Association Executive

Industry Vet Russ Cofano joins eXP Realty

by Marilyn Wilson on July 29, 2016

EXP Realty

We want to congratulate Russ Cofano for his exciting new position at eXp Realty as Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Legal Counsel! I used to have a job as the Chief Strategy Officer when I was at Fisher-Price. It is SUCH a fun position where you can have a real impact on the growth and innovation of a company! Congratulations Russ!  Can’t wait to see what amazing news you bring to the industry in this position!     BELLINGHAM, WA – July 29,  2016 – eXp World Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: EXPI) today announced that industry veteran Russ Cofano has joined the Company as Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel. Cofano brings more than twenty-five-years of industry experience to eXp. He most recently served as senior vice president of industry relations for MOVE, Inc. operator of REALTOR.com® developing strategy and building relationships with the real estate industry’s leading organizations, MLSs and technology companies. Cofano has also served as chief executive officer for the Missouri REALTORS®, the largest trade association in the state of Missouri, and as vice president and general counsel for John L. Scott Real Estate, consistently ranked as one of the largest real estate brokerage companies in the nation. He has also served as an advisor to a number of REALTOR® associations and MLSs and as CEO of a real estate CRM technology company. “I have been looking for ‘the next great opportunity’ within the industry, and I’m certain that I’ve found that opportunity at eXp,” said Cofano.  “Unlike other new entrants, eXp is redefining the brokerage model of the future from within.  Glenn Sanford has assembled a fantastic team and I’m excited to join them and use my various industry experiences to help the company chart its course of success.” “Russ brings a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to the Company from multiple perspectives,” said Company founder and CEO, Glenn Sanford. “We’re fortunate to be able to add Russ to our team and believe he will have an immediate and lasting impact on the Company as we continue to grow.” Contact information for Russ Cofano: russ.cofano@exprealty.com About eXp World Holdings, Inc. eXp World Holdings, Inc. is the holding company for a number of companies most notably eXp Realty LLC, the Agent-Owned Cloud BrokerageTM as a full-service real estate brokerage providing 24/7 access to collaborative tools, training, and socialization for real estate brokers and agents through its 3-D, […]

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Tim Business

AUSTIN, Texas – Aug. 3, 2015 – Today, the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) announced the appointment of Tim Dain as Multiple Listing Service Director. A seasoned MLS executive, Dain brings a unique combination of experience to ABoR, including leading a regional MLS, where he oversaw significant growth for the MLS; working as a REALTOR®, both as an agent and a broker; working in information technology outside the REALTOR® organization; and serving four years in the U.S. military. ABoR CEO Paul Hilgers commented on the announcement, “Tim’s extensive experience in evolving MLS organizations and his industry acumen will be central to helping ABoR deliver even more value to its MLS members. We’re preparing for future growth and I’m fully confident Tim will help take our MLS to the next level.” ABoR retained executive search firm WAV Group, Inc., to assist in finding a new MLS Director. Dain will assume that role on Sept. 8, reporting to CEO Paul Hilgers and working with ABoR’s Board of Directors and committees dedicated to MLS services. Barb Cooper, 2015 ABoR President, said, “We recognize that being aggressive in technology innovation is the best way to serve our members and homeowners in the Austin area. With Tim’s well-rounded experience and track record for successful innovation, we believe he will help us continue to be a leader in MLS services. Prior to accepting this role, Dain was Executive Director of the Southern Illinois Regional MLS. He began work there as Technology Director and was promoted to CEO in less than two years. During his five-year tenure with the organization, Dain was responsible for creating a virtual MLS and helped achieve cost reduction of more than 30 percent while streamlining processes to enhance daily operations and strengthen relationships with participants. He also partnered with the Illinois Association of REALTORS® local government affairs director in utilizing MLS data to enhance political advocacy efforts. Dain is also active in the MLS industry generally, currently serving a member of the executive advisory team for Move, Inc., Dotloop and the interim executive committee for the Broker Public Portal. He has also served on the board of directors for the Council of MLS and as the chairperson for Corelogic Advisory Group. As part of that involvement, Dain was instrumental in Move Inc.’s decision to build FIND™ Mobile, a national mobile MLS application provided for free to any MLS. Prior to his career […]

