Product Management

In an announcement made to their membership, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) have entered into a definitive agreement with MoxiWorks® to provide LeadingRE Cloud™ to their 565+ brokerage members. The solution is called LeadingRE Cloud. Franchises and networks like LeadingRE have been providing data services for their brokers over decades. No doubt, the most notorious version is the legacy CREST system at Realogy Holdings Corporation®. Keller Williams® CEO, Gary Keller has kicked off a Billion dollar investment in technology. RE/MAX® is in a process to buy a company or outsource to a vendor. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services® has projects underway but have not released their ambitions to the media. Remember, all franchise systems are required to have some sort of data base for tracking payments from the broker to the franchise on transactions. They all need data systems to power up their franchise software solutions. Realogy made a $220 Million investment in the acquisition of ZipRealty® to upgrade their technology. Formerly CREST, this system is now called Dash, a data management system that allows the franchise to delivery all of their software as a service systems like Zap™ (Lead Managment, CRM and Agent Website), DotLoop® (Transaction Management), etc. Each of the brands does something a little different in their software stack, but core solutions like Listhub™ and LeadRouter™ carry across them all. Remember too that Realogy is also the world’s largest brokerage, NRT®. Operating in more than 100 MLS areas, they are handling a lot of data aggregation. A lot of the features in LeadingRE Cloud are on the roadmap for Dash and Zap, but they are not available yet. LeadingRE Cloud is not a competitor to Upstream, but has some similar benefits to brokers. All of these activities are representative of brokerage and franchises collaborating to disrupt themselves. Unlike the taxi industry that got rolled by Uber and Lyft – or the travel industry that was rolled by Expedia and dozens of others – brokerage is fixing itself before any third party disrupters take over. Admittedly, brokers and franchises were already rolled by Realtor.com and Zillow Group in online search. But data strategy is open territory to get it right before the newcomers step in. LeadingRE just took the lead. How apropos. How LeadingRE Just Passed the Franchises There is a keynote of significance to the move made by LeadingRE. Today, WAV Group is unaware of any franchise […]

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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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In these times where inventory is so low there is nothing more important than figuring out new ways to secure listing appointments and convincing consumers that it’s the right time to sell!   Finding the best ways to engage with potential sellers is the KEY to business success. You’ve probably heard the old adage – You have to list to last!   How can you train and motivate your agents to aggressively pursue seller leads and scheduling listing presentations?   What you do in the minutes after you receive a lead makes a huge difference. And when you wait to contact that lead, chances are another real estate agent is going to get to them first. So what can you train your agents to do? Your agents need an iron clad lead follow up strategy that instantly responds to leads for them, so even when they are busy… they can still keep potential clients focused on them and not another agent. On Wednesday, September 27th at 9:00am PT W+R Studios’ National Trainer, Ricardo Bueno, Marilyn Wilson from RE Technology and Realtor Ray Fernandez are holding a free, panel-style webinar “Lead Follow Up Secrets for Busy Agents.” Join me on a webinar that I’m facilitating next week! This webinar will cover simple and proven lead follow up strategies that will help even the busiest agent convert more leads into clients. You don’t want to miss this! REGISTER NOW!  

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Redfin Offers Method To Modernize IDX

