListTrac collects all of the listing exposure, leads and inquiries for every listing in the MLS and creates an easy-to-read report that agents can send to their clients to demonstrate how much listing exposure they are generating through the local real estate community. I don’t normally recommend a specific solution to MLSs, but to my knowledge ListTrac is the only group providing a service like this right now. Here are five simple ways that you can use this free service to help brokers and agents understand the marketing power of their local MLS. Make sure that EVERY IDX vendor you work with AND your MLS vendor, your MLS consumer website and your mobile app — integrates ListTrac. This is the first step, and it’s critical. The story is much more powerful when you’re tracking all of the sources of traffic that an MLS creates, and right now, ListTrac is the only company that can do this. Hundreds of thousands are sent out every month from your MLS system for prospecting campaigns. Combine that traffic with all of the lsting exposure generated from EVERY IDX site in your market.  Add in the traffic generated […]

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Pacific Union Delivers On International Reach

by Victor Lund on May 25, 2017

WAV Group has been studying broker website effectiveness for more than a decade. One area of interest is global reach. When we look at Google Analytics, we study traffic to understand the level of visibility that brokers are achieving for their websites internationally. Over the past 12 months, Pacific Union International has been living up to their name by expanding their international reach. Driving International Reach International reach has largely been a listing tool in real estate. Even in global cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, we see that 85% of buyers come from the immediate region. 10% come from other areas within the United States. Only 5% come from international buyers. Despite the real data, sellers continue to believe the media that buyers come from China and Russia. For many brokerages, the seller’s demand for international reach is colored in though franchise or network relationships. There is good news for brokerages that are not affiliated with franchises or networks. Over the past year, Pacific Union International has been focused on reaching high net-worth individuals, increasing their reach in the U.K. by 360%, and over 500% in China. Their targeting has resulted in 900% increased traffic in India and a staggering 2190% increase in Brazil. It is a 6 figure investment, but far more effective than the delivery of international buyers from networks or franchises. Pacific Union’s traffic, leads, and transactions have grown enormously with this proactive approach. Building International Relationships In addition to international marketing, Pacific Union understands that the true success of any international effort is developing relationships with leading brokerage firms across the globe. The distinction here is that they are not building a list. The relationships that they have built for decades are sincere and personal.  Their commitment to these relationships ensures that Pacific Union clients buying abroad get the same level of service that they get at home. Moreover, Pacific Union delivers concierge service to international clients here in America in return. The countries on this map represent the nations where Pacific Union holds these personal trust relationships with foreign brokerage firms. The Pacific Union executive team travels to many of these locations each year to bond with partners, and welcomes inbound partner visits in the best possible way. Communication to Agents and Consumers Performing at this high level is nothing new for Pacific Union. They operate in the most competitive […]

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Coach

None of the brokers we’ve worked with believe that their office managers are doing what they are supposed to be doing — sales training. Instead, they act more like den mothers. When they could be working on sales coaching or recruiting, office managers are consoling agents who lost big deals, troubleshooting broken printers, or retrieving lost MLS passwords. It’s too easy for office managers to spend the day putting out a series of small fires. Its easy to use all of those daily tasks as excuses for not focusing on the most important roles that managers are responsible for. The path toward a More Profitable Office The first thing for brokers to understand is: You are going to have to change the way you — and everybody in your office — thinks about success and productivity.  Office managers are stewards of productivity. You need to arm them with resources and tools they need, and you need to shift the expectation (both in yourself and in your agents) that the office manager is any kind of glorified fire marshal. Here’s how you do it. The 5-step process You probably already have the basic tools you need to make this shift work — the array of technology offerings that you’ve made available to your agents, and your hard-working office managers. Step 1: Clear the decks. Everyone in the office needs to be trained on how to manage basic administrative tasks. A transaction coordinator is a good hire at this point, someone who understands the law and can help agents with sticky deals or contract negotiation scenarios that the agents haven’t seen before. Step 2: The “reset” meeting. Hire a facilitator to come in for a planned meeting; this person can explain to managers how their jobs will change — and get them excited about it. The facilitator should explain the renewed focus on sales success and shift away from administrative tasks. They will also have to talk about the gentle balance of retention and how helping agents sell more real estate will be the BEST way to retain them in the long run. Step 3: Training the trainers. You want to turn your office managers into technology trainers, and that means they’re going to need to understand the technology. Ideally, they will use appropriate technologies in their own business. How about learning how to use the CRM system to manage recruiting efforts […]

