Marilyn Wilson

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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Don’t miss this webinar moderated by WAV Group partner, Marilyn Wilson. Cloud CMA FREE Webinar! Thursday, April 14th at 10:00am PST Seats are limited so make sure you register today!     How To Use CMAs to Generate Seller Leads Join W&R Studios’ National Trainer and real estate speaker Ricardo Bueno and listing rockstar April Kass as they dive deep into everything you need to know to start generating and closing more seller leads today! ATTENDEE.GOTOWEBINAR.COM

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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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LISLE, Ill., Dec. 17, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) –Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), Chicagoland’s multiple listing service (MLS), announced that its President/Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Jensenhas been awarded the Women’s Council of Realtors® (WCR) Chicago’s Elevate Award, which recognizes an individual or company that promotes and supports the advancement of women in real estate. WCR Chicago chose to recognize Ms. Jensen for her great accomplishments in the MLS industry and the wonderful example she has set for women in real estate. Ms. Jensen arrived at MRED on March 2, 2015. She has worked in the MLS industry since 1998, and for the eight years before MRED she was the CEO of Utah’s regional MLS, UtahRealEstate.com. She is a member of the Executive Committee for the COVE MLS group and the MLS Executive Advisory Board at Realtor.com.  Ms. Jensen also serves as Secretary for the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) and on the Broker Public Portal (BPP) Board of Managers.  Ms. Jensen is one of the Swanepoel 200 Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate and a Utah Business Magazine Forty Under 40 Honoree.  She has also been recognized as a 2015 Rising Star by HousingWire Magazine. “It was an honor to present the Elevate Award to the President/Chief Executive Officer of MRED,” said Sarah Ware, 2016 WCR Chicago President and Broker/Owner of Ware Realty Group.  “Although there are as not as many women leaders in our industry as we would like, we are making great strides to level the playing field. This also speaks to the core mission of Women’s Council of Realtors ‘advancing women as professionals and leaders in business, the industry and the communities we serve.’  Congratulations again to Rebecca” “The Chicago Chapter of WCR has recognized the amazing ability that Rebecca has to inspire greatness in others,” said Jeff Gregory, MRED Chairman of the Board and Broker Owner of Realty Executives Success.  “She is truly a leader that others want to follow. What she has done and continues to do in the real estate industry will impress and inspire others — for years to come.” “I cannot express how honored I am to receive the Elevate Award,” said Jensen.  “I have been a strong supporter of WCR throughout my professional career, and respect the organization’s strong commitment to education and the elevation of women within our industry.  I am flattered to join the list of successful individuals and […]

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WAV Group would like to congratulate Stephanie Pfeffer Anton on being named to the Inman Top 101. This is a very well-deserved honor. Great work, Stephanie! CHICAGO – 12/17/15 – Luxury Portfolio International™ Executive Vice President Stephanie Pfeffer Anton has been named to the Inman Top 101, a list of industry leaders who are recognized for driving industry change through ingenuity, outspokenness, strength, conviction, power and persistence. A frequent industry speaker and an authority on marketing to the affluent, Pfeffer Anton has been with Luxury Portfolio since its founding in 2005. She is responsible for the program’s day-to-day operations, including its award-winning website, www.LuxuryPortfolio.com, which markets over 35,000 homes to over three million high-net-worth visitors annually. Luxury Portfolio is the luxury face of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com), a global real estate network comprised of the most powerful independent brokerages. Previously, Pfeffer Anton served as the vice president of marketing for a large Chicagoland real estate brokerage and as the director of communications and internet for an international real estate franchise. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Boston University and a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. To see the complete Inman Top 101 List, visit http://www.inman.com/inman101. ### About Luxury Portfolio International® Luxury Portfolio International® (www.LuxuryPortfolio.com) is the luxury face of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the largest global network of premier locally branded companies dominated by many of the world’s most powerful independent luxury brokerages. Luxury Portfolio International attracts a worldwide audience of visitors from over 200 countries/territories every month and annually markets over 35,000 luxury homes to over three million high-net-worth visitors. About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com) is a by-invitation-only network that encompasses over 500 firms and 120,000 associates in over 50 countries worldwide. Collectively, the group produces over one million transactions valued at over $320 billion annually. The organization provides its affiliates with a robust menu of products and services spanning the areas of lead generation; outcome-based learning for leaders, associates and staff; web technology and systems; and branding and marketing support, including its Luxury Portfolio International® division.

