Suveys and Research

Results From Real Estate’s First HyperLocal Survey

by Kevin Hawkins on December 13, 2017

Hyperlocal

WAV Group and other consumer research have consistently shown that buyers want neighborhood expertise above all else. It’s more important to consumers than an agent’s ability to negotiate or communicate. It’s often even more important to consumers than trust. So you would think that the most common agent business model would be designed to exploit that opportunity, right? But you would be wrong. Yet if you ask agents, they will tell you they indeed have deep local expertise – often they see themselves as being the “top” local expert. But if you look at what they do in their day-to-day business, they certainly don’t market their business or themselves that way. That’s some of the findings of the first-ever Hyperlocal real estate study WAV Group recently conducted for Colorado based technology firm, zavvie. The headline for the survey could very well read: “Agents, teams and brokers say one thing, do another.” Importance of HyperLocalism WAV Group found that a stunning 95% of agents, teams and broker-owners and real estate exes say local market knowledge is either “Very Important” or “Extremely Important” to their consumer clients. Two-in-three say it is “Extremely Important.” Hornung, CEO and Co-founder of zavvie, points out that real estate pros by and large are just are not making HyperLocal marketing a priority, despite all the research that shows how important it is to the consumers. Hornung explains that HyperLocal agents and teams focus their marketing activities specifically on a neighborhood or group of neighborhoods, which Hornung says is generally 3,000 homes or about 10,000 people. But only about 1 in 8 agents actually say they specialize in neighborhoods. “In fact, the study found that most real estate professionals are doing the exact opposite of HyperLocal marketing: they are casting the largest net, trying to throw draw their marketing circle as broad as possible,” Hornung points out. Not Really Local The study found that more than 60% of individual agents and 65% of teams say they “specialize” in a large regional or metro area. That’s like saying you “specialize” in collecting transportation or cars, versus rare Ferraris. “You can’t even specialize in a city or a town – its just too big of an area, geographically to be a ‘go-to expert’ that knows every single home in that size of a market. Yet that’s what folks were claiming,” says Stefan Peterson, COO of zavvie. There really is “a […]

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Study Says Longer Tweets are Better

by Victor Lund on December 13, 2017

Twitter for real estate is a curious strategy. There was quite a bit of discussion about Twitter in some of the Facebook groups that I am in. #thatsfunny. In all seriousness, when WAV Group evaluates the effectiveness of social media marketing and advertising (those are two different things), the numbers prove out that Facebook is far more effective in every matrix of reporting. The data suggests that Facebook is core, Twitter is niche. If you do market on Twitter as part of your surround sound system, you likely already know that Twitter extended the number of characters from the old 140 to the new, abundant 280. A study published by SocialFlow outlines the following results from their research: Average Clicks – This is interesting. If your Twitter strategy is to get people to click though to your website – the number of characters in your post does not really matter. Their article publishing the research tells us that they evaluated 30,000 publisher tweets. I have no clue what the 94.46 means – but that is certainly not the click though rate! Suffice it to say that the click through rate does not seem to vary in relation to the longer or shorter tweets. Retweets did show a significant increase in engagement. Looks like the publishers in the study were doubling the number of retweets. This is great news for the ability to extend your messaging beyond your group of followers and reach their followers. Think “new business.” Average Likes – Who does not like to see the love from the followers you have on Twitter? The good news is that the more you say, the more your followers like you. Although not quite as significant as the enhanced performance found with retweets, the number of followers that will like your posts jumps up dramatically. To be sure – Twitter made a good decision in extending the number of characters from 140 to 280. Now your opportunity is to learn how to tweet in the extended format to improve your online effectiveness. Twitter is not for everyone, but plenty of people are into it – mostly media, marketing, and technology folks. We find this to be a particularly effective way to develop relationships with local journalists. Remind your PR folks! disclaimer – Facebook is a WAV Group client – Twitter is not. @victorlund