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Elm Street Technology

May 23, 2017 – Greensboro, NC – Today, Elm Street Technology (EST) announced the acquisition of Consolidated Knowledge, a technology platform provider to the residential real estate and multi-family industries. This acquisition is the next step in EST’s ongoing efforts to consolidate the real estate industry’s leading technology and marketing service providers. Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of strategic moves EST has made in recent months to create a portfolio of marketing and technology products and services that, when integrated, offer a single technology solution providing lead generation to client retention services for agents, teams, brokers and others.  Over the past several months, the company has acquired Listingbook, a leading MLS data powered CRM platform and RLS2000, a premier provider of IDX websites and social media marketing services. “The products that Consolidated Knowledge has developed have enabled the company to assemble a respectable portfolio of customers, including SRE Matrix in a short period of time” said Prem Luthra, President and CEO of EST. “We’re excited about adding their customers, team and technologies to our rapidly growing enterprise.” “Our team is excited to join the portfolio of EST’s companies and I’m personally looking forward to joining such an experienced and well respected leadership team,” said Lucas Haldeman, Founder and CEO of Consolidated Knowledge.  “The current vendor landscape in the real estate industry is way too fragmented, causing extra work and unnecessary time investments from real estate professionals.  EST is devoted to developing or acquiring all products and services under one roof that today’s real state professional needs to grow their business.” “Consolidated Knowledge has assembled a ‘world-class’ team of software and database engineers that have developed several platforms we’re excited to introduce to our rapidly growing customer base,” said Randall Kaplan, Chairman of EST.  “By combining their engineering talent with our sales and marketing capabilities, we plan to rapidly expand the solutions we’re offering to the real estate community.” Among the customers currently utilizing Consolidated Knowledge’s solutions is SRE Matrix, the nationwide brokerage firm founded by acclaimed business mogul Takeshi Sekiguchi.  “As a customer of Consolidated Knowledge, we’re excited about how the best-in-class portfolio of marketing and productivity solutions that EST is building will benefit SRE, its agents and our customers.” Contacts: Elizabeth Kaplan Elm Street Technology ekaplan@elmstreettechnology.com 401.632.3186 About Elm Street Technology Elm Street Technology offers a portfolio of real estate technology and marketing services companies that […]

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Metro Market Trends, Inc. Welcomes Brenda Carnegie

by Marilyn Wilson on May 16, 2017

Metro Market Trends, Inc. (MMT), a subsidiary of RealtyWEB.Net, is pleased to announce that Brenda Carnegie has joined the MMT team as a Business Development Consultant. Brenda has served in the real estate industry for over 25 years starting as an MLS Director in Clearwater, Florida.  She has held positions with Interealty (now part of CoreLogic), Realist, and Coldwell Banker Residential. Brenda was responsible for managing MLS system installations, sales and member support, as well as developing and implementing Broker-based solutions. Brenda was part of the realtor.com® Industry Relations Team from 2009-2015 as Director of Industry Relations, providing support to Associations/MLSs in the Southeast. She has acted as an industry consultant for a tech startup company in Florida and is currently working as a Realtor in the Tampa Bay area. In her position with Metro Market Trends, Brenda will be responsible for expanding MMT’s presence in Central and South Florida demonstrating MMT’s SearchNet, our proprietary property record search software. Ron Stephan, CEO of Metro Market Trends, Inc. commented, “Brenda’s presence on our team will be a huge asset to Metro Market Trends, Inc. and Realtyweb.Net. She is extremely knowledgeable in the real estate industry and familiar with all of the key prospects in the Southeast, especially the Florida market.” Brenda can be reached by email at bcarnegie@mmtinfo.com or phone at 904-394-9494 x1227.

