Reports

Swanepoel Trends Report Overview

by Victor Lund on February 7, 2018

Each year, I review the Swanepoel Trends Report. It’s a nod of respect for Stefan Swanepoel and the work that he does. His reports deliver exactly what they intend. They provide a few hours of reading that will stimulate you to absorb various perspectives and reflect. I have a full library of the reports and find myself pulling them off the shelf throughout the year for one reason or another. The real estate industry is a living thing that is fundamental to society. Like the history that comes before it, we watch change happen and are influenced by our years of experience. Each year, Swanepoel scribes a snap shot though his lens. It’s an annual chapter that is added to a lifetime of work. There is no right or wrong. There is no good or bad. The facts are right, and the authorship is sincere. For me, Swanepoel Trends Report is like reading a chapter of history. My 15-year-old daughter is learning about the revolutionary period in Europe. She is learning that there was a time when all property was owned by noble blood with absolute rule. Then some non-nobles were able to acquire property and inherited the right to vote as a property right. After the revolutions continued, business owners were afforded the right to vote. And so on and so forth to modern day. My most profound moment of reflection for me came from the Forward, as written by Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. He reflected on how he had a revelation one day that as much has he and his company have sought to be different than traditional real estate, Redfin’s heart and pulse is not really much different than that of any other brokerage. Redfin has developed a center of excellence around delivering consumers a property search solution that they love. It’s an ambition of many firms. They coupled their online efforts to a brokerage business model that incentives both the consumer and the real estate agent. They have grown a very nice business, one of the largest in America. They cooperate with MLSs like every other broker. Redfin has not disrupted real estate or ignited a trend. They do their thing and they get their piece of the market. It’s an outstanding piece of writing. It was appropriate to have Mr. Kelman kick off the trends report. There is a lot of material in the report […]

{ 0 comments }

Effective Ways to Generate Seller Leads

by Victor Lund on March 24, 2017

Lead Generation

WAV Group recently did an audit of a broker’s lead strategy, and it caused a bit of a eureka moment for the broker. We found they needed to stop focusing on buyer lead generation immediately and focus on seller lead generation. As a consulting firm, WAV Group has a full bag of executional tricks for firms to consider when they are setting strategy. The way that these activities are implemented and driven though the culture of an organization is the secret to success. We considered a few of these strategies in our latest study entitled Generate Seller Leads: Don’t Worry About the Buyers, They Will Come. Read the full study here!

{ 0 comments }

RESO Standards Adoption Report

by Victor Lund on January 11, 2017

RESO Real Estate Standards logo

The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) has driven the most important data solution for real estate brokers over the past year. With support from the National Association of REALTORS®, all NAR® affiliated MLSs (think association-owned) are required to adopt the RESO standard for MLS data. This change compelled CoreLogic®, the nation’s largest MLS provider to make the changes to the MLS data feeds. Zillow Group also jumped into the mix with the acquisition of Bridge Interactive to complement RETSLY. But firms went further, and it‘s good for brokers. Prior to the NAR mandate to adopt RESO data dictionary, every MLS in the nation spoke a different data language. In parlance, everyone had different data fields and rules in those fields. For example, some would structure the number of baths as a whole number that added up all of the bathrooms, like 3.75. Others would structure the data to say 3 full baths, 1 half bath, and one quarter bath. Now, almost every MLS has adopted the same structure for data distribution through the RESO Data Dictionary. The way that any given MLS made choices about data structure was up to the MLS. Now it’s a standard across them all. Read the full report on RESO Standards Adoption here!

