October 2017

Pacific Union have acquired Empire Realty Associates, read the release below: Dear Pacific Union Colleagues: I’m excited to share news that Pacific Union International has acquired Danville-based Empire Realty Associates, an independent luxury brokerage with 54 top-performing East Bay real estate professionals. The acquisition will continue to grow our Contra Costa region, increasing our market share in the Tri-Valley area. This alliance is a homecoming of sorts for the leadership teams of Empire Realty Associates and Pacific Union. The East Bay brokerage’s CEO and Chairperson Judi Keenholtz established Empire Realty Associations in 2002. Prior to founding that brokerage, Keenholtz was tapped by Pacific Union in 1989 to establish its first division outside of San Francisco in Contra Costa County. We are pleased to welcome Empire’s team to Pacific Union. We share both history in this community and the same core values of integrity and elite performance that define our commitment to our clients. This brings us one step closer to our vision of becoming the real estate firm of the future and the ultimate California real estate company, with projected 2017 sales volume in excess of $18 billion. As Pacific Union continues to grow, we stay committed to offering our real estate professionals the same benefits of a locally owned and operated business. Empire Realty Associations will continue to operate under its current name until 2018, when it will be rebranded as Pacific Union International. Click here for Q&As on the acquisition. Join me in welcoming Empire Realty Associates! Mark A. McLaughlin

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Lone Wolf Acquires Instanet Solutions

by Marilyn Wilson on October 16, 2017

The Transaction Management software space is one of the most competitive categories of real estate technology.  Today, Lone Wolf, one of the leading providers of broker accounting and management solutions, announced its acquisition of fellow Canadian company, Instanet Solutions.  This is the second transaction management software acquisition in the past two weeks.  Fidelity National Financial, Inc. recently acquired a majority interest in Skyslope, another highly regarded transaction management solution. Instanet provides Transaction Desk to over 500,000 REALTORS® through its partnership with MLSs and Associations across North America. Transaction Desk is a transaction management solution comprised of several cloud-based products for document and file management, electronic forms, eSignatures, and file review and compliance. In the last year alone, real estate professionals completed ten million signings through Instanet, while also submitting over 22 million documents and creating 31 million forms. Lone Wolf currently provides services to 10,000 brokerages offices serving 180,000 REALTORS®. The relationship between Lone Wolf and Instanet started as an integration partnership in 2014. The vision for an end to end broker solution has been in the works at Lone Wolf for several years.  We at WAV Group have been talking about this concept since 2010. Here’s a white paper we published in November 2010 entitled Brokerage Real Estate Technology, an Industry in Need of a Backbone. We wrote a follow-up piece in June, 2011 further articulating the vision for a broker-centric technology company seamlessly connecting to MLS data and delivering all of the functionality needed by a brokerage to secure new listings, effectively promote listings and then efficiently process transactions. It’s great to see the vision of a true end to end solution for brokerages coming to life. We had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Arkeveld, CEO of Lone Wolf Technologies about the acquisitions implications for MLSs/Associations MLSs and Associations will remain a KEY priority. Given that Lone Wolf is clearly a broker-centric company we wanted to understand whether MLSs and Associations will remain a key priority. Lone Wolf was clear to reinforce to us that MLSs and Associations will remain a key priority.  They told us: “Instanet’s MLS customers are a major factor of the company’s success, and we plan to continue to invest in those relationships and the MLS space to enhance our value to the industry as a whole”. Corelogic/Instanet Partnership to Remain Unchanged We were first interested to find out what changes, if any that […]

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CRMLS, MetroList and High Desert all Go Platinum

by Kevin Hawkins on October 13, 2017

When RESO – Real Estate Standards Organization – announced the release of Data Dictionary 1.6, the group that is fueling future innovation in real estate unveiled the biggest update in the history of the RESO Data Dictionary. Hundreds of new data elements and massively important new capabilities were added. Data related to Accessibility, Showing Data, Saved Searches, Prospecting, Internet Tracking, Structure Types, and standardized Universal Identification of Organizations can all be delivered through this new Data Dictionary standard. It truly is real estate’s Rosetta’s Stone. Now three of the top MLSs in the nation — and not surprisingly all out of California — have achieved the highest level of RESO Certification of the most recent version of the Data Dictionary standard. This is a truly remarkable accomplishment. Just consider the scope of the update and the number of fields that needed to be added to hit this top tier level of recognition. Then consider the timeframe: they did this with lighting speed. In the music world, when a record goes Platinum, there is perhaps no greater feeling of accomplishment for the artist. In real estate, when an MLS goes Platinum, in this case three of them — California Regional MLS (CRMLS), the nation’s largest MLS, MetroList, the largest MLS in Northern California, and High Desert Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (HDAR MLS) as well as MLS  —  that also has to be an enormous feeling of accomplishment. Not just for the staff and leadership of CRMLS, MetroList and High Desert, but also for the 100,000 Realtors who gain access to the most advanced features of the RESO Data Dictionary. Extra kudos also goes to Rapattoni, the MLS technology firm that helped both MetroList and High Desert Association of REALTORS® MLS achieve Platinum level Certification. Rapattoni recently received RESO Web API Certification, which will enable all of Rapattoni’s customers to receive RESO’s most advanced data system that is replacing the widely-adopted RESTful (REpresentational State Transfer) technology in use by many industries today. Next week when RESO meets in San Diego at The Pendry Hotel for its Fall Conference Oct. 17-19, 2017 (and the new, super-exciting live RESO DataComp, a data competition with $25,ooo in prizes), please give a pat on the back to anyone and everyone you meet from these terrific organizations for leading the way towards more innovation with the RESO Data Dictionary. Here is the complete news release announcing these achievements:  Three […]