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LIBOR and BNAR getting serious about REALTOR(R) safety

by Marilyn Wilson on May 16, 2017

Did you know that nearly 1/3 of REALTORS(R) STAY in situations where they feel unsafe as they strive to make a sale.   Nearly 4 in 5  do NOT ask for Identification/Verification before meeting a client.  Just about everyone (88%) of agents are alone when showing a home to new prospect. Bottomline, many agents put themselves at risk REGULARLY.   While real estate is an amazing industry that provides exciting career opportunities to nearly 2 million people every year, it’s a job that deals with the public.  By definition, it puts agents at risk. The Long Island Board of REALTORS® and the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® have recognized these issues and are trying to support agents to help them stay safe.  Today they have announced a partnership with Real Safe Agent to provide safety training and technology. Read the Press Release Below:  Austin, TX, May 16, 2017:  The Long Island Board of REALTORS® and the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® are joining the growing list of Multiple Listing Services and REALTOR® associations deploying the Real Safe Agent system, which includes the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service and the Fort Smith Board of REALTORS®. “Staying safe means preventing a crime, not reacting to one.  So, when I presented the Real Safe Agent system to my BOARD, we knew we needed to purchase the system for our members”, stated Dave Legaz, President of LIBOR.  “As a former NYPD Sergeant, it’s clear to me that Real Safe Agent understands both REALTOR® and criminals; and allows the agents to prevent a crime without jeopardizing a sale.” BNAR’s CEO John Leonardi, a retired US ARMY Lieutenant Colonel and 25-year industry veteran as an MLS and REALTOR® Association executive said, “Real Safe Agent is one of the most innovative products I’ve seen, it’s rare that something comes along that changes a paradigm in our industry and Real Safe Agent completely changes how REALTOR® safety is approached.”  The Real Safe Agent system differs from traditional safety products in that it’s based in behavioral science and uses the real estate community to prevent the behavior patterns of predators from bearing fruit for the predator, as well as denying the predator the environment needed to commit the crime.  Carl Carter, Founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation and son of murdered real estate agent Beverly Carter commented, “I think the Real Safe Agent system is the real answer for the industry, […]

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CRMLS Agrees to Offer Remine to its 82,000 Subscribers

by Marilyn Wilson on May 16, 2017

Remine is at it again!  In recent months, the company has forged partnerships with several of the nation’s largest MLSs. CRMLS will be launching the product to its 82,000 members according to the press release issued today.  Remine is taking the industry by storm.  Every MLS I work with across the country seems to be looking at this exciting new product. Remine is an intelligent service marrying social media profiles with home ownership factors to help agents identify prospects and then use social media to advertise to them.  The company has deep expertise in manipulating large data sets and then boiling them down into simple reports to help agents significantly increase their ability to target specific customer segments.  The myriad of reports are designed to help agents identify markets with strong investor representation, high incidence of kids in the household, ownership length and many, many other interesting factors that REALTORS® can use to hone their prospecting efforts. Remine  has created a whole new way for MLSs to help their subscribers leverage real estate information to successfully target potential sellers and help deepen relationships with current clients. Check out the press release here:   SAN DIMAS, CA — (May 16, 2017) —California Regional MLS, has signed a multiyear license with Remine to bring the power of big data and predictive analytics to more than 82,000 real estate professionals throughout California. “We organize d a focus group of 30 top brokers and they enthusiastically voted in favor of making Remine available for our MLS. We look forward to harnessing the power of consumer data with Remine to enhance agent productivity and usher us into the future of MLS services,” said Art Carter, CEO of CRMLS. Leo Pareja, CEO of Remine, said, “We are excited to empower agents in California with our big data visualizations and predictive analytics.  Agents will be able to find new listing opportunities that are most likely to sell, and be able to score their own contacts based on who is likely to buy next.” About CRMLS California Regional MLS is the nation’s largest and most recognized subscriber-based MLS, dedicated to servicing over 82,000 real estate professionals from 32 Associations, 3 Boards of REALTORS® and 1 MLS. CRMLS is the industry powerhouse and thrives on providing the most relevant products and services to its subscribers. For more information on CRMLS visit www.crmls.org. About Remine     Remine delivers real estate […]

