broker technology

It seems like every week we’re hearing about a new announcement from a large brokerage or franchise telling us they are spending millions on technology and re-positioning their brand story around their technology suite.

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Buyside Makes It Real

by Victor Lund on February 20, 2018

If you know anything about Hunt Real Estate Corporation, you know that they are a family owned and operated brokerage with high integrity and a fierce approach to competition. Since 1911 they have been a market leader in upstate New York, cities like Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and the many Southern Tier communities that border Pennsylvania. They recently expanded into the Boston marketplace though a significant acquisition. We have known the Hunt family since Marlyn and I lived in Orchard Park, NY. We became friends though our interactions at The Buffalo Club and The Country Club of Buffalo. At the time, Marilyn ran marketing at Fisher-Price and I was spinning up my first start-up companies.

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Are Brokerages using BI Visualization Tools?

by David Gumpper on February 20, 2018

Google Data Studio and Microsoft Power BI Time of Day Lead Analysis

In talking with various people inside brokerages, I hear the same challenge time and time again. “My data is all over the place and I have no way to figure out what it means.” Driving information out of your data is Business Intelligence (BI). There are free or low-cost solutions to help analyze data in your control and derive the answers needed to make better business decisions.

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This Flashback Features series unearths profiles from the past of real estate and technology leaders. A version of this story was first published in California Real Estate magazine. This profile of Craigslist founder Craig Newmark is from 2006.

By Kevin Hawkins

Craig Newmark, the Internet’s reluctant mogul, makes his daily visit to Café Reverie in the Cole Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. He has dog biscuits in his pockets and a ready smile for the next little child that he encounters.

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WAV GROUP has gotten acquainted with myPlanit and it’s CEO Adrienne Meisels. Adrienne is a fantastic person who is super smart and developing a very creative application that lets agents look at a map to see the places they have gone (like listing appointments, open houses, etc) and visualize their journey on a timeline. It’s a lot more than that, but you can appreciate how this example would benefit an agent. Adrienne uses the term The Internet of You. myPlanit does the work for you by privately and securely tracking the things that you do, for you. Inman News gave myPlanit the first ever 5 star review. That is a big kudo. If you are thinking about app development, you may want to look at the functionality of myPlanit. If you are looking for an app to broaden your mobile strategy for agent retention and recruiting, you may want to look at myPlanit. Here is the release. myPlanit Receives First Ever 5-Star Product Rating from Inman myPlanit’s newly launched real estate app receives major accolades FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. New York, NY, (February 8, 2018): myPlanit, the patented personal data platform that delivers the Internet of You, receives the first ever 5-star product rating from Inman News. The mobile app automatically interconnects and contextualizes data scattered across calendars, contacts, places, videos and photos into a single map- and time-based user experience. Launching in February, myPlanit for Real Estate already has brokerages and other real estate companies lining up to license the app. Northwood Realty Services, and its 1,000 sales associates in Pennsylvania and Ohio, is the first brokerage to be launching the app. myPlanit’s launch strategy will focus on the top 100 brokerages in real estate, representing 45% of the total addressable U.S. real estate market, or about 500,000 real estate agents. In some progressive markets, myPlanit will also introduce its product to MLSs and real estate associations that have more than 5,000 agent subscribers. “myPlanit is a high-concept, visually-enthralling product designed around how the brain processes memories,” describes Craig Rowe, Inman’s technology columnist, who has been writing about real estate and software for 15 years. “It’s an original and practical business app wrapped in a user experience other developers should be emulating on their whiteboards. myPlanit can replace multiple software tools, which means adoption could render other products useless.” “We are honored and thrilled to be the very first recipient […]

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

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NAR’s Goldberg Kills Amp and Powers Up Upstream