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Are you Obsolete as a Leader?

by Marilyn Wilson on June 1, 2015

According to NAR’s newly released D.A.N.G.E.R report, one of the threats facing Associations today is the average tenure of its leaders. The report goes on to say that Association leaders run the risk or burn-out and lack of action because they have been at the job too long. While I clearly understand why this one made the list I would also like to make some suggestions about how to deal with the reality of where we are today. If you’re one of those Association Executives or MLS CEO’s that have been in your position for a very long time, here’s a few things for you to consider: Am I still motivated? It’s easy to get burned out when the day to day issues facing Associations and MLS stay relatively consistent. Do you find yourself getting frustrated or worse when a subscriber or board member brings up a topic that has faced the industry for years? Is your first reaction to think or even say “we tried that 7 years ago and it didn’t work” or “why would we do that” or “my brokers drive me crazy” or “why don’t agents just pay attention?” Am I staying up to date? While the basic premise of Associations and MLSs has stayed the same for many years, external and internal industry forces are in play changing the game regularly. Since January of this year, the pace of change has never been higher. Between Zillow, AMP, Broker Public Portal, Upstream, RESO, IDX Changes, and the CFPB (and these are just the big topics from inside the industry), the world we operate in is changing radically. Are you taking the time to get up to speed and importantly embrace the changes coming our way? Are you leading efforts with your boards to carefully think through these topics and provide meaningful and proactive solutions to our members? Do I consider the needs of ALL of our customers? Today, every organization in real estate has a LOT of audiences to address. If you think that the only group that matters is agents you are gravely mistaken. Every Association needs to have deep engagements with its brokers, technology partners and importantly the real estate consumer. Whether we want to admit it or not, home buyers and sellers are at the center of a lot of the changes that are coming our way. If you still believe that they […]

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REALTOR(R) Productivity is stronger than expected

by Marilyn Wilson on November 19, 2014

The world is looking up in real estate.  Cautious optimism abounds.  So now the real question is…how many REALTORS® are back in the game for real?  How many have captured the hearts of sellers?  How many have sold properties in the past 6 months?   We believe the information that we have just gathered is encouraging. It looks like the wealth is being spread around to more REALTORS® than expected. We thought the numbers would reflect the 80/20 rule – In reality, it looks like the 60/40 rule is running the day. Just under 60% of REALTORS have had a transaction in the past 6 months according to the 2014 WAV Group REALTOR® Productivity Survey.  Interestingly just about the same number of REALTORS® log into their MLS system daily. So what does this all mean for MLSs and Brokerages?  Other than creating optimism that membership and revenues will continue to increase, the actual number of productive agents in the market today can also alter the way an MLS, Brokerage or other technology provider calculates the actual adoption level of technologies. If you assume that 100% of your audience is ripe for technology adoption, you may want to think again.  If only 60% of your target audience is actively logging into the MLS system every day, the likelihood they are going to be seeking out and adopting new technologies beyond the MLS is pretty slim. Check out the WAV Group Productivity Study to learn more about how to calculate the TRUE adoption of technologies in your MLS and brokerage today

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California MLS Data Sharing Update

by Victor Lund on May 9, 2014

California Regional MLS and MLS Listings have reached an agreement to share MLS listing data. This is an important signal of MLS strategy in California for a number of reasons. These MLSs are planning to share data by sending data to each other for display in each other’s system and use by each other’s subscribers without the need to belong to both MLSs. Previously, CRMLS only pursued data sharing through CARETS™, a hub and spoke data share product developed by MRIS. Through this new sharing agreement with MLS Listings, CRMLS now has adopted three initiatives to create a statewide MLS system in California. The first is through mergers. The second is through their hybrid solution at allows any California REALTOR® Association to offer CRMLS service along with their current service. This hybrid solution is active between CCRMLS on the California central coast and CRMLS. The third is reciprocal data sharing where data is synchronized between cooperating MLSs as represented here with this agreement with MLS Listings. Why data share? The press release says that the data share is to promote “boundary free access to real estate data” when it refers to the largest data share in the nation – CARETS™. In areas where many MLSs share boundaries with lots of listings, a condition called Overlapping Market Disorder (OMD) exists. I am not sure if the term OMD first emanated from David Charron of MRIS – but that is the way I remember it. Where there is OMD, listings are entered into multiple systems and there are multiple dues. This drives up expenses for everyone and creates duplicate efforts to enter and manage data – not to mention how it throws off market share reports, market sales reports, property search on IDX powered websites and many other data driven business tools. Data sharing cures many of these issues. This was the reason CARETS was created in Los Angeles, but CRMLS is departing that program and effectively doing the same type of data sharing, but on an individual MLS by MLS basis. Why not support CARETS? CRMLS has notified the CARETS organization of Los Angeles area MLSs that it intends to withdraw from CARETS but enter into reciprocal data sharing agreements with any MLS in California that wants to share. The data share between these two entities is an extension of that strategy. Today, it is believed that direct data sharing is […]