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A Look Ahead to NAR Midyear

by Kevin Hawkins on May 12, 2017

Next week is NAR Midyear, formally known as the “REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo” in Washington DC. It runs May 15-20, split mostly between the Marriott Wardman Park and the Omni Shoreham, both just off the Metro Red Line at the Woodley Park stop. There are a few other meetings at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue, north of Dupont Circle. CMLS Brings it to the Table For the MLS and data folks, there’s also the ever-popular workshop “CMLS Brings it to the Table,” which is set for Tuesday, and that’s up town a bit further at American University campus off Nebraska Avenue, just around the corner from where I used to work at Fannie Mae’s headquarters. CMLS BITTT will be most of the day on Tuesday, May 16, from 10:30 am until 3:30 pm, and requires a separate registration fee and nearly 200 people are pre-registered for this stellar event. Details are here. One highlight at CMLS Brings it to the Table is certain to be a panel moderated by Jeremy Crawford, CEO of Real Estate Standards Organization. Josh Lopour, founder of Retsly, Heidi Ellyn of real estate brokerage Redfin, and Tim Dain from the Austin Board of Realtors will join Jeremy and they will discuss how to improve utilization of standardized data among MLSs, brokers and vendors. Restly was acquired by Zillow because of its hot technology in the MLS data tech space, Redfin is a leader in developing online real estate data technology loved by consumers, and ABoR is well-known for spearheading the launch, with RESO being the groundbreaking free data feed for technology developers through the creation of the Developer Reference Server, which is powered by the CoreLogic® Trestle™ platform. The caliber of the panelists and the timely topic makes it a can’t miss. In addition, the CMLS Executive Committee is partnering with Marilyn Wilson, Founding Partner WAV Group to present during CMLS BITTT the results of provocative research commissioned that measures the effectiveness of MLS organizations from a variety of perspectives. The research, to be debuted at the session, will reveal strengths and opportunities for MLSs to build customer loyalty and expand the value and relevance of MLS organizations for agents, brokers and the clients they serve.  This candid session will also discuss the top 3 challenges that are destroying the MLS industry. Trade Show Even though the trade show only runs for just two days […]

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Consolidation of Associations of Realtors® and Multiple Listing Organizations has been the chapter and verse of our industry over the past few years. If we all learned anything during the recession it is that the organizations that support Realtors® need to deliver a higher bar of services. WAV Group is excited to share the announcement of collaboration between two of Americas great Association Boards who have come together to form a more perfect union. The State of Florida is one of America’s great Realtor® chapters. Along with New York, Texas, and California they boast one of the highest member counts. The Miami Association of Realtors® is the largest Association in America, followed by the Houston Association.  This merger appears to bump the Long Island board down a notch by a narrow margin (around 2000 if my count is right). This merger combines the MLS and the Associations of Ft. Lauderdale and the Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches and covers a four county region along the east coast of Florida stretching north from Miami. The cornerstone of this consolidation is a result of the hard work of the staff and the volunteer leadership. The forward thinking leadership of the board presidents along with the capable and progressive attitudes of CEOs Dionna Hall and Rick Barkett pulled this merger together. Mr. Barkett will be retiring at the end of the year, culminating the career of one of our industry’s greatest CEOs. Hall will helm the new organization. The new company will be named Realtors® of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale. The new company will be offering an MLS service that covers the four county area with a front end website of choice using either FBS Flex MLS (current vendor for Palm Beaches) or CoreLogic Matrix (current vendor for Fort Lauderdale). In re-imagining how they will operate the Association of this size over such a large geography, they have established 5 regional boards, each of which has 10 regional volunteer leaders. It will keep policy-making local, training local, government affairs local, etc. On top of that local dedication will be the wider, all encompassing service delivery that a membership and subscriber base of more than 30,000 Realtors®. According to David Charron, Chief Strategist for the Bright MLS consolidation says “services get better and less expensive when you scale over 30,000.  Importantly I admire their decision to create both the local […]