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We’re proud to announce that our founding partners, Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund, were recently named to Inman’s annual list of the top leaders in the real estate industry. The award recognizes their forward thinking visions about how the industry can and must adapt to change. Marilyn, according to Inman, is “an articulate spokesperson about the threats and the challenges faced by the industry,” while Victor is “an advocate for big strategic initiatives that the legacy industry must undertake to survive.” “It’s interesting to be acknowledged as one of the industry leaders because we operate a very small business,” Victor told me earlier today. “The recognition is more of a testament to the privilege we have to work with so many MLSs, brokers, and technology companies as their servant.” The recognition is also a testament to the huge potential impact of several key industry wide initiatives that WAV Group is working on: Supporting the communications of the Real Estate Standards Organization as they roll out Data Dictionary certification and the RESO API Supporting REDPLAN’s efforts to protect the assets of the real estate industry and to defend those assets against patent trolls and other nefarious activities Supporting the Broker Public Portal in its strides to build a national MLS consumer facing website Helping Project Upstream become operational now that they’ve secured the support of NAR and selected RPR as their vendor “We do these things at the liberty of the leadership that operates these initiatives,” said Victor. “I think a lot of times consulting firms are mischaracterized as the people doing these things when we’re merely the staff that supports them.” Regardless, WAV Group has been a driving force in pushing the industry to adapt to changing consumer expectations spurred by technology. To give you a better idea of WAV Group’s influential thought leadership, we’ve rounded up a sampling of their best articles from 2015: For brokers Upstream Revealed Top 3 Ways to Make the New IDX Rules Work for Your Brokerage Major Changes In Real Estate No HATERS in Real Estate Please! For MLSs Top 10 Ways to Become a Truly Broker-Centric MLS An Industry At Risk Enabling an Ecosystem of Innovation for Real Estate RETS Servers and Direct Feeds Understanding the MRIS-TREND Project Bad Customer Service Can WIPE OUT a LOT of Goodwill Away in Minutes! The Do’s and Don’ts of MLS System Selection It’s Time to Replace Core […]

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WAV Group is leading an effort to help Pacific Union International (PUI) find a Vice President, Business & Digital Intelligence (VPBDI). The person in this position will lead PUI’s work in market dynamics based analytics, business and digital intelligence and client demographics. This strategic role will be responsible for business and digital intelligence programs and models to drive market share, client retention and decision support for our regional executives, real estate professionals and related business units throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. This key role will lead the industry and our company as the “go to” authority for new technical and digital initiatives around data mining, client demographics and analytics. Pacific Union International boasts one of the strongest brands in the real estate industry today. The company is a leader in the residential real estate industry as well as a formidable competitor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Commanding nearly twelve percent (12%) market share in the nine Bay Area counties, PUI has grown from $2.2 billion in sales volume in 2009 to nearly $7.5 billion in 2015. PUI’s relentless pursuit of Vision 2020 will drive strategic initiatives to further grow the business by increasing market share in the Bay Area and growing our geographic footprint throughout the Western USA. If you have demonstrated abilities to lead organizations by providing rich insights and new approaches to residential real estate and thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented, technology-intensive environment, then this is a position for you. Responsibilities include rapidly building and overseeing business intelligence, internal and external communications and a willingness to be or become an industry spokesperson. Success will be dependent on collaborative and productive relationships with our Regional Executives, marketing, public relations, finance and technology leaders. To learn more about the position and Pacific Union, contact Marilyn@wavgroup.com or jenna@wavgroup.com.

