MLS Insights

Inviting Peers To MLS Boards of Directors

by Victor Lund on July 8, 2018

Board Member

The role of a member of an MLS Board of Director is multifaceted, but divided in part to areas around voting control, and in part around strategic guidance. A trend emerging at the largest MLSs in the nation is to invite outside directors into the board room.

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Congratulations to our friends at eXp REALTY for achieving yet another important milestone. In addition to doubling the size of their agent count in less than 1 year, they have been able to do it while keeping their employees very happy – not an easy thing to do! What’s the their secret?   Here’s the secret sauce from where I sit. 1. Unique business model that focuses the money where it should be – in the hands of those creating value for the company – the agents 2.  Consistent training and coaching because of centralized management support 3.  Passion – these guys LOVE what they do and they work their butts off to make it happen! Read the rest of the press release to get the juicy details below! ******* eXp Realty Founder Glenn Sanford Named a Glassdoor Top CEO in 2018 Company Earlier Recognized as Glassdoor 2018 Best Place to Work BELLINGHAM, Wash., June 20, 2018 — eXp Realty, the largest residential real estate brokerage by geography in North America and a subsidiary of eXp World Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPI), today announced that Founder Glenn Sanford was named a Top CEO in Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards. Glenn was ranked No. 40 among all small and medium businesses on Glassdoor. Currently on Glassdoor, Glenn has a 97 percent approval score. Among the 770,000 companies reviewed on Glassdoor, the average CEO approval rating is 69 percent. “Glenn has shown extraordinary leadership in a continuously evolving industry, pushing us to expand our thinking and capabilities,” said eXp Realty Chief Operating Officer Mary Frances Coleman. “What’s most inspiring about Glenn is his vision to affect positive change, a commitment he champions in our culture and core values. I want to thank all of our agents, brokers and staff for the work they do every day to build this company and embrace that vision.” The award is based solely on anonymous employee feedback via Glassdoor, where employees rate various factors about their employment experience. As part of these ratings, employees are also asked to rate whether they approve, disapprove or are neutral about the job their CEO is doing. See the complete list of all Top CEOs in 2018: https://www.glassdoor.com/Award/Top-CEOs-at-SMBs-LST_KQ0,16.htm About eXp Realty eXp Realty, LLC, the largest residential real estate brokerage by geography in North America, is a subsidiary of eXp World Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPI). eXp Realty (exprealty.com) is changing the way that agents, brokers and consumers work […]

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NAR Gets Serious About RESO Compliance

by Marilyn Wilson on February 2, 2018

The National Association of REALTORS® Chief Executive Officer, Bob Goldberg has been making some impressive moves this week. The first move is to send threatening letters to about 90 MLSs who have not adopted the RESO Standards or are not adhering to the MLS Policy required to maintain NAR affiliation.  Some of the MLSs are being cited for not being certified with the RESO Data Dictionary and some do not yet have availability with the RESO Web API. While many MLSs still believe that RESO is not critical to their business, we hear from brokers regularly that they are requesting RESO feeds and their MLS says it is not available. Worse yet, some MLS don’t even know what the broker or their tech company is TALKING about when they ask for a RESO certified feed.  This proactive step in policy enforcement will go a LONG way to help fix this problem. We are so excited to see NAR get serious about compliance with NAR policies. By putting more teeth into policy compliance, NAR is helping brokers to leverage technology in new and exciting ways to differentiate their business, compete more effectively and most importantly, remain vital for the long haul by better serving the needs of their clients. For all MLSs who are RESO compliant, there are better ways for you to promote availability of RESO Standards too.  RESO has created a FREE marketing toolkit with videos, articles and logos you can use to make it easier to help your brokers take full advantage of your RESO compliance. Now that NAR is getting serious about RESO compliance, it’s time to turn its attention to IDX rules compliance.   We have worked tirelessly side by side with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and the Realty Alliance to update IDX rules to make them broker-friendly including options to offer Pendings and Solds, co-mingling data from multiple MLSs, requiring approval of IDX feeds more quickly, and a myriad of other proactive changes that have helped IDX feeds work harder for brokers.  Many MLSs are in full compliance with all of these new required policies and they are making it easier for their brokers to compete more aggressively for consumer attention and engagement.  Just like RESO compliance, however, there are MANY MLSs that have ignored the new required policy changes and simply say NO when one of their brokers calls to ask for […]

