broker

RESO

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

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phone dial

One of my favorite people in real estate is John Reinhardt of Fillmore Real Estate based in Brooklyn, New York. I am not sure why, but everything competitive in the New York City area seems amplified. Like his peers, John is always building his business, one great agent at a time. Among John’s favorite recruiting lessons is the spot. In John’s case, his spot is Peter Luger’s Steakhouse. “It is the one place that agents cannot deny a free meal.” John is a recruiting machine – among the best in the business. The last time I sat down with John, I shared a story about a phone call that I received from an agent. In this case, the agent shared that her brokerage of 20 years had just been taken over. She was very uncomfortable with the new owners, so she split out with some other agents that started a new firm. The one thing that she did not contemplate in the transition was the loss of the transaction manager, the loss of the broker website, the loss of her listing presentation, and so on. And, although she did not mention it, probably a loss of her office friends. My sixth sense told me that this agent was having a case of buyer’s remorse. The decision to join the new brokerage was emotional. Now that reality has set in, the agent was rethinking her decision. It occurred to me that if her old broker had called her back that day, she would have promptly returned to her old office, back to that familiar group of friends, and back to the tools that she knew how to use to service her customers. The soft call back – Sotto Voce. Change is Hard Real Estate agents hate change. They love new things, but they hate change. Change is hard work. Change is disruptive. And, whenever you change something for the better, you wind up losing something in the process. This agent lost everything that she had “set up” and was facing the consequences of rebuilding and relearning. WAV Group has researched the productivity results of agents who switch firms. Our methodology for this research is to use BrokerMetrics by Terradatum. When a firm is under a recruiting attack or on a recruiting mission, we look for data points that that help tell a story. Unfortunately, the data rarely supports the cause. As […]

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Drip Training

by Victor Lund on April 28, 2016

Leaf dripping water

I love a morning call with a report of success. A broker that I am working with moved their chips around the board, renewing a core vendor agreement and adding five new services without any incremental costs. Bust out the champagne, right? Not so fast. The panic moment hits you when you understand that you will be launching five new products. A few of them are background products that support the operation of the brokerage – accounting type stuff. But a few of them are consumer launches and agent launches. Put the champagne away and start to whiteboard out the launch of each product. Launch event, video training, webinars, tips of the day, help desk training, manager training, individual agent training and support, consumer advertising, website update, public relations, reporting, benchmarking, satisfaction monitoring. All of that is being added to a staff that is already fully utilized. The term drip training popped into my mind. Drip training is not an original concept. I Googled it and found an article from BrainStorm dating back to September 9th, 2015. It’s a great article that you should read. Drip system Seed (input) Nourishment Delivery method Harvest (output) The BrainStorm article is a bit out of context for the types of product launches that we support here at WAV Group. We help brokers launch to thousands of agents and MLSs launch to tens of thousands of agents. Typically, the consumer audience for broker and MLS products aims to reach millions. It’s all good! These are problems that are nice to have. But there is a lesson here that we all should be reminded of. Kevin Hawkins of WAV Group Communications hinted at it last month: “a goal without a plan is a wish.” And WAV Group is always aware that many times, something old is better than many things that are shiny and new. Before you take on a list of new products, make sure that you are not disposing of some old goodies that people love. And, make sure that your new stuff is properly launched and supported right out of the gate. WAV Group does a lot more than help our clients with vendor selection. We help usher the products into your organization so you obtain the strategic objectives of the company. It’s never about the tools you have; it’s always been about the way you use them. WAV Group will be at NAR Midyear. We […]

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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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3 Ways for MLSs to Frustrate and Alienate Brokers

by Marilyn Wilson on April 20, 2016

No!