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

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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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Announcing WAV Group’s 2017 MLS Services and Support Survey

by Marilyn Wilson on September 6, 2017

WAV Logo

It is critical that every MLS continually evaluate its technology service offerings and support provided.  WAV Group would like to provide a FREE service to the industry to evaluate the current state of MLS services and support available today. WAV Group would like to invite our readers to participate in our upcoming nationwide MLS Services and Support Survey.  As in past years, the WAV Group survey will measure awareness, adoption and attitudes about the services and support offered by MLS organizations throughout the United States. As in past years, the WAV Group annual survey will measure the attitudes of MLS leadership and staff as well as daily practitioners and users of MLS services.  We believe that it is critical to understand the feedback and insights of both of these important groups. Results of the FREE Survey will be shared with the industry. Individual market results will also be shared with participating MLS organizations as requested. If you would like to participate in the survey, please register here and we’ll contact you with the details. Thanks so much for your participation! CLICK HERE to register:

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How Will You Expand in 2017?

by Victor Lund on January 3, 2017

Businesses have a simple strategy – MORE! If you are brokerage, you want more revenue. To get more revenue you need more transactions. If you want more transactions, you need more productivity per agent, or more agents. If you are an MLS or a technology company, you want more subscribers. More, More, More. The problem with more is that it typically does not involve listening to your current customers. In real estate, that means listening to customers. WAV Group is always astounded at the lack of focus groups and customer surveys in our industry. To our knowledge, we are the only consulting firm that specializes in customer research. On any given month, we are running about 10 research projects. That seems like a lot, but given that there are hundreds of MLSs, hundreds of technology vendors, and hundreds of brokers – we arrive at the consensus that the real estate industry is not listening to its customers very well. The McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish A classic business story comes from McDonalds. They are a huge research company. They never guess and do not make decisions without asking customers and testing their food. Makes sense right? They are an example of how to listen. Back in the 1960s, McDonalds noticed sales numbers went down on Fridays. They talked to their customers and quickly learned that Catholics eat fish on Fridays – so McDonalds was a hook with no bait on Fridays. They decided to sell the Filet-o-Fish on Fridays and as you know – it remains on the menu today as a result of the success. Survey and Focus Group Research Survey and focus group research should be part of your annual budget. It is something that you can do yourself, but if you do not have the skills to know how to build surveys, test surveys, and build survey reports – you may have less success than you expect. The same is true of Focus Groups. These disciplines are sciences. A number of companies will hire a firm like WAV Group to do the work the first time, and rinse and repeat in successive years to benchmark improvements. The important thing here is that you know your limitations and seek support if research is not your people’s strength.  Incidentally, be mindful that your customers will tell independent researchers things that they do not want to tell you directly. Truly great leaders are […]

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Is Data Sharing Still a Viable Option?

by Marilyn Wilson on September 14, 2016

Iphone Holding Hands

The world we operate in is getting smaller and more connected every day. Now that the real estate market is solid again, brokerages are reaching out and expanding into new markets.  Consumers are getting more sophisticated and expect their agents to be able to provide them access to all listings in their region. Homebuyers don’t care that there may be more than one MLS in the region where they live. They just want ALL of the listings available in their area from their agent. WAV Group thought it would be interesting to take a look at the state of data sharing today.  Due to increased focus on consolidation opportunities, data sharing has not gotten as much press recently as it has in the past, but there are many regions where it is alive and well and solving important business challenges.  Many of our MLS/Association clients are considering data sharing initiatives so we thought it might be helpful to interview those that are already involved in data shares to help future data sharing programs. Check out the attached white paper WAV Group 2016 State of Data Sharing reviewing the latest trends in data sharing.