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NAR’s Goldberg Kills Amp and Powers Up Upstream

by Victor Lund on February 2, 2018

We’re starting to see the impact of a new leadership team at the National Association of REALTORS® led by Bob Goldberg, a strategic, yet practical leader that is SERIOUS about making the industry function more effectively.  He also seems to be critically evaluating every investment in technology and making some bold moves to re-focus efforts. NAR announced yesterday that is shutting down development on its Advanced Multilist Platform, or AMP. AMP was under development for a few years at a burn rate of $6 Million per year. The concept behind AMP was solid – consolidate MLS data into a single data repository and allow developers of systems like Matrix, FlexMLS, Paragon, Stratus, Rapattoni, Navica and others focus on the front-end software development. Most of all, the ambition was to provide more choice for MLS members to access MLS information and reduce costs to MLSs. There were a number of contrarian opinions about the idea. First of all, the price of AMP was estimated to be $5 per user per month. This was way off the goal of saving money. Large MLSs pay less than that for the entire MLS system. For AMP to succeed, they would have needed to hit a price point of about $1 or $2 at the most. My hope is that NAR will donate the code to RESO and/or make it open source. At a recent broker town hall meeting in California, CAR President Joel Singer talked about the merits of a single MLS database with local service providers. I do not think that this idea will die along with AMP. Two MLSs in California are working on MLS Front End of Choice. Both the Los Angeles based California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS) and San Jose based MLSListings have CoreLogic®’s Matrix® product as their primary system and are integrating Black Knight Financial®’s Paragon MLS® as a secondary system. Both companies have been working on the project for about 2 years or more. Both companies already have an AMP-like database that is connected to Matrix. When the system goes live, agents will vote with their log in preference for one system over the other. The vendor’s only get paid for the users they support. Both Paragon and Matrix will be in a heated battle to serve the agent or watch their market share of users dwindle to their competitor. It will be interesting to watch. It […]

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IRES and Pikes Peak Launch Data Share Using RPR View™

by Victor Lund on December 19, 2017

IRES

Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) offers a feature called RPR View™ which is now the largest MLS data share in the U.S.  Since its initial Residential Platform launch in 2010, MLSs licensing their information to RPR have a choice to display their active and sold records “only to their subscribers,” or to a wider audience like “statewide,” or “all REALTORS® nationwide.” MLSs can also selectively opt into sharing with specific markets. All 1.2 million REALTORS® have access to RPR and over 700,000 REALTORS® have accounts.  RPR also has over 665 licenses with MLSs and Associations, with the majority having a policy within RPR where they will “share their data with everyone who shares with them.” What IRES and Pikes Peak are doing with RPR View is more than just “turning on” listings. They are adding fields of information that are not typically shared with RPR, a feature specific to RPR View. These are fields that are fundamental to enabling transactions. Members of each market will have the ability to “view” the Confidential fields including offer of compensation, showing instructions, agent remarks, etc. The basic RPR sharing provides listing information to REALTORS® out of area, but the Data Share with RPR View goes further. A group of MLSs in Minnesota do this as well. Another key difference in this level of data sharing is that each MLS is also licensing their sold records to RPR for display between the two MLSs. As you should all know, Realtors Property Resource, including RPR View with these data sharing features is an exclusive member benefit of the National Association of REALTORS®. WAV Group likes to refer to this data share as data sharing lite – all of the great taste of a full data share, but less filling. RPR view is free to the MLS and the Realtor®, but does not involve managing reciprocal links, managing data feeds, etc. A full data share would include lock box integration, forms reciprocity, IDX/Vow integration, rules integration, etc. Full bodied data shares would come with a price tag of $1 to $6 per member per month and take upwards of a year to launch. Depending on your circumstances, RPR View may be appropriate to meet the needs of some of your MLS subscribers with little or no overhead to operate. Contact Kristen Carr for more information. If you do not have her phone numbers and email address – […]

