June 2017

Zillow Protects Broker Data

by Victor Lund on June 28, 2017

Zillow Logo

WAV Group supports brokers and MLSs in constructing data licensing agreements with users of data records that belong to the broker. When a company like Zillow ingests broker data, like all recipients, they must adhere to the data license agreement which typically requires that you cannot allow the data to be used by a third party. The blog McMansionHell.com is learning the hard way that using data from Zillow without proper authority is a copyright violation that Zillow will pursue. Not only will Zillow pursue the violation, but they may be contractually bound to pursue the violation. The media around the case is a bit confused, so let me try to break it down in layman terms. There are two methods for licensing data to Zillow Group. I say Zillow Group because they do a great job of creating one license agreement for all of their websites. In the absence of a license agreement, the default agreement is the Terms of Use on their respective websites. Zillow manages a number of license agreements depending on how they are acquiring the data. The agreements that they have with Franchise Organizations like Realogy, Keller Williams, RE/MAX, etc have a certain flavor. Agreements with brokerages are a little different. Agreements directly with the Multiple Listing Service are also different. The primary covenants of these agreements is that Zillow Group will use the data for its intended purpose and not allow anyone else to use the data. If the broker sends the data to Zillow, its generally for advertising purposes. They would not expect Zillow to collect the data for the purpose of advertising a home for sale, then have Zillow turn around and ship it elsewhere for some other purpose. In this case, Zillow did not provide a data feed to McMansionHell.com. McMansionHell.com is subject to the Terms of Use that are published on Zillow as a user. McMansionHell.com scraped the data off of Zillow. The process is pretty easy to do on any computer. Simply right click on the image and save it to you computer. Here is where it gets interesting. Sometimes you can use an image from Zillow legally, and at other times you cannot. The digital millennium copyright act allows for some content sharing online. However, the Zillow Terms of Use are very specific. You can only use Zillow Group websites for their stated intent – looking for a […]

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BrokerSumo Launches Integration with SkySlope

by Victor Lund on June 27, 2017

BrokerSumo Logo

June 27, 2017 – For Immediate Release: BrokerSumo, a leading back office, commission management and accounting platform for real estate brokerages and agent teams today announced a new integration partnership with SkySlope. The partnership brings together SkySlope, an industry leading transaction management platform with BrokerSumo to make the process of managing and closing out transactions simple. The integration allows BrokerSumo customers to pull their SkySlope transactions seamlessly into BrokerSumo eliminating double entry of data, the potential for human errors when entering data and making the contract to close process more efficient. “Having SkySlope and BrokerSumo integrated has further automated our contract to close process. The two systems are vital to us in managing our day to day closings and the integration only makes that process more efficient.” – Paul Knighton, President and Managing Broker, More Realty, Portland, Oregon. Data synced includes property address, agent assigned, commissions, close date, sales price, and buyer and seller information. Users can then close out the transaction in BrokerSumo by automatically calculating commission splits, creating commission disbursements, paying agents and managing their office accounting. BrokerSumo will also run commission income estimates so brokerages and agents can gain insight into their projected income on active deals. “I’m excited to offer our customers an integration with SkySlope” said Jeremy Shoenig, founder of BrokerSumo. “Our customers have been asking for a SkySlope integration for some time. SkySlope is a very important tool for many brokerages in their day to day operations and our goal is to connect BrokerSumo to the key products that brokerages use in order to make the management of their day to day business more efficient.” Tyler Smith, Founder and CEO of SkySlope said “SkySlope’s customer obsession is the reason why we’re the leading transaction management platform. We want agents to have the most streamlined workflow, so integrating with BrokerSumo was a no-brainer. It’s just one more way we can remove redundancies and increase efficiency for agents.” For more information on BrokerSumo visit www.brokersumo.com/ For more information on SkySlope, visit www.skyslope.com About BrokerSumo BrokerSumo is a back office, commission management and accounting solution for real estate brokerages and agent teams. It enables brokers to manage their agent’s information, track transactions and commission dollars, automatically calculate commission splits, create commission disbursements, bill agents for monthly fees, pay agents their commissions electronically, report on agent and office performance and sync financial data to QuickBooks. About SkySlope Pioneering the industry standard […]