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CRM Impact on Recruiting and Retaining Agents

by Victor Lund on June 27, 2016

WAV Group has deep experience supporting real estate brokers on the selection and adoption of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for their agents. Sometimes the best business strategy is a simple one. All research points out that successful real estate agents have 500 or more legitimate prospects in their CRM and they actively communicate with those prospects with a customer for life philosophy. Bearing this in mind, a broker or manager can better understand customer value of agent recruiting and retention. If you have been in the industry a long time, you may know the story of Intero Real Estate in Silicon Valley. They worked with a company to build a CRM that became the cornerstone of their business. They used it to recruit like crazy from Alain Pinel and Coldwell Banker and became one of the largest brokerage firms in America under the leadership of Gino Belfari. Granted, having an agent CRM is a requirement for brokerages today, and Mr. Belfari and his partners built the business on far more than a piece of technology. But this is an iconic story that shows the representational value of implementing CRM successfully in a brokerage and the resulting value of how agents using CRM leads to customer development, customer retention, and long term success.   Agent Experience Demographics Recently, we have begun to create three categories of agents: New Colonists, Old Colonists, and Native Loyalists. The New Colonists – Those who have been in real estate less than six years and at the brokerage less than six years. The Old Colonists – Those who have been in real estate more than six years, but who are relatively new to the brokerage. The Native Loyalists – Those who are well experienced in real estate with over seven years of experience and who have also been at the brokerage more than six years. Interestingly enough, we have begun to use this methodology with all of our enterprise software adoption research. As it turns out, year six seems to have a material breakpoint in terms of behavior. At year six, the agent is experienced and routine in their behavior. Changing behavior for people who have been in real estate for less than six years is very different than changing behavior for professionals who have been working in the industry for more than six years. More importantly, it is vital to communicate differently to these groups. […]

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RESO

COMPLETE THE SURVEY NOW The Real Estate Standards Organization, RESO, has been hard at work creating consistent data across MLS regions and across the country by creating the RESO Data Dictionary.  To date 1.1 mm agents across the country now have access to RESO Data Dictionary thanks to the hard work of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, The Realty Alliance, NAR, MLS system providers and MLSs across the country. This normalized data built from years of work with technology leaders from around the industry is being used to fuel Upstream, Broker Public Portal (Homesnap) and the AMP program.  RESO standards are making it easier for brokers to expand into new markets and to work with innovative technology providers. WAV Group, along with RESO and its industry Ambassadors, is very interested in learning more about the challenges you and your brokerage face with data management today and what RESO can do to aid in your challenges.  We would like to gather insights from you as a broker about RESO and candid feedback about the challenges you deal with when trying to ingest and manage MLS data. If you can spare about 5 minutes we would love to get your input! If you are a broker interested in completing the survey, CLICK HERE! If you are an MLS interested in distributing to your brokers, CLICK HERE! If you would like to learn more about RESO and how you can be involved, contact Marilyn@wavgroup.com.

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Using Market Data to Drive Media Coverage

by Steve Cook on March 22, 2016

real estate data drive news

Are you getting published in your local media? Is your firm shaping the way opinion leaders and real estate consumers view critical issues in your housing market Associations, MLSs, and brokerages have access to the best local data ever available on trends in their local markets. Sales, prices, inventories, time on market—every day real estate professionals interpret these and other data to win the confidence of their customers and clients. You have a significant opportunity to turn market data into news that attracts business and establishes credibility. National data services like RealtyTrac and CoreLogic as well as sites like Realtor.com, Zillow and Redfin have perfected the practice of building awareness by creating news from their data. As a result, it is easier for consumers to track the non-existent “national” real estate market than their local marketplace. They are hungry for a better understanding of current trends where they live. Market trends aren’t always positive. Lower sales, falling prices, distress sales and tight inventories are part of the real estate business, but they can also generate negative coverage. If you are a credible source and on top of the market, you can mitigate potentially damaging data by putting it into perspective. Remember, the market is always working to someone’s advantage. Lower prices advantage buyers and first time home buyers. Distressed sales create opportunities for property management and investors. Tight inventories drive consumers to sign up with brokers for new listing notifications. Great communications programs highlight the good in everything. Your communications staff or PR firm can help you create news from local market trends, or you can turn to WAV Group Communications to create an effective communications program for your market. Below is an example of how we might handle one of the hottest stories in real estate—chronically low inventories: February Housing Market is Shaping up to be the Sellers’ Market of a Decade February home sales were stronger than normal as demand continued to reduce the average time that houses are selling in Ourtown, according to the latest data available to XYZ Realty. Lower inventories of homes for sale could reflect a national pattern that is creating unusual opportunities for sellers as the spring buying season opens. Sales rose 2 percent from January and now are running 5 percent higher than they were a year ago. New listings also increased 6 percent, but total homes for sale are still below […]