SOLDS, VOWS and the RESO Data Dictionary are NOT Optional for MLSs Some MLSs are creating unnecessary and even illegal challenges for their brokers as well as for the technology suppliers that support their brokers, by not complying with NAR rules…some of which that have been in place for YEARS! I hear regularly from brokers and technology vendors that they run into roadblocks all the time when they try to access SOLDs for their IDX feed, a Virtual Office Website (VOW) data feed and most recently, the RESO Data Dictionary dataset. I’m going to start with a little history lesson to help MLSs understand there are three data programs that are part of the NAR family, that are NOT optional for MLSs. IDX feed including SOLDS Required Brokers from the Leading Real Estate Companies of the world fought hard for MLSs to provide the option for brokers to include SOLDs in their IDX data feed. Some brokers really like the idea of including SOLDs on their website. They believe it helps them to be more competitive with third party sites, it provides a better consumer experience as well as encouraging more traffic and engagement. To address these important broker needs, the NAR MLS Policy Committee approved a rule that requires an MLS to provide SOLDs in the IDX data feed as requested by a broker. The first rule was approved in late 2014, the language was then amended to address non-disclosure states more specifically in late 2015. Here’s the official language: “If “sold” information is publicly accessible, display of “sold” listings may not be prohibited.” Even though this rule was put in place almost two years ago there are still several MLSs and some technology vendors who do not offer this option to their brokers. NAR rules state that any approved IDX policy must be live in every MLS no later than 90 days after the ruling has been ratified. I’m not sure why an MLS thinks that limiting the data and ultimately the value they can deliver to their customers is a good idea, but there are several that still do. If you are one of these MLSs that has refused to comply with this regulation or is simply not aware of this requirement, it’s time to get on with it! If you are an IDX or website vendor that has not yet complied with this rule and does […]

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The New Process for RFPs in Real Estate

by Victor Lund on March 30, 2016

Display showing bad, average good, person selecting

The RFP process has been a practice of companies acquiring technology solutions forever. RFP stands for Request for Proposal. The RFP focuses on drawing out product features and functionality. Although RFPs have always asked questions about the company, that is perhaps the most important component of RFPs in 2016. Today, I would argue that an RFP really is a Request for Partnership. This change was caused by a quiet revolution. During the Y2K surge that transitioned software from mainframe to browser, there was recognition that the old process of software development was too bureaucratic, slow, and overly regimented. An alternative to traditional project management that emerged in the early 2000s is called Agile software development. They use terms like Scrum, Extreme Programing, Dynamic System Development Method, Feature-Drive Development and many others. The overarching focus of all of these methodologies is to deliver frequent, high quality working software, delivered in “sprints,” which are measured in weeks, not months. The result is continuous improvement. You are experiencing this new methodology routinely on your mobile devices. If you have notices that your iPhone asks you to update your apps all of the time, that’s it. DocuSign can illustrate an example in real estate. In the first two months of the year, they have done 18 new feature releases for their transaction management solution. The software that they offered in January has evolved in two short months. It’s not just DocuSign, this is the way it’s done for most software developers. Our Typical RFP process for an MLS or large broker is to write a draft, go through an approval and editing process, then provide the vendor with 2-4 weeks to respond. During that time line, the features of the application could change dramatically. That is the beauty of Agile development, and why companies need to adjust the way that they look at vendor selection. My key takeaway: the RFP should focus less on features and more on the frequency and quality of their releases. How fast are they evolving? A new way to learn about your Request for Partnership is to take a look at the epic stories that they are writing for their Agile sprints. Take a look back three months and see how many releases they have made, and what functions were delivered. From this type of research you can see the impact of these releases. It will give you a […]

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office location map

About Northwood Northwood Realty is among the largest independent real estate companies in America. They cover multiple states and their 38 offices are focused mainly on the densely populated areas of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. They are a full service firm with 974 agents, offering residential, finance, relocation, and insurance. Northwood is pioneering a program for agent training that introduces an effective model for other brokers to consider. It’s called Northwood Tech Trainers. About Northwood Trainers Northwood deploys five field trainers to support just under 1000 agents.  The ratio is effectively one trainer to every 200 agents. The field trainers also have one supervisor, bringing their total department count to six. Tech trainers are assigned and integrated into offices and physically visit each office at least once a week. Agents can sign up for 30 or 60 minute sessions as often as they like, covering basically anything to do with technology—from the many Northwood programs, to helping setup a new phone or laptop, social networking and more. They are always available by telephone and email and additional tech support sessions can be held using JoinMe in group sessions or one on one with an agent/manager or admin. Program Costs Northwood considers technology and training a core benefit of their brokerage. They do not charge agents any technology fees nor do agents pay for training. They offer an extensive array of technology products that are all integrated into the CoreLogic AgentAchieve platform, including agent website, agent CRM, agent CMA, Property Panorama virtual tours, Listen 360 Agent Ratings, Gmail, SkySlope Transaction Management, Five Street, zipForm Plus, VoicePad, eProperty Watch AVM, Collateral Analytics and others. If you do the math, you can multiply 1000 agents times the fees for each of these technology solutions and recognize that they are making a major investment in agent productivity. Northwood took a big risk with this strategy a few years ago. They recognized that charging agents would be a barrier to the adoption of these technology tools, so they decided not to charge. They also recognized that offering products without a significant effort to drive adoption and training would lead to low adoption. By creating the Tech Training department to support these products, they have accelerated agent adoption beyond many of their peers. Now, in the fourth year of the plan, production per agent has risen significantly with many more agents lifting their production into the top production categories in their company. In […]