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Dylan Chalk

We told you about “The Confident House Hunter: A Home Inspector’s Tips for Finding Your Perfect House” by America’s new favorite home inspector Dylan Chalk just before it hit the bookstores and Amazon last year. Well, Dylan just won the Silver Award at the 11th Annual Robert Bruss Real Estate Book Awards, held during the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) conference in Denver last week. In my column from July of last year, I called his book a breakthrough in capturing “A Better, Different Way to Buy” a home. Now he has won one of the highest awards for real estate authors available. The president of NAREE,  Michelle Jarboe of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, announced Dylan as this year’s Silver winner at a luncheon packed with real estate journalists from across the country, including writers for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, Dallas Morning News, Newsday, Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Orlando Sentinel, Atlanta Journal Constitution, US News & World Report and many more. In congratulating Dylan, Michelle shared this: “The judges said that Chalk used an innovative approach to evaluate and organize home systems. The judges also noted that book offers clear and helpful advice for anyone examining a home.” A Proud Moment I was sitting next to Dylan at the luncheon because Dylan was not only a client of mine when he first started writing the book, but he is a fellow Islander: Dylan also lives on Bainbridge Island as I do, just outside of Seattle, and we know each other well. Dylan and I also worked together when I was in the mortgage business several years ago. We supported each other’s businesses by hosting a seminar for real estate agents called “How Green is Your Listing?” Clearly, we were way ahead of our time, but the gist of the 3-hour clock class in Washington was to provide agents with a way to market the green features of a home and how to focus on improving energy efficiency of existing listings. But I was most proud because I helped Dylan with his book at the very beginning. We spent a ton of hours working together, as I set a schedule and gave him a framework and then pushed him hard to get his first draft finished. So when his name was called as a winner of […]

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Zillow is a Broker – So What?

by Victor Lund on June 21, 2017

Zillow Logo

“Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, NRT, Redfin – all brokers. Do brokers drop out of IDX because they are selling homes in their market? Brokers share their listings with these large firms everyday. If Zillow joins the list, what’s the diff?” This is the conversation starter that an investment banker had with me today. I appreciate having conversations with people in the capital markets. Bankers see the world differently. They believe that markets shape themselves and that great companies lead markets. Perhaps Zillow Group has its heart in its current service offerings today. The company protests against becoming a brokerage, but everyone got very upset recently when they launched a pilot for Instant Offers that seemed broker-like: it’s a program whereby Zillow helps investors buy property by submitting offer letters directly to homeowners. Brokers don’t like it. Some agents really like it. The pilot is in its early months and restricted to a couple of large cities. Inman News reports that it has not translated into any investor purchasing any homes yet. Perhaps the pilot is a bust. On the other hand, the way the pilot was designed has an added component of delivering leads to Premier Agents. Instant Offers gives the consumer a choice – take the offer from the investor, or connect with an agent to get information about listing your home. News reports indicate that agents are getting listing leads, so the pilot is not all lost. An important thing to keep in mind when companies like Zillow test, is that innovation sometimes goes awry. Innovation sometimes produces different outcomes than expected. Zillow has been masterful at driving consumers to their websites and generating buyer leads. Now they may have stumbled upon a new way to generate seller leads more successfully, and that is their job! The investment banker made a statement that was crystal clear: “If Zillow Group’s Board of Directors believes that it is in the best interest of stockholders for Zillow to open a brokerage, or a mortgage bank, or a title company or whatever…. that is what the company will do. For now, they are doing great with the track that they are on.” P.S. Zillow surged past an $8.5 billion valuation and closed at $46.76 today (a market cap of $8.6 billion). The company is doing very well. Will brokers go nuclear if Zillow does become a broker? The only nuclear option for […]

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I just love it when technology truly helps make it easier for MLSs and brokers to deploy great technologies for consumers!  Today, FBS and Solid Earth are announcing a really exciting partnership that will make it MUCH easier for MLSs to help their brokers generate tons of leads and listing of exposure without spending ANY additional dollars! We talk a lot about data standards and their advantages, but sometimes it’s hard to understand the tangible value of APIs.  Today FBS’ Spark API and Solid Earth’s Spring platform have changed all that.   Because of their seamless integration, MLSs can now deploy a fully functional MLS consumer website quickly and easily with no fuss and no muss. The Spark API makes it really easy to plug in LIVE MLS listing information into a highly attractive, fully functional engaging MLS consumer site. The Spring platform is fully compliant with Fair Display Guidelines, making these websites fully broker-friendly and really engaging for consumers looking for property.  Many MLSs are challenged to find a website provider that truly understands the unique requirements of an MLS website and also has the depth of data expertise to deliver comprehensive, fresh and accurate MLS data consistently. This new partnership is a dream situation for many MLSs that have struggled with these issues. Way to go, team!  I just love it when technology truly solves problems and opens up opportunities for brokers and agents to sell more real estate! Here’s the full press release: FBS and Solid Earth Announce Partnership to Integrate Spark API with Spring Fargo, North Dakota – June 20, 2017 – FBS, the creators of the industry-leading Flexmls System and Spark Platform, announced a partnership with Solid Earth to build their Spring Consumer Portal on the Spark API, an integration that will give Multiple Listing Services the ability to create and quickly deploy hyper local consumer portals in their marketplaces, delivering better quality leads to its members for the first time. Just as FBS previously announced a partnership with AgentSquared Instant IDX websites powered by Spark, this new partnership with Solid Earth’s Spring is yet another demonstration of the growing popularity of Spark and FBS’s intention of working with technology innovators to offer the very best tools and resources to real estate professionals. Michael Wurzer, CEO of FBS said, “Once complete, the Spring built on Spark integration brings the plug-and-play dream to life creating a better, more collaborative experience […]