{ 0 comments }

Re-Inventing the Collection of Earnest Money – A Case Study

by Marilyn Wilson on September 15, 2016

Hands Exchanging Money

John Mosey, CEO of NorthstarMLS is known to be one of those leaders that when he finds a business challenge his brokers face, he will do his best to find a solution.  He is not afraid to go first. As such he has helped to bring to market many exciting new products that serve the greater good.  I had the pleasure of interviewing him about the latest gem he has brought to the market for his subscribers. It’s a company called TrustFunds. TrustFunds, led by Lynn Leegard, was inspired by challenges she faced when she was General Counsel for Edina Realty, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Many of you may know Edina Realty. They are the crown jewel of Home Services of America and they hire only the best and brightest. This exciting new service has helped automate one of the last elements of transactions that are not handled online – the delivery and deposit of earnest money. John told me that when he began to talk to his Executive Committee about how earnest money is handled, many became very sheepish. They readily admitted that earnest money is not handled as carefully or safely as it should be. Most transaction documents are processed, signed and distributed from secure online servers.  Earnest money, on the other hand is collected by hand. Many times earnest money checks end up in the front seat of an agent’s car or in the bottom of their purses while waiting to be deposited.  Earnest money is the last process in the real estate transaction that has not been brought online. Inefficient and Unsecure Process Overall the earnest money collection process is inefficient and unsecure at best. First, the buyer takes the check to their agent, and then the Buyer’s Agent delivers the check to the Listing Agent. Next the Listing Agent takes the check to the Designated Trust Account Holder (DTAH), which could be the listing broker or title company.  Fourth, the check gets deposited in a Trust Account. While all of these steps are going on nobody in the process knows the status of those checks.  Everybody in the transaction is waiting for the check to deposit and settle, yet they are all unaware of the status. Unsecure Process This process is fraught with a lack of security.  Copies, scans and faxes of the checks can end up in unknown hands.  Multiple parties including the agent, office assistant, admin, transaction […]

{ 1 comment }

Imprev Study: Upstream garners remarkable support

by Kevin Hawkins on August 2, 2016

Imprev logo

Going into Real Estate Connect San Francisco, Upstream CEO Alex Lange should be all smiles when he reads the latest Thought Leader Survey – an Upstream-focused study – from real estate marketing automation leader Imprev. The latest Imprev study released today shows that 84% of the more than 300 top real estate execs participating say they “support” Upstream. Alex already had a strong wind of momentum at his back after releasing, to much praise, the new Upstream website. Upstream is also nominated for a 2016 Innovator Award by Connect conference organizer, Inman News. The nomination in itself is a considerable feat, considering Upstream hasn’t even launched yet. The study also points to some challenges that Upstream faces: executives say that the agents and the mortgage industry are basically clueless when it comes to Upstream. But clearly, Alex has already read those tea leaves because, in his first Blog after joining Upstream, he wrote: “I believe there’s a need for transparency….What I am saying is I want transparency so that I can solicit the knowledge and insight of the community at large.” Alex also said he is going to be heading on the road to share the Upstream story, so coming into this fall’s plethora of real estate broker and agent-centric conventions and conferences, his timing will be especially poignant to address the weaknesses the new study illustrates. Finally, you might miss the most crucial point of this survey: independence of the source, as Imprev has no dog in this hunt. Imprev CEO Renwick Congdon created the Thought Leader Survey concept in 2012 and about twice each year, takes the temperature of real estate leaders, focusing on key issues, industry trends and business pain points to encourage broker-owners and top franchise executives to engage in a discussion that will generate new ideas and solutions. Below is the full news release, and if you want a copy of the survey’s summary, it can be obtained free, directly from Imprev, here. Upstream Study Shows Strong Real Estate Industry Support New Thought Leader Survey by Imprev Details Strengths, Challenges  August 2, 2016 – Bellevue, WA – Real estate leaders are nearly unanimous in support of Upstream, a new real estate brokerage-driven effort to streamline listing and sales data and its online delivery, a new study reveals. The vast majority of real estate leaders – 84% – say they are supportive of Upstream. The new […]

{ 0 comments }

Upstream Revealed

by Victor Lund on October 15, 2015

As many of you know, WAV Group has been working with a group of brokers and franchises for more than a year on a project called Upstream. Today, Upstream is a corporation with one of the strongest board of directors in our industry. It has been an honor to work with the board along with the CIOs and CTOs of their corporations to define the Upstream application and talk to enterprise level technology firms who have the capacity to deliver such an enormous solution. Until now, very little information has been shared openly across the industry. Until the company’s governance was established, the application specified, and a vendor sourced – there was little to say. Upstream has been theoretical. It is about to become operational. We have created a report onUpstream that you can download and share. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. victor@wavgroup.com Download the complete report on Upstream here.  