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Brokers Talk Marketing Webinar Invitation

by Victor Lund on January 15, 2016

  WAV Group supports brokerage companies in selecting and implementing marketing automation software. Firms of all sizes need and easy to use, a one stop shop for agents to access all of the marketing tools that power their success.  Last year we worked with Hunt Real Estate and others as they integrated their chosen solution into their broker back office solution.  Dan Mirsky of Hunt Real Estate will be joined by marketing executives from Berkshire Hathaway, Coldwell Banker, and RE/MAX to share their perspectives on the experiences they have had with marketing automation. Joining the call with be automated marketing software provider, Bill Yaman, President of Imprev. Yaman will outline current and future trends that his firm is developing against. Please accept this invitation and join us on February 2nd, 2016 at 10 am PST/ 1 PM EST. The webinar will be recorded and distributed afterwards. If you cannot make it, that is ok – just register and we will send you the video to review at your leisure and for sharing with your leadership. The integration allows the broker and agent marketing plan to be triggered around specific business marketing strategies. Marketing Listings Recruiting New Customer Marketing Customer Retention Marketing

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An Exciting Opportunity Awaits

by Jenna Woodruff on January 14, 2016

WAV Group is working with a company in the southeastern United States  to find a skilled Senior Technology Director to join their team. The company is a large broker  committed to offering amazing service. The businesses are driven by a dynamic leader whose vision permeates each business unit. That vision, always putting the customer first and going a “step beyond” that, which is expected, has made the company the area’s #1 service-oriented real estate firm, year after year. FUNCTION/ROLE: The company enjoys an extremely strong brand that has established a reputation for delivering solid, and thoughtful integrated technology solutions for its agents and clients. The Sr. Technology Director will be responsible for purchasing and maintaining a suite of lead generation, brand building, and transaction processing tools second to none. This position will also drive the success of corporate IT solutions finding more effective and efficient ways to support the needs of the staff and sales professionals. Third, the Director will work closely with the marketing team to continually improve the engagement and lead generation capabilities of the highly trafficked broker website The successful candidate will be responsible for formulating and implementing the Technology plan that will help achieve the corporate strategic plan goals. While the ideal fit for this position will have strong leadership skills and technology vision, they will also have strong operational skills with the ability to oversee and seamlessly execute the complete operation of the company’s technology infrastructure as well as office, agent and consumer-facing tools. The Sr. Technology Director will need to be a charismatic leader capable of earning the trust of the leadership team as well as effectively leading, guiding, directing, inspiring and evaluating the work  the technology team. The successful Sr. Technology Director will also be a strong manager and developer of people, adept at forming, staffing, guiding, leading, and managing. They will be expert at inspiring and guiding a progressive internal technology team. The successful candidate will also have proven skills at leveraging external development and systems integration resources where appropriate. The role requires a strong ability to work in partnership with marketing, and leadership to digest the needs of the company staff, training team, offices and sales professionals as well as sensitivity to the ever-changing demands of home buyers and sellers.  They will work closely with the President to ensure full transparency of the technology path, communicating all plans, budgets, milestones and any […]