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Don’t Miss Out!

by Camilla Harvey on June 21, 2017

Ocean Wave

We are officially midway through 2017, now is a great time to sit back and reflect on the year so far and to begin preparing your organization for the inevitable evolutions we will experience throughout coming months and into 2018. Do you sometimes feel like your Board of Directors and key staff could benefit from a WAV Group overview of what is happening in the real estate industry today? Could your organization benefit from an information resource like WAV Group to characterize the rapid change in our industry? Would you like an informed review of how similar MLS boards are developing centers of excellence and outstanding performance? Join us for the WAVes of Change! Our WAVes of Change Series delivers regular industry insights and overviews of the topics shaping our future. Four times a year we present a live webinar, usually falling after major conferences such as AEI, NAR Mid-Year, CMLS and NAR Annual. These featured webinars provide exclusive looks at WAV Group research, emerging technology trends, broker challenges, and policy discussion, as well as other stimulating and engaging topics from key conferences. We provide updates on projects like AMP, Upstream, Broker Public Portal, Zilllow, Data Licensing, mergers and acquisitions, data sharing, and more. 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. Get Pricing Today You simply cannot afford to miss out on this vital subscription! Please contact camilla@wavgroup.com to schedule a call, get pricing, 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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Austin, TX – June 19th, 2017 – Instanet Solutions has officially released the new TransactionDesk App for iOS devices. The new TransactionDesk App is free to all current TransactionDesk users. The new TD App enables users to manage all of their listing, sales and lease transactions from their phones or tablets. With the TD App you can keep in touch and communicate with clients, share documents, create and fill in forms, prepare and send documents for eSigning and send documents for remote approval to ensure transactions are completed and finished on time, every time. All of the same functionality currently available in the browser based TransactionDesk service is available in the App. Users can access the Authentisign®, Instanet Forms®, DocBox®, Instanet Fax® and Broker Dashboard services currently available in the browser based TransactionDesk service all from within the TD App. The TD App is available at no cost to existing users and can be downloaded on the Apple App store here. Additional functionality includes to documents and contacts directly from iOS devices making the creation and maintenance of transactions faster and easier. Also included are iOS notifications alerting users to transaction activity and status updates. The App is complete with customizable Agent and Brokerage Dashboards enabling users to setup and configure their App to display the information and functionality they use most. More information regarding the new TransactionDesk App can be found at https://www.instanetsolutions.com/products/tdapp. “We are very excited to announce the release of the new TransactionDesk App. This release marks a significant milestone for Instanet Solutions as we continue to march forward providing best in class technologies to our more than 550K end users. Instanet recently sunset the old version of TransactionDesk after a 2 year transition period enabling us to release more new technologies such as the release of the TransactionDesk App. With usage of all of our services setting new records each month we look for further growth now that all of our users are all on the new TransactionDesk platform.” said Martin Scrocchi, CEO of Instanet Solutions. “We want to thank our loyal user base for their input and guidance helping us in our endeavors and look forward to announcing new releases and technologies in the coming weeks.” About Instanet Solutions: Instanet Solutions is a leading provider of real estate technology with over 550,000+ licensed, paid user accounts of their various real estate focused products – Authentisign®, TransactionDesk®, InstanetForms®, DocBox® […]

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BPP Logo

Arroyo Grande, CA, June 15, 2017 – For Immediate Release: The Broker Public Portal (BPP) is a thriving real estate industry initiative that is delivering benefits to about half of all real estate professionals in America today. The company expresses its gratitude for those who have served as leaders and welcome seven new members to its Board of Managers. “It is an honor to serve with so many great leaders of our industry to develop this company, and I am grateful for the time and commitment given by each of my colleagues that are stepping down from the board. I am equally excited to for the introduction of new leaders who will shepherd us into the future,” said Merle Whitehead, Chairman of the Broker Public Portal. The Broker Public Portal Board of Managers is designed to include a fair and balanced group of executives who represent the interests of large brokers (5), medium brokers (3), small brokers (2), independent managers (2) and multiple listing service organizations (MLSs – 4). Agent count of participating firms establishes the size of brokerages eligible. The nominating committee of the board has seven of the current directors and was chaired by Joan Docktor of BHHS Fox and Roach REALTORS. The board has staggered terms of three and two years in each category. Changes to MLS Category Kirby Slunaker of REcolorado will be stepping down from the MLS Board of Managers after serving a two-year term. Tim Dain, executive of the Austin Board of REALTORS® will be replacing Slunaker. John Mosey of NorthstarMLS, Cameron Paine of Smart MLS, and Rebecca Jensen of Midwest Real Estate Data will remain on the board. Changes to the Large Firm Category Among the large broker managers, there will be three new appointees. Those leaving are Robert Moline (HomeServices of America), Chris Heller of Keller Williams, and Howard “Hoby” Hanna (Howard Hanna Real Estate), all of whom have served two-year terms. Taking their positions on the board of managers will be Gurtej Sodhi of Crye-Leike, Mary Frances Burleson of Ebby Halliday, and Cary Sylvester of Keller Williams. Large firm representatives remaining on the board will be Merle Whitehead of Howard Hanna, and Joan Docktor of BHHS Fox and Roach. Changes to Mid-sized Firm Category Among the mid-sized broker managers, Drayton Saunders of Michael Saunders will be stepping down after serving a two-year term. Pat Shea, CEO of Lyon Real Estate will […]