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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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Last Call For WAV Group 2013 MLS Technology Survey

by Mike Audet on September 10, 2013

If you haven’t already signed up this is your last chance to have your MLS participate in the WAV Group 2013 MLS Technology Survey. Last year we had 75 MLSs participate with over 15,000 agents and staff taking part. This year we expect to have even more participate. Three Free Reports For Participating National Roll-up Report Every MLS that participates will receive the national roll up report, which provides a summary of the overall findings for all of the vendors reviewed. This will include comparisons to results in 2012, what users and staff like most about each system as well as what they are looking to improve. These is “must have” information for any MLS. Your Vendor Report The second report is a roll-up of results nationwide for your particular vendor. This report aggregates the results of all the survey respondents who use the same MLS vendor and system you use. Your Member Report New this year, we are providing a free system report, which will show the results of the survey just for your members. This system generated report will include charts for all rating questions and you will also see the verbatim responses from your members for all open end questions. Survey Launch Survey launch instructions will be sent to all participating MLSs next week for distribution to staff and membership. The survey will run for a minimum of two weeks. Our plan is to have the results for all participating MLSs prior to the NAR Conference in San Francisco. To Participate To sign up to participate in the WAV Group 2013 MLS Technology Survey email us at mike@wavgroup.com, or jenna@wavgroup.com. If you have any questions feel free to call us at 716-839-4628.                    

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Product Overview of BombBomb for Real Estate VMail

by Victor Lund on August 28, 2013

BombBomb is a video mail program. You can record yourself talking on your computer or mobile device and send that recording as an email. It is a streaming email, so you are not sending a large file. Beyond vMail, BombBomb allows you to vLog or video blog. You can publish the recordings you make in newsletters, on your blog, website, or social media page. Suffice it to say, once the video is created, you can ship it anywhere. Using BombBomb for the first time was quick and easy. I entered a little bit of profile information and was off creating my first video within less than a minute. However, there are a few areas where I believe there could be improvement. The good news is that they are all very fixable. Suggestion 1: Don’t Change My Password – When I registered it asked me for my password. In the registration email confirmation, there was a password which was system generated that I did not set up. Suggestion 2. Promote the Mobile App – I feel like vMail is something that is more impactful and more efficient on mobile. I would rather talk into my phone than try to type – especially when I am on the go. None of the registration pages or confirmation emails mentioned anything about support for iPhone, Android, or Windows Mobile. Fixing this is a simple matter of dropping in some icons and linking those icons to the application stores. Suggestion 3. Contact Sync – Once I set up my account, I would expect to be taken directly to add contacts. They do support uploading a CSV file – but agents will not do that unless they have a burning desire to adopt vMail or vlogging. Even those that do will be constantly challenged to keep contact records in both places. As a company that consults with enterprise business, I would tell you that without Gmail Contact Sync and Microsoft Exchange Sync, it would not be licensed for all agents. Again, this is not heavy lifting for any skilled development team, so I would expect that BombBomb may be able to add this functionality inside of a month or two. My guess about the reason that they do not do contact sync is because they bill by the number of contacts you add, which I believe is a mistake. I would counsel them to bill on […]