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POSITION TITLE: Director of MLS REPORTS TO: Chief Executive Officer LOCATION: New Orleans, Louisiana ORGANIZATIONAL DESCRIPTION: New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS®, Inc. is seeking a new MLS and IT Director to run their MLS operations for their wholly owned subsidiary, Gulf South Real Estate Information Network, Inc. The Gulf South Real Estate Information Network Inc., New Orleans, LA., is seeking an MLS Director to lead its 5600 member Multiple Listing Service, GSREIN. The company is looking for someone to administer and direct the activities, operations and staff of the Multiple Listing Service of the Association and oversees its IT Services. The ideal candidate is someone who has a working knowledge of the real estate industry and its technological trends. They must also possess MLS related job experience along with an understanding of the issues and challenges facing today’s MLS and its Participants. A candidate must have excellent work ethic and possess great organization, communication, management, technology skills and people skills. The company is looking for a progressive Leader and Manager adept at creating positive change for MLS systems while being considerate of the needs of the organization’s members. FUNCTION/ROLE: The New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS(R), celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015, has a long history of providing amazing service, support and advocacy to its members. The company’s MLS and IT Director will be responsible for supporting and promoting a suite of highly useful and effective technologies, training and support services to help NOMAR members get the most out of their MLS offerings. The successful candidate will also be the point of contact for coordinating with IT and Network support vendors to maintain the company’s IT infrastructure. The role requires a strong ability to digest the needs of staff, leadership and members as well as sensitivity to the ever-changing demands of homebuyers and sellers. They will work closely with the CEO to ensure full transparency of the technology path and programs, communicating all plans, milestones and any pertinent challenges regularly. Finally, the Director of MLS and IT will be highly focused on benchmarking results against the plans outlined and will critically evaluate the success of technology programs and course correct in real-time. REQUIREMENTS/JOB SKILLS: Administer and direct the activities and operations and staff of the Multiple Listing Service of the Association, consistent with the policy and procedures as directed by the Board of Directors, MLS and Electronic Keybox Rules […]

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Top 10 Ways to Become a Truly Broker-Centric MLS.

by Marilyn Wilson on November 11, 2015

Ever since the now infamous Gripe List was published, MLSs have been scrambling to find out they can better serve their MLS Customers.  I was honored to moderate a panel of brokers at the highly successful RESO conference last week as part of the first business track. I asked them what they believe an MLS must do to become broker-centric. Since there is no official definition of what a broker-centric MLS is I thought I would take a crack at it to get the conversation going. The following list is a compilation of their answers along with interviews we conducted with brokers throughout the country and even our own experiences with MLS organizations working on behalf of our broker clients. Here you go: 1. TRULY understands and addresses broker’s needs The broker-centric MLS goes to school on their brokers – they spend time truly listening to their brokers and uncover new ways to help them be successful in the ways that brokers are interested in.  Importantly, they DO something about what brokers need – they don’t just postulate about it 2. MOVES quickly – solves problems and create opportunities Brokers are entrepreneurs by definition. They work in a highly competitive and undifferentiated environment. They need to solve problems every day to open up doors of opportunity for their agents and for their clients.  MLSs who do not have a sense of urgency are slowing down a broker’s ability to get it done and make a sale. When a broker calls, she needs an answer quickly.  As soon as you slow down the potential for a new sale or a new line of business an MLS is NOT being broker-centric.  We get complaints all the time about MLSs who simply say no or worse yet, don’t respond at all to requests. It’s also important to support the companies that work for the brokers.  Some MLSs treat technology companies like lepers. They portray a genuine disinterest and even disgust for vendors that have been hired by brokers to deliver services.   The attitude of broker-centricity needs to extend to ALL of the companies that support them, not just to the brokers themselves.  We just had a hellish experience with a small MLS in New York State that simply refused to answer questions that we were requesting on behalf of one of the MLSs clients. We weren’t asking for anything other than public information […]

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Brokers Need To Sharpen Their Value Story

by Victor Lund on November 11, 2015

WAV Group is re-launching a number of brokerage brands today. Re-launching a brand does not require a brand to change, but the brand communication changes. We review how the brand is communicated everywhere, but especially where the brand has the greatest reach – in your technology applications. A brand re-launch begins with a strategy to tell the story about why your brand is a good choice. We identify why your managers (employees) work for your firm so competitors do not hire them away. We define the reasons why agents (contractors) work for your firm so they cannot be recruited away. But most importantly, we identify why consumers trust your firm so they do not wonder elsewhere. The single most important place to reinforce your brand is in your presentations. What is the story that you tell managers when you are recruiting? What is the story that managers tell agents when they are recruiting? What is the story in your listing presentation that agents are conveying at the kitchen table? In most cases, the brand story is old and tired. When I show the story to principles, they are appalled. Firms forget to update their brand story. Moreover, everyone’s listing presentation is looking the same these days, and that is a problem for brands. WAV Group thinks that brokerage firms should perform an hygienic cleansing of a brand each year. We are happy to help. Marilyn Wilson of WAV Group is among the top marketing professionals in our industry. Before her decade-long experience as a founder of WAV Group, she was the EVP of Marketing for Fisher-Price, one of the top 10 international brands in the world. Here is a short paper that talks about some innovative solutions that WAV Group clients are implementing in one area of their new brand communications – the listing presentation. It’s a free paper that hopes to give you some good ideas. If you want to dig in deep, give us a call.