by Victor Lund on February 2, 2018

We’re starting to see the impact of a new leadership team at the National Association of REALTORS® led by Bob Goldberg, a strategic, yet practical leader that is SERIOUS about making the industry function more effectively.  He also seems to be critically evaluating every investment in technology and making some bold moves to re-focus efforts. NAR announced yesterday that is shutting down development on its Advanced Multilist Platform, or AMP. AMP was under development for a few years at a burn rate of $6 Million per year. The concept behind AMP was solid – consolidate MLS data into a single data repository and allow developers of systems like Matrix, FlexMLS, Paragon, Stratus, Rapattoni, Navica and others focus on the front-end software development. Most of all, the ambition was to provide more choice for MLS members to access MLS information and reduce costs to MLSs. There were a number of contrarian opinions about the idea. First of all, the price of AMP was estimated to be $5 per user per month. This was way off the goal of saving money. Large MLSs pay less than that for the entire MLS system. For AMP to succeed, they would have needed to hit a price point of about $1 or $2 at the most. My hope is that NAR will donate the code to RESO and/or make it open source. At a recent broker town hall meeting in California, CAR President Joel Singer talked about the merits of a single MLS database with local service providers. I do not think that this idea will die along with AMP. Two MLSs in California are working on MLS Front End of Choice. Both the Los Angeles based California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS) and San Jose based MLSListings have CoreLogic®’s Matrix® product as their primary system and are integrating Black Knight Financial®’s Paragon MLS® as a secondary system. Both companies have been working on the project for about 2 years or more. Both companies already have an AMP-like database that is connected to Matrix. When the system goes live, agents will vote with their log in preference for one system over the other. The vendor’s only get paid for the users they support. Both Paragon and Matrix will be in a heated battle to serve the agent or watch their market share of users dwindle to their competitor. It will be interesting to watch. It […]

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Inside Real Estate Acquires Circlepix

by Victor Lund on February 1, 2018

Circlepix has sold everything. They operated an extensive network of photographers that they sold to VHT Studios in January. Now they have sold the rest of their company to Inside Real Estate. If you have not followed Inside Real Estate lately – pay attention. Inside Real Estate is the incredible company that recently landed Keyes – one of the largest firms in South East Florida among others. They are taking a piecemeal approach to purchasing world class software providers to complete their suite of an end-to-end solution for brokers, teams, and agents. At the heart of Inside Real Estate is Kunversion – a competitor with Commissions Inc and Boomtown. What’s different is that Commissions Inc. and Boomtown do not really have an enterprise broker solution. Inside Real Estate invested a year of development to extend the original Kunversion platform to make it a fully enterprise broker solution. For brokers looking to run significant digital marketing campaigns, you need to look at systems like Inside Real Estate. Inside Real Estate calls their broker platform KVCore. It’s great website solution for lead capture off of online media buys. Behind the lead capture, they have an impressive CRM. It does everything that other CRMs do, but is built to look fresh and impressive to agents. It is among the best broker-in-a-box solutions – broker facing website and co-branded agent websites with impressive integrations supporting SSO and Web APIs.  WAV Group has written extensively about how brokers can remargin their business by generating online leads and referring consumers to their agents for a referral fee. What is interesting about Inside Real Estate is that they are building their application stack by purchasing known companies with lots of customers. Kunversion was their first big purchase. Reimagined as a platform, KVCore provides broker website, intranet, and agent websites. It also incorporates an excellent CRM that is pretty competitive to other CRM leaders. Inside Real Estate handles digital marketing and lead capture on Social Media and other platforms as well. Inside Real Estate is integrated with around 450 of the 690 MLS markets supporting RESO certified data feeds. Their system internalizes about 85% of all listings in America. Inside Real Estate purchased an amazing company called BrokerSumo a few months ago. They have a commission accounting solution that is lighter than LoneWolf, AccountTECH, or ProfitPower – but pickup up the full accounting ledger with Quickbooks integration. With […]

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Lone Wolf Acquires Instanet Solutions

by Marilyn Wilson on October 16, 2017

The Transaction Management software space is one of the most competitive categories of real estate technology.  Today, Lone Wolf, one of the leading providers of broker accounting and management solutions, announced its acquisition of fellow Canadian company, Instanet Solutions.  This is the second transaction management software acquisition in the past two weeks.  Fidelity National Financial, Inc. recently acquired a majority interest in Skyslope, another highly regarded transaction management solution. Instanet provides Transaction Desk to over 500,000 REALTORS® through its partnership with MLSs and Associations across North America. Transaction Desk is a transaction management solution comprised of several cloud-based products for document and file management, electronic forms, eSignatures, and file review and compliance. In the last year alone, real estate professionals completed ten million signings through Instanet, while also submitting over 22 million documents and creating 31 million forms. Lone Wolf currently provides services to 10,000 brokerages offices serving 180,000 REALTORS®. The relationship between Lone Wolf and Instanet started as an integration partnership in 2014. The vision for an end to end broker solution has been in the works at Lone Wolf for several years.  We at WAV Group have been talking about this concept since 2010. Here’s a white paper we published in November 2010 entitled Brokerage Real Estate Technology, an Industry in Need of a Backbone. We wrote a follow-up piece in June, 2011 further articulating the vision for a broker-centric technology company seamlessly connecting to MLS data and delivering all of the functionality needed by a brokerage to secure new listings, effectively promote listings and then efficiently process transactions. It’s great to see the vision of a true end to end solution for brokerages coming to life. We had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Arkeveld, CEO of Lone Wolf Technologies about the acquisitions implications for MLSs/Associations MLSs and Associations will remain a KEY priority. Given that Lone Wolf is clearly a broker-centric company we wanted to understand whether MLSs and Associations will remain a key priority. Lone Wolf was clear to reinforce to us that MLSs and Associations will remain a key priority.  They told us: “Instanet’s MLS customers are a major factor of the company’s success, and we plan to continue to invest in those relationships and the MLS space to enhance our value to the industry as a whole”. Corelogic/Instanet Partnership to Remain Unchanged We were first interested to find out what changes, if any that […]

