Technology

MLS and Association consolidation has delivered a path to solve many problems for Realtors® and brokers operating in markets where there is overlapping market disorder. With the exception of the San Francisco Bay Area, most large NFL cities have removed the need for Realtors® and brokers to subscribe to multiple MLSs, pay duplicate fees for MLS services, and manage listings in multiple systems. There are plenty of markets that should continue to purse consolidation discussions, but by and large, the MLS industry is on the right track and that is cause for celebration. However, real estate forms continue to be cloistered by the same antiquated policies that listings faced a decade ago. It’s time to rethink forms licensing to Realtors® and brokers, and for the betterment of serving consumers through the transaction process. We call for a standard license agreement and data standard that allows all transaction management systems to integrate Association, MLS and Broker forms with “live” data that can be, with the broker or agent’s opt-in permission, securely shared across software applications. Where Forms Come From When WAV Group works with brokerage firms to integrate their transaction workflow across multiple markets of Associations and MLSs, the first question we address is “Who is the forms provider?” It’s a difficult question to answer because “it depends.” Forms come from multiple sources in each marketplace. The State Association of REALTORS® The best news for Realtors® is that, for the most part, real estate transaction forms are available through a branch of the National Association of REALTORS®. Typically, there are forms that are crafted by State Associations of REALTORS® that cover the buyer and seller representation agreements and contracts for most transactions. To some degree, there are also a number of common disclosure documents that are applicable statewide. The State Association normally includes the forms license costs in member dues, contributing an enormous value for membership in the REALTOR® Association. These forms are copyright protected by the State Association. The value of the forms needed for a single transaction more than justify Association membership. The Local Association of REALTORS® Before the digital age, Realtors® would drive to the local Association of REALTORS® to pick up their forms packet for a transaction. The local Association was in the printing business. It is important to understand that this was a key source of revenue to the local Association (along with lock boxes and […]

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FBS Acquires Solid Earth

by Kevin Hawkins on December 4, 2017

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

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

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Can You Get Protection Against Cyber Fraud?

by Marilyn Wilson on November 6, 2017

Why Cyber Insurance? With the costs associated with running a business continuing to escalate, additional expenses are hard to justify. Cyber insurance is one of those costs most businesses will gamble on and decide to throw the dice to remove it from the expense sheet. A PWC white paper says that cyber insurance premiums will reach $7.5 billion dollars by 2020. It further says that “cyber-crime costs the global economy more the $400 billion dollars a year”. This is big money and it will only continue to intensify over time. When evaluating the risk associated with systems being compromised by brute force and phishing attacks, cyber insurance can mitigate cost exposure for a business. Remember, it is no longer if, but when your system will be compromised. The cyber thieves have found a nice ‘honey hole’ to phish, in real estate and title companies. They will continue to phish because it has been a very lucrative endeavor. To gain understanding of what happens when there has been one incident of a compromised system by a phishing campaign, read on! The costs for a breached account can spiral quickly. The first expense is to perform a computer forensic analysis. Computer forensic analysis determines how the cyber thieves initially gained access, how far into the system they gained access to, and how broadly and deeply the exposure is of the compromised system. One computer has a potential cost exposure of between $10-$20k. Let’s assume the computer and the compromised account had Personal Identifiable Information (PII) available for access. Evidence of breached PII requires that the account and computer be scanned to determine the breadth of information that could be accessed. It doesn’t even matter if the cyber thieves didn’t access the PII. It is assumed that since they gained system access, they did obtain PII. Add another $20-$30k. If the PII in the compromised system is in a PDF file as a rasterized image, the forensic company has to manually read the file and record the contact of the PII. Why? There are legal and regulatory actions necessary, requiring companies to notify anyone who’s PII has been compromised stating that their personal information may have been accessed by unauthorized personnel. How many documents are in PDF format in your company? Add another $25-35k. Attorneys are needed throughout the entire process to assist in documenting the procedures to identify PII and guide companies […]

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