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Boost Your Member Satisfaction by offering RE Technology

by Marilyn Wilson on November 11, 2015

Real estate agents and brokers are overwhelmed by technologies. Telemarketers pitching the latest and greatest gimmick inundate them. We have been changing this since 2010 and now serve 750,000 MLS and Association subscribers with straight shooting information. Let’s meet at NAR to discuss this top rated solution for your area. Trust the Real Estate Technology Leader RE Technology is an online source where agents and brokers can learn about how to use technology to win more listings, sell homes more quickly, and maintain stronger relationships with past clients. Currently agents and brokers have access to thousands of articles and product reviews, as well as the most comprehensive directory of real estate technologies available anywhere. What can RE Technology offer? A robust library of articles to help agents and brokers get the most out of technology. A comprehensive product directory. A customized daily and/or weekly newsletter. Live educational webinars Todd Smith, MLS Training and Project Support Associate at the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS writes “I even showed a broker who came by for MLS help RETechnology.  I went to the site, logged in and showed her what she has access to and a free benefit for.  She took down the MAAR url with enthusiasm.  She was looking for vendors who make websites.  As a trainer, I seek to be informational all the way around.  Not just in what I’m training, but also resourceful with tools and tidbits that can help realtors be greater and do better.  RETechnology helps me do that.” Check Us Out at the NAR Annual Conference Want to take RE Technology for a test drive? We’ll be at the NAR Annual conference in San Diego. To set up a meeting, give Leilani Bruce a call at (702) 302-6882 or email her at leilani@retechnology.com.  I’d love to learn more about you and discuss how RE Technology can help.

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America’s Largest MLS Offering System of Choice

by Victor Lund on November 4, 2015

One announcement that was made around the Council of MLS meetings was the intention of the California Regional Association of REALTORS to offer the Paragon MLS system alongside the CoreLogic Matrix system. This was a big topic of conversation in our recent webinar, the most recent installment in our ongoing WAVes of Change series. Just think about it – they will be running in parallel forever. History CRMLS is a complex MLS. They support 78,000 subscribers and they plan to grow. California has a lot of Paragon installations in California, including some large MLSs like San Diego County and a more modest sized MLS in the Eastern Bay of San Francisco. There are much smaller accounts scattered around the state. San Diego is a neighbor to CRMLS and they share overlapping membership in Northern San Diego County. Strategy From a strategic perspective, the size of CRMLS is justification enough to offer different systems. We have witnessed this before in Chicago where they offered three systems years ago, and in the Dallas and greater northern Texas market where CoreLogic’s Innovia system was offered because of its support for mobile web and Mac OS. Front end of choice has been around. In Chicago the thought was that one system would rise above the other. That did not happen. Agents will not change systems unless they are forced to. For CRMLS, front-end system of choice provides their subscribers with variation. Different systems appeal to different audiences. Offering system variety is also not foreign to the company. When CRMLS was formed, they offered Discover MLS, MLXchange, and Tempo. In many ways, I think that CRMLS drew success from system flexibility and this may be an effort to return to those roots. Rapattoni, another heavily adopted system among California MLSs, has recently shared that they are not opposed to operating their application as a front end of choice. Complexity One of key complexities of the construct is getting the vendors to work together in a way that does not require CRMLS members to pay for two systems. WAV Group’s understanding is that payments are only the active users on each system – not a site license, will pay vendors. The means for calculating users is not public at this time. I think this will create some healthy competition among the vendors to deliver excellence and innovation. The Single Sign On to supporting applications to each […]

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The Iowa Association of REALTORS® (IAR) is pleased to announce the hiring of Gavin Blair as the next Chief Executive Officer of the 6,800-member association. Mr. Blair is the current CEO of the Dayton Area Board of REALTORS® in Ohio. Blair oversees the over 2,400-member organization and the Dayton Regional MLS with over 3,000 members. “We conducted a nationwide search and interviewed several excellent candidates. We felt Gavin Blair was the best fit for IAR with his background in government affairs and his track record of progress and innovation in his previous positions.” IAR President Jon Yocum stated. Prior to his role at the Dayton Area Board of REALTORS®, Blair was the Government Affairs Director at the Columbus Board of REALTORS® for three and a half years. Blair is involved in several workgroups and committees at the National Association of REALTORS® including the Association Executive Committee and the Professional Standards Committee. “I look forward to leading the Iowa Association and continuing a tradition of innovation and leadership.” Mr. Blair said. Blair has earned his REALTOR® Certified Executive (RCE) Designation and is a graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Political Science. He is a sports fan and a lifelong Buckeye supporter, and enjoys running and golfing. He is looking forward to making Iowa his new home.