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Pacific Union Delivers On International Reach

by Victor Lund on May 25, 2017

WAV Group has been studying broker website effectiveness for more than a decade. One area of interest is global reach. When we look at Google Analytics, we study traffic to understand the level of visibility that brokers are achieving for their websites internationally. Over the past 12 months, Pacific Union International has been living up to their name by expanding their international reach. Driving International Reach International reach has largely been a listing tool in real estate. Even in global cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, we see that 85% of buyers come from the immediate region. 10% come from other areas within the United States. Only 5% come from international buyers. Despite the real data, sellers continue to believe the media that buyers come from China and Russia. For many brokerages, the seller’s demand for international reach is colored in though franchise or network relationships. There is good news for brokerages that are not affiliated with franchises or networks. Over the past year, Pacific Union International has been focused on reaching high net-worth individuals, increasing their reach in the U.K. by 360%, and over 500% in China. Their targeting has resulted in 900% increased traffic in India and a staggering 2190% increase in Brazil. It is a 6 figure investment, but far more effective than the delivery of international buyers from networks or franchises. Pacific Union’s traffic, leads, and transactions have grown enormously with this proactive approach. Building International Relationships In addition to international marketing, Pacific Union understands that the true success of any international effort is developing relationships with leading brokerage firms across the globe. The distinction here is that they are not building a list. The relationships that they have built for decades are sincere and personal.  Their commitment to these relationships ensures that Pacific Union clients buying abroad get the same level of service that they get at home. Moreover, Pacific Union delivers concierge service to international clients here in America in return. The countries on this map represent the nations where Pacific Union holds these personal trust relationships with foreign brokerage firms. The Pacific Union executive team travels to many of these locations each year to bond with partners, and welcomes inbound partner visits in the best possible way. Communication to Agents and Consumers Performing at this high level is nothing new for Pacific Union. They operate in the most competitive […]

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Coach

None of the brokers we’ve worked with believe that their office managers are doing what they are supposed to be doing — sales training. Instead, they act more like den mothers. When they could be working on sales coaching or recruiting, office managers are consoling agents who lost big deals, troubleshooting broken printers, or retrieving lost MLS passwords. It’s too easy for office managers to spend the day putting out a series of small fires. Its easy to use all of those daily tasks as excuses for not focusing on the most important roles that managers are responsible for. The path toward a More Profitable Office The first thing for brokers to understand is: You are going to have to change the way you — and everybody in your office — thinks about success and productivity.  Office managers are stewards of productivity. You need to arm them with resources and tools they need, and you need to shift the expectation (both in yourself and in your agents) that the office manager is any kind of glorified fire marshal. Here’s how you do it. The 5-step process You probably already have the basic tools you need to make this shift work — the array of technology offerings that you’ve made available to your agents, and your hard-working office managers. Step 1: Clear the decks. Everyone in the office needs to be trained on how to manage basic administrative tasks. A transaction coordinator is a good hire at this point, someone who understands the law and can help agents with sticky deals or contract negotiation scenarios that the agents haven’t seen before. Step 2: The “reset” meeting. Hire a facilitator to come in for a planned meeting; this person can explain to managers how their jobs will change — and get them excited about it. The facilitator should explain the renewed focus on sales success and shift away from administrative tasks. They will also have to talk about the gentle balance of retention and how helping agents sell more real estate will be the BEST way to retain them in the long run. Step 3: Training the trainers. You want to turn your office managers into technology trainers, and that means they’re going to need to understand the technology. Ideally, they will use appropriate technologies in their own business. How about learning how to use the CRM system to manage recruiting efforts […]