by Victor Lund on September 19, 2017

“Let’s modernize IDX by linking to the listing broker!” IDX or Internet Data Exchange is a thesis that was developed by the collaboration between Brokers and MLSs that outlines a set of display rules for listings on broker websites. The idea behind IDX is that of cooperation among brokers. Fundamentally, the IDX policy states that a broker allows all other brokers participating in an MLS to display their listings on any broker (and usually Agent) website. Over the years, the IDX policy has evolved. And today, Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman suggests a radical new change. Kelman would like the IDX policy to require that every display of IDX listings provide a link to the listing broker’s website. As the screenshot illustrates, the National Association of REALTORS® MLS Policy on IDX requires the Broker to be identified as shown here. Displaying the listing agent is a local election and sometimes required. In the illustration below, everything is static. The big idea is to add a requirement to include a hyperlink to the broker/agent website (canonical source of information). Kelman goes further in the development of his concept to suggest that the broker name and link be prominently displayed above the fold (top of the page before you scroll). WAV Group joins Redfin in the belief that this would massively increase the traffic to listing brokers’ websites form search engines. Having hundreds of real estate websites link to the listing brokerage for each listing should completely re-orient search rankings. Search Engines are always looking for the most authoritative source of information – including real estate information. Kelman has strong beliefs and enormous respect for the listing firm. “The listing broker is the one who pays for, reviews and uploads all the photos. The listing broker updates and validates all the data about the property, and writes the marketing description. The home-buying consumer should be able to find her way to the full listing on the listing broker’s site, where she may also be able to see virtual tours, three-dimensional scans, and additional marketing materials about the listing, not to mention details on how to ask a question about the home or even arrange a tour with another agent at the listing brokerage if that’s what she prefers.” WAV Group’s research and analytics team finds that Redfin is, by a factor of two or three, the most popular brokerage website today. The leading […]

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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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5 MUST HAVES for your 2017 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 28, 2016

We’re getting to budget time again and  starting to think about what products and services that MLS’s should offer their members in 2017 and beyond. MLSs, of course, need to continue to offer their core MLS system, but there are a few other areas to consider as you move into your next budget planning cycle that will help your members.  WAV Group believes you should offer products and services that are designed to address a core need of your subscribers.  No MLS should offer a technology just because it’s exciting or new. They ALL need to address a fundamental challenge or create new opportunities for your subscribers.  There are five key needs that we believe are vital to the success of any MLS organization that need to be considered in 2017.  We have outlined the strategies and the proposed solutions below: Making Earnest Money Collection Safer Providing Broader Data Access Helping your Members Succeed with Technology Keeping your Subscribers Safe Making it Easy for Brokers to Leverage MLS data Making Earnest Money Collection Safer Our industry has done a good job of bringing the transition process online.  We now have great methods for filling out, signing and distributing disclosures and forms online via a myriad of document management, transaction management and electronic signature solutions. We haven’t yet addressed the final mile though.  Today, agents are still driving all over town to collect and deposit earnest money checks.  There is more risk within this part of the process than any other yet we as an industry have ignored.  Read this interesting case study about how Northstar MLS is addressing this problem very effectively. Providing Broader Data Access The core job of the MLS is to provide comprehensive, accurate and up to date real estate information that every REALTOR can leverage in their business.   Brokers continue to be frustrated by their inability to get one regional source of data for their websites, back office tools and mobile solutions.  MLSs will be doing their members a great service by finding ways to get them broader data access beyond JUST their local MLS.  While consolidation is the ultimate way to accomplish this task, many regions just can’t get beyond the politics. In the meantime, you can look at a variety of FREE and paid methods for accomplishing broader data access with data sharing efforts. I recently published a white paper on the topic entitled […]

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Will the Last PC User Please Turn Out the Lights?

by Victor Lund on March 25, 2016

Mobile has gone global and everyone from Wired Magazine, Gartner, Forrester Research, and Barron’s is writing about it. The headline is almost always the same – “THE DEATH OF THE PC HAS NOT BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED.” The real headline is that PC sales have been negative since 2011 and the 2015 numbers showed the largest drop in sales volume in history. Before you get overwhelmed with the fear of PCs going away, it will take a long time for that to happen. Shipments of new PCs globally is still running at a pace of around 65 million to 70 million a quarter. Interestingly enough, the iPhone ships about the same number of units – and that is just from one smartphone manufacturer. As an aside, Lenovo (formerly IBM) holds the top market share with about 20 percent. HP is second in market share with 18 percent, followed closely by Apple at 16 percent and Dell at 14 percent. The new MacBook Air helped Apple pass Dell. The debut of Windows 10 did not make a big difference. There was a belief that corporations and consumers were holding off and building a demand ahead of the release. There was a little bubble, but nothing strong enough to thwart the 10% drop in PC sales. Heck, because of the move to mobile, Google even revised its revenue outlook. Companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook are enormously focused on mobile. You should be too! Real estate was super late in moving to mobile. Many would argue that we are still in the teeth cutting stages. A lot of this was caused by the lag of MLSs being crossbrowser compliant and mobile browser compliant. Thank goodness that we are almost there now with the leading MLS vendors. Some, like CoreLogic, have even gone the extra mile to integrate mobile apps like GoMLS. Others are using third party solutions like HomeSpotter (formerly Mobile Realty Apps). Real estate brokers should be jumping on this trend early. There are three keys to success. The first is to make sure that your app is both agent facing and consumer facing. The second is to ensure that the app that faces the consumer is integrated into your website so their saved searches and favorites are preserved across app and browser (like Zillow Group and Realtor.com). The third is to make sure that the agent app has single […]