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

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Boyenga Team Delivers Online Excellence Through Chime

by Victor Lund on December 4, 2017

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

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FBS Acquires Solid Earth

by Kevin Hawkins on December 4, 2017

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

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Consolidation: What PR Tactics Can Help?

by Kevin Hawkins on November 29, 2017

Process Integration

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

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

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Friedrich Nietzsche wrote “Early in the morning, at the break of day, in all the freshness and dawn of one’s strength, to read a book – I call that vicious!” There is a liberating freedom about the early hours of Saturday or Sunday. Unlike the other days of the week, my mind has more freedom. I wake up unfocused on the routine of my workday and embrace any number of ideas or influences that come my way. I like to read – not books like I did as a teenager so much as digital media. One of my favorite inspirations is Ted Talks – a video. A profound Ted Talk inspired me this morning in a way that I believe can transform our MLS systems – its called What3Words. The thesis is pretty simple. Chris Sheldrich and his mathematician friend divided the earth into 3 meter squares. There are 57 trillion of them, FYI. Using 40,000 words – each square is assigned a specific three-word location. They have already translated the 40,000 words into 14 languages. I live at saylor.professional.refills. Please take 5 minutes to watch the talk below: Did you know that Carmel-by-the Sea, California does not have addresses? The post office does not deliver to this quaint artist community nestled along the pacific shores of Monterey County. Its delightful for MLSListings and all of the technology solutions that try to map properties. They use latitude and longitude, rooftop pin drops, and the like. In America, our Nation’s MLSs can quickly and easily add a field that translates the geolocation to simple words that people can remember. When I was living there a few days a month for a project, I lived at Lincoln, 2 South East of 5th. That means Lincoln Street, two houses South East of the Intersection of Lincoln and 5th. The company had an office in the front of the property and two luxury apartments in the back. My place was insertion.lifelike.singing. The office address is sisters.boring.daft In America, and elsewhere around the world. People are living without addresses. Our homeless situation clearly expresses this problem. If you are living without an address, you are living outside of society. The Ted Talk says that the United Nation’s suggests that Billions of people are living without addresses. That is the good natured and good spirited part that MLSs could provide to every citizen of our nation. […]

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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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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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The MLS 2020 Agenda Overview

by Victor Lund on September 7, 2017

MLS 2020 Agenda

Ahead of CMLS, “The MLS RoundTable” published the MLS 2020 Agenda. It is a paper that provides a series of one-page perspectives from industry executives about the Future of the MLS (hat tip to Saul Klein who I give credit for coining the term). It is not clear how the people were chosen to opine on the agenda for MLS. Although there are a solid number of enlightened MLS thinkers in the report, there are many other great MLS executives that are conspicuous by their absence. The report is a good primer for the conference. The Association Problem (and Governance) There is some conversation about the relationship between the Associations of REALTORS® that own MLSs and the operations of the MLS itself. Much of this has to do with Governance. Bad governance kills great companies every time. There is an assertion that the association-based decision-making model is disastrous for the MLS – but there is no description about how the decision-making fails. Plenty of Associations have excellent decision-making models. I look forward to hearing more about what bad association decision-making models are. I agree with the premise that Associations can be troublesome for MLSs, but on different grounds. Associations profit from the MLS – and that is the biggest retardant of all if they are not providing any value to the MLS.  Associations should not be able to mark up MLS services 100% for doing billing.  If they are providing training and support, they need to be held accountable for their deliverables, required to have the right equipment for managing support, etc. I am just completing a project for a large firm who was being denied sales data in 12 markets – all Association managed MLSs with fewer than 500 subscribers. For most of them, a phone call or two cleared up the misunderstanding. The last 4 have been an issue. Two of them do not have full time staff running the MLS or the Association. I had to chase down the agent who was the president, educate them on the MLS policy that they have in place (yes, their rules clearly allow for sold data), and help them connect with their MLS vendor to add sold data to the feed (he did not know who to contact or their phone number). As it turns out, our broker client will be the first in those markets to have a sold […]