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Association Standards – It’s definitely TIME!

by Marilyn Wilson on February 11, 2014

Jeremy Conaway, Dale Stinton, and Bob Moline used the Swanepoel Trends report to push the real estate elephant into the spotlight in America. There are simply too many REALTOR® Associations not providing adequate service and support to their members. Today, 1100 of the 1400 REALTOR® Associations in America have fewer than 300 members. Many of these smaller organizations have a difficult time delivering the depth of services and training REALTORS® need to effectively serve the needs of their clients and stay relevant with all of the technology options available to today’s demanding consumers.  At the end of the day real estate aren’t associations supposed to exist to help their members be successful, while nurturing a thriving community and real estate market?  It is time for us as an industry to try to figure out how to get every REALTOR® member a comprehensive and relevant suite of services and support no matter what local association they belong to. These issues and struggles are not limited to the United States.. The Quebec Boards of REALTORS® separated from the Canadian Real Estate Association in absolute protest of some of CREA’s policies that they did not believe were in the best interest of their members.  The revolution took courage, but these Canadian boards were able to live up to the challenge and make it happen.  The good news…. the revolution created positive change, and now CREA and the Quebec Boards of REALTORS® have new terms in their relationship. Conaway mentions in his contribution to the Trends Report that “what one won’t find at the annual (NAR) meeting are demonstrators, protesters, dissenters, revolutionaries, or counter culture types…”  It shouldn’t necessarily have to come to this, but I think we’re all growing weary of little progress being made about an obvious problem in our industry.  It’s too easy to ignore the need for change without a crisis or critical event to bring it to our attention. I fear blanket condemnation of small boards.  There are some boards that deliver an amazing suite of services and demonstrate total member-centricity.  There are some larger boards that are much less responsive to their member’s needs than smaller boards. They bring an arrogance to the table that is not at all welcome with their members.  Some have staff leadership that has been in place WAY too long and has grown completely complacent.  My personal experience has taught me that just […]

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Hybrid Regionalization – Right For Your MLS?

by Mike Audet on February 10, 2014

We all know there are too many MLSs in the US and over the years the real market areas have expanded forcing agents to belong to multiple MLSs in many areas.  This means more costs, data inefficiencies and often the need to learn and operate multiple MLS systems.  It isn’t good for brokers, agents or consumers so why hasn’t their been more consolidation of MLSs more quickly? The answer, of course, is protectionism.   Even though consolidation would be in everyone’s best interest there is still a local desire to maintain control and identity at the MLS level.  Brokers also worry that outsiders will come in and steal their business.  Whether this is true or not isn’t important because perception is everything and controls the day. Did you know there are really good options available today in MLS systems that would allow you to provide most of the member benefits of regional MLS without having to lose your local identify and control?  If you knew this would it allow you in your local market to consider regionalization at a faster pace?  Read on to learn what can now be done with Hybrid regional approach, it might be right for your market area.   The Hybrid Regional A Hybrid Regional is one in which multiple MLSs decide they want to work together to share the same MLS technology but they don’t want to dissolve their local MLSs.  They want the benefits of a broader database and the economies that come with a larger MLS.  They don’t want to have to learn and operate multiple MLS systems.  For these MLSs the Hyrbrid Regional makes a lot of sense.  In addition, thanks to enhanced regional features in MLS systems today, there is still the ability to control many elements of the system at the local MLS level.   The Structure Most Hybrid regionals we work with are managed by a regional task force made up of members of each MLS.  This group works together, as needed, to make those decisions impacting all of the members of the regional such as property sheet layouts, report designs and when to install upgrades, etc.  In some cases, actual approval for some decisions may have to go back to the individual boards of each member MLS but, the process works.  It works because the participating MLSs have placed a high value on being part of a broader regional […]