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Cheap MLS Systems

by Victor Lund on November 1, 2013

The results are in from the annual WAV Group MLS Technology Survey. We will be working on the report in the coming weeks. Last year’s report showed that there were not any MLS software solutions with super high ratings. This year’s survey showed that the ratings have dropped down for every vendor. What can be done about that? As you may know, WAV Group provides RFP services to MLSs who are facing a contract termination date. It is smart to shop around to see if there are solutions that are better shaped to meet the evolving needs of agents and brokers. The goal is to find a better system at a lower price. Vendors know this. They do everything they can to operate their business as efficiently as they can so they can meet the Low Price needs. The notion of “Better System” is more about design than function. If the system cannot look great, the vendor focuses on throwing in MLS toys – like a consumer website, IDX, Agent Websites, Virtual Tours, Document Management, or some other tool. They pile on additional applications in the base price of the MLS to sweeten the deal. The WAV Group survey measures two groups of MLS customers. It measures the attitudes of the staff and the attitudes of the agents. Every vendor in the industry is facing lower ratings by both of these groups. The industry is ripe for change. The pendulum needs to swing away from lower price and more toward better systems. Change #1 – Reduce Profits. One of the hidden fiefdoms that contaminate our industry is the MLS markup to paying subscribers. It its most pervasive form, the markup happens when the Regional MLS wholesales services to the Association of REALTORS® who retail the service to the subscriber. This often results in the doubling of the service costs so the Association may realize a profit. MLS systems that are wholesaled below $20 per agent per month wind up costing the subscriber more than $40 per agent per month. No doubt, the Association MLS providing training and support adds a cost burden to the core fees. And there are other cost centers like rules enforcement and subscriber management. The markup is not pure profit, but profit is a significant percentage of the fees. Change #2 – Don’t Switch Systems. Every time an MLS switches systems their satisfaction ratings plummet. This […]

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Revenue Generation Emerges in MLS strategy

by Victor Lund on August 14, 2013

MLSs are for profit entities. They have investors and a board of directors and have a stated goal of providing returns. Normally, the investors in the MLS are the Associations of REALTORS® or brokers that put up the initial funding for the MLS. The MLS was the natural extension of sharing property listings between real estate professionals pre-dating the founding of NAR. When printed listings were replaced by the electronic MLS, the business model, payment per month by members continued. That model still exists today and is in line with how software as a service (SaaS) is typically delivered across all enterprises. MLSs have a choice each time they add a new service. They may supply the new service as a component of monthly subscription fees, or allow agents to pay for it a la carte. There is a current debate today between Agents, Brokers, MLSs, and Associations about what is included in subscription fees and what is not. Some MLS constituents want the MLS to provide a robust and comprehensive suite of services – MLS, Tax, CMA, CRM, Listing Syndication, Agent Website, Lead Management, Marketing through an MLS consumer site, , Virtual Tour, Appointment Software, Lockbox, eSignature, Transaction Management, Document Management, Forms Management, Data Licensing, Newsletter Marketing, Demographic Data, Market Data, AVMs, Market share data, Training, Reverse Prospecting, MLS Security and Single Sign-on, WalkScore, Custom Reports and Property Flyer Maker, Floor Plan software, Data Checking software, Data Sharing with other MLSs, Photography services, Foreign language support, Data Feeds to agent and broker technology vendors, school data, sign riders, and agent ratings. That was the best I could do at picking categories – there were 38 in all – and all of these services cost dollars rather than pennies. Here is the debate. Many large brokers who contribute the most revenue to the MLS do not want the MLS to add services that duplicate tools they already provide to their agents. They call this practice – “leveling the playing field.” From the list above, aside from MLS, Tax, and lockbox – most large brokers offer these services. They offer these services to their agents for a number of reasons, including recruiting, retention, and to differentiate their services to the consumer. If the MLS offers the service, the broker and its agents are compelled to pay for them, and the broker still carries the financial burden of duplicating the services for […]