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Want Raving Fans? 5 Gotta Haves for your 2018 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 5, 2017

Budget

WAV Group conducts more subscriber satisfaction research for MLSs than anyone else in the country.  We have a depth of understanding of the key drivers of satisfaction and perceived relevance for MLS organizations. Here’s the 5 key opportunities for improving your MLS’ satisfaction and relevance as you move into 2018: Go TO your Members Create a Field Support/Training Team There is NOTHING that drives up customer engagement and satisfaction for MLSs more than a team of customer servants that go out into the field, attending office meetings, broker events and community events.  These valuable team members can help educate subscribers on the technology and tools offered to drive up adoption and perceived value of the MLS fees. They can also gather input on ways to improve technology, service and support for your customers.  On every survey that we field, satisfaction numbers are off the charts with those that have attended sessions with MLS customer servants. Marketing Make Promotion a Priority    All of our MLS clients wish they could get every one of their subscribers to take full advantage of the tools, support and training they offer, yet,  according to the 2017 CMLS Best Practices Survey, just 18% of MLSs have full-time marketing staff.   In order for your members to take full advantage of the services you offer they need to understand the practical, tangible benefits that will help them succeed in real estate.  2018 is the year to think about hiring a marketing person, contract with an outside resource or a combination of both. Prepare for the Future Strategic Planning Our industry has never moved faster than it is right now. It’s time for every MLS to question every assumption and take a fundamental look at the company’s role, relevance and reason for being.  It’s time to think about important new ways to anticipate the needs of your customers and find new ways to help them be more successful without levelling the playing field. How do you know if you are addressing the needs of your brokers?  As part of the preparations for the strategic plan, you interview your largest brokers to be sure you are getting the whole truth so you can address their needs. Sometimes brokers are more willing to speak to outsides than their own team.  You will get unfettered access to the best ways you can improve your working relationship and value with your brokers. It’s […]

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RMLS, arguably one of the most progressive MLSs in America today took a brave new step to make it easier for their brokers to promote their brands online leveraging rich, comprehensive and timely MLS information. They have REQUIRED every one of their IDX suppliers to move to a RESO-Compliant data feed. They made this bold move in just a few short weeks. The move has been applauded by Brokers and Technology companies alike. Learn about why MOVOTO, a large broker with one of the top 10 property search sites in America, believes aligning against the RESO standards is a great IDEA. Key Takeaways The move for MLSs to transition to ONLY RESO-compliant IDX feeds is not that difficult. Moving to offering only a RESO-compliant IDX feed is not that difficult.  RMLS™, one of the first MLSs in the country to distribute only RESO-Compliant IDX feeds, made the move in just FOUR weeks. They launched a campaign to their IDX providers showing them the fields that needed to be transitioned to be RESO-compliant and requiring them to transition completely ONLY to a RESO-Compliant IDX feed. Promotion is Key According to RMLS™, to make the move MLSs will need an effective promotional campaign to be sure each of your technology companies is aware of the reasons for the change and knows exactly what they need to do to make the transition successfully. Set a deadline Be sure to set a deadline with a reasonable timeframe to allow each of your IDX providers can meet the deadline. Since many of the largest IDX providers have already made the transition in RMLS™, it should make it easier for them. Brokers Endorse RESO-compliant IDX feeds   Brokers support the idea of making IDX feeds RESO-compliant. They applaud MLSs that make this bold move.  Join forces with RMLS™ and make the move in your MLS.  It’s hard to argue that standardized real estate listing data is not good for our industry. It makes it easier for brokers to collect and distribute information from multiple MLSs on their website.   It allows technology companies to move into new markets more quickly.  It allows MLSs to collaborate in new and exciting ways. The leaders at RMLS™ in Portland, Oregon decided to take a bold step designed to help brokers and agents achieve all of the benefits of standardized information for online marketing. RMLS™, one of the pioneers in the […]

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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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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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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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