{ 3 comments }

Project Upstream Revealed

by Victor Lund on May 14, 2015

For a few years now, industry leaders have been working together to address data problems, producing almost two years ago a solution concept called “Upstream.” Not long after that, the WAV Group was asked to consult on the technical side of the development of the project. Our non-disclosure agreement has prevented us from saying much about it. However, now we are very pleased to be allowed finally to share some information about the concept. In an announcement this week, UpstreamRE, LLC, the standalone company that will direct the effort, announced that it is deep into serious negotiations with the National Association of REALTORS, exploring ways to leverage the significant assets and capabilities of NAR’sRealtor Property Resource unit to support key components of Upstream’s functionality. At the NAR Midyear meetings, the NAR Board of Directors approved $12 Million in funding to support Upstream and AMP development projects for Realtors Property Resource. UpstreamRE, LLC will now consider using some RPR services combined with other vendor services for the project. Upstream is not an MLS! Real estate firms across America have obstreperous data management problems. Three of those problems include the disorderly replication of add/edit; the replication and inconsistency of data formats; and the challenge of perfecting Copyright. These challenges that face firms are interrelated in many ways. [ Definition: Obstreperous – noisy, difficult to control, unruly, unmanageable, disorderly, undisciplined, rowdy, disruptive. ] The Solution for Duplicate Add-Edit When a firm acquires a listing, there are many actions that often take place before that listing is placed in the MLS. For example, firms likely create a transaction in their back office system that allows expenses such as sign services, photography service, staging, or other expenditures to be ordered and tracked. Franchise firms are also required to enter the listing into the franchise system for accounting. Although some of the larger MLSs have created a new status for tracking this pre-listing data management need, most do not. The duplication of add/edit in multiple databases is problematic. Nobody wants to experience the repetitive data entry for a variety of reasons. Chiefly, duplication of add-edit causes increased labor expenses and is prone to errors. Moreover, managing edits in multiple systems requires significant training and support. The very best add-edit solution in the industry has been developed by MLSs. WAV Group supported project Upstream by creating a specification for an MLS quality add-edit solution. It includes usability […]

{ 14 comments }

As you probably know by now, the rules governing IDX were revised at the NAR Meetings in November last year.  Click here to view the details of the approved changes. One of the big changes requires that every MLS provide a Web API by June 30th, 2016 to make it much easier for brokers to allow third party companies to leverage MLS data for tools used by brokers. For the non-techies among us, let me answer the first question….What the heck is an API and why should I care? According to NAR…. API, short for Application Program Interface, describes a data transfer method that eliminates the need to copy listings between servers. The MLS becomes the original and only source of MLS property data. API technology creates efficiencies in the collection and use of MLS data by participants, vendors and MLSs. Here’s what it means in laymen’s terms.  An API will make it much easier for a broker or an MLS to allow a third party technology company to access MLS information much more easily than can be done today. Today, if someone wants information they have to get ALL of the data pushed to them. Then they have to ingest it, make sure it displays properly and then match it to all of the data fields in their own system. The API, combined with the implementation of the RESO Data Dictionary will standardize the way MLS data is collected and displayed with ALL MLSs across the United States.  It will make it easier for technology companies to pull only the data they need making for a more efficient and more accurate information that can be used by brokers for a variety of purposes in their business. It’s going to make it much easier for tech companies to provide innovative solutions to brokers and MLSs. It’s a really good thing for the industry. There was one big problem though. There were very few, if any companies that provided an API to accomplish the task required by the new IDX rules.   Until now….. Today, Onboard Informatics has created a relationship with CoreLogic to provide a comprehensive RESO standards-compliant data management and distribution solution to multiple listing services (MLSs), real estate brokers and vendors.  Any MLS in the country will be able to use this solution to provide RESO Data Dictionary-compliant data via RETS and the new RESO Web API without any […]