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IDX isting Syndication

To Syndicate or not to Syndicate, that is NOT the question! WAV Group Response What an exciting day in real estate media. 1000Watt Consulting is having a spirited discussion blog to blog with Dale Ross of NAR’s RPR. And, in an exciting development, Zip Realty did a data accuracy study that somewhat mirrored the WAV Group data accuracy research performed for brokers, Redfin, Windermere, and Long and Foster. They concluded that 30% of the listings on Zillow and Trulia are not on the market. To keep things rolling along, my friend Saul Klein from Yardi published a spirited article about Syndication that I would like to address. It would be sad for Saul’s comments to be lost in the discussion about broker data. You may want to bump down lower in this post to read Saul’s thoughts before reading our response – but here goes…. WAV Group has long applauded the efforts made by Point2 to continue developing syndication strategy in our industry. We appreciate the opportunity to add our voice texture to the conversation about the future of syndication and how contract alignment can improve online property marketing for everyone. As for the question ‘To Syndicate or Not to Syndicate?’ Our consult has always been for MLSs and brokers to develop a plan that works for them in their market, execute the plan effectively, and measure the results to maximize the effectiveness of your strategy.  Here are a few strategies The broker may extend their strategic syndication choices to agents, which is good for agent recruiting and retention, but fractures the broker online marketing plan. Big brokers with significant market share and lots of website traffic have turned off syndication, and had success. This strategy does not work with small to mid-sized brokers unless a whole bunch of competitors do the same thing. Brokers have the opportunity enhance listings on some or all publisher channels, and are able to effectively grab more leads per listing than those brokers that do not. Some brokers market their company and agents on competitor listings. When a broker considers syndication, it is important that they have a strategy and do it carefully. DO NOT SYNDICATE TO ANY PUBLISHER WITHOUT AN AGREEMENT THAT PROTECTS YOUR DATA. There is significant risk to syndicating listing information without agreements that protect the usage of the data. In the absence of a structure to your publisher relationship, publishers […]

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WAV Group had the opportunity to speak to Marc Lafrance of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) about their launch of digital signatures to all REALTORS in Canada. In an announcement, CREA is now offering REALTORS  Instanet’s Authentisign and soon the  DocuSign Electronic Signature products tightly integrated in their proprietary real estate forms product, WebForms®. Canada has been successful at offering a national forms solution as a driver of REALTOR professionalism for more than a decade. Today, more than 51,000 REALTORS are using WEBForms®out of a total membership of about 116,000 REALTORS across Canada. WEBForms® is considered the second most highly adopted and valued member service by Canadian REALTORS, second only to REALTOR.ca. With the addition of electronic signatures, Canadian REALTORS are fully equipped to increase their effectiveness and provide the best possible consumer experience during a real estate transaction. CREA has done a great job of removing barriers to electronic forms adoption. CREA acquired WEBForms® from Fraser Valley Board of REALTORSin 2001 as the cornerstone of their document automation strategy. WEBForms® has full MLS integration across the nation, making forms population efficient, and reducing manual data entry by REALTORS. In the United States, both Zipforms and Instanet Forms have had the ability to integrate MLS data for years, but sometimes that feature was not enabled due to the data management fees. The California Association of REALTORS introduced a similar program in January, waiving the MLS data integration fees in their state for ZipForms. Education about electronic signatures will be an important initiative by CREA and their member boards in 2013. Like the United States, when and how to use electronic signatures will be an important lesson for all practitioners in Canada. REALTORS need to understand that the most important feature of an eSignature product is the ability to trace and record the history of the signature by all parties. Beyond that, some provinces in Canada like Ontario and Manitoba have not passed legislation that allows the purchase and sale agreements to be signed electronically. CREA has two initiatives to move digital signatures forward. First, they lock out digital signatures from forms that cannot be electronically signed to avoid REALTOR mistakes. Secondly, they are putting an emphasis on their lobbying efforts to advance the adoption of digital signatures in provincial law. In this first phase of the roll out, CREA choose not to license Instanet and Docusign for all REALTORS. […]

