MLS

The Houston Association of REALTORS® has long held the honor of celebrating success at the top of the MLS consumer facing website leaderboard. WAV Group has referenced this center of excellence in countless writings, research reports, and planning sessions. We turn once again to this well operated company to exhibit an example of how they are continuing to progress. One of the keynotes of driving consumer engagement is through email marketing campaigns. Today, RealInsights (the name of the HAR newsletter) is sent to an opt-in list of 800,000 consumers every two weeks! That is a vast consumer reach to promote Realtors and their properties to consumers. Even though the Broker Public Portal and Homesnap are fast approaching the heels of HAR success – they continue to shine bright in the great State of Texas. The Name Change All of us industry folks refer to HAR.com the same way that Texans say it “H-A-R Dot Com.” What some of you may not know is that they embarked on a mission to extend HAR.com to encompass all of Texas. As part of that strategic initiative, the letters have new meaning. No longer does H.A.R. stand for the Houston Association of REALTORS®. It now denotes a broader consumer brand name that is more encompassing and supporting of their expansion efforts. H.A.R. now denotes Homes and Rentals. Content Strategy Like many website operators, the creation of great consumer content requires great journalists. Common options for content creation include hiring full time staff or outsourcing to free-lance writers. Full time writers are expensive, often charging $60,000 or more plus benefits. You can hire free-lance writers for about $300 to $500 per article for good stuff, but you often run into a time management issue of finding the writer, following up on deadline, and the quality of work can sometimes prove difficult to manage. HAR found a great solution! HouseLogic®, a service of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATON OF REALTORS® is an excellent resource for content. You will notice that the articles in the HAR.com newsletter are all sourced from HouseLogic with attribution. In the footer of the article on the HAR website is the statement – Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. HouseLogic® has done a great job of generating content for consumers. The company comes under fire for their efforts to attract consumers to […]

{ 0 comments }

This year I am proud to say that through our member satisfaction survey efforts with our MLS partners we have been able to survey over 250,000 real estate agents and brokers. We have learned a lot about where the real perceived value of an MLS is derived. While many respondents are very satisfied with the technologies, training and support offered by their local MLS, few appreciate or even understand the marketing power that a multiple listing service delivers to them. Just think about it, MLSs offer a myriad of ways to help brokers succeed and yet get VERY LITTLE credit for it. Here’s a SIMPLE TIP to help your members understand the FREE marketing exposure they are getting as part of their MLS membership. MLS Consumer Sites can throw off thousands of FREE leads to their members.   Interestingly, though, when we surveyed agents about the quantity and quality of leads they receive from their local MLS, few are aware of the marketing value they are receiving.   Most don’t even see their MLS as anything more than the MLS system, even though many MLSs spend thousands and even millions of dollars on a myriad of products designed to help REALTORS® succeed! SIMPLE TIP!  While turning the tides and helping subscribers understand the marketing power they receive from their MLS, there are simple steps you can take to start to change attitudes over time. Here’s an extremely simple tip to improving awareness of the leads your local MLS site generates for your members.   Check the subject line of the emails that go out telling an agent that they have a listing inquiry from their site.  Most default message are something like “Customer Inquiry for 123 Main Street” Instead of something generic like that, change it to: “Hurry! You have a new lead from XYZ MLS!” Every time one of those emails is received by one of your members, it will start to educate them about the business generation power MLSs bring them every day. Instead of thinking of MLSs as a utility, members can start to think of the MLS as a Marketing Network – harnessing the collective marketing power of agents in the local area to provide exposure and sales opportunities to every member in the MLS. I have heard from technology leaders at several MLSs that this change will literally take about 5 minutes!  This simple step may be the […]

{ 0 comments }

FBS Acquires Solid Earth

by Kevin Hawkins on December 4, 2017

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

{ 0 comments }

Consolidation: What PR Tactics Can Help?