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MLS Industry Veteran Tom Beede to Retire in July

by Marilyn Wilson on June 14, 2017

Metrolist Logo

We will miss you Tom!  There’s nobody that keeps the industry honest and accountable like you do! Congrats to Bill and Bob and the rest of the team too! SACRAMENTO, California – Tom Beede, President, CEO and CFO of MetroList Services, Inc., has announced his retirement after more than 32 years of service with MetroList and over 40 years in the MLS industry. His retirement is set for July 14, 2017. “MetroList has been very fortunate to have such a visionary leader at the helm,” said Wayne Rose, chairman, MetroList Board of Directors. Prior to joining MetroList, Tom was an Account Manager for PRC Realty Systems where he created the first PRC regional MLS computer system for the Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado Associations of REALTORS®. With his expertise and knowledge in the new electronic age, Beede was the first employee at MetroList and was hired to manage, build, and lead MetroList as one of the first MLSs in the nation that “owned and operated” its own MLS Computer system. Under Tom’s leadership, MetroList grew to become the largest Northern California MLS, now serving more than 18,000 Participants and Subscribers in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and West Merced counties. Tom built an organization and culture focused on delivering unparalleled subscriber value, customer centric service, and the highest level of data integrity. “Tom has an aptitude for bringing the best products and services to subscribers, and an ability to create regional relationships, collaborations and identifying new and cost-effective ways to share MLS data,” Rose added. “Tom will leave a lasting legacy not only with MetroList, but with the entire Industry. We are eternally thankful for his leadership and loyalty,” Rose said. (Read more about Tom’s remarkable contributions to MetroList and the MLS Industry.) Bill Miller, a MetroList executive for the past 21 years, has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer by the Board of Directors. Miller’s previous roles as COO, Corporate Secretary and Vice President of Business Development, make him the ideal person to lead the organization. Prior to his new role, Miller led the company’s business segments, including marketing, communications, human resources, business development and subscriber education. Miller also earned the CMLX3 designation, the highest-level certification offered by the Council of Multiple Listing Services. In addition, the Board of Directors has promoted Nancy Madolora as Chief Financial Officer and Bob Greenspan as Vice President and Corporate […]

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Did Zillow® Open the Door to Their Own Demise?

by Victor Lund on June 14, 2017

Zillow Logo

One of the greatest philosophers of all time was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). For brevity, let’s call him Hegel and be thankful to the University of Berlin where he lectured. I will suspend with the deep philosophy I learned in college and summarize Hegel as the author of a triad of historical development referred to thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In our observation, the MLS is the thesis, Zillow® is the antithesis, and what happens next will be the synthesis. Moreover, I will argue that Zillow may have opened the door to their demise with the Instant Offers™ test. Thesis Real estate brokers have controlled the market over decades by virtue of their knowledge of a listing. This entire era evolved when the MLS evolved and knowledge of massive numbers of listings became the shared knowledge of large numbers of brokers and their sales associates. As research has confirmed, homes sell for more money when they are introduced to the widest number of real buyers that are working off the MLS. The thesis is that the MLS marketplace is an orderly environment that is founded upon the constitution that there is cooperation among buyer brokers and seller brokers and that compensation will be offered during cooperation. Hegel calls a beginning state of affairs a “thesis.” So for our philosophy lesson today, let’s just call the MLS before Zillow® the thesis. Antithesis For those of you who have education in Latin or root words, the term “anti” means the opposite or contrast to the thesis. In Zillow®, we certainly find a contrast to the MLS. Zillow is agent focused, and believes in the opposite of the MLS. Zillow wants to provide open access to the knowledge of a listing. Most of all, Zillow does not have any construct for offers of cooperation or compensation for brokers. In fact, they invite For Sale By Owner listings and invite offers to be made on properties without any broker involvement (sidebar: it is interesting that a consumer with no demonstration of experience is given the opportunity to put a listing on Zillow, but a licensed real estate agent with a contract to represent the consumer does not). Zillow represents the antithesis of the MLS because of the invitation to FSBOs, no offers of compensation or cooperation, and the invitation for buyers to make offers without a broker. Zillow is an open market trading environment […]