{ 1 comment }

Real estate leaders share 2015 outlook on housing, economy

by Kevin Hawkins on November 6, 2014

Imprev arguably has come to own the real estate “Thought Leader” space with its bi-annual survey now in its third year, largely because it’s not a self-serving exercise. What we get from their latest Thought Leader Survey is a refreshing, unfiltered view from a broad cross-section of the leadership of America’s real estate brokerage and franchise operations, large and small. Collectively, the real estate execs surveyed represent firms and brands that generate about half of all real estate transactions each year. Individually, there’s solid representation among small and large firms: 15% of the respondents have 50 agents or fewer, 18% have 51-100 agents, 35% have 101-500 agents; 14% have 501-1,000 agents and 18% have more than 1,000 agents. Among the most interesting findings: Housing market enthusiasm is cooling, almost tepid, among real estate leaders. Two years ago, 70 percent of top real estate execs saw the market improving over the next 12 months. Last year that number dropped to 58 percent. Today it is 52 percent. No more exuberance: It’s now a glass half-full, half-empty scenario among a group that is often characterized as eternal optimists, which means this new data may alarm some. The bigger you are, the more bullish you are. Leaders of larger brokerage firms are typically far more confident about the outlook for the U.S. economy than leaders of smaller brokerage firms. Nearly two-thirds of top execs with firms of 1,000 or more agents say the U.S. economy will “improve,” compared to 34 percent of leaders of brokerage firms with 51 to 100 agents. The smaller you are, the better your outlook on profitability. Leaders of smaller brokerage firm are far more confident in their ability to be more profitable than larger brokerage firms over the next year. More than half of the leaders of the smallest brokerage firms are “very confident” in profitability over the next 12 months compared to 32 percent of the leaders of the largest brokerages. World economy outlook has tanked. This is significant and the biggest change year-to-year among all of the data Imprev released. More than half of real estate leaders surveyed this year – 55 percent – have become less confident in the world economy over the last 12 months. That’s more than double the percentage last year, which was 24%. Expect more news headlines in the future on the struggles of the world economy. Real estate leaders still […]

{ 0 comments }

MLSs Need To Focus on the Customer Record

by Victor Lund on August 25, 2014

The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) is clearly picking up steam at driving standards across the real estate industry. A pivotal inflection point in the success of standards is the adoption of those standards by MLS service providers and their vendors. One of the vendors who is particularly aggressive at adopting those standards is FBS, developers of FlexMLS and Spark. You can translate “particularly aggressive at adopting standards” to leadership in real estate technology. I will be using FlexMLS to demonstrate my point thought out this article, but to be clear – many MLS Vendors and MLS service providers are on the same track. To Download the full report click here.

{ 0 comments }

Idea #1 – How to Take Credit for the Industry’s Service Quality Every real estate association I have the pleasure of working with is struggling with how to re-invent themselves. Everybody knows it’s a problem at some level, but yet there has been no fundamental change in the focus, governance or scope of associations in several years. Are we just going to sit by and watch the association business go away?  Should it go away?  Has the value of an association run its course? My fundamental belief is that Associations CAN and DO play an important role in the industry, but there needs to be more tangible evidence of the important roles that boards play. Here is the first of several ideas that I will be publishing to identify specific ways Associations can find ways to become more relevant to their members Promote Customer Satisfaction Levels When I ask the question how strong are you on professional standards in your market, I ALWAYS get the response “we’re really good at it”. Then when I ask how many people have suspended from your organization for nefarious or other code of ethics violations I usually hear none or maybe one over the past 10 years. Then when I ask a third question how many of you today are working with people that you believe violate the code of ethics just about every hand in the room goes up. There is definitely a discrepancy between perception and reality. So how can we change this circular logic and protectionism behavior? Here’s one way to start: I’m sure that many of you have heard of the J.D. Powers survey. Here is their role according to their website: “J.D. Power captures the opinions and perceptions of millions of consumers annually. Our data and insights are used by companies worldwide to improve quality, satisfaction, and business performance, while our ratings aid consumers in making more informed purchase decisions. “ So what if we tried this approach in our industry?  An association could deliver a valuable service to every one of its members if it tracked the satisfaction levels of every transaction and then rolled it up into one satisfaction number.  Then it could put teeth behind a REALTOR® ad campaign.  Just like J.D. Powers, the association could use an objective, third party brand that measured satisfaction. Then the local association could confidently claim “Your local REALTORS® deliver […]