by Kevin Hawkins on November 29, 2017

Process Integration

2018 could very well be the “Year of Consolidation” in the MLS industry. With the recent NAR move towards an “MLS of Choice” policy, we are likely to see a huge momentum build towards consolidation, especially in the second half of next year. That’s because smaller MLSs are going to find profitability under their current pricing model impossible. The simplest (and most often the best) solution will be to merge. By failing to plan for the role communications and PR plays within a consolidation, you are planning to fail. That’s because an effective communications and PR plan is vital to the success of any consolidation. Without it, at the very least, you will fail some of your members as they will not feel included, and at the worse, you will fail all of them, as they all, may feel, in some way, left out. Importance of PR PricewaterhouseCoopers wrote about mergers “the need for effective communication is often overlooked or underestimated in the flurry of activity surrounding a deal. Executing a strong and clear communication strategy is critical to successful integration.” That came from an accounting firm: the folks that typically ask why you are spending so much money on advertising and PR?! Ask any professional consultant who has lived in the world of company consolidations about the importance of internal communications and external public relations. You’ll quickly understand this is a corner you do not want to cut. It is a vital business tactic. In some ways, consolidations are all about communications. Let’s look at just a few of the practical tactical communications and PR activities that are needed for planning any successful consolidation: Strategic Communications What are we telling our employees, our vendors or strategic partners, our investors, or other stakeholders about the goals, timeline and expected outcomes of the consolidation? When are we telling whom, what and when? What are the best internal communication channels we can use to communicate to our staff? What are the right messages for each phase, and when do we communicate these and why do we use just these channels and the right timing? How do we mitigate the chances of internal communications being leaked externally, keeping internal messages internal? Pubic Relations What is our story, the story we want to tell? What are the key phrases that we want to emphasize and resonate with our key audiences? What are our core […]

{ 0 comments }

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

{ 0 comments }

Love HELPING REALTORS® succeed? Have we got a job for you!

by Marilyn Wilson on November 2, 2017

We’re excited to announce that WAV Group is working with Carolina Multiple Listing Service (CarolinaMLS) to find a Help Desk Support Manager. Carolina MLS CarolinaMLS is an 11,000 member organization which is a subsidiary of the Charlotte Regional REALTOR® Association.  This progressive organization is one of the largest associations in the U.S. and CarolinaMLS is experiencing significant growth.  In addition to providing wholesale service to North Carolina Mountains MLS and adding 3,519 users, it is in the process of onboarding over 600 more users by providing wholesale service to the MLS of Catawba Valley, bringing subscriber numbers to 15,000+.  Additional similar MLS growth is anticipated. This vibrant organization also has a school of real estate (Mingle School of Real Estate) and a 501(c)(3) foundation (the Housing Opportunity Foundation) as well as a Realtor® Store.  All are housed together in centrally located Charlotte, NC and they are in the process of building a new 66,000sq. ft. building with cutting edge technology and services at the same location. CarolinaMLS, as well as the organization as a whole, has remarkable stability and a very low turnover rate.  Retention is high, quality of life and home-work life balance are priorities.  It is a pleasant and casual environment with a culture of mutual respect and open communication but also a culture of service, with the realization that it exists to serve its members, participants and subscribers. Job Responsibilities The Help Desk Support Manager is a critical driver of member satisfaction and loyalty for the organization. This position is responsible for managing a team that is delivering timely, respectful and helpful information. The team is responsible for helping REALTORS® leverage CarolinaMLS tools to sell more real estate. This position is responsible for helping CarolinaMLS members fully leverage the technologies available including the Matrix MLS system, Carolinahome.com, Carolinarealtors.com, Mingleschool.com, Showing Time, SAFEMLS, Realist, Move/ListHub and Statistical Analysis Module (SAM).  They also assist with identifying and writing communications explaining system updates to members. The Help Desk Support Manager will work closely with the VP of MLS as well as the CIO and will also be responsible for working closely with the MLS Committee to ensure that the system continues to evolve to serve the ever-changing needs of CarolinaMLS members.  The successful candidate will participate in MLS committee meetings regarding MLS system updates and assist with implementing MLS committee recommendations to update or improve the MLS system.   They are […]