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Anybody that runs a company wants to believe that consumers LOVE their brand – after all we love our brands don’t we?   While that’s a great goal, it’s a lot harder than it looks to create a strong emotional connection with your customer base. Apco Worldwide, a public relations firm recently fielded a global survey. Here’s the list of the Top 100 Most Lived brands.  According to Apco’s press release, here’s what it takes to rank as a loved brand: “APCO’s proprietary Emotional LinkingSM model served as the basis for evaluating the companies by measuring consumers’ emotional attachment to brands along eight dimensions, providing companies with a roadmap to understanding consumer expectations in an actionable way. Technology companies were the largest industry represented in the top 10 with Apple coming in at ninth on the list. “The best brands are those that build a strong, enduring emotional attachment with consumers,” said Bryan Dumont, president, APCO Insight. “In addition to acting as a highly predictive tool for consumers’ purchase choices, the Emotional Linking model has proven to be an excellent way to help companies retool their campaigns to build stronger emotional attachments between their key audiences and their brands.” The rankings are the result of a decade-long research project including a global survey of more than 600 of the world’s largest corporate brands among more than 70,000 individuals in 15 key markets around the world. The Emotional Linking model identified eight emotions that are critical to effective brand communication. These eight critical emotions are: Understanding, Approachability, Relevance, Admiration, Curiosity, Identification, Empowerment and Pride.” This methodology is very interesting and seems to have found a way to quantify emotional connections to brands. So what can real estate brands learn from this research about how to create stronger brand loyalty and connections to their customers? Understanding In the real estate industry we are notoriously bad about engaging consumers in dialog to truly understand their wants, and emotional desires.  We cannot expect to create a meaningful connection if we don’t even know what really drives them? As I have written about many times, it’s time for our industry to embrace the consumer and engage in regular dialog with them.  Companies like the Houston Association of REALTORS® as well as Trulia and others regularly engage in conversation. Approachability Do we make it easy for potential customers to approach us?  In many cases, consumers are afraid […]

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A couple of months ago I wrote a post called the “Challenge for Positive Change” that highlighted many of the relationship dysfunctions we are experiencing in the industry today. We have the honor of working with large brokers as well as MLSs, Associations, technology companies and even title and home warranty providers. We see misperceptions and distrust running rampant between each of these groups. It’s clear that there are many that are feeling as though our industry could be working together much better than it is at the moment. Fast forward a few weeks and we get to CMLS and the now infamous outline of issues delivered by Craig Cheatham, President and CEO of the Realty Alliance, a highly-respected network for many of North America’s largest full service brokerages and their affiliated business. Many people in the audience were shocked with Craig’s candor and level of frustration, but I’m not sure why. The types of issues he outlined are the types of issues that have been circling around in MLSs and Associations for a long time. I think the difference is that many groups were simply not listening or taking the conversation as seriously as the tone in which Craig delivered his eloquent presentation of the issues suggests they need to. The issues he outlines are complicated. Some are quite easy to rectify, but many of the issues are based on local tradition, not on sound business logic that considers today’s consumers and the brokers that serve them. I have a theory as to why large brokers believe real estate organizations are in conflict with their business goals. I believe that the industry’s extreme focus on satisfying the perceived needs of agents is getting in the way of progress. When you look at it just about every organization in the industry is agent-centric and not broker-centric. From the National Association of REALTORS® all the way down to a one office brokerage, the needs of agents are considered above all others. Every model depends on agent quantity and not necessarily quality. With that focus comes a lot of dysfunction. Associations and MLSs are well aware that agents and brokers have different perspectives about the industry and yet, in many cases, agents dominate committees, boards and taskforces. They drive decisions that are best for individual agents, but not necessarily the most appropriate or workable for brokerages. In my article called 5 Ways […]

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Thinking About Regionalizing Your MLS?