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Google Local Guides Are Great For Real Estate

by Victor Lund on June 13, 2017

Google Local Guides

If you remember the rage about FourSquare years ago, its coming back again. But this time, Google is leading the way to create local experts and Google Maps is the platform. So set up your account on Google Local Guides and get going! If you participate a lot, (hit 50 reviews), you will be highlighted as a top reviewer on Google Maps for Apple’s iOS and Android. Why? Well, that is only something that you can answer. Like so many other social media strategies, it needs to be something that you enjoy doing. Also, consider this – Google Maps is the most popular mobile maps product on the planet – you and your brand will show up when people are using the map. Here is something kinda funny too. A lot of broker websites use the Google Map API to map properties. Imagine if consumers on your competitor’s website saw your name next to popular area hotspots surrounding listings. Funny right? (PS. If you are worried about this happening on your website – talk to your website vendor – they may need to upgrade you to premium maps). With Local Guides, you get points for validating things like writing reviews, validating that a business is still in business, validating their hours of operation, taking photos, adding new places, etc. If you do a really good job, you get badges and can become something like the Mayor of your community. Curate Neighborhood Experiences Local Guides have another feature that allows you to create lists. These can be a very cool way to give a new home owner the lay of the land around their home. Here’s how. Create A Neighborhood Map Open the Google Maps App. Tap Menu – Your Place – Saved In the bottom right tap Add + Enter the name and description of your Neighborhood Tap Save Adding Places to the Neighborhood Open the Google Maps App Search for a place or tap it on the map At the bottom, tap the place’s name or address Tap Save Chose a list. To create a new list, tap New List + Share List Open the Google Maps App Tap Menu – Your Places – Saved Next to the list you want to share, tap More – Choose Option Hide/Show on your map Share List When you share the list with a client, they will be able to add it […]

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Coldwell Banker Ackley Realty

When was the last time you got a friend request on Facebook from someone who hadn’t bothered to upload a profile photo and was still using the grayed-out floating head instead?   I’m hoping it was a while ago, but maybe you can remember how you felt when a faceless person reached out to touch you.  When I get one of those I simply delete the request and move on. If someone doesn’t care about enough about their friends and colleagues to even upload a picture I’m not really interested in connecting with them. Do you see how consumers may feel the same way when they encounter a faceless “secret agent” on a portal or third-party website? And on portals like Zillow, where other agents can advertise to appear on anyone’s listing, neglecting to add a photo or any other information about an agent could lose clients left and right as buyers gravitate toward the agent who looks like a human being instead of the one who really knows the listing. Here is a reminder of what consumers see when they go looking for more information about your agents and who they are. Art, Cheryl, David, Eric and John look like pleasant, competent people, but it’s anyone’s guess what the other 13 agents on the page are like. All we know is that they couldn’t be bothered to upload an image, and we’re probably out of luck when it comes to a profile, too. Brokers, it’s your brand at the top of the page, so this reflects on you, too. But what can you do about it? Make profile set-up part of agent onboarding. If your agents are creating or updating profiles as another item on the onboarding checklist, they’re more likely to get it done. When you hire a new agent, make this part of the process. Host a profile set-up session during an office meeting. Don’t let your current agents off the hook. Give them an opportunity to get with the program by going over how to write a profile and the ins and outs of updating it everywhere.  Host a profile set-up session at your office and have every agent in the office set up their profiles together! Have your office managers review profiles for every key site and work with their agents to update them. A little accountability goes a long way. Asking your office managers […]

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Big Data Can Drive Bigger Broker Margins

by Victor Lund on June 9, 2017

customer reports

WAV Group spends a lot of time consulting with brokers on how to re-margin their business. We published a paper in 2013 called Harvesting Business From Broker Data.  That paper characterized the methods that we developed with a number of brokers to harvest business from across the enterprise of title, mortgage, residential, relocation, insurance, commercial, and property management businesses. It has worked very well for many brokers to recapture repeat transactions and new business though cross sell. In many ways, the rethinking that went into the thesis around harvesting business across the enterprise was the first intellectual break from the linear approach of Advertising for Lead Generation to Lead Maturation to Lead Conversion. Brokers were spending too much time trying to onboard new customers and far to little time staying connected with customers they have already won. Strangely, there has been a shift in advertising dollars away from the broker and more toward the team and agent. This shift is largely reflective of commission economics. But also driven in big part by Zillow remodeling their brokerage platform. If top producing agents and teams are capping out and getting 80% to 100% commission, there is no contribution to broker budgets for advertising. How does the broker get commission margin back? Referrals! WAV Group is now in a position to support brokers to re-margin their business with big data programs that we have been maturing. The programs key off of the relocation and referral commission programs that brokers retain about 35% commission on. Brokers who increase their referral business stand to reap greater margin rewards. Brokers are in a position to purchase big data solutions that use predictive analytics to generate leads for consumers upstream of Internet leads from websites or portals. CoreLogic, SmartZip, Opcity, and a host of other companies are framing up these solutions for brokers today. WAV Group works with brokerage firms to make these programs pay out. Here is the rub. The broker must become competent at developing these opportunities and purchasing solutions efficiently. The challenge for brokers is taking this strategy, understanding how it fits into your business plan, allocating resources, implementation, and managing effectiveness. You cannot just buy the service and expect the checks to start rolling in. This strategy needs to be developed as a center of excellence in your company. Brokers Can Win! WAV Group has done some experimenting with market buy-outs. In some […]