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Zillow Improves Broker Programs

by Victor Lund on February 15, 2017

Zillow Logo

Zillow Group, which includes the websites of Zillow and Trulia have landed on a broker strategy for marketing that works. Zillow Group, which includes the websites of Zillow and Trulia have landed on a broker strategy for marketing that works. Featured listings are dead, and have been replaced with a product to advertise in ways that drive the largest margin opportunity for a brokerage firm – leads to eTeams and Relocation. I call this “shared display,” where the brokerage and agent are clearly displayed and may be contacted – easily understood as “your listing, same leads.” This functionality works equally well for any brokerage or large team. Display rules Primer. There are three general types of display rules, Fair Display, Shared Display, and IDX Display. Fair Display is pretty simple to understand, if it’s your listing, then only your identity is displayed on the listing. Many people like this display because it’s “your listing, your lead.” It works like the new car dealer. You call BMW to buy BMW. The second type of display is a shared display. This shared display is where Zillow has innovated. Under the ad portal strategy, the listing agent and broker are always displayed on their listing and can receive leads. But the display is a shared display; so three other advertisers may be displayed on the listing if they pay. Lets understand that this is “your listing, same leads.” Our research shows that brokers get the same volume of leads on their listings with shared display as they did with fair display (read on). The third display is IDX display. In this display that is popularized on broker and agent websites, the site owner gets all the leads and the listing broker and agent have a bi-line. This is understood as “your listing, no leads.” This model is akin to a used car dealership where the company will sell all brands of cars. Shared Display outperforms Fair Display WAV Group performed A-B testing on Zillow that pitted two brokers who had the same number of listings on the site (one had 430 listings and the other had 431). The broker who paid for fair display, exclusively featuring the brokerage and agent branding, received 281 email contacts with 660,133 listing views. The broker with the free, shared display of 430 listings featuring competing agents, received 411 email contacts, 590,914 listing views. The free, shared display outperformed […]

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WAV Group DMCA Safe-Harbor Alert

by Victor Lund on December 6, 2016

DMCA

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides some protection to website owners from tiresome litigation when an image or other copyrighted content is found to be on their website.  Before December 31st 2017, you should electronically register your designated agent. Even if you filed before using the old paper method, you must refile electronically by Dec. 31, 2017 or your DMCA safe-harbor will no longer be in effect. By now, I think that every website owner has gotten some form of letter from Getty Images or other copyright trolls – and this will continue. In fact, now that the Copyright office allows firms to electronically submit thousands of images for copyright protection, it is likely to cause more copyright claims for photos. The safe-harbor provision works something like this. First, you must have a DMCA notice on your website. WAV Group recommends that you have an attorney review your DMCA and your Terms of Use each year to assure that you are in compliance with current laws. While you are at it, plan to update the copyright on your site to © 2017. Also make sure that you incorporate the National Association of REALTORS® guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act by adding a statement into your terms of use like “If you have a disability that is preventing you from experiencing this website, call…….” The most important part of compliance with the DMCA safe-harbor is that you pay a fee and designate an agent for any copyright violations.  Under the safe-harbor act, if you are found to be infringing, the copyright holder will notify you to take it down. If you comply with the notice, the issue should be resolved unless there are extenuating circumstances. There is a lot more information on the copyright.gov site below. https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/onlinesp/NPR/faq.html Many thanks to Mitch Skinner of the law firm, Larson Skinner for this heads up on this! While you are thinking about copyright, I would also recommend that you review your photography policy at your brokerage.  Make sure that you secure the copyright on every photo, or get perpetual rights to use it. Many professional photographers have template agreements that only provide you with the rights to use the photograph during the marketing of a home – which means that you are responsible for getting those photographs off the internet and the MLS. The best practice is to have a work for hire […]

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5 MUST HAVES for your 2017 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 28, 2016