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Damien Huze, founder of Wake Interactive, has joined W&R Studios to focus on design of W&R Studios’ products and services. HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA (October 29, 2015) – Privately held software company, W&R Studios, announced today that Damien Huze will be joining their leadership team as the Chief Design Officer. Damien has been involved with the company since 2008. He designed W&R Studios’ corporate identity as well as consulted on the UI/UX and identity of their flagship product, Cloud CMA. Damien grew up in Paris, France. Both his parents were in creative fields. “It wasn’t until much later that I realized the impact of growing up in house where there was always a sketch being drawn, a story being written, a canvas being painted, or an object being fabricated. The trash bin full of concepts gave me awareness of the grind a designer has to go through to do valuable work.” stated Damien. Later, when he was a teenager they moved to Florida. “We have been working with Damien and his company for many years, and could not be more thrilled to have Damien join us full time.” stated Dan Woolley, co-founder of W&R Studios. “W&R Studios products have always have the reputation of great design and we can’t wait to have Damien’s influence on every aspect of our company.” W&R Studios’ products include, Cloud CMA, a web-based report generating software application and Cloud Streams, a listing alert and collaboration tool that helps agents keep more buyers. “I’ve always enjoyed working with Dan and Greg.” said Damien Huze. “Their success has been incredible. When I was asked to join their team I was thrilled at the opportunity and potential.” “Design matters.” stated Greg Robertson, co-founder of W&R Studios. “The stuff Damien and the dev team are working on is phenomenal. I can’t wait for our customers to see what’s in store” concluded Mr. Robertson. Damien now lives with his wife and 3 daughters in Boulder, Colorado. To learn more about W&R Studios and their products please visit, http://wr-studios.com About W&R Studios Founded in 2008, W&R Studios is a privately held web software company located in Huntington Beach, California. The company focuses on creating the next generation of web-based software solutions for the real estate industry. By providing a “less is more” approach to software design, elegant user interfaces, and using the latest in agile programming, W&R Studios’ software applications are at […]

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Preparing for Success in the Coming Year

by Marilyn Wilson on October 27, 2015

As we approach the end of another exciting year in real estate, now is a great time to sit back and reflect on the best ways to help prepare your members and organization for success next year. We have talked many times over the years about the importance of staying in touch with what is happening in the industry today. Here’s what can happen when an organization is out of touch: They can delay decisions because they seem difficult or controversial causing the organization to fall behind or lose its competitive advantage. Instead of responding to the waves of change, organizations can be torn apart by the jaws of defeat. MLSs and Boards that do not stay close to trends can enforce outdated rules and regulations that hinder member success. They can make decisions in isolation of the needs of homebuyers and sellers, weakening the relationship of their members with the buying public. Worst of all, a Board of Directors that does not stay in touch may not even know it is out of touch if it does not reach out beyond its local community to see where the real estate industry is going. When conducting strategic plans we hear from brokers and board members that their organization is out of touch with today’s reality. So how do you get your board in touch? Here are some of our suggestions and ways we can help. Attend an Industry Conference Many of these events can be very valuable for the content that is presented and the networking and peer to peer learning. The NAR Annual conference, CMLS conference and the AEI conference are great opportunities for MLSs and Associations to get in touch. WAVes of Change™ Educational Series WAV Group offers another method for staying in touch with trends and learning from progressive MLSs and Associations around North America. We call it the WAVes of Change™ Series. This exciting new online program allows every one of your Board members and department heads to keep in touch on the ever-changing trends in our business WITHOUT leaving home. This quarterly live webinar will include exclusive, early looks at WAV Group research as well as the ability to learn from industry experts about technology trends, consumer insights and broker and agent issues. Consumer Research Panel WAV Group has been working with Associations for some time on engaging the consumers in their markets, most notably Houston Association of REALTORS®. Through our […]

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A TRULY Broker-Centric MLS – What a Concept!