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Paragon Partners With Zillow For MLS Features

by Victor Lund on June 7, 2017

Zillow Logo

According to a news release today, Black Knight Financial Services, developers of the Paragon MLS system and has partnered with Zillow for data management tools. Zillow purchased Bridge Interactive last year, a company that is well known for RETS servers (Contact) and listing input modules (Compose) for MLSs. As part of the alignment between the two companies, the release states that Zillow will be providing the technology to aggregate data from all of the hundreds of markets into Zillow’s data repository which Black Knight calls Property Information Central (PIC). This new system will act as the solution that will provide developers with access to MLS in RESO certified methods of RETS 1.8 and the new RESO WebAPI. WAV Group asked a few questions – Black Knight responded as follows by email: WAV Group: Is this an optional service for your MLS customers or does this replace your current MLS service? BKFS Answer: Optional service. WAV Group: What protects against Zillow using the data you provide them in other ways? BKFS Answer: Any use of MLS data is still covered by the normal data usage terms and conditions you would find in any 3rdparty agreement. WAV Group: Will Paragon be moving all listing input over to Compose? BKFS Answer:  No.  The Paragon Add/Edit component is still available and is used heavily.  To put this in perspective, we are seeing an uptick in usage of RETS Update, which is what Bridge’s Compose product uses.  Other 3rd party applications also use RETS Update to add or edit listings.  Another recent example is ZipForm.  You can create a new listing in Paragon directly from a form in ZipForm with the click of a button.  This is all about providing an ‘open’ MLS platform so that if a Broker, Agent or Board wants to use another platform to start their listings, we can support it with RETS Update NOW.  I think this is important because ‘single point of entry’ is a real issue that we are trying to solve. WAV Group: Will Contact contain data for all Paragon MLSs (how many do you have at this point?) BKFS Answer: Contact is typically deployed on an MLS by MLS basis.  We have 210 organizations as Paragon customers.  I say organizations because with consolidations and mergers these organizations may contain multiple MLSs or Boards.  Contact is also used for the PIC, which is a consolidated database of DD compliant listings […]

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5 Technical Benefits to Upstream

by Victor Lund on June 6, 2017

Upstream

I think that a lot of people are confused about Upstream. Some people think that it is a consumer-facing site like the Broker Public Portal/Homesnap. Others think that it is some kind of broker owned MLS. It is none of those things. It is a database for brokers to create, store, and distribute data. For the most part, every large firm and franchise organization is doing this today, but as an industry the process is broken. Every broker who is managing their data is doing it in different ways, and their data is not interoperable with applications without custom integration, data conversion, and data migration. Smaller firms have nothing, or they outsource it to a part time vendor. Upstream fixes all of this by delivering a solution for all brokers that better built, comes with support, provides security, gives brokers complete control over data access, and is less costly. Moreover, it makes their data a lot more valuable because it can be instantly put to work as easily as turning on a light switch. Upstream is the result of compiling the needs of brokers. The broker industry leaders and technologists developed Upstream to streamline and address inefficiencies that plague each and every one of them. Here are 5 technology benefits that Upstream provides that have nothing to do with listings. Upstream removes Vendor Dependencies Upstream Mitigates Technology Talent Challenges Upstream allows differentiation at scale and speed Upstream is fundamental to custom solutions Upstream simplifies the technology stack Vendor dependencies plague real estate brokers today. Each technology vendor organizes the customer record, and firm record with no consideration for inter-operability. For example, if a firm wanted to move from one marketing solution to another, from one CRM to another; or one transaction system to another, etc – the data migration is challenging and expensive. Upstream imagines a new path that separates the data from the application, this allows firms to run in parallel or to switch vendors without data loss. The scale effect of Upstream is significant. Since brokers representing over half of our industry are behind it, vendors will connect to open the doors to addressing that market. Over time, brokers will be able to migrate across vendors or support vendor of choice for their agents in a much better way. Brokers have technology talent challenges. Database engineers and managers who understand the complexity of managing real estate data are […]