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

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Blow Away Your Broker Profit Goals

by Marilyn Wilson on April 20, 2016

Leverage

Top 5 Reasons to Leverage MLS Listing Data in Your Brokerage Today MLS data can make a lot of the systems in a brokerage work more smoothly and can create new ways to serve the needs of your clients while helping your brokerage be more competitive. I have been working a lot recently with brokers who are finding new ways to provide better service to their agents, sellers and home buyers by integrating their systems with MLS data in new and meaningful ways. Here are five benefits of integrating your systems with MLS data and how they can help your business be more profitable. 1. More Traffic to Your Website Today, every MLS is REQUIRED to offer you SOLDs in your IDX feed if you so choose. Why can SOLDs be a benefit? First, they can make your site more competitive with the depth of content offered on third party sites. Second, it can give consumers a reason to engage earlier on your site while they’re in the early research phases of their search. It can also help engage potential sellers looking to see how much their home is worth in today’s market. 2. Improve Professionalism Today, many of the online transaction management companies out there like Docusign, Form Simplicity, ZipLogix and others have easy ways to populate forms with live MLS data. The data then passes through to all of the documents that will be used in the transaction seamlessly eliminating the need for redundant data entry which inevitably leads to mistakes. A lack of attention to detail is one of the things that consumers complain about most. This is a great way to eliminate that problem. 3. Close Deals Faster Time is of the essence when an agent secures a listing. By using marketing automation systems like Imprev and others, property flyers and additional marketing materials can be built in real-time using MLS listing information saving hours and even days of turnaround time. These systems help you create a more consistent brand presence, provide better service to your agents and help you start to market your properties much more quickly with a push of a button. Our clients who use these types of systems LOVE them. They have freed up their marketing team to focus on corporate marketing programs, brand enhancements and other more strategic projects. 4. Reduce Staff Time and Cost Many of the industry-centric accounting packages […]

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A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish

by Kevin Hawkins on April 20, 2016

Coin Flip

A French writer wrote this line – “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” It often pops into my head when I read a trade story about a hot new real estate tech company that upon closer inspection, isn’t a company at all, but an idea in search of a business plan. I also find myself thinking about the same thing when I walk through a conference where startup firms are lined up. I pay a game in my head call “product or product feature.” It seems that so many tech startups in real estate are really just a feature that should be rolled into another product that is offered by an established company. Most often with these new tech startups, there isn’t enough “there there” with the product to justify building a company around. Real estate tech conferences need a professional match-maker who walks around to counsel these firms solely on what product their product feature would best fit, and find a way to marry their innovation off that company. You’re no Google At one conference, I challenged the founder of one of these firms on the viability of his product when it became clear he had no idea how he was going to generate revenue. The CEO argued that Google didn’t have a revenue plan. Google. Really? You are going to compare yourself to Google? I bit my tongue and almost found myself paraphrasing President Ronald Reagan’s retort by saying “You’re no Google.” Not to be too cynical, but there continues to be too much hubris and not enough substance in the plans for some real estate tech firms. Their hockey stick projections that they are selling to the VCs are based on fairy tales of product adoption rates that have never been achieved in real estate. It feels like there are 500 companies all offering the hottest real estate tech for agents at just under $20 or $50 a month. When you ask how many sales they think they can hit, they talk about 10% of the 1.2 million agents as being a “conservative” number. My math says that’s 120,000 agents, paying $20 a month, or $2.4 million in gross sales per month, nearly a $29 million a year business all from one product. No wonder the VCs are throwing money at so many of these firms. That’s sounds great, sounds easy even. Until it […]

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Nashville, Tenn. (March 9, 2016) – Crye-Leike, REALTORS®, the nation’s fourth largest privately-held residential real estate firm, was named the winner of the 2015 Most Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy Award for outstanding website marketing of its Crye-Leike.com website. This coveted SEO award was presented by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a global community of more than 500 high-quality independent real estate firms. Crye-Leike.com was recognized for its website marketing strategy in making it easy for consumers to find its website, with competitive positioning on popular search engines, unique content focusing on key markets, effective incorporation of social media and other tactics. This win marks the fourth time Crye-Leike has achieved this distinction, including years 2014, 2011 and 2010. Additionally, LeadingRE® presented Crye-Leike the Website Quality Certification (WQC) Award for being among the best in setting the standard of website excellence in design, technology and service. Among Leading RE’s 136 certified sites, Crye-Leike.com was one of eight websites chosen in 2016 for this award of excellence. Crye-Leike has annually maintained its website quality certification since 2009 when LeadingRE established this certification program to recognize and encourage superior websites among its 500+ member firms. The awards were presented at the network’s annual awards gala in Miami Beach, Fla. which attracted nearly 2,500 real estate professionals from 25 countries. Chief Executive Officer Harold Crye and Chief Information & Strategy Officer Gurtej Sodhi accepted the awards on behalf of the company’s Information Technology Division. Winners were selected by a panel of independent judges who conducted a thorough comparison of 500-plus real estate companies globally in the LeadingRE network, rating and ranking these websites against a long list of performance metrics. Every 12 minutes, the Information Technology Division of Crye-leike updates over 400,000 property listings on Crye-Leike.com to ensure the most accurate information, noted Sodhi. Crye- Leike.com pulls its real estate data from numerous member Multiple Listing Service agencies in nine states where Crye-Leike has a market presence. “With our web site generating over 12,000 visitors per day and 30 million hits per month, you will not find any other local real estate company to come close to Crye-Leike’s internet activity,” said Sodhi who is a two-time award recipient of the Nashville Business Journal’s 2014 & 2015 Chief Information Officer Award in its Large Private Companies (501+ employees) category. “Earning recognition among this elite LeadingRE group is a considerable achievement […]