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Data Will Now Cross The Trestle

by Victor Lund on May 10, 2017

CoreLogic Logo

Trestle by CoreLogic has been a sprint for the nation’s largest technology provider. On the heals of migrating more than 50 MLSs over to Matrix over the past 30 months, they had the added challenge of getting all of their MLS clients to be RESO certified (RESO = Real Estate Standards Organization). CoreLogic got them there, but at the Silver level of certification (Booooooo!). In a press release today, RESO has upgraded their certification on Trestle to Gold (Yeaaaaaa!) Why Trestle? Every MLS system vendor offers a server for publishing IDX and VOW data to enable brokers to hydrate their applications with MLS data. 100% of MLSs have these servers in place today and that is how vendors access MLS data. Application vendors who only serve customers in a single market tie to a single MLS live a peaceful life. However, when a broker or a vendor is connecting to more than one market, things get more complicated. Data Structure is different; field names are different; business rules for listing display are different; and so on. To compensate for the differences, major data aggregators like Wolfnet, Homes.com, and Xome have developed processes for pulling data from all 700 or so MLSs, normalizing it to a single standard, and supplying it to their broker and agent clients. These companies are the big guys with over 90% of MLS coverage. All other vendors do smaller groups of MLSs that varies from 2 to more than a few hundred. Guess what. Pulling data from over 700 servers with more than 2 million listing updates is not the only hard part in this system. The other hard part is the IDX agreements. The big companies like Wolfnet, Homes.com, and Xome have automated their IDX application process whereby the vendor, the broker, and the agent need to complete and sign a form. Xome’s RE Data Vault™ solution is also available to MLSs who are challenged with the document management headaches of managing all of the agreements. Imagine the paperwork of a large MLS with 30,000 subscribers, 500 vendors, and each subscriber having 3 data driven software applications. Yup – over 100,000 documents that need to be managed and signed. Trestle Does a Lot of Things to Fix All of This Vendors have a single place to access data from over 60 MLSs. Over 40 more have signed agreements eclipsing the market coverage area beyond 100. […]

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Stuck in office

We have been in SO many board rooms where we see a lack of awareness of the key strategic issues facing our industry today. Many Associations and MLSs are making decisions, or worse yet, not making decisions that may put their organizations in a weakened position over time. We also see that many smaller associations cannot afford to send multiple people to conferences where many of the industry’s important issues are discussed. Stuck in the Office? Are you and members of your Board of Managers stuck in the office rather than being out at NAR Mid Year this week? We attend the events and conferences so you don’t have to! We understand that sending a whole team to several conferences is not always cost effective, so we have provided a solution to educate your staff and Board of Managers. 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. Contact Us Today You simply cannot afford to miss out on this vital subscription! Please contact camilla@wavgroup.com to schedule a call and take advantage of the series today! Please join your Association and MLS colleagues for this insightful series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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EXP Realty Logo

eXp Realty, The Agent-Owned Cloud Brokerage®, one of the largest, fastest growing and most innovative brokerages in America today has created a very exciting new position, the MLS/Association Success Manager.  This is the FIRST brokerage that we’re aware of that takes their relationship with their agents and local MLSs/Associations seriously enough to create a dedicated position like this. The MLS/Association Success Manager will be a key member of the eXp Agent Experience team. This newly created position will act as the first line of support for eXp agents in the states of Texas, California and Florida when they have questions or challenges with their local MLS or Association. This highly agent-centric position will help each eXp agent in the assigned states to take full advantage of the services and support provided by their local MLS and Association. Agents can contact the MLS and Association Success Manager with challenges like transferring their MLS subscription, resetting their password, resolving an MLS compliance issue, resolving a billing issue, registering for a training class, attending an event, MLS system question, fix an IDX issue or other challenges as they arise.  The position may also include simple technology training or other types of support as needed. The successful candidate will have deep trust relationships with MLS and Association leadership in Texas, Florida and California.  They will have worked for MLSs or Associations in support, compliance or training or may have experience interfacing with MLSs while working for a technology company. About eXp REALTY Since 2009, the company has attracted over 3300 agents from 43 states with their unique and effective approach to selling real estate.   Unlike other brokerages who are stuck in the past, eXp Realty has built a culture that considers the needs of the agent first and foremost and provides them with the tools they need to succeed with today’s mobile consumers.   eXp Realty Mission The entire company is focused on helping good things happen for other people. Positivity is simply part of their culture and why we love helping people find homes. This exciting, dynamic company is looking for a special candidate that has proven success in organized real estate and is looking for a way to leverage technology in powerful and innovative ways to continue eXp Realty on its trajectory of success. Help an agent get back to work as soon as they can by helping them to resolve an outstanding […]