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Your company is a mess and that’s ok

by Victor Lund on September 17, 2012

Adapt

If you look around your business and recognize a mess, everything is probably working a lot more smoothly than you imagine. It sounds counter intuitive, but companies that are progressive and evolutionary are likely to have many things left undone. Here are three things that you are likely to recognize in your company that are unseemly, but good. Wrong People There is no such thing as a perfect business team. When you evaluate your team, you will recognize that they all have strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is always working on improvement in some area of their professional responsibility. In today’s environment where responsibilities are diversified, it is likely that you have tasked people with jobs that do not meet their training or core strengths. You should not expect them to be rockstars at doing jobs that are new to them. Accept that your staff is evolving. I know a guy in the Midwest who was retasked with being an MLS communications director as a result of a management change. He had not written a blog, and rarely used facebook or twitter before he was tasked to be the champion of this business goal. Here we are 3 years later and he is among the most respected in the industry. On day one, he was naturally clueless. What you need to look for in your people is their spirit. Do they approach their job with passion? Do they drag themselves into work for a paycheck or do they show up each day with a fresh spirit and a willingness to champion your cause? You will have bad customers No mater how much you try to convert every client you court into a customer, it will not always happen. You will loose sales, and some of your customers will always be unhappy. If you are an Association or MLS, you need to swallow this one pretty deeply. Since you cannot fire a customer, you need to get along with the worst of them. If you are a technology company, a broker, or an agent – good news. You can fire a customer, and it may very well be the best thing that you can do to keep you and your business team happy. When you see an unhappy customer, you think your business is broken when it probably is not. Unhappy customers are those that want things that your company either cannot […]

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Great Companies Execute Effectively

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2012

zillow Logo

Marilyn Wilson’s post yesterday set off a storm. The DMV, known for its historically horrid service experience has changed their ways. They do a good job, at least here in San Luis Obsipo, CA. When WAV Group is providing strategic planning support to an MLS, Association, Technology company, or broker – we measure stuff. There is usually a comparison chart created that shows a checklist of features or service offerings that compares company or product A vs. company or product B, C, and D. This is an important exercise and the information drawn from this type of benchmarking is helpful at directing organizations to fill gaps in their offerings. Component to measuring features or services, is measuring satisfaction. For people using a product or service, we need to know how much they value it or what they hate about it. The survey question works with branches. Question 1: Do you use X? If so, Question 2: how would you rate X? Question 3: Why did you say that? WAV Group also measures adoption. This is sometimes the funny part. We get adoption numbers if they are counted, and we also ask customers if they use a product. Our current national MLS survey has a question about RE Technology. Do you use RE Technology? How long have you used RE Technology? Some agents indicated that they have used RE Technology, and a number of other products like RPR for 10 years (RE Technology and RPR have only been around for 3 years). What customers do and what they think they do are often very different things. There is much to be learned from this. At the end of the day, the performance of a brokerage, MLS, Association, or Technology company comes down to communication and execution. A bunch of leading MLSs and Associations do a good job at this. Houston Association is a good example, but there are plenty others. Pretty much every Mega-Board is nailing it – I pay attention to Orlando, Las Vegas, Long Island, Metro-Tex, Main Street and others. MRIS is a good example, I also pay attention to MRED, MLSListings,  The MLS Claw, Sandicor, MLSPIN, MyFlorida MLS and a bunch of others. As for brokers, I like what Intero is doing. They have three posts each week that go out to all of the agents. One comes from the CEO, another comes from the company Attorney, and […]