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Top 5 Ways to Become More Relevant with Consumer Research

by Marilyn Wilson on August 16, 2013

The real estate industry suffers from what I call the “lowest common denominator” phenomenon. Every one of the business models in the industry – associations, MLSs and brokerages are built on attracting and retaining as many agents as possible.   Many real estate entities collect monies every month from every participant – regardless of their productivity.  While these models each have their own reasons to exist, they have created a major problem in my view.  Real estate organizations are so busy attracting sales professionals that many ignore the needs of the most important group – the customer. It’s no wonder that the real estate industry focuses mainly on the needs of agents – every business model depends on them.  The problem is this focus has distracted us away from paying attention to the real drivers of the industry – consumers. We forget that without them we will have no business.   They decide what inventory levels will be available in a market. They decide when supply will exceed demand and when prices will increase because of a buying frenzy.  The economy sets the stage for buying behaviors, but consumers ultimately decide how healthy the real estate market is going to be. I believe it’s time for our industry to expand its focus beyond agents and start thinking about the needs of consumers.   When I say this in meetings, some people respond to me politely and say, “Yes, I get that the consumer is important, but ultimately my business depends on agents. I need to consider their needs first and foremost. If I don’t I will lose them and they will move to a different brokerage or they switch to a new association or worse yet, they may leave the REALTOR® family completely.” I really believe it’s time for us to get over this outdated perspective. Let’s look at what our ignorance of consumer needs has gotten us so far…..anybody remember the Zestimate?   The industry refused to share AVM’s with consumers so they found their solution somewhere else.   How about sold data? There are many MLSs today that refuse to share solds via their IDX feed because agents do not want them to. How crazy is that when solds are available on literally thousands of third party sites today? So how do we avoid the next major faux pas that opens up even more opportunities for every company EXCEPT those in organized real […]

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The Future of Anything

by Victor Lund on May 30, 2013

I would attribute the series of postures on The Future of the MLS to Saul Klein. He may not have been the first to coin the phrase, but he has embraced it and made it his own. It is with due respect that we leave that posturing behind and set forth on a new journey. Our industry is at an inflection point, and my fear is that we are too blinded by current affairs to look beyond the steps in front of us. This morning, I encountered a quote from Antoine de Saint Exupery, a French writer, poet, and aviator who lived from 1900 to 1944. I did not take the time to research the setting for the quote, but it really does not matter because I want to use it to frame a new strategy for our industry leaders. “Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.” I pecked out an industry overview of the governance of MLSs earlier this week. You can view it here if you like. I did not expect the flow of phone calls and emails. Apparently there are only a few people that are keenly aware of how different or fractured the governance of MLSs can be in America. Most brokers did not even know the governance of their MLS. It is a strange fog. Lets turn now to the key insights gathered in the rethink program. rethink is an organized effort to modify strategic planning at NAR. Here are the key insights presented at NAR Mid-year. I will provide commentary through the lens of enabling the future. Restructure Data and MLS Systems National MLS Take back REALTOR.com Be the Source for Big Data It would be a far reach for a trade association to morph itself into a data services company. This is the providence of brokers, not associations. Brokers are the group that need to enable the future of the MLS, online advertising, and big data. I would love to write the action plan for this. By the way – the action plan would likely retain local MLSs and REALTOR.com – but change them. Most MLSs and REALTOR.com have extraordinary talents at providing their services. It would be a mistake to restructure data and MLS systems without retaining the experience and talents of those service providers today. The real restructuring that needs to occur is broker involvement in […]