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Recruiting or Retention of Agents

by Victor Lund on April 30, 2015

In a recent meeting I attended of broker owners, there was a questions posed: What’s more important in your business – Recruiting or Retention of agents? There seemed to be an overwhelming lean toward recruiting and it is hard for me to understand why. When we look at operational effectiveness in a brokerage, we look at things like brand, leadership, and culture. Brand is measured by the opinion of agents and customers. Leadership is measured by the popularity of executives among staff, managers, and agents. Culture is the happiness measurement of executives, staff, managers, and agents. The common goal of building strong brands, leaders, and culture is accomplished over time. These are things that are developed through trust. Are we overly concerned about getting people in the door to the detriment of the people already amongst us? Sometimes broker are. Is the brokerage more concerned with lead generation than customer for life? Is the brokerage more concerned with recruiting new agents rather than completing the process of developing a successful agent who loves their company? For me, great companies are like families. Everyone is a part of something that they are vested in and have pride in. The fastest growing companies I know are succeeding by firing disruptive, selfish, and unproductive agents and managers. In doing so, they became recognized for quality by many of the elite agents from other firms. The company becomes attractive. They run their business like a private club for the best of the best. Obviously the answer to the question is that both recruiting and retention are vital to growth. Recruiting becomes the outcome of retention. My point is that retention precedes recruiting. Essence precedes existence. What are you recruiting people to? What are your core values? What are your core beliefs? How are you benchmarking or indexing those things? When you truly believe in your business, its impossible not to invite others to join the company. But you recruit selectively because you owe it to your colleagues to invite people who will add value, not detract from it. Of course it will add unit and revenue value, but more importantly you add to the culture. As business people, we all have a tendency to look at the logic and not pay enough attention to the emotion. How many companies pull monthly reports but fail to do a survey to ask agent and customers about […]

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Real estate leaders share 2015 outlook on housing, economy

by Kevin Hawkins on November 6, 2014

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

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Broker Non-Compete with Portals

by Victor Lund on October 29, 2014

The great real estate portals of America are trusted partners to brokers. As trusted partners, they are able to collect a lot of information that brokers have held close. For example, portals have access to a broker’s agent roster. They know which agents respond to consumer inquiries the fastest and the best. They even know which agents sell the most number of homes and which ones have the best consumer reviews. Beyond the information portals have about listings and agents, they have collected a massive amount of consumer information including the identity of the consumer. Moreover, with direct consumer email marketing, portals have built a trust relationship with consumers. There is nothing harmful about any of this. Indeed, it makes portals great partners to brokers as long as they stay on their side of the fence. Executives with portals have been consistent in their remarks claiming that they do not intend to get into the brokerage business. That is a good thing, because if a leading portal became a brokerage they would be a powerhouse right out of the gate. Could it happen? It is not going to happen, but it could. Many leading portals have brokerage licenses in every State in America. I do not know why, but they do. Many portals also provide products to agents and brokers that leverage IDX data – the same data that is used by agents and brokers to power solutions from other vendor partners, and the same data that brokers use to power their own website. Every day, the number of full IDX feeds to portals expands. If a portal wanted to get into the brokerage business tomorrow, they would have all of the ingredients. It is kinda scary to think about, but do not fret. Portals adamantly deny any plans or prospects of becoming a brokerage. Who could blame them? Brokerage margins are razor thin. Maybe they would consider becoming a franchise, but again – the executives of portals have denied any likelihood of this. Lets make sure. There is a simple way to make sure that the partnership between brokers and portals remains non-competitive. In the portal license agreement, or any other agreement between the parties, should contain a non-compete clause (even as an addendum to current agreements) that outlines the the understanding. Given that the understanding is implicit in the relationship between the two parties today, putting it in […]

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Coldwell Banker Chooses Imprev