{ 0 comments }

  Greater Alabama MLS and ListTrac put out a joint press release that you will find below. ListTrac is free, which makes it an attractive product for any MLS. We are keeping a close eye on them to see how it goes. Today, the voice of real estate seems to be the publisher sites – nobody is counting the traffic in the MLS or IDX sites. However, we know from looking at MLS activity, auto-email, MLS consumer website traffic, and, IDX site traffic that – if measured, equates to some significant consumer listing engagement. Under NDA, WAV Group has seen some of the early reports where ListTrac is installed, and the traffic is huge. Mid-sized MLS are sending out 6 million consumer emails every month at 80% open rates. MLSs have significant daily traffic and listing impression numbers. ListTrac pulls all of that data together so sales associates and brokers can include that information along with portal traffic in telling a seller how their listing is being marketed. I have not noticed any other ListTrac press releases, but I know that they are installed in a few markets because we have reviewed the reports. The console operates in real time – which is surprising. I am interested to see how consumers react when they see how much marketing is being done in the MLS and IDX sites. Listhub has been doing a great job of reporting on syndication sites. I am not sure if Listhub has been installed into any MLS system. I think that they are installed in piecemeal fashion on broker sites. Onboard tested the thesis that ListTrac is delivering in MRED a few years ago.  From what I have seen so far, this product has some strong legs. Time will tell…. Press Release follows: -New Capabilities Help REALTORS® Measure and Report on the Effectiveness of IDX, MLS, and Syndication Marketing  SAN DIEGO, CALIF., August 12, 2014 – The Greater Alabama MLS and Birmingham Association of REALTORS® have entered into an agreement to provide ListTrac™ as a member benefit to their broker and agent subscribers. With this new service, the Greater Alabama MLS will be monitoring and measuring engagement every place a listing is viewed by a REALTOR® or a consumer. Greater Alabama is joining a handful of other leading MLS in America who are pioneering this effort to improve the management of listing data online. “As online advertising […]

{ 3 comments }

Your Spam Filter May Be a Lead Source

by Victor Lund on July 23, 2014

Leads sometimes come from humans. That’s a light joke. The point it is that when technology companies test lead capture and routing systems, they typically test them with stock lead content. Unfortunately, many real human leads do not contain stock text. Real humans write real questions and sometimes use language that may not be white listed for your spam filter. **It happens! One of the good ways to check your lead generation and delivery engine is to compare reports. Look at the lead reports that you get from publishers like Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com or Homes.com. Look at them carefully and pull a sample set of the leads and check your lead delivery tool to see if they made it through.  Every broker I speak to tells me that the leads reported from publishers are always higher than the portals’ lead count in the broker’s back office system. Where did the leads go? They probably went into the spam filter. In January of 2014, WAV Group released what is believed to be the largest study of lead responsiveness : If you did not get a chance to read it – please do. http://waves.wavgroup.com/2014/01/13/agent-responsiveness-study-reveals-critical-flaws-in-real-estate-lead-response/. The observations are pretty bleak. 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to Average response time was over 15 hours. Could the spam problem really be that big? Probably not, but it may be significant in your business. Check your spam filter to find out. You may realize that your spam filter has a bunch of leads in it. When you find false positives in your spam filter, it is important to train the filter to let those emails through. One broker we know took the drastic measure of blocking email from a company that was pounding their agents with sales and marketing information. When they did that, they did not realize that they would also be compromising or blocking all of the leads from that company. OOPS! Brokers are becoming more and more like technology companies every day. Keeping pace in this ever changing world requires that brokers have a good understanding of how technology works – or employ staff or advisors that do. If you are lacking this in your business, you better consider a plan to fill that void sooner rather than later. Somehow I don’t think that technology is going away anytime soon. p.s. be sure to test leads generated on company listings and […]