by Mike Audet on October 23, 2013

We all know there are too many MLSs in the US. It’s just a fact. MLSs were originally set up according to Board boundaries established by NAR based on market areas that existed many years ago. Times and technology have changed everything. Real estate market areas have expanded far faster then our industry has responded so in many areas of the country we have multiple MLSs serving areas that should logically be served by one. It is hard to argue that cooperation and ultimately consolidation is good for everyone involved in buying and selling real estate. Brokers and agents who work in areas where successful consolidation has taken place now have access to greater territory with a single technology interface. Multiple MLS fees are eliminated. Brokers are able to get data feeds for their true market areas from a single source. MLSs that offer public search sites can now serve a wider group of consumers through a single interface. It all just makes sense yet across the country we see example after example of MLSs that continue to work side by side compete with other MLSs that really should all be combined? The Cause Resistance to consolidation is not only caused by MLS staff afraid of losing their livelihood. This is certainly a factor at times but in many cases it is actually the local brokers who dig their heels in and fight consolidation. Why would they do this if what we said in the previous paragraph is true? Brokers that feel this way believe that opening up their market area through consolidation will unleash a rush of new competition into their area, which will ultimately hurt their business. They basically want to build a wall around their market so they can serve it exclusively. They want to keep the outsiders out. What is not being considered in this thinking, however, is the fact that local market knowledge is always critically important. Just having access to an area through a database doesn’t mean that you are in a position to help people buy or sell in an area. In addition, when boundaries are expanded that means the areas they can work in easily have expanded as well. Most importantly, consumers that need to have broader market information can now work with an agent that has access to the broader area. While there is certainly some truth to the notion that […]

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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 […]

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Build a More Well-informed Board with the WAVinar Series

by Victor Lund on September 10, 2013

Our industry is moving really quickly these days. There are so many challenges facing MLSs that threaten the viability of the entire industry–lawsuits, new players, technology revolutions, economic shifts. It is difficult and expensive to keep MLS leadership teams up to speed on the myriad of events, trends, policies, legal issues and research affecting the business. MLS organizations and their leadership need to keep up on all of these issues so they can make proactive decisions to keep their organizations relevant. That’s why the WAV Group created its new WAVinar series. The Solution: WAVinars The WAVinar is designed to provide you and your MLS leadership with crucial updates on what is going on in our industry. WAV Group will be leveraging all of its experience in research, technology, strategic planning, organizational development and thought leadership to deliver a thought-provoking yet practical look at the latest industry developments and trends. What is a WAVinar? Quartlerly online industry updates for MLS and board leadership on topics critical to successful organization management.  The Details: WAVinars are designed to stimulate conversation at board meetings and provide valuable information to help organizations make better informed decisions about technology, policy and legal issues, program changes, and service enhancements. WAV Group partners Mike Audet, Marilyn Wilson, and Victor Lund will be hosting the exclusive webinars. The content for WAVinars is specifically purposed for MLS Executives, MLS Executive Staff, and MLS Directors. Meetings are held quarterly via a live discussion and also recorded so that you may share the WAVinar with others in your company, refer back to previous episodes, or catch up on missed episodes. As an MLS leader, we would like to invite you and your organization to participate in our new WAVinar series. Staying current with crucial industry events and news is important but very difficult. WAVinars ensure that your leadership is informed and up to date. To learn more about WAVinars or to subscribe contact the marilyn@wavgroup.com or (805) 473-9119    

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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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Leaders and Innovators Often Walk Alone