{ 0 comments }

It is really difficult to serve the needs of all of your MLS subscribers. Some are extremely tech savvy and some have little interest in technology, yet MLS systems and tools need to address all of their needs ideally. Do you want to be the best MLS you can be? Are you interested in what your members and REALTORS® across America have to say about the services and support that MLSs offer? If so, WAV Group can help you.  We’re offering a FREE service to the industry to evaluate the current state of MLS services and support. Armed with the valuable feedback gathered from agents and brokers around North America, you can be sure that you are services are meeting the grade. WAV Group would like to invite each of MLSs and Association colleagues to participate in our upcoming MLS Services and Support Survey.  As in past years, the WAV Group survey will measure awareness, adoption and attitudes about the services and support offered by MLS organizations throughout North America. The WAV Group 2017 MLS Services and Support survey will measure the attitudes of MLS leadership and staff AS WELL AS daily practitioners and users of MLS services.  We believe that it is critical to understand the feedback and insights of both of these important groups. Results of the FREE Survey will be shared with the industry. Individual market results will also be shared with participating MLS organizations as requested. For the first time the WAV Group MLS Services and Support Survey will ALSO include questions to uncover the most interesting ways for MLSs to continue to improve the services and support they offer. This section of the survey will help MLS technology providers and MLS organizations help outline the path for continual improvements in relevance and customer satisfaction. If you would like to participate in the survey, please register here and we’ll contact you with the details. If you have any questions about the survey, feel free to reach out to me at Marilyn@wavgroup.com. Thanks so much for your participation! CLICK HERE to register so that your organization can take advantage of this important survey.

{ 0 comments }

MLSs have a great opportunity to significantly improve the relevance and marketing power of their organization by finding ways to better serve the needs of their brokers and real estate consumers. I had the honor of interviewing David Charron, Chief Strategy Office of Bright MLS about the highly successful merger between Trend MLS, MRIS and several other MLSs in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. They have come together to create one of the largest MLSs in North America. Hear directly from David what it took to accomplish this broker-centric feat!  Check out the video below where David will give you specific ideas about how you too can accomplish consolidation in your local market. Learn from one of the best and brightest(pun intended) about how to create a more relevant organization positioned to help REALTORS®  succeed in even big ways. After you watch the video be sure to subscribe to WAV Group’s newly relaunched Youtube Channel too! Enjoy!  

{ 5 comments }

Redfin Offers Method To Modernize IDX

by Victor Lund on September 19, 2017

“Let’s modernize IDX by linking to the listing broker!” IDX or Internet Data Exchange is a thesis that was developed by the collaboration between Brokers and MLSs that outlines a set of display rules for listings on broker websites. The idea behind IDX is that of cooperation among brokers. Fundamentally, the IDX policy states that a broker allows all other brokers participating in an MLS to display their listings on any broker (and usually Agent) website. Over the years, the IDX policy has evolved. And today, Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman suggests a radical new change. Kelman would like the IDX policy to require that every display of IDX listings provide a link to the listing broker’s website. As the screenshot illustrates, the National Association of REALTORS® MLS Policy on IDX requires the Broker to be identified as shown here. Displaying the listing agent is a local election and sometimes required. In the illustration below, everything is static. The big idea is to add a requirement to include a hyperlink to the broker/agent website (canonical source of information). Kelman goes further in the development of his concept to suggest that the broker name and link be prominently displayed above the fold (top of the page before you scroll). WAV Group joins Redfin in the belief that this would massively increase the traffic to listing brokers’ websites form search engines. Having hundreds of real estate websites link to the listing brokerage for each listing should completely re-orient search rankings. Search Engines are always looking for the most authoritative source of information – including real estate information. Kelman has strong beliefs and enormous respect for the listing firm. “The listing broker is the one who pays for, reviews and uploads all the photos. The listing broker updates and validates all the data about the property, and writes the marketing description. The home-buying consumer should be able to find her way to the full listing on the listing broker’s site, where she may also be able to see virtual tours, three-dimensional scans, and additional marketing materials about the listing, not to mention details on how to ask a question about the home or even arrange a tour with another agent at the listing brokerage if that’s what she prefers.” WAV Group’s research and analytics team finds that Redfin is, by a factor of two or three, the most popular brokerage website today. The leading […]

{ 25 comments }

Announcing WAV Group’s 2017 MLS Services and Support Survey

by Marilyn Wilson on September 6, 2017

WAV Logo

It is critical that every MLS continually evaluate its technology service offerings and support provided.  WAV Group would like to provide a FREE service to the industry to evaluate the current state of MLS services and support available today. WAV Group would like to invite our readers to participate in our upcoming nationwide MLS Services and Support Survey.  As in past years, the WAV Group survey will measure awareness, adoption and attitudes about the services and support offered by MLS organizations throughout the United States. As in past years, the WAV Group annual survey will measure the attitudes of MLS leadership and staff as well as daily practitioners and users of MLS services.  We believe that it is critical to understand the feedback and insights of both of these important groups. Results of the FREE Survey will be shared with the industry. Individual market results will also be shared with participating MLS organizations as requested. If you would like to participate in the survey, please register here and we’ll contact you with the details. Thanks so much for your participation! CLICK HERE to register:

{ 1 comment }

Want Raving Fans? 5 Gotta Haves for your 2018 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 5, 2017

Budget

WAV Group conducts more subscriber satisfaction research for MLSs than anyone else in the country.  We have a depth of understanding of the key drivers of satisfaction and perceived relevance for MLS organizations. Here’s the 5 key opportunities for improving your MLS’ satisfaction and relevance as you move into 2018: Go TO your Members Create a Field Support/Training Team There is NOTHING that drives up customer engagement and satisfaction for MLSs more than a team of customer servants that go out into the field, attending office meetings, broker events and community events.  These valuable team members can help educate subscribers on the technology and tools offered to drive up adoption and perceived value of the MLS fees. They can also gather input on ways to improve technology, service and support for your customers.  On every survey that we field, satisfaction numbers are off the charts with those that have attended sessions with MLS customer servants. Marketing Make Promotion a Priority    All of our MLS clients wish they could get every one of their subscribers to take full advantage of the tools, support and training they offer, yet,  according to the 2017 CMLS Best Practices Survey, just 18% of MLSs have full-time marketing staff.   In order for your members to take full advantage of the services you offer they need to understand the practical, tangible benefits that will help them succeed in real estate.  2018 is the year to think about hiring a marketing person, contract with an outside resource or a combination of both. Prepare for the Future Strategic Planning Our industry has never moved faster than it is right now. It’s time for every MLS to question every assumption and take a fundamental look at the company’s role, relevance and reason for being.  It’s time to think about important new ways to anticipate the needs of your customers and find new ways to help them be more successful without levelling the playing field. How do you know if you are addressing the needs of your brokers?  As part of the preparations for the strategic plan, you interview your largest brokers to be sure you are getting the whole truth so you can address their needs. Sometimes brokers are more willing to speak to outsides than their own team.  You will get unfettered access to the best ways you can improve your working relationship and value with your brokers. It’s […]

{ 0 comments }

Are you Taking Your Subscribers for Granted?

by Marilyn Wilson on August 8, 2017

Asking for feedback can be one of the hardest things we do as adults, especially if you know that feedback is going to be at least a little bit critical. Nobody likes to be told what they’re doing wrong. However, there’s a big mistake that many service organizations make — The mistake? Neglecting to actively solicit feedback from their customers regarding satisfaction with their services. How do you know if you’re delivering good service if you’re not asking your members or subscribers? ? You’re taking money from them on a regular basis. Even if they don’t have a better option in your market, you still have a responsibility to understand how they feel about you. Minimally, every MLS should be conducting an annual customer satisfaction benchmarking study. Ideally the surveys will  maintain some percentage of questions from year to year to help them benchmark  satisfaction trends over time — technology satisfaction, technology adoption, customer support satisfaction, training satisfaction and more — and also pepper in questions about new service levels. And here’s something you might not have considered: Overall, most of your clients are probably pretty happy with your services. In every case where we’ve ever done customer satisfaction benchmarking, we’ve found that generally, satisfaction is strong — but what it does for every company is it gives them a window into their weaknesses, and they start to identify the areas where they can be stronger. If you conduct an annual survey and use it to eliminate your two biggest weaknesses every year, then in three years, your company is going to be much t stronger. Another benefit to customer satisfaction surveys: You can discover who, specifically, is not happy with your service — and once you find out who they are, you can call and contact them individually and give them the  one-on-one attention they’re looking for Usually the unhappy group makes up less than 1 percent of your total customer base, and they’re often complaining about something that annoys or frustrates other subscribers  too. So focusing on and fixing those problems will also elevate your customer satisfaction — and your relevance in the market — over time. Customer satisfaction is ultimately your biggest protection against market disruption, If you have an engaged customer base who loves you and feels like you’re there to work with them and help solve their problems, it’ll be a lot harder for any […]