by Marilyn Wilson on October 6, 2015

The now infamous GRIPE List issued by Craig Cheatham back in 2013 has led to a plethora of new ideas and initiatives. From the momentum of RESO Data Standards, to the Broker Public Portal and Upstream, the confrontation has led to more innovative ideas and initiatives than we’ve seen in many, many years. Last month MRIS and TREND announced a ground-breaking intention to find a way to partner with each other to create a brand new organization built with the fundamental goal to create a truly broker-centric MLS. According to David Charron, President and CEO of MRIS, “We are committed to a shared vision to consolidate. Both of our organizations are really excited about finding ways to model the MLS of the future, designed to be nimble, flexible and central to solving the needs of brokers. Together, MRIS and TREND are going to work with all of our shareholders and interested parties to create the next era of MLS. That organization that will be built to meet the needs of today’s dynamic marketplace while also considering the needs of all stakeholders – brokers, agents, associations, our staffs and even consumers. We are opening our doors to neighboring associations, MLSs and brokers who share our vision and want to work with us to shape a whole new way of providing MLS services in the Mid-Atlantic region.” Tom Phillips, President and CEO of TREND told us that the initiative is being developed to solve the Classic Broker Problem. “Brokers who cross markets and have to join two or three MLS have the onerous job of entering listings in multiple systems. The same broker has to understand and train their agents on multiple rules, regulations and compliance requirements. When a brokerage wants to offer its clients a great online experience they have to aggregate information from multiple data feeds. These are cumbersome practices that create financial burdens and consume valuable time. Our goal is to help alleviate this.” If the taskforce formed that has been at work for over ten months can be successful, they will open up a huge market opportunity for brokers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Collectively, TREND and MRIS cover 31,000 square miles, 17 million consumers, 7 million on and off market properties, and 10 million property parcels. The group has drafted a Shared Commitment and Vision paper to help articulate the ultimate goal of the program. Here are a […]

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How about MLS coverage defined by individual broker needs?

by Marilyn Wilson on October 6, 2015

Last week MRIS and TREND announced a ground-breaking intention to find a way to partner with each other to create a brand new organization built with the fundamental goal to create a truly broker-centric MLS. If the taskforce formed that has been at work for over ten months can be successful, they will open up a huge market opportunity for brokers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Collectively, TREND and MRIS cover 31,000 square miles, 17 million consumers, 7 million on and off market properties, and 10 million property parcels. The group has drafted a Shared Commitment and Vision paper to help articulate the ultimate goal of the program. Here are a few of the highlights of the program that really caught my eye. Read my article here to learn all about it. Building on the Shared Vision I love the idea of a multi-state regional MLS that puts brokers and the rest of their constituents at the heart of their focus and decision-making. This idea inspired me and I began to think of places where you take this vision, so here goes. What if the region of this new mega MLS could be defined by broker need rather than some artificial boundary based on the coverage of a real estate association or an MLS? Customizable MLS Coverage Defined by Individual Broker Need Here’s a crazy idea! What if the scope and geography of the MLS data offered could be dynamically defined by individual broker needs? For example, what if Broker A that operates in 4 MLS regions could have access to those four areas. Service offerings would also be available with the data from that custom created area. Fees would be defined commensurate with the specific geography the broker required, Now Broker B operates in 14 MLS markets. They also can pay for the territories that are relevant to them and again provide a seamless data aggregation for their needs. Instead of a static definition of an MLS region, the broker would be at the center of territory definition. The scope of the MLS service offerings could be adjusted in real-time to the territory defined by individual MLSs. Let’s play this out further – what if every MLS from Maine to Florida was seamlessly connected? This ultimate “mega MLS” could provide the data services available in the regions customized to the needs of every brokerage. Brokers that operate currently only in one […]

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The Do’s and Don’ts of MLS System Selection