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Will the Last PC User Please Turn Out the Lights?

by Victor Lund on March 25, 2016

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

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Making Vendor Partnerships Work

by Victor Lund on January 21, 2016

The tragedy of software in real estate is lack of adoption by agents. Brokerage firms and MLSs who invest dearly in technology solutions start out with the hope that agents will use it and success will come. Since hope is not a strategy, more work is required to find success. First of all, there is a difference between a site license and a user license. As you enter into partnerships with vendors, consider user licenses. That will bind both the vendor and the company to a mutual goal of driving agent adoption of the application.  Companies should not pay license fees for software that is not used. Adoption Strategy has a few components that should be considered in advance of choosing your vendor partner. They include onboarding agents, training, support, and communicating best practices. Who’s in? Onboarding and Managing Agents – This is an ongoing effort that never subsides. Basically, it is important to manage two lists. The first is a list of agents who have adopted the solution. The second is a list of agents who have not. At a frequency that is agreed upon, email and telemarketing communications to non-users is critical. Perhaps the list should be reviewed once a month. Firms need to add new agents to the list as part of the onboarding process. A warm introduction is a good start. It is also important that you advise the vendor when the agent departs the firm. Add a requirement to your software license agreement to get a user report each month. Let’s Get Started Training is obvious. The best practice is to offer three training classes – basic, intermediate, and advanced. Depending on the application and the number of updates, you may want to have a training class that introduces new features as they come out. Organizations should consider live training and online webinar training. Sometimes you need to stand in front of the agent, but usually a webinar will suffice. Agents are busy and always juggling priorities. It is a good practice to record the online training and publish it to YouTube so agents can watch it anytime. Add a requirement into your software license agreement to have the vendor support the company with regular training. Can I get some help please? Agents will naturally abandon an application if they get stuck. Sometimes a feature is broken or the user is not fully aware of […]

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Stop Buying Technology

by Victor Lund on December 16, 2015

It’s the season. WAV Group is fielding satisfaction surveys to determine how agents and brokers use or don’t use technology offerings. We even encounter a curious situation where we are measuring satisfaction with broker solutions and MLS solutions in the same market. Sometimes the easiest answer to a strategy is the simplest. What WAV Group sees today is that less is more. Too many technology solutions is real estate have feature creep. Regardless if it is a broker CRM or the MLS system – they are too complex.  In real estate technology, usability trumps functionality. Change is Hard The most difficult thing for anyone to do in life is change. Moreover, the older you are, the harder it is for you to learn or change.  Real Estate people are old. We see this constantly, and even NAR yells it from the rooftops. Before you switch systems, think very carefully about the overhead that it will cost your organization and users in functionality. Everyone takes a big hit. In most cases, you are taking your user intelligence way backwards to inch forwards. Tread very carefully and try not to change too often. Training Trumps Everything WAV Group does not have a specific gauge on training effectiveness. But we are deriving certain solutions that can help. First, training needs to be offered every day in every way! Remember, every day there is a pile of new agents entering the business that need to learn everything. Moreover, unless you have been training hard for years, even your most experienced agents are not trained on everything. Think about training plans for each product you offer. Create training for Expert, Intermediate, and Beginner. Think about training methods – concierge 1 on 1, in office, online webinar, How to Articles – FAQs, recorded webinars for all levels of experience. Watch your help desk calls! Inform your trainers of the top 10 reasons why people are calling and use that to drive training. Yes, you do need to begin every training session on how to recover your password! Measure Success Surveys are pretty cool because you can see (by email address) exactly who is screaming for training. Section that group out of each of your surveys and have your trainers attack them.  After 3 months, go back and survey the same people who were looking for training and survey them again, again, and again. There is a […]

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