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RE Technology weekly traffic

by Victor Lund on August 10, 2012

RE Technology Success Store

In a way, RE Technology is a sand box for WAV Group. We get the opportunity to look at patterns of behavior and communications among real estate agents and brokers on a macro level and a micro level. Recently, we began to modify activities to determine how it may impact RE Technology readership. Our latest test was to change the time that the RE Technology daily digest goes out. The RE Technology daily digest is an interesting communication tool. Only agents who opt into getting the RE Technology newsletter receive it. Most agents choose to access RE Technology content through the message of the day in their MLS system. I appreciate that many agents do not want any more email. Regardless, our staff came up with the idea that the digest should go out in the morning before Inman News and RIS Media. RE Technology is not a news site, but we do publish press releases in the digest. The notion was that our audience would get our newsletter first; read it first; and think that we were closer to the pulse of the industry. It sounded like a good argument, so we set it, and forgot about it. Recently, we made upgrades to the daily digest. Readers wanted to be able to share the digest with others, and wanted to be able to access past newsletters as a reference. We added this functionality and when we pushed the new newsletter to our production servers, we once again discussed the timing. Traditionally, the digest started sending at 3 a.m. PST; 6 a.m. EST. We developed a new theory based upon personal habits that, when an agent gets to their computer in the morning, their inbox is stuffed with newsletters and they scan them and delete them as quickly as possible. That is what I do. Why would an agent or broker  be any different?  The team agreed to move the time to 8 a.m. PST, 11 EST to see how our traffic would change. Presumably when you send tens of thousands of emails at a different time of the day, user behavior will change…. Guess what…. Here is the illustration                   As you can see from the chart – we compared 5 days of traffic in June (250,000 visits) to another 5 days of traffic in July (250,000 visits). We only looked at Monday through […]

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Former Point2 executive brings extensive industry experience to help guide ListedBy’s direction and growth NAPA, Calif. – May 31, 2012 – ListedBy (www.ListedBy.com), the real estate industry’s first free online marketplace and social network with integrated live bidding and auction functionality, today announced the appointment of Roger Noujeim as vice president of marketing, to lead the company’s global marketing and branding strategy. As member of the executive team, Noujeim will play a key role in guiding ListedBy’s direction and growth, with a focus on accelerating market penetration and adoption. “We are ecstatic to have someone of Roger’s caliber join our growing team at ListedBy.com. In the short time that we have worked together, Roger has added unparalleled value and I see him as a true visionary as it relates to what we are trying to achieve with ListedBy becoming the future of the real estate industry,” said Stephan Piscano, founder and CEO of ListedBy. “Enabling real estate e-commerce in a free, fully transparent environment is a high potential opportunity. I am excited to join ListedBy and to be involved with its revolutionary ideas and business model,” said Noujeim. “The real estate profession can now harness the full power of the Internet to accelerate sales and to further service quality and value.” Most recently with Yardi Systems’ real estate marketing solutions division, Point2, Noujeim has nearly 25 years of experience in strategic communications, advertising, research, public relations and marketing. These include seven years in the online real estate marketing and e-commerce solutions segment. Noujeim’s career encompasses principal roles in the launch and market leadership of several national and multinational consumer product brands, as well as building the West Bay Semiconductor (acquired by Intel) and Point2 (purchased by Yardi Systems) brand names into market prominence. Noujeim’s professional track also includes key positions with Leo Burnett advertising where he worked exclusively on Procter & Gamble brands, Ernst & Young, and National Public Relations, Canada’s largest PR firm where he provided counsel to client organizations primarily in the technology sector. Supporting Resources Twitter: www.twitter.com/listedbyyou Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/listedby About ListedBy ListedBy (www.ListedBy.com) is the first free online real estate marketplace and social network with integrated live bidding and auction functionality. Buyers, sellers, real estate professionals and service providers join ListedBy to network, build their social profile and to list, research, buy and sell Multiple Listing Service (MLS), For Sale By Owner (FSBO), pre-foreclosure and Real Estate […]