by Victor Lund on September 29, 2014

Today’s real estate firms, franchise or otherwise, need to provide a robust marketing solution for agents that especially support them with digital marketing tools: Video, virtual tours, eMail marketing, and social media marketing. In an announcement today, Coldwell Banker announced a partnership with Imprev to power their digital marketing suite for all of their franchise companies. There are a number of firms that offer marketing solutions, but the two firms that have dominated the selection among franchise organizations in the past years include Marketleader and Imprev. Strangely enough, until a few years ago, Imprev was Marketleader’s partner for their marketing suite, jointly providing a full solution to Keller Williams, unit Marketleader purchased SharperAgent in 2011. At the time of the acquisition, SharperAgent claimed 30,000 customers and Marketleader claimed 50,000 customers. Marketleader then went on to sign up a number of large franchise organizations, including Century 21. Today, the Marketleader suite is a business unit owned by Trulia who is in the process of being acquired by real estate portal leader, Zillow. No doubt, this announcement for Imprev is significant. Imprev has had a nearly decade-long standing relationship with RE/MAX and recently launched an automation platform with Berkshire Hathaway’s largest brokerage, Fox and Roach Realtors (a solution that is tightly integrated into CoreLogic’s AgentAchieve platform). Imprev shows with Coldwell Banker that it can connect to Leadrouter, which is a standard used by other Realogy franchises. Congratulations to Imprev and to Coldwell Banker’s 84,000 sales associates. Since over 80% of a firm’s business comes from sphere marketing – marketing suites like Imprev are critical service offerings. disclaimer – WAV Group has provided consulting services to all companies mentioned in this post. Press Release Coldwell Banker Unveils New eMarketing Platform Madison, N.J. (Sept. 29, 2014) – Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC today announced an agreement with Imprev, Inc. to power the Coldwell Banker® brand’s fully mobile eMarketing platform. Coldwell Banker eMarketing is part of the new Coldwell Banker 360 suite of products that give Coldwell Banker independent agents and brokers access to a platform that delivers an extensive range of exclusive designs and marketing content and allow them to easily engage with consumers via the Web, email and social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. “Our new Coldwell Banker eMarketing platform will make it easier for Coldwell Banker agents to connect with prospective home buyers and sellers while increasing productivity,” said Sean Blankenship, senior vice president […]

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And the Lead Goes Round and Round

by Victor Lund on September 23, 2014

I had a rather interesting conversation about lead management and lead sales today. The story went something like this. A broker enhances listings and purchases zip code leads from a portal. The broker believes that there is some form of exclusivity on the leads generated through the system in so far as the lead is only distributed once. In his case, he distributes the leads as they come in to one of his agents. To test the system, the broker had a staff member go to the publisher site and generate a lead. The lead came through to the broker as promised. However, the broker (pretending to be a consumer) also got a call from a mortgage company to pre-qualify for a loan. During the call with the loan officer, they suggested that he work with one of the mortgage company’s network of agents and asked if he needed help finding an agent. To the broker, that caused the lead to be “sold” twice. He was rather upset. The portal takes the lead that they provided to the real estate agent and also sells that lead to the mortgage company. In this case, the mortgage company also has a lead network where they take leads that they generate for mortgage and provide that lead to a real estate agent partner. So the same consumer lead went to the publisher’s broker partner and the mortgage company’s broker partner – one lead just became 3 – 1 to the publishers premium broker; one to the mortgage company (unbeknownst to the premium broker); and again to the mortgage company’s real estate agent network. Poor consumer gets hit 3 times just for asking if the fireplace is wood burning or gas. I do not see that the portal sold the lead twice – so in my opinion, the portal is not undermining their product sold to the brokerage. But they may be conspicuous if they are not telling the premium brokerage that they are selling the lead to other home services companies like the mortgage firm. The publisher probably just said that they only sell the lead to one real estate broker/agent. In 2009, WAV Group did an analysis of the “fine print of listing syndication.” The paper can be viewed here http://waves.wavgroup.com/2009/11/10/listing-syndication-be-sure-to-read-the-fine-print/. The take away is that, unless you have a well crafted agreement with a publisher, all of your content – listings […]

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

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Who Syndicated My Listings?