{ 0 comments }

Video Marketing – Becoming Mainstream

by Marilyn Wilson on May 7, 2014

With all the marketing tools at your disposable, what should you use to stand out from the competition? Staying ahead of the curve allows you to maximize your marketing ROI and attract new clients. We are all looking for the secret sauce – the way to differentiate our business from the pack and gain a strong leadership position that none of our competitors will ever be able to match. While we can dream, we can never realize this goal unless we continually look for ways to re-invent our business. To be a star in real estate, we always need to be evolving to stay ahead of the competition.  If we simply rely on using the same tools and processes we always have used in the past, our chances of becoming a star are pretty limited. If you take nothing else away from this paper, learn from one of the greatest life coaches of all – Stephen Covey. He said, “Whatever you focus on you will get.”  If we simply focus on the day-to-day issues and never step back and look for big leaps of innovation and breakthrough thinking, our business will never change. In fact, it will probably continue to weaken over time. So, if you want to grow your business and improve your position in the market in 2014 you should read on. WAV Group recently published a paper called Video Marketing: The Secret to More Effective Lead Generation. This paper outlines a simple but extremely important trend you must address in your business if you are going to be successful over the long run.  You must tap into a very important consumer behavior that grows exponentially every year – watching videos. It’s so simple yet so foreign to many in the real estate business. It’s time to start engaging and captivating your audience with video – they are waiting for it. Did you know that 89 million people today in the United States are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos (ComScore)? That’s nearly 1 in 3 people in the United States. In case you haven’t built a mobile strategy yet, here’s a fact that should open up your eyes. Online video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic and up to 69% of traffic on certain networks (Bytemobile Mobile Analytics Report). Want your property marketing to go viral? Video is a great way to get lots […]

{ 10 comments }

Value of Buyers Agent Diminishing, Study Reveals

by Marilyn Wilson on April 25, 2014

WAV Group has had the pleasure of working with the Houston Association of REALTOR®’s Consumer Research Panel for over a year now. The panel has helped the organization uncover many meaningful insights that have helped share technology strategies, advocacy efforts and educational efforts. Today, the Houston Association of REALTORS® released the findings of their “DIY: Do It Yourself” consumer research panel study. The purpose of the study was to gauge how important Houston area consumers feel agents are to the transaction.  The survey, which was fielded to the 7,000 consumers that are now a part of the industry’s largest consumer panel, highlights the differences between those that are in the buying process versus selling process, as well the differences between generations. Here are some key findings: Consumers value the need for a REALTOR® when they are selling their home versus when they are buying a home. 66% of those surveyed believe they can find a home without an agent. When it comes to the logistics of executing a transaction, however, consumers still want to turn to an agent for guidance and advice. Today, third party sites like HAR.com, Zillow, Trulia and others are used by just about EVERY demographic except those born in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  These sites have transcended all ages. Only 4% of all respondents will find an agent first before beginning the search for a home. Home buying criteria differs by generation. Neighborhood and affordability are key factors for Millennials, but older respondents emphasize first finding the right home and then looking at affordability. HAR’s most recent consumer research panel affirms that sellers are more reliant on agents in the total process than buyers. Nearly ¾ of the respondents feel it would take longer to sell their home with out the assistance of an agent.   They believe the ability to tap into the agent’s network of contacts and exposure to all agents within the local MLS is crucial to the sales process along with the agent’s ability to negotiate the right price for them. Comparable and market analysis completed by the agent is crucial to the selling process, according to the respondents. Every MLS and every broker should offer their agents an easy way to provide easy to understand and graphically rich market stats. REALTORS® have an opportunity to engage with consumers before they list their home since 58% consult their agent about repairs that need […]

{ 1 comment }

WAV Group partner Victor Lund is pleased to release the results of our recent survey to measure what technologies brokers have adopted and how satisfied they are with each. The survey also measured how likely a firm is to replace a technology supplier in 2014. In order to understand how technology plays a role by size of firm, answers were collected in ten groups ranging from firms with 1-9 agents to firms with more than 1500 agents. This report is provided to the industry with our compliments. WAV Group performs this type of research across the real estate industry to inform its clients on trends and patterns that are likely impacting the performance of their business. This research also supports WAV Group’s business modeling and strategic planning services. If you have any questions about this research or would like to share this research with others, do not hesitate to reach out to Victor Lund.   Download the complete Broker Technology Adoption and Satisfaction Study here!    