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PRESS RELEASE:  HOUSTON (May 14, 2012) PropertyInfo Corporation®, a Stewart company, announced today the successful adoption by Heritage Texas Properties of the Electronic Transaction Solution (HAR-ETS), powered by SureClose, to go paperless.  Available only since January, Houston Association of REALTORS®’s HAR-ETS has already increased efficiencies for many of the organization’s 24,000 real estate professionals and their clients, and has enabled companies such as Heritage Texas Properties to remove paper from the closing process.  “Heritage Texas Properties is committed to providing our customers with the most efficient and economical solutions available, and HAR’s Electronic Transaction Solution powered by SureClose has enabled us to vastly increase our service levels quickly within the first few months,” said Bill Jones, senior vice president of Heritage Texas Properties. “The 24/7 access to our transaction files, and the convenience of accessing them through mobile devices, have resulted in improved efficiencies that enable us to better serve our customers.” After coming across this press release, WAV Group decided to look a little deeper into HAR-ETS, and  found  that agent and brokers love the efficiency and the mobile-friendly features the tool has to offer.  Many of HAR’s 24,000 real estate professionals have already adopted the technology to streamline the closing process paper-free.  And because HAR purchased the tool and offers it to its members as a benefit, even smaller brokerages, which may have been interested in going paper-free but could not afford the tool previously, now have access to it and use it to enhance the efficiency of their transactions. What makes the technology so valuable is not just that it reflects the current societal and environmental push for “green” technologies by eliminating the reliance on endless reams of paper whose fate it is to ultimately live out its life in over packed files destined for the shredder-but also the fact that via HAR-ETS, transaction documents can be viewed anytime, anyplace from your handheld device or tablet. Additionally, the tool is easily customized to fit the needs of each individual brokerage.  Information is managed by brokerage staff which frees agents up to do what they do best-sell houses.  It is no wonder that shortly after adoption of HAR-ETS, Heritage Texas Properties is expanding its use of the tool to include interacting with title companies, inspectors, and homebuyers and sellers. Greenwood King Properties, another HAR member Brokerage with three offices and 150 agents, and an early adopter of the technology, has already […]

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Are App Stores the Next Zillow or Trulia?

by Mike Audet on May 16, 2012

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the idea of App Stores in the real estate technology industry and it has raised a number of questions that I want to put out there to inspire a conversation with the industry. Let me say right up front that I am not neutral in this discussion, as I am one of the founders of RE Technology which has, as an option, the ability to create an eCommerce store which is different, but related to, an App store. My partner Victor did a great job of discussing the differences in his post titled: “Explaining an MLS App Store”. So, while I may not be unbiased in my perception of the the whole concept of an app store I welcome any and all feedback on the questions I am raising because the more I think about this approach the more concern I have on multiple levels. As Victor explained, the three typical components of an App Store are: A common platform (like the iPhone) Online delivery eCommerce enabled The process goes like this; a user sees something they like in the store, they click the button and presto, they are ready to install and use the technology product. This all sounds good at first blush. The App Store that is creating the buzz at present is the FBS “Spark Platform”.  Their website puts it this way: “The Spark Platform connects software developers with Multiple Listing Services to provide innovative tools for brokers, agents and their customers.” The idea behind Spark, as I understand it, is to allow vendors to develop to their API (Application Product Interface) in order to access the MLS data to use in their product. Ideally this would make it easier for vendors who now have to navigate many different interface requirements from MLS to MLS and endure the costs this brings with it. It also would help the MLS with the issue of not having to send their data out to work with vendors. Rather, the vendors would create products that work with the FBS (Spark) API to pull data as they need it. Users would come to a store, pick their software, purchase it, install it and the software would get loaded on the “Spark Bar” for easy use. Here’s where things get a little tricky in my mind. When the users pay for the software or service a percentage, let’s say 30% of the […]