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It is really difficult to serve the needs of all of your MLS subscribers. Some are extremely tech savvy and some have little interest in technology, yet MLS systems and tools need to address all of their needs ideally. Do you want to be the best MLS you can be? Are you interested in what your members and REALTORS® across America have to say about the services and support that MLSs offer? If so, WAV Group can help you.  We’re offering a FREE service to the industry to evaluate the current state of MLS services and support. Armed with the valuable feedback gathered from agents and brokers around North America, you can be sure that you are services are meeting the grade. WAV Group would like to invite each of MLSs and Association colleagues to participate in our upcoming MLS Services and Support Survey.  As in past years, the WAV Group survey will measure awareness, adoption and attitudes about the services and support offered by MLS organizations throughout North America. The WAV Group 2017 MLS Services and Support survey will measure the attitudes of MLS leadership and staff AS WELL AS daily practitioners and users of MLS services.  We believe that it is critical to understand the feedback and insights of both of these important groups. Results of the FREE Survey will be shared with the industry. Individual market results will also be shared with participating MLS organizations as requested. For the first time the WAV Group MLS Services and Support Survey will ALSO include questions to uncover the most interesting ways for MLSs to continue to improve the services and support they offer. This section of the survey will help MLS technology providers and MLS organizations help outline the path for continual improvements in relevance and customer satisfaction. If you would like to participate in the survey, please register here and we’ll contact you with the details. If you have any questions about the survey, feel free to reach out to me at Marilyn@wavgroup.com. Thanks so much for your participation! CLICK HERE to register so that your organization can take advantage of this important survey.

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MLSs have a great opportunity to significantly improve the relevance and marketing power of their organization by finding ways to better serve the needs of their brokers and real estate consumers. I had the honor of interviewing David Charron, Chief Strategy Office of Bright MLS about the highly successful merger between Trend MLS, MRIS and several other MLSs in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. They have come together to create one of the largest MLSs in North America. Hear directly from David what it took to accomplish this broker-centric feat!  Check out the video below where David will give you specific ideas about how you too can accomplish consolidation in your local market. Learn from one of the best and brightest(pun intended) about how to create a more relevant organization positioned to help REALTORS®  succeed in even big ways. After you watch the video be sure to subscribe to WAV Group’s newly relaunched Youtube Channel too! Enjoy!  

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Never has so much information been available to consumers on the residential real estate economy, especially on market trends important to buyers and sellers.  Buyers and sellers are self-educating themselves about market conditions long before they hire a real estate agent. This wealth of information can be confusing and even contradictory, proving once again that there’s a big difference between information and knowledge.  Perhaps that’s why consumers want agents who are as smart—or smarter—than they are about market trends.  “Knowledge of the real estate market” consistently ranks higher than people skills, technology skills and even negotiation skills among the qualities that buyers consider to be very important when shopping for an agent.[1] Yet, communicating market smarts is not easy.  The most popular tactic the market report, a periodic summary of market conditions based on MLS data.  Original market reports require skills and time that few real estate professionals possess.  Several vendors help to fill the gap with computer-generated reports that brokerages can purchase and add their logo and email to prospects.  These are rich with graphics and data but thin on analysis.  While they are better than nothing, they often have a cookie-cutter feel.  Unfortunately, mass-produced reports usually lack substantive input from the sponsoring broker, and thus fail to convince prospects of the brokerage’s expertise. A good branded report: Tells readers in plain English what is happening right now in the local marketplace and what to expect in the weeks to come. Is truly branded. It contains unique analysis of market trends and includes commentary from one or more agency executives.  It is named “the XYZ brokerage report” and branded with the agency’s logo.  It reports sides closed by the brokerage as well as the larger marketplace.  It invites feedback, with a phone number and email address. Contains data so fresh and well-presented that it will make news in local traditional and social media outlets. It drills down into the Zip codes and communities where the brokerage has offices; and Builds credibility and SEO by coming out on a regular schedule, preferably monthly. It’s easier to justify the expense of a branded report by using it in many ways, including: Issuing a news release with each report to local and regional traditional news media and local real estate blogs; Pushing out an emailing to customers, clients and prospects; Posting an article on the brokerage’s blog; Reaching referrals by posting in […]

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Don’t Miss Out On This Spooktacular Deal!