{ 7 comments }

A Potential New Role for the MLS

by Marilyn Wilson on March 13, 2014

The home buying process and obtaining a mortgage are inextricably linked. The Mortgage industry has been pushed to the forefront by the recent mortgage crisis, marked by unprecedented rates of loan delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures.  Recent studies on this topic cite various causes, including risky product offerings, economic conditions, a housing price bubble, adverse selection, and questionable marketing practices Today, MLS organizations are positioned to play a much broader role through their network of subscribers to leverage technology to make the process of buying and selling a home much more efficient and effective. Some of the most innovative MLS organizations provide their subscribers with a tool that educates homebuyers on home affordability working in conjunction with their members’ lender(s) of choice. MLSs need to continually reinvent themselves, serving the needs of large and small brokers, top Producers and part time REALTORS® alike.  They need to serve a spectrum of needs without demonstrating bias to any of their customer segments. MLSs can provide support to their subscribers beyond the property database. WAV Group has drafted a white paper outlining the potential for MLSs to expand their relevance, especially for top producers by finding ways to encourage clients to pre-qualify for a mortgage before working with a REALTOR®.  Click here to download the paper.  The paper outlines a new method to expand the value of the MLS WITHOUT leveling the playing field. The Difficulty of Securing a Mortgage In today’s regulation-heavy marketplace it has become more and more difficult for consumers to secure a mortgage.  According to NAR’s 2013 Home Buyers and Sellers Survey, nearly 9 out of 10 homebuyers are financing their home with a mortgage.  Nearly 100% of all first time homebuyers finance their home purchase with a mortgage. Download the full paper HERE!

{ 0 comments }

A new whitepaper reveals that failure to respond to leads in a timely manner is a major problem for many real estate professionals. The whitepaper is the result of the collaboration between partners at leading consulting firm WAV Group and Weichert Lead Network, the Internet lead generation arm of Weichert, Realtors.It goes as far as finding out that some agents would prefer to buy 1 million youtube views for their listings rather than employ new people to speed up response time. What they uncovered was remarkable and could help real estate professionals achieve new levels of service and prosperity. In the whitepaper, WAV Group details lead responsiveness results from a sample of 384 different brokers across 11 states. Researchers posed as consumers and inquired about listings on broker websites, Zillow.com, Realtor.com, and Trulia.com. They found that: 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to. Average number of call back attempts after the initial contact was 1.5 Average number of email contact attempts was 2.07 Average response time was 917 minutes (or 15.29 hours) Victor Lund, partner at WAV Group explains, “These numbers reveal a staggering failure of real estate professionals to serve the consumer. But this failure actually represents an important opportunity. If brokers and agents take steps to rectify this problem, and respond more effectively to consumers, they are opening the door to a great increase in revenue.” As previously mentioned, the research began as an effort to help one company, Weichert Lead Network, understand how they were performing. But in order to understand their effectiveness, they needed a benchmark. Because so few companies are comparable to Weichert in size or leads generated, WAV Group needed to create a sample group from the industry as a whole. They chose listings only in states where Weichert also has a presence. In addition to illuminating the industry’s failings, the results also demonstrated Weichert’s success: Number of leads generated by Weichert per month: 60,663 Percent of buyers responded to: 100% Average response time: 3 minutes Number of follow-up attempts: 5-11 Number of referrals per year: 301,772 “Even as Weichert Lead Network’s contact center allows us to respond to Internet inquiries within minutes, the study results will be eye opening for many,” says Michael Montsko, president of Weichert Lead Network. “The industry as a whole does a poor job responding to Internet inquiries and managing Internet leads, but fortunately there is much room […]