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RPR Logo

WAV Group provides consulting services brokers across the country to help them find the most effective ways to leverage the technology tools they have chosen for their agents. Some of those tools are provided by MLSs as part of their monthly subscription fees. In working with brokers we have learned how stressed the life of a broker is. Their agents, clients, accountants and office staff pull them in a million directions.  Their daily tasks make it virtually impossible to keep up on all of the latest technologies being offered to them. Today, WAV Group is introducing the third in a series of Case Studies developed for NAR’s REALTOR® Property Resource, or RPR™ , designed specifically to help Brokers understand how to get the most out of the RPR™ tool. These Case Studies aim to  help REALTORS® understand the unique benefits of using RPR™ in their daily business, in order to position their firm as a communication leader  complete with unique insights available only to REALTORS®. Download the Broker Case Study here. WAV Group has followed the introduction and rollout of REALTOR® Property Resource ( RPR™ ) closely since it was officially introduced and then launched in September 2010.  In previous papers, WAV Group outlined the factors required to make an informed decision about whether RPR™ and other data-related products were appropriate for individual MLSs and Brokers. These case studies are NOT intended to help an organization make a decision about participation in RPR™. Those decisions are best left to individual firms. The purpose of this case study is to help brokers who are have access to RPR™ understand how they can the tool effectively to build their business.  The case study also clearly articulates how RPR™ is incremental to the tools available in MLS systems and other broker tools. WAV Group has watched with interest as more and more MLSs and Associations have signed up for RPR™. From its early beginnings, the product has continued to evolve by providing more and more tools to REALTOR® members. As of May 6, 2012, 384 MLSs and Associations have signed agreements with RPR™, representing 618,914 REALTORS®.  Two hundred and forty four MLSs have RPR™ installed and operational for their 503,444 members with more in the review process. While these numbers are impressive, REALTOR® usage and adoption of these products is the ultimate goal. The purpose of this case study is to help brokers […]

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Figuring Out The Non-Dues Revenue Equation

by Marilyn Wilson on March 8, 2012

As membership numbers have declined, many MLSs and Associations are feeling more and more pressure to reduce their dependence on dues based revenues. At the same time, the cost of running an MLS is increasing. Members are more demanding for the scope of services they expect while they expect the pace of improvements and enhancements to keep up with the ever-increasing speed of technology innovations available today. Third, members are under increasing pressure to offer better service and information to their customers, putting even more pressure on the MLS to deliver comprehensive, accurate data and seamlessly integrate to third party products. With the decreases in agent and broker demand for technology products and the high cost of sales to individual sales professionals, more and more technology companies are looking to MLSs to become an important distribution and sales partner for their products. Top Producer from Move, Inc. is the latest example of technology companies who traditionally sell to agents and brokers are now offering a non-dues revenue share programs for MLS. Their program includes a free member benefit company that provides tools and free training as well as a revenue share to the MLS. This opportunity allows the MLS, REALTOR.com, Top Producer and the MLS members an opportunity to work together so members receive the combined benefit of:

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Why Innovation Fails To Change Real Estate

by Victor Lund on February 21, 2012

Innovation Curve

Every year, real estate sees the launch of beautiful products, offering awesome features, advantages, and benefits. Excellent marketing programs back them and the press creates a jubilee – Innovator of the Year! Then the product launches, and the industry shrugs its shoulder. It is the conundrum of new product development and innovation for real estate. Most of these companies are doing everything right. They are doing research, spotting trends, holding focus groups, testing usability, and modeling lovely financials. If they can only get 1% adoption of this, or 3% of that, revenues will be awesome. There are 1 Million real estate agents; hundreds of thousands of brokers transacting trillions of dollars in transactions, buying $6 Billion dollars of technology in the United States alone! Wait until we go International! Canada is next! For most innovators, this never happens. The drawing on the napkin was flawed. What did they miss? Surely such a great product should have found success by accident. So, they go after it again. They get a few customers with a great social media-marketing program. Really connect with a group of excited agent and broker evangelists, hit a couple of more trade shows announcing how the early adopters are crushing it. More shoulder shrugging. Many outsiders look at the real estate industry and believe that it is ripe for disruption. It looks old. It looks slow. It looks easy. When you contrast the real estate industry with other industries, all of the foundational elements that trigger change and give birth to disruption are there. The industry really has not changed, ever. Sure, there was that shift from MLS books to electronic MLS; from newspaper advertising to website advertising; from chasing keys to lockboxes; and from paper forms to electronic forms. That is really about all that has changed. Innovation has happened very slowly and only because……

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