by Camilla Harvey on October 3, 2017

Savings

With 2018 fast approaching, ensure that your leadership team, staff and brokers are well informed with the essential information they need to make SMART and WELL-INFORMED decisions in 2018. WAV Group’s highly acclaimed WAVes of Change webinar series is a GREAT way to keep your organization relevant and in sync with industry trends and ever-changing consumer requirements. What are the WAVes of Change? Our WAVes of Change Series means we attend the events so you don’t have to. Four times a year we present a live webinar which includes exclusive looks at WAV Group research, emerging technology trends, broker challenges, best practices and policy discussion. 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. Join the Texas Association of REALTORS, New Mexico Association of REALTORS, MFRMLS and many others in helping large and small organizations stay on top of the game changers in our industry. 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.  WAV Group provides balanced and unbiased overviews on the key topics of the day to help bring every one of your board members up to speed on key issues so that you can have more productive, strategic and insightful discussions at your board meetings Examples of previous topics discussed include: CMLS Research Reviews MLS Policy Trends Consumer Attitudes About Agent Ratings The Power of Consumer Research Panels The Power of Client Relationship Management Effective Ways to Increase Adoption of your Services Governance for the Nimble Organization AMP, Upstream, RESO and Broker Public Portal update Broker Hot Buttons Data Sharing/Consolidation Trends and lots more…… Don’t Miss Out on this Killer Deal! Get 5 Educational Sessions for the Price of 4! Right now, we are offering a Spooktacular Halloween Special!, If you subscribe for the 2018 WAVes of Change before October 31st,  you’ll get one WAVes of Change session free.  Your group will be able to attend 5 sessions instead of four, including one in mid-November THIS year. You can start your organization on […]

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WAVes of Change Award

We are proud to announce that Dionna Hall and her newly formed team in South Florida at RAPB + GFLR is the FIRST recipient of WAV Group’s WAVes of Change Award! Watch the video below of the presentation of the first WAVes of Change Award! Why were they chosen?  For creating the 3rd largest Association and one of the top 10 largest MLSs in America.  RAPB + GFLR is solving problems for brokers in South Florida.  The newly formed organization will provide listing exposure to nearly 30,000 agents, dramatically increasing marketing impact. It will also make it easier for brokers to expand their businesses into a much larger region in South Florida as they choose. What this hard-working group of volunteers and staff accomplished is NOT easy to do. It took guts, hard work, leadership skills and a strong will to better serve South Florida brokers and agents. This group did not let politics, naysayers or fear get in their way. They just made it happen. They have accomplished something that many have talked about, but have not had the bravery and tenacity to succeed at. WAV Group LOVES it when we see such great work being done to make our industry strong and vital for the long haul. That’s why we created this new award called the WAVEs of Change award. Now we have a way to take a minute to say thanks to those that go the extra mile for their members. What is the WAVes of Change Award? WAV Group is proud to announce a new program called the WAVes of Change Awards. These awards will be given to those in the real estate industry that have made bold new moves to create positive WAVes of Change for our industry. The WAVes of Change Awards will honor those that have a vision for a brighter future for real estate and do what it takes to make their vision a reality. Importantly, the WAVes of Change Award will be given to leaders of programs that are already live and have been proven to be successful.  A panel of judges will evaluate submissions based on the following criteria: Solves fundamental challenges or creates exciting new opportunities Improves the quality of service or insights provided to real estate consumers, agents or brokers Creates company, market or industry efficiencies, cost savings and opportunities for innovation. Helps to raise the bar of […]

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Great Content Should Still Be King

by Kevin Hawkins on October 3, 2017

Content Is King

The lines in the world of communication are blurring, between content that is paid for and content that is earned. Think about it. Is the last content you just read sponsored content or earned content? Do you know for sure? Did you check the source? Are you familiar with the writer? Did the CEO of the real estate brokerage get on the cover of the magazine because her company earned the accolades, or because they paid for a bunch of ads? Did the CTO of the tech startup get on the stage at the big industry tech conference because he was vetted as a great speaker, or because his firm was a Titanium Sponsor? The truth is that most people cannot tell if the content they are reading or the presentation they are hearing was influenced by sponsorship or advertising dollars unless of course, the content is crap. And that’s precisely my point. Great content should still win out whether it is paid for or earned. The reason the lines of communication are blurring, and that it is becoming harder to realize if a video program is sponsored, or a commercial is a commercial, is that when content is done really well, it works. We should not be judging content based on whether or not it was paid for, but by the quality of the content. If content is self-serving, it is going to turn people off. It’s going to come across as being crap. But if content is really good, even if it was sponsored, you are going to value that content. The opposite should be true as well: if content is really good, even if it is not paid for, you should value that content as well. What we need to be thinking about is how do we make sure that we are encouraging the creation of great content and not forcing a path of sponsored content when that path should be optional. The truth is most sponsored content is crap: it’s often just not good content, but mediocre content that tries to hide its self-serving agenda. As someone who has spent a few decades in public relations working hard to create great content with my clients, it’s frustrating to see the current path that is forcing a route towards sponsor content. Great content should stand on its own merit – earned or sponsored, as great content is […]

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