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The Industry Has Risen

by Victor Lund on May 10, 2017

Consolidation

I had a feeling during the recession that the pillars that held our industry in trust had cracked. The first of two pillars of trust is the National Association of REALTORS® as fully constituted by its local, state, national, and international chapters. The second pillar of trust is the Multiple Listing Service. History has taught us that when you apply pressure to any society or organization it is likely to fracture. No doubt, these industry pillars came under massive scrutiny from their constituents. The real estate brokers who founded these noble entities became conscientious objectors to the organizations and their operations. As the distress of the recession began to ease, our industry began to reshape itself. The restoration of the National Association of REALTORS® and the Multiple Listing Service since 2012 has had a single key focus, careful consolidation. Consolidation is everywhere today. Portals are consolidating to create our industry’s largest and strongest public company. Yesterday, Zillow nearly kissed the $8 Billion dollar ring on Wall Street. Technology firms like Lonewolf, Boston Logic, Elm Street, and others are absorbing smaller firms at an astounding rate. Brokerage firms have consolidated too – represented by the tremendous roll up by Berkshire Hathaway.* But most of all, we have seen massive consolidation in our REALTOR® Associations and Multiple Listing Service providers. MLS Consolidation One of the most astute strategic thinkers in the MLS industry is David Charron. He coined the term Overlapping Market Disorder (OMD). Overlapping Market Disorder is a plague that erodes organizations that are contributing to the chaos. OMD happens when brokers and agents must become members to two MLSs in order to serve a consumer looking to buy or sell in an overlapping area between the two firms. OMD causes friction between the two MLSs whose duty it is to serve the broker and agent. The consumer is also trapped in this friction. Everything is duplicated in OMD areas as the data and operations fabric that is constituted by bifurcated organizations pits those forces against each other. On one hand, Charron provided a solution to the problem with a database for sharing data. It’s largest and most handsome installation was California Real Estate Technology Services. The technology solution to merge the databases was the first step. Then the participants recognized that data sharing was only a suspension of the inevitable. In the wake of data sharing came consolidation. The California […]

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RESO

MLSs have done a great job of embracing the Real Estate Standards Organization, the RESO Data Dictionary and RESO Web API. Today, 93% of all REALTORS® in America work with MLSs that are RESO Certified. RESO volunteers have worked tirelessly for years to get us to this stage.  MLSs have done the hard work to make RESO data standards available to their members and technology partners. We’re on the cusp of greatness with RESO. While just about all brokers in America can leverage RESO standards on their website, CRM and other marketing solutions now, very few are aware of the power of RESO standards.. Even fewer understand the inherent value of a consistent set of fields across every MLS in America and how that will make it a lot easier for innovative products to launch in even the smallest areas. What needs to be done? MLSs need to help brokers understand how RESO standardized data delivered via the RESO Web API will help them bring new technology solutions to market and differentiate their messaging, lead gen, market statistics and green marketing. The industry needs to drive DEMAND for RESO Data Dictionary and Web API based data feeds.  We will know that we have done our job when brokers insist on using RESO data feeds delivered from their local MLS to fuel their IDX and technology solutions. It’s incumbent upon all of us to promote the advantages and availability of RESO-certified data feeds so that technology companies and brokers can take advantage of this powerful resource. FREE RESO Marketing Toolkit WAV Group has helped RESO create a Marketing Toolkit complete with promotional content, webinars, banner ads, presentations, logos and other elements designed to help you promote the availability of RESO data feeds in your local market. We would like to encourage every MLS to take advantage of these FREE marketing resources to help increase utilization of RESO certified data. It’s a very tangible way to demonstrate how much you are looking out for your broker’s best interest. If you can support your technology partners to convert to the RESO Data Dictionary, you will be doing your subscribers a great service. Click HERE to see a presentation of all of the components of the Marketing Toolkit delivered at the 2017 RES0 Technology Summit. It’s really easy to take advantage of this free marketing service. Sign up for the FREE Marketing Toolkit HERE […]

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