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I can’t tell you the number of times I have had a conversation with someone in the real estate industry where they tell me that the consumer is NOT their client.  We prefer to think of the agent as the primary audience and simply ignore the fact that agents do not provide the checks. As the saying goes…follow the money…If you want to succeed in real estate, you have to address the needs of those that secure mortgages to buy and sell homes, not simply those that get a commission check from the sale. That seems like a simple concept, doesn’t it?  But a consumer focus simply eludes us in real estate.  Every business model in the industry helps us justify the fact that it is all about the agent.  Associations need members for advocacy so they focus on agents. MLSs need agents to fuel investment in technology so they focus on agents.  Brokers need sales associates and technology fees so they focus their energies on recruiting agents. Is it any wonder that the industry’s reputation with consumers is not as stellar as it could be when we focus more on our own needs than theirs? As many of you know I come from the world of consumer products and I am passionate about trying to change this very dangerous and potentially lethal belief system we cling to. It’s more than time for us to open up our eyes and realize that when you ignore the needs of the buying public, it’s only a matter of time before you get replaced….Oh wait, isn’t that already happening?  When you ask consumers what brand they think of when you say real estate they say Zillow.  When you ask consumers where to find an agent they tell you Yelp. We’re already losing a ton of ground because we refuse to believe that the needs of the consumer have to be considered and responded to, even when their requests are uncomfortable to us. Why does Zillow exist? Because the industry refused to provide AVM’s. Why does Yelp exist?  Because we believe consumers are not well-equipped to provide feedback on the transaction so why give them any transparency into customer feedback from past transactions? So what do we do to change this life-threatening trend? Well here’s one small step that brokerages, associations and MLSs can take on to begin to stem the tide of this […]

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RENTAL CYCLE

If you visit any of the large third party property search sites today you will see a significant focus on the rental market. In most cases, rentals are now getting just as much focus as residential sales.  A few months ago Zillow purchased Rentjuice again underlines the growing importance of the rental market. They paid $16mm for the company to take advantage of its younger, renter focused 2.8 million viewers. Zillow, once again, is closely watching what real estate consumers are looking for.  They are addressing their needs with an aggressive push into the rentals space and are WAY ahead of brokers and MLSs in the rental space. MLSs and Brokers historically have not paid that much attention to rentals because the commission rates are much lower and the offers for cooperation and compensation are much more muddy.  That’s starting to change among the most progressive MLSs, however. Utahrealestate.com, for example, has launched their own rental site, Propertypond.com. The Houston Association of REALTORS® recently completed a study that clearly demonstrates the need for every Association and MLS to quickly embrace the rental market to help their subscribers take advantage of this important consumer trend. Through the industry’s first dedicated consumer research panel, made up local Houston residents, HAR conducted a study to find out more about the rental phenomenon in their market. The study revealed some astounding results. Historically, the real estate industry has thought of rentals as a separate process and a separate set of customers from homebuyers.  According to the study, this is simply not true. Nearly 40% of the respondents to the survey said they had previously owned a home. Second it is clear that a portion of those that were historically committed to home ownership are now moving to rentals because they believe it is more affordable or requires less maintenance and hassle. It appears as though the prestige of homeownership is being eroded at least to some level. Third, conventional wisdom would suggest that renters are generally young people who cannot yet afford to buy a home. While renters do skew younger overall than residential homebuyers, there is a significant portion of renters that are over 45 as well.               Renting is part of a family’s life cycle.  When we’re young and just starting we rent, then we purchase a home to raise a family.  When children grow up […]

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Brokers harvesting business from their data

by Victor Lund on February 25, 2013

WAV Group White Paper - Broker Data

Real estate brokerages are way behind in the curve of excellence in lead management. This report is not about best practices of routing leads to agents, it is focused on measuring lead quality, and appending lead information with business intelligence that will convert more leads to drive more revenue. WAV Group’s brokerage business is focused on enterprise brokers, 500 agents or more – and usually a brokerage that also has some type of relationship with a mortgage or an insurance company. We use the term “home services” or “ancillary services” to refer to a brokerage that provides a full suite of residential, mortgage, and insurance services to the consumer through its enterprise business units. These companies also frequently have a complement of settlement services and home warranty services that may also be offered. Only brokerages that have significant size and offer a suite of home services will have enough data to profit from the harvesting practices outlined in this report. This report illustrates the best data analytic and business intelligences practices by the nation’s largest banks and mortgage companies. Using these examples, we explain how large real estate brokerages with home services offerings can become more competitive and more profitable from adopting these best practices. To access this report, please click this link.