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NAREE Denver Conference Destined to Dazzle

by Kevin Hawkins on June 6, 2017

NAREE logo

Even when it comes to working with reporters who cover our industry, the real estate business is unique. Think about it. You could spend a month and tens of thousands of dollars on transportation, lodging and meals, trekking across the country to meet with a couple of dozen reporters, or you could attend a single conference and in a few days accomplish much the same thing. That’s exactly what’s happening in Denver next week: an opportunity to meet with journalists, face-to-face, who write for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, Dallas Morning News, Newsday, Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Orlando Sentinel, Atlanta Journal Constitution, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Orange County Register, US News & World Report, Miami Herald, and dozens of other major newspapers and industry publications, from Inman News to The Real Deal, from Crain’s Business New York to San Francisco Business Times, and many more. That’s the magic of NAREE: the National Association of Real Estate Editors, which next week holds its annual spring conference in downtown Denver, June 14-17 at the Brown Place Hotel. NAREE is nearly 90 years old and has more than 650 active and associate members worldwide. Active members are reporters, writers, columnists, bloggers, editors and producers for digital, print and broadcast news outlets. Associate members write for and blog for industry publications, author real estate books, or disseminate information to digital, print and broadcast news outlets. And for the last 51 years, the NAREE Annual Real Estate Journalism Conference seems to nearly outdo itself each and every year – a seemingly impossible task, until you attend the conference.  Most conferences you end up with a few takeaways. A NAREE spring conference often delivers a notebook full. Denver Dialogue   What will make Denver dazzle is the dialogue: both the conversations on the stage from the panels and those created spontaneously at the meal tables and in the hallways. The lineup of speakers at NAREE conferences over the last decade has been exceptional, largely due to the extraordinary local volunteer support in each city. Great local volunteers have also been backed by the superior guidance of a dynamic duo: Mary Doyle Kimball, the Executive Director of NAREE, and Ralph Bivins, head of RealtyNewsReport.com, a NAREE Past President and long-time NAREE master conference orchestrator. Marilyn Wilson, WAV Group founder, is on a can’t […]

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Empty Listing

‘Naked’ listings are a disservice to both buyers and sellers and WILL hurt your brokerage! When a listing hits the MLS and is syndicated to brokerage and portal websites — especially in 2017 — there are qualified, avid buyers who are waiting for that listing. They want to learn everything they can about their potential new home so they can decide whether it’s worth the asking price and whether they should spend some of their precious house-hunting time taking a tour.   Let me ask you something: How easy do you think that is to do without any listing photos? “Naked” listings are all too common in an era when there’s no excuse for it. Not everyone is a photographer — but everyone has a phone in their pocket with a high-resolution camera and five or ten minutes to read up on a few quick tips for how to shoot photos with that camera in an emergency (Google them — there’s an article for every phone model). Brokers, let’s be clear: Not having a single photo for the listing you are about to put into the MLS is an emergency. When that listing goes live, it sends the photo-less data to dozens of website within MINUTES. Your lack of attention to detail will be broadcast to hundreds of agents and potentially thousands of buyers with the click of a button.Just because your MLS doesn’t REQUIRE a photo to be included for one or more days  after the listing goes live doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include a photo. Your listing is going to be published on hundreds of IDX sites and third party sites literally within minutes of you hitting the “SAVE” button.  Why would you severely impact your ability to sell a property by not taking the time to build the most valuable marketing asset there is for a home – attractive photos? Think this is an exaggeration? This is what your listing looks like across the internet when you neglect to take at least one photo. Those bland street maps are really inviting to buyers, aren’t they? Franchise systems can also make it easy to forget about the photos, so agents should make sure they are uploading only complete listings to the MLS and to any franchise system that their brokerages use. Allowing your agents to upload listings to the MLS without at least one high-quality photo of the […]

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How Loyal Are YOUR Customers?

by Marilyn Wilson on June 6, 2017

It is critical for MLSs and Brokers to measure the relationships they have with their customers.  While most MLSs do not have DIRECT competition, they have tons of indirect competition.  MLSs compete against companies that generate leads for agents since that it one of their key roles. They compete against training companies providing CE credit and teaching about technologies. MLSs also compete. MLSs also compete with companies that provide ways to aggregate and distribute real estate listing information for the purposes of monetizes the information flow.  While MLSs have survived well in the real estate ecosystem, some are more well-regarded than others. Brokers, on the other hand have TONS of competition from their fellow brokers.  Understanding customer loyalty is even more critical for them. To really know how well you are doing in building and strengthening customer relationships, it is critical that MLSs measure customer satisfaction. There are two measures that WAV Group recommends for its clients – the Net Promoter Score® or NPS. Second is the Customer Effort Score or CEF®. What is a Net Promoter Score (NPS)? Net Promoter Score, or NPS is a customer experience metric developed by Fred Reichheld, aimed at determining the level of customer loyalty. NPS was introduced by Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article “The One Number You Need to Grow“.  Net Promoter Score measures a customer’s willingness to recommend a brand’s product and services to their friends, family and colleagues. NPS is a simple metric, based on a single question that measures customer loyalty: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company’s product and services to a friend or colleague?” Respondents answer by choosing a number from 0-10, with 10 being the most likely to recommend.   While this question can work well for brokerages and technology companies where there are lots of competition in the marketplace, we have seen it not work as well for MLSs, mainly because in most markets REALTORS® do not have a CHOICE of MLSs organizations to work with. Sometimes it angers MLS subscribers and they will say things like “I have no choice so I would have no need to recommend my MLS to anyone. Depending on the score they give, customers are then classified as promoters (score 9-10), passives (score 7-8) and detractors (score 0-6).  The more 9 and 10 scores you receive the higher your Net Promoter Score will be. Those that […]