by Mike Audet on September 10, 2013

I have been working a lot in Brazil these days working with a company called Prolist building the first true MLS in their country. The reason I mention Brazil is because it is a great case in point regarding leaders and innovators walking alone. In dozens of meetings I have had with major real estate companies, associations and banks in Brazil I meet those that are leaders and innovators and I also see those that are part of the herd, that only go where the herd goes. The brightest, those with clear vision into the future, often those who have been exposed to the US style of real estate, see why MLS makes sense and they are ready to change Brazilian real estate. They see a need to change and they recognize you will never get different results by doing the same thing, over and over. These people are totally comfortable moving outside the herd mentality, thinking and moving on their own with confidence. Others I speak with tell you how Brazil is different and how things don’t work that way down here and why MLS could never works…blah, blah, blah…! What they are really saying is “Don’t move my cheese, it makes me uncomfortable.” Well, the truth is, change can be uncomfortable and leaders and innovators understand this and have learned to move right through it. These are the people that are constantly moving outside of their comfort zones because they know growth doesn’t occur unless they do. Unfortunately I see our industry move as a herd too often as well. MLSs make choices based on what other MLSs do or don’t do. We don’t innovate. This isn’t unique. People in all industries become creatures of habit. We do things because we are comfortable until we realize we are facing disaster. This is how vendors like Zillow and Trulia took over our Internet space so quickly, because we held on to old ideas and couldn’t move out of our industry comfort zone to embrace change that was being demanded by consumers. What other things in our industry are at risk? Are we managing change effectively? Are we challenging the status quo and asking the tough questions? What parts of our own organizations are at risk because of stagnating thinking and complacency? Leaders Stand Out   Think of anyone that has been the catalyst or architect of innovation in any […]

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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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If the real estate technology industry had an Old Boys club, Andy Rapattoni and Rex Marr would most certainly be founding members. They have each contributed their life’s work to the advancement of our industry. WAV Group would hope that you will join us in congratulating these industry pioneers and leaders on the celebration of their 45th year in our industry. Below is the announcement. Rather than clog up their email with congratulations, consider sharing a note on Facebook: Here is a link to their company page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rapattoni-Corporation/374152779313159 SIMI VALLEY, Calif., August 13, 2013 – Rapattoni Corporation (Rapattoni), a leader in software and services for the real estate industry, announced today that industry veterans Andy Rapattoni and Rex Marr celebrate 45 years vending MLS and association management systems to the real estate industry this August, 2013. Andy Rapattoni, President and CEO of Rapattoni, recalled, “Rex and I have known each other since August of 1968, when we both went to work for Realtron in Michigan, the first computer MLS system in the country. Rex joined Realtron just three days after I did so I beat him by just a bit. I left Realtron in 1970 to form Rapattoni Corporation and I was thrilled to have Rex join us in May of 2004. It’s been a great ride with many changes in 45 years and I’m bringing up a new generation to carry on the traditions at Rapattoni.” Rex Marr, sales representative at Rapattoni, added, “Yep, we started the same week in the business back in 1968. I worked for Realtron for over 30 years and was the vice president of Realtron for 21 years before it was purchased and became Interealty; and I was with Supra four years after that before joining Rapattoni in 2004. Boy, I’ve been to a lot of conferences and expos in 45 years and met a lot of wonderful people. It has been very gratifying to be involved with Rapattoni for almost ten years and be part of its contributions to the industry.” Ralph Hoover, Senior Vice President and COO of Rapattoni, remarked, “Having two icons in the industry mentor the team at Rapattoni is like getting a doctorate degree in industry history. Rex is still actively involved in all of the sales activities and national events. Andy oversees the company and the many exciting things we are putting together for the future.” About Rapattoni Rapattoni […]

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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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Welcome Back Mr Foley

by Victor Lund on May 29, 2013

What do you do when your $6B company (Fidelity) has an extra $1.5B in cash languishing in your bank accounts? You buy back a company (LPS) that you spun out and you start all over again. If you ever doubted the value of providing software and data services to the financial industry, Mr. Foley just answered it. He is now officially back in the MLS business…. Almost. Deal is not quite done. But wait, there is more. Foley is a self made Billionaire who may perhaps be best known for his personal investing in the wine industry – having purchased more than $200 million in vineyards over the past decade and a half. Here in California, they say that the best way to make a little money in the wine industry is to start out with a lot of money. Regardless, Bill Foley is a legendary and upstanding member of the California and New Zealand wine movements. It just goes to show that you need to drink a lot of wine to appreciate how to offer data and software services to the financial industry that underpins real estate today. There were many hedge funds who suspected that Foley might buy Zillow or Trulia. There was some toe dipping into consumer facing websites with Cyberhomes. Perhaps losing tens of millions on Cyberhomes was enough to teach him that those companies are not attractive to him. Indeed, Zillow, Trulia, and MOVE have all learned that they need to diversify into other services to make money providing software services (becoming more like LPS). The consumer sites, even at scale, do not yield healthy profitability and sustained growth to investors unless they buy them on the way up (which Foley may have done). There was nary a whisper of Fidelity buying CoreLogic. Historically, Fidelity’s chief competitor First American would have poisoned such a trade. But they are out of the picture now and CoreLogic has a comparable valuation to LPS. In many ways, LPS was to Fidelity exactly what CoreLogic was to First American. These companies have been on parallel course for years and years and are vicious competitors. It would be a hoot to see First American buy back CoreLogic or even put in a bid for LPS. There is a “go shop” period of 90 days in the offer that allows LPS to find a better price. Place your bets boys! The […]