{ 5 comments }

It’s Time to Re-invent the Search

by Marilyn Wilson on September 10, 2013

There’s a fundamental problem in the real estate business today. Since time immemorial real estate ‘searches’ have utilized a property-centric approach that ignores the other 50 percent of the business: the buyers. In the real estate industry, we focus so much on displaying listings hoping to attract a buyer without spending nearly enough time and resources to analyze and understand the market segment that are the drivers of the purchase. This is also symptomatic of the industry’s fundamental focus on the needs of agents, not consumers. Doesn’t it make more sense to focus on the needs of the consumer? The marketplace has made a plethora of search tools available just about everywhere for consumers. In fact, 96 percent of buyers search multiple websites before contacting an agent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Fundamentally, this is why the process is called “house hunting”–buyers are forced to search, filter and pull properties “off the rack.” Property search provides a shotgun approach to exposure. It may sound good in a listing presentation to say, “I’m placing this on 300 websites,” but how does this process in any way help match agents with new, active and revised listings with “real” buyers that are Willing, Able and Ready (WAR)? This approach seems fundamentally wrong. Click here to download the complete white paper that fleshes out a whole new way to look at search. Drowning in a Tidal Wave of Internet Leads According to the public statements of leading consumer real estate portals, there are over 50 million consumers that simply like to search property sites each month to see what their next door neighbor’s house may be worth, dream about retirement or a move to a bigger home, or to simply look for home improvement ideas. These “voyeurs” have no intention of buying a home anytime soon, yet via lead management systems, they contact agents and soak up productive time best invested in working with “WAR” leads. All of this leads to a VERY unproductive Internet lead conversion rate. Numerous industry studies show that 95 percent to 99 percent of the “leads” generated online will never close. According to evaluations we have done on behalf of some of our clients, most homes are getting less than one click-through per month and even fewer legitimate property inquiries. Is property search, as we know it, dead? The 2009 Swanepoel Trends Report addressed this same question […]

{ 2 comments }

Call for MLS Technology Survey Participants

by Mike Audet on August 15, 2013

WAV Group will be fielding the third annual WAV Group MLS Technology survey in September.  We are inviting all MLSs to take part.  This is a free, non-sponsored survey we provide for the benefit of the industry.  The more participation we have the more valuable the data will be for everyone. There is no cost to participate. Each participating MLS will in turn receive three reports: National Results for all MLSs Your Vendor Specific Results (i.e., All results from users of MLXchange); Your MLS Member results in a system generated report Your MLS will receive the reports prior to the NAR national conference in November.  Survey Objectives The objective of the annual MLS Technology Survey is to provide a high level comparative satisfaction rating of the MLS technology used in our industry. The report will also provide you trending information from year to year in regards to this technology.  Surveys should never be the basis for choosing a MLS vendor and system but should be used as part of your overall due diligence and strategic planning. Survey Design In 2012 we had over 75 MLSs participating with over 15,000 agents completing surveys.  In 2013 we expect to have even more participants.  The WAV Group survey, from its inception, has always measured both staff ratings and user ratings. Staff MLS Ratings: Your MLS staff work with vendors and systems on a completely different level than the general members.  Staff insight is crucial to understanding how vendors are to work with, how quickly they respond to issues, how well they provide general support, and how they respond to feature requests. Member MLS Ratings: Members, will rate the MLS system on usability, and the features and functions they use every day in their real estate practice.  Our survey only collects ratings from those that use the specific features and functions being rated and all questions in the survey are role appropriate. Choosing a MLS Vendor and System Reviewing MLS vendor options is a complex process.  Surveys are a valuable tool to be used as one component in the process, however, they should never be used as the sole basis for making a vendor selection. WAV Group assists MLSs each year in evaluating MLS technology from a full RFP process to Technology Updates.  If you would like more information on our MLS technology evaluation and selection processes please contact us at mailto:mike@wavgroup.com or call […]

{ 0 comments }

Page 1 of 3123