by Victor Lund on August 25, 2014

We have learned over the last half-decade of doing listing syndication that it is complicated, especially for firms that have multiple offices, multiple associations, multiple MLSs, and possibly a franchise or network. We call this overlapping syndication disorder and the existence of this disorder can lead to syndication fraud. Last month, Amy Gallagher of Century 21® Hometown Realty in California encountered a fraud attempt that was blocked by ListHub. This is an important component of our service that you may not be aware of. Gallagher’s firm participates in three primary MLSs along the central coast of California and is also a franchise of Century 21. All three MLSs offer listing syndication and so does Century 21. Because the firm’s listings overlap in some MLS areas (same listing in multiple MLSs), they choose to use the ListHub service offered through their Century 21 franchise as their primary syndication tool. Gallagher has a ListHub account in each MLS, but has the listing syndication turned off. In June of 2014, Gallagher received an email stating that her new ListHub account in a certain MLS was requested. The ListHub team alerted her that someone was using her broker credentials to try to create a ListHub account. The effort was blocked. “Without this fraud alert feature in ListHub, our listings could have been taken over and abusively syndicated!” Since over 90% of consumers begin their home search online, it is essential that technology is available to support real estate professionals who choose to advertise their listings online within a safe environment. And if brokers want to block syndication there should be a mechanism to support this option as well. ListHub, a leading technology-provider used by more than 450 MLSs and 50,000+ brokers in the United States, is a good example of a managed syndication platform. ListHub is controlled solely by the broker-in-charge and connected directly to the MLS. With ListHub, for example, only the broker-in-charge can decide where the company’s listings are being distributed online, or if they are distributed at all. ListHub has protective measures in place to help brokers prevent listing fraud including the ability to block syndication for your office codes, ensuring that no other broker or agent is able to fraudulently syndicate your listings via ListHub. A little background to understand how this works… The ListHub platform is set up so that when a broker account is configured ListHub pulls the […]

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For those of you that believe relationships with MLSs are important either for distribution partnerships or data access, I would HIGHLY recommend that you attend and exhibit at the upcoming CMLS 2014 Conference in Huntington Beach, CA from September 24th to 27th, 2014.  I served on the board of the Council of MLS previously and I can tell you that is it THE single best way to build relationships with leading MLSs, bar none. It is an intimate conference focused exclusively on MLS issues so it is a great place to build relationships with the movers and shakers of the MLS world. I received a notice today that there are only 12 booths left for this year so I wanted to get this out to you right away so you can take advantage of this opportunity if you believe it is right for your business. Here’s the information shared from CMLS today…….. “Act now and take advantage of the last few sponsorship opportunities that include an exhibitor booth !* Come face-to-face with some of the biggest decision makers in our industry, and take advantage of the chances to market your products and services to MLS leaders and professionals from across the country and Canada. We are expecting a packed house, drawn by the surf, sun, and entertainment possibilities that are unique to Southern California! Because 2014 has already been shaping up as a year of transition, the marketing opportunities CMLS2014 will offer you cannot be missed! From signage throughout the conference to branding in the all-new conference mobile app, your sponsorship and attendance are sure to get you the visibility you seek for your products and services. Also, conference sponsorships of $2,500 or more also include one free conference registration (a $750+ value).” Email info@councilofmls.com for more information about sponsorship today! If you would like to learn more about ways RE Technology can help build your business, feel free to contact me at Marilyn@wavgroup.com.

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What is Your Lead Conversion Strategy?

by THE WAV GROUP on July 9, 2014

This is a guest post sent to us by Carl DeMusz of NORMLS – https://www.linkedin.com/pub/carl-demusz/4/749/249 Real estate markets are cyclical and change with the economy. They tend to be closely linked to employment which is also impacted by the economy. We have often observed times when the housing market can lead the economy out of recession. One thing that helps improve the housing market is a well-informed consumer who realizes that while housing markets are cyclical they always recover. They know that if they buy a home and hold on to it, the value will rise over time simply because people need homes to live in and buildable land is in short supply. Here, the laws of “supply and demand” eventually kick in. That is why for most Americans their home is their most valuable possession. Did you know the most qualified buyers are usually the most impatient when it comes to finding their home? These are the buyers who web search a listing, find ones they are interested in and want facts on the property as quick as possible. How fast are you at responding to an Internet Inquiry? Response time is so important that the WAV Group, a Professional Consulting Firm, did a study of real estate agents responsiveness. I’ve posted a few of their results below. WAV Group evaluated agent responsiveness this year by becoming a homebuyer lead across hundreds of brokerages in 11 states. Our findings may shock you. • 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to • Average number of call back attempts after the initial contact was 1.5 • Average number of email contact attempts was 2.07 • Average response time was 917 minutes (or 15.29 hours) Agent Responsiveness Study Download Report: http://s3.amazonaws.com/mtssdhosting/wavgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/15085006/AgentResponsivenessStudy2013Final.pdf The worldwide web is a great tool for advertising plus a whole lot more. We can help you increase your lead conversion rate by speeding up your response time to consumer inquiries. Another valuable tool available to NORMLS members working with consumers is the Client Portal in the Matrix system. Each day hundreds of thousands of listings are viewed by consumers through our Client Portal right here in Northeast Ohio. If you are a NORMLS member and are not currently setup to use the Client Portal, I would be remising if I didn’t mention the “GoNEOHREX Mobile App”. This App is available for iPhones/iPads as well as android and tablets. If […]