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The MLS Battleground

by Victor Lund on May 28, 2013

The National Association of REALTORS® Midyear Legislative meetings may have reached a tipping point on the role of the MLS in real estate. To be sure, it is the battleground of our industry where brokers and associations struggle for power within the oversight of the Department of Justice. Competing MLS entities develop their operating philosophy that draws the boundaries of how everyone coexists without behaving like a monopoly. To be sure, the MLS is a common use term that takes on a lot of different definitions. Here are the top 5 governance models that define the operating philosophy. Association Owned, Broker Governance Association Owned, Agent Governance Association Owned, Association Governance Broker Owned, Agent Governance Broker Owned, Broker Governance At the heart of any MLS is the governance. It is the single most important determinate of what products constitute the MLS service and how those services are divided between Core, Basic, and Optional. Today, there are many self-interested parties within our industry that compete in the battle to control the services of the MLS – Agents, Brokers, and Associations. Agents want everything for nothing. Small brokers are similar to agents and also want a low cost full service MLS. Big brokers just want the data. Associations just want non-dues revenue to maximize their investment in the MLS. There is nothing at all unnatural about this. An endeavor to shape your MLS to optimize your benefit is not only normal, but it would be irresponsible not to. Get involved! MLSs compete too. Neighboring MLSs do as much to recruit, acquire, or merge as anyone. To do this, they frequently endeavor to optimize their offer – the most services for the lowest price. The more MLSs compete with one another, the more services they offer, and usually the more they begin to compete with brokers. Like MLSs, brokers also try to offer the most services with the most attractive splits for agents. As such, brokers are constantly at odds with the mls for leveling the playing field. Again, this is very natural and probably adds a healthy pressure that powers the industry forward. There is really no such thing as a level playing ground. The bigger you are, the more power you have. The more power you have, the more money you make. There is no advantage to being small in this industry, nor is it a benefit to be thrifty. The agent, […]

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Your Elected Friend

by Victor Lund on May 13, 2013

Chairman

MLS and Association leadership brings forth an unusual ‘changing of friends’ on an annual basis. It is in the spring of each year that we begin to see these friendships take hold as CEOs arrive at NAR Midyear with their new Board Chairman in tow. It is all part of an important synthesis that takes place in our industry – one that often goes unappreciated. For five or more weeks each year, CEOs are on the road with their Chairman, building a friendship that is pivotal to a successful year, and in some cases, lasting a lifetime. WAV Group strategic planning appreciates the culture of leadership in real estate. We recognize that each year, the Board Chairman takes aim at challenges for the organization, balancing goals for the year with long range planning. The National Association of REALTORS® is even more specific about this paradigm. Each year, the NAR leader is explicit about their charge. In many ways, success comes from energizing the State leaders and local leaders to adopt the mission. Adoption by the nation’s Mega Boards plays a significant role in that success. Similar extension happens on MLS boards also. Continuity plays a key role in the long-term success of any MLS or Association. If the company were to dramatically change course each year with the churn of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the disruption would erode the effectiveness of the company and undermine the services offered to the members. It is more common for the Chairman to pick a cause each year, but also play a sustaining role in moving along the long-range goals of the company. Great CEOs of Associations and MLSs recognize this. It is critical that they bring the past chairman, chairman elect, and standing chairman to industry conferences. Conferences are important conveyors of business strategy for these companies. These conferences provide two key references. One is the conference content itself, offering sessions about the topics of our day. The sessions also allow similar organizations to share strategic information and case studies about how they are moving their business forward. The second key reference is more informal. It is the conference behind the conference – the coffee breaks, and meals with peers where fellow chairman and executives commune with their peers about the goals of their organizations. When you add up the conferences that shape the direction of our industry, you recognize […]

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