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ListHub’s API and Golden Ruler Report Helps a Broker

by Victor Lund on October 5, 2012

There are all kinds of reasons why a company wants analytics on the performance of their online marketing. Listhub provides this service to brokerages that use their syndication services. The fee for the service is typically just a few dollars per month per agent, but it will track where your listings appear online – for better or for worse. WAV Group has gained an appreciation for the reporting by reviewing MLS level reports that show a federated view of all listings syndicated in the market through Listhub. I will be using these reports in my upcoming talk at the Colorado Association of REALTORS® meetings. They are far more valuable than the small fee charged by Listhub. They inform great decisions about where to send your data, and the effects of online marketing (if any). Listhub offers their syndication services through Franchises – REALOGY, Keller Williams and others have deployed the service. Brookfield uses reDataVault from Real Estate Digital (RED). The Canadian Association of REALTORS® or CREA uses Point2. Here is what I have noticed. For brokers who are part of a Franchise, there are usually preferences to the way that a broker’s listing is displayed. For example, Century 21 Brokers syndicating through the franchise program benefit from not having competitors displayed on their listings, among other privileges like discounts on enhanced listings. For Century 21 Brokers, the Golden Ruler Report is free. Unfortunately, none of these solutions track listings everywhere. For example, the report does not include the number of times a listing was viewed in the MLS, or on another broker’s website, or on the newspaper’s website, or even on the broker’s own website. Listhub and others like Onboard 360 are offering APIs that can be installed on any website. Century 21 Hometown Realty wanted to make the Golden Ruler Report better, so they installed the Listhub API on their Wolfnet website. It is not easy to get a company to put someone else’s code into their product. The Listhub API is a little code snippet that works a little bit like Google Analytics. Every time you ask a website to do something, it adds one more task that slows a website down. Furthermore, there is some remote chance that they can bring the site or even the server down. Let;s just say that Wolfnet did a lot of diligence and testing before they put the Listhub API on […]

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Who Has Better Service – Real Estate or the DMV?

by Marilyn Wilson on August 13, 2012

So here’s a good one for you…isn’t the DMV one of those organizations that everyone just loves to hate?   These bureaucratic organizations have been the brunt of many jokes over the years. They’re known for their rude and inefficient people and processes, right? I say, not so fast, though. We love to criticize them, but guess what?   The DMV in California now sends customer satisfaction surveys out to their recent “guests”.  In the California DMV they have implemented a ticketing system that makes it easy to get in and out of the office quickly. Why?  Because they listened to their customers and responded to their needs? They added a bunch more chairs too! Most importantly, the service levels of their representatives have improved a LOT!  They are pleasant, helpful, courteous and don’t treat you like criminals when you’re getting your license renewed like they used to!  Hats off to the California DMV for getting their act together! Now, if even the DMV can ask for input from their customers, what’s wrong with us in the real estate industry?  We sell something a LOT more valuable than a driver’s license or a boat trailer registration!  Why is it so impossible for us to understand the importance of performance transparency in every other part of our lives except our own backyard! I feel like a broken record about this, sometimes, but I just don’t understand why we find it so hard to understand why consumers want feedback on the sales professional selling them the most important asset in their lives! Come on, team! It’s time to wake up and respond. KUDO’s again to the California Association of REALTORS® for launching REALTOR® Ratings and providing members the opportunity to display results on ratedagent.com .  It’s really helping to bring the “oh so overdue” transparency the home buying consumer has been clamoring for!   This program is proving that better service quality translates into more business!.  The C.A.R. stats say that 83% of customers that have been participated in the REALTOR® Ratings program are satisfied with their agent while the national average is only 52%.  Happy customers equals more commission checks for REALTORS®.  That’s a good thing for everyone! Will you join me in helping our industry to get over its insecurity and ignorance in addressing this very important consumer need?   It’s critical to the long-term survival of our craft!  If we don’t do it, […]

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