by Marilyn Wilson on August 19, 2015

MLSs are growing again. Membership is up. Agents are making money again. Life is good.  In many cases, the upward turn in the market is allowing MLSs to once again focus on evaluating their technologies to ensure they are offering the strongest tools they can. Recently we have been involved in a few system selections and I thought I would share some of our thinking about the best way to make the process as successful as it can be. Turn on all of the relevant enhancements Before you even contemplate looking at alternative MLS systems, meet with your current MLS provider. Review all of the enhancements they have launched and be sure you have turned them all on. We just looked at one MLS, for example that had not activated several new features on their system. Their members were complaining about a lack of functionality when in fact the features existed and the MLS had simply not launched them in their local market. Quantify the areas of strength and weakness Before you begin an MLS system selection, be sure you understand what’s working and what isn’t with your current system.   You can use an online survey and focus groups as well as reviewing the suggestions and complaints you have received from your help line over the past couple of years. If you outsource that work to your vendor, ask them for a report of your member’s feedback. It is customary for MLSs to perform product satisfaction surveys. If you need help, let us know. We do them routinely. It helps define your requests for your vendor’s roadmap and identifies areas of needed training. Involve the Staff that Works with the MLS Vendor While it’s absolutely critical that the voice of the members/end users are heard and represented in the process, it is also important that the staff person that works most closely with the MLS system provider is also involved. They might not be the best one to evaluate functionality, but they can provide great perspective on responsiveness, system enhancements, localization opportunities and customer support to the MLS organization. Ask for a Plan of Attack to Address Issues Before you go through the hassle of a full system review, talk to your current provider.  Ask them to provide you with a plan for how they are going to address the key issues/challenges your members are facing with their current system. […]

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Good things are happening with the IDX rules from NAR.  As many of you know, IDX or Internet Data Exchange are the policies that allow brokers to provide the complete inventory or listings available in their area on broker websites.  These policies have been in place for some time, but thanks to the great efforts of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, these policies have been overhauled to make IDX data work even harder for brokerages across America. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World(LeadingRE) outlined several ways that IDX data could be more effective at engaging potential buyers and sellers on broker websites.  The fruits of their labor are providing exciting ways for brokers to enhance and deepen the quality of information they can offer to consumers. 1. Sold Information WAV Group conducts more research with consumers than anybody else in real estate. We talk regularly to consumers about what information they need to make an informed decision about their real estate purchase.  Universally, consumers ask for more information and specifics about a property to better understand its history, strengths and key attributes.  Most importantly, they want to know about sold information for active properties as well as sold information for comparable properties to a house they’re looking at. The new IDX rules now allow a broker to choose whether they would like to include SOLDS on their website to provide richer information.  You just need to call your MLS and request that they switch your feed from one with just actives to one with actives and solds. 2. Richer Information Surrounding a Listing Third party sites do a great job of surrounding a listing with all types of information that encourage a consumer to stay on their site longer and learn more many facets of a property.  Now with the new IDX rules brokers can do the same thing.  Brokers can add all types of information that make property detail pages more interesting. To compete effectively for traffic online brokers can now share unique and compelling information that will help consumers make a more well-informed decision about homes they may be interested in. I would also highly recommend that you study the ever-changing information that is offered by the third parties. They spend thousands every year testing new concepts with consumers.  If they are showing a particular type of information chances are homebuyers and sellers are interested […]

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Respond to the Threats That may Kill Off Your Business

by Marilyn Wilson on July 23, 2015

NAR has launched a new program called the D.A.N.G.E.R. report. The goal of the interactive program is to help every brokerage, MLS and Association think through some fundamental threats and changes that may be coming to our industry.  The program is well put together and brings up some significant issues that may change the game of real estate forever. WAV Group has a suggested path for Brokers, Associations and MLSs to follow to get the most out of this important NAR program. Have your leaders read the entire Danger Survey for all segments of real estate – First and foremost, make the D.A.N.G.E.R. report required reading for all of the leaders of your organization.  Have them read each and every part of the report Invite every board and staff member to complete the Danger Survey – Second, have every one of your leaders complete the portion of the survey relevant to your business. For Associations and MLSs I would also recommend that you complete the survey for Agents and Brokers as well. It’s really easy to complete the survey and then you will get your own version of the survey results in an easy to read report. Discuss each participants prioritization and reasoning – Once each of the leaders have completed their surveys, have them bring it to a meeting where each participant can share their findings and the logic they used for their conclusions. Use each of these individual results as the basis of a discussion to outline what the group collectively believes are the biggest risks to your organization. Outline key issues for your organization to deal with its vulnerabilities and what ifs even though its scary and counter to how we like to think – Once your group has prioritized a list of the most imminent and dangerous threats to your business, brainstorm ways to think about how to prepare your organization for what may be coming.  Think about ways you can proactively address issues so that your organization will be able to thrive while others might not survive. 5. Develop a Plan of Attack and Stick to It – While many organizations might talk about the threats facing them, few actually DO anything about it.  The smartest organizations will build a plan of attack and execute against it, spending time, money and resources to proactively address issues. WAV Group has facilitated discussions using the process outlined and will be happy to […]

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