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Customer experience is the cornerstone of luxury purchases. Buying luxury yachts, jewelry, clothing, cars, restaurants……you name it – its always different. Now lets look at the other side of the coin. Have you noticed that retail in your downtown area is dying? Have you noticed that malls are struggling? Macy’s, Target, Walmart, Gap, Nike and so many other retailers are struggling. The silent voices are the small, non-chain merchants, commonly known as the mom and pop retailers. When is the last time you went into an independent toy store? The consumer has gone online, and Amazon is the category killer. Duh! Right? Consumers use the internet to shop.  It is a lot easier to find products and pricing using your keyboard and a browser than it is to go in and out of stores, parking, cashier lines, etc.     Retail Redefined If I were in the retail business today, I would create a great in-store online shopping experience. You valet your car. Going inside, you can sit down in a comfortable lounge with waitresses and bartenders. You order your merchandise as you sip your latte’. Runners collect your merchandise from the attached warehouse. When you finish your beverage or snack, the valet has placed your items in the trunk and brought your car up. Luxury Retail Have you looked on Amazon for Prada?  Louis Vuitton? GEORGIO ARMANI? It’s not there. They do not sell their products online, and this is true of many luxury brands. What makes Rodeo Drive work is that the products there cannot be purchased anywhere but in the store. Notice how well luxury malls are doing – South Coast Plaza in Orange County and Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Amazon cannot touch them. Is Online Real Estate like Online Retail Not yet. Zillow launched Instant Offers to test this. They focused the product launch on the investor market. Investors do not really care about the purchase as much as they care about the economic fundamentals. They trust inspectors and appraisers. They trust their data and analytics about future prices and rental prices. Investors are a perfect market for online real estate. Beyond that, it will take time for the market to mature. If I were to forecast this opportunity forward for Zillow, I think that they have a major opportunity to make real estate investing easy. And the housing market is a great strategic investment […]

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    Boston, MA — June 1st, 2017 – Boston Logic today announced it has acquired global real estate CRM and marketing software provider Propertybase. Propertybase provides a best-in-class brokerage and team focused CRM built on the Salesforce platform, serving clients in over 60 countries. Propertybase management and team of 48 will continue in their roles with the company. “The Propertybase team has built an impressive product and a global business,” said David Friedman, CEO of Boston Logic. “Built on the Salesforce platform, augmented with numerous CRM and marketing features tailored for real estate, the Propertybase system presents opportunities for its users that cannot be matched by other products.” Friedman continued. Propertybase represents the first acquisition by Boston Logic since Providence Equity backed the company in late 2016. The combined company will maintain both the Boston Logic and Propertybase products. By working together, both companies are further positioned to attract top industry talent, while simultaneously creating additional value and expanding their US and global footprints to real estate brokerages and teams of all sizes. “The new partnership will serve as a first step in redefining the real estate technology landscape, adding new value to clients and partners,” said Max-Michael Mayer, Managing Director & Founder of Propertybase. “By teaming up, we expect to gain significant momentum to leap ahead in the market on a number of levels.” “Combining our resources to achieve even more impressive innovation will benefit the entire industry,” said Michael Wenglein, Managing Director & Founder of Propertybase. “No matter what size of real estate business you are running today, between Propertybase and Boston Logic we have the tools to help you grow.” The leadership teams from both Propertybase and Boston Logic are very excited about the acquisition and look forward to sharing and developing new synergies moving forward. With this acquisition, both companies will look to share data and insights, with a goal of helping clients become more proactive in how they leverage smart data analytics for their brokerages. Boston Logic founder and CEO, David Friedman, highlighted that “This acquisition will significantly expand our market penetration and user network on a global scale, and will further consolidate our position as a leader in the market for cloud-based sales & marketing solutions for the real estate industry.” About Propertybase Propertybase (https://www.propertybase.com/) is the #1 rated Real Estate CRM and marketing software built from the ground up on the Salesforce.com […]

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