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NAR Publishes Paper On Lead Management

by Victor Lund on May 29, 2014

The National Association of REALTORS® is not necessarily the first place that REALTORS® would turn to get advise on Internet Lead Management, but they have stepped up to the plate as a resource. Quite nicely I would add. In a paper published this week, Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of the Data Analytics Group at NAR, published a paper titled The Intelligent Internet Lead, Providing Context, Coaching & Confidence to Web Source Leads. Click Here for Download http://crt.blogs.realtor.org/2014/05/27/crt-white-paper-the-intelligent-internet-lead/ WAV Group has performed a lot of research on online marketing, mostly for the purpose of providing MLSs and brokers with good research for setting strategy and policy. Our discovery has led us to the primary issue that faces real estate today – more than ½ of consumer leads are never responded to, and when they are – the follow up efforts to convert the leads are too low to be effective. This paper from NAR attacks this problem. In an effort to Raise the Bar in real estate and support the service levels that consumers get from REALTORS® and REALTOR® websites like realtor.com, NAR has published this paper. Carpenter does a great job of outlining best practices for REALTORS® to follow and provides a plethora of online solutions that will support REALTORS® on their journey to provide better support to the online consumer seeking real estate information. “This is a real issue for professional real estate agents,” says Marilyn Wilson of the WAV Group. “REALTORS® can’t complain about intermediaries between them and the consumer if they are not going to close the gap and service the consumer.” Many agents are brokers are frustrated with third party listing websites providing online services to consumers. Regardless of the frustration, they continue to advertise listings online. Not responding to leads is pure insanity. In other industries before real estate, the failure to provide consumers with an online service level has led to the disintermediation of that professional. Spoiler Alert: If REALTORS® do not engage in the online consumer, they will lose their position as the agent for the consumer to someone or some service that will. If you have not tackled this issue in your business, download this paper and learn about some of the tools that REALTORS® may use to find the path to providing better service to consumers. Carpenter outlines 5 agent CRM solutions that will help with lead management. RE Technology provides […]

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Broker AVMs

by Victor Lund on April 21, 2014

One of the core services of brokerages and their agents is pricing property. In the olden days, it was less scientific than it is right now. On an individual property, agents deliver CMAs or BPOs. Today, using MLS data, brokers are now automating their services. Sometimes this service is called Automated Valuation Modeling, or AVMs. There is a healthy and robust marketplace for AVMs in the financial services industry. Banks want to know the debt-to-equity ratio on homes they hold mortgages on. They also want to use AVMs as a method to validate home appraisals. Government uses AVMs to make monetary policy surrounding affordable housing and interest rates. Of course, the government also wants to make sure that their sponsored entities like Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac are making healthy loans. Insurance companies want to use AVMs to calculate property insurance rates and claims. Investment analysts use AVMs as a measure of the health of the real estate market that correlates to an exhaustive set of predictors on where stock prices are going for both individual companies, as well as sectors of companies. Largely speaking, brokers have been cut out of this marketplace. Historically, the financial services industry has been fed AVMs that are based upon public record data. As industry experts understand, public record data lags behind MLS data by weeks or even months. Moreover, the detail of the property tax record is simple, and does not take detailed housing features into account. The National Association of REALTORS® worked with the federal government and other entities after the housing crisis to point out that using active listing data in monitoring the health of the real estate industry would have allowed them to “see” the housing bubble as the number of for sale homes in the MLS swelled, and along with it – days on market and wider gaps in list-to-sell ratios. MLS users knew what was going on well in advance of public records. Public records first displayed lower volume and, along with it, lower prices. It was not until pre-foreclosure and foreclosure records began to hit public records that the financial market saw the bubble. By then, it had already burst. Knowing that a broker’s data in the MLS has value to the financial industry, the National Association of REALTORS® founded a company called Realtors Property Resource™ or RPR. RPR is unique in that it combines public record […]

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