{ 0 comments }

RMLS, arguably one of the most progressive MLSs in America today took a brave new step to make it easier for their brokers to promote their brands online leveraging rich, comprehensive and timely MLS information. They have REQUIRED every one of their IDX suppliers to move to a RESO-Compliant data feed. They made this bold move in just a few short weeks. The move has been applauded by Brokers and Technology companies alike. Learn about why MOVOTO, a large broker with one of the top 10 property search sites in America, believes aligning against the RESO standards is a great IDEA. Key Takeaways The move for MLSs to transition to ONLY RESO-compliant IDX feeds is not that difficult. Moving to offering only a RESO-compliant IDX feed is not that difficult.  RMLS™, one of the first MLSs in the country to distribute only RESO-Compliant IDX feeds, made the move in just FOUR weeks. They launched a campaign to their IDX providers showing them the fields that needed to be transitioned to be RESO-compliant and requiring them to transition completely ONLY to a RESO-Compliant IDX feed. Promotion is Key According to RMLS™, to make the move MLSs will need an effective promotional campaign to be sure each of your technology companies is aware of the reasons for the change and knows exactly what they need to do to make the transition successfully. Set a deadline Be sure to set a deadline with a reasonable timeframe to allow each of your IDX providers can meet the deadline. Since many of the largest IDX providers have already made the transition in RMLS™, it should make it easier for them. Brokers Endorse RESO-compliant IDX feeds   Brokers support the idea of making IDX feeds RESO-compliant. They applaud MLSs that make this bold move.  Join forces with RMLS™ and make the move in your MLS.  It’s hard to argue that standardized real estate listing data is not good for our industry. It makes it easier for brokers to collect and distribute information from multiple MLSs on their website.   It allows technology companies to move into new markets more quickly.  It allows MLSs to collaborate in new and exciting ways. The leaders at RMLS™ in Portland, Oregon decided to take a bold step designed to help brokers and agents achieve all of the benefits of standardized information for online marketing. RMLS™, one of the pioneers in the […]

{ 0 comments }

SmartMLS Hits the Ground Running

by Victor Lund on August 2, 2017

SmartMLS

WALLINGFORD, CT – SmartMLS, the Multiple Listing Service formed from the merger of The Connecticut Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (CTMLS), and the Greater Fairfield County CMLS (GFC CMLS), officially launched full, live operations to its members on August 1st, the company announced. SmartMLS represents over 17,000 real estate professionals and covers all eight Connecticut counties, making it among the top twenty largest MLSs in the country. Though the third smallest state, Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the United States, and boasts a massive $13 billion in real estate transactions annually. Led by co-CEOs Cameron Paine and Kathy Elson, SmartMLS is the product of merger discussions that began just seven months ago. It involved not only the physical merger of both MLS corporations and their back-end databases, products and services, but also a conversion to a new MLS system, CoreLogic’s Matrix 7 platform. “We committed ourselves to an aggressive timeline and we’ve been able to hit those benchmarks at every step along the way.” said co-CEO Kathy Elson, adding, “The speed in which this was all accomplished is a tremendous credit to our team, our Board of Directors and our vendors.  MMSI in particular, our membership management partner, had a huge role in making this happen for us.  They were tasked with handling the de-duplication of offices and members and combining of our member records.  We couldn’t have done it without them.” According to Co-CEO Cameron Paine, “It is generally accepted that the role of the MLS is to provide the most comprehensive, accurate, and timely data possible. However, many MLSs provide something far less than statewide data, which means they can only provide a fraction of a complete data set.  I’ll call this being a ‘Fractional MLS’.  The reason this merger came together so quickly is that we all recognized that being a Fractional MLS guarantees our irrelevance in the near future”. At launch, over 96 percent of the real estate professionals in Connecticut will be using MLS services provided by SmartMLS.  SmartMLS uses the new CoreLogic Matrix 7.0 platform, proudly endorses the Broker Public Portal and provides Homesnap as both the mobile app and public-facing portal for the MLS.  SmartMLS will introduce a new Membership Dashboard provided by MMSI and powered by Clareity’s SSO product. In addition, SmartMLS offers ShowingAssist, Realist, Instanet, and LisTrac products as part of the MLS subscribership. About SmartMLS The SmartMLS territory […]

{ 0 comments }

Did Zillow® Open the Door to Their Own Demise?

by Victor Lund on June 14, 2017

Zillow Logo

One of the greatest philosophers of all time was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). For brevity, let’s call him Hegel and be thankful to the University of Berlin where he lectured. I will suspend with the deep philosophy I learned in college and summarize Hegel as the author of a triad of historical development referred to thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In our observation, the MLS is the thesis, Zillow® is the antithesis, and what happens next will be the synthesis. Moreover, I will argue that Zillow may have opened the door to their demise with the Instant Offers™ test. Thesis Real estate brokers have controlled the market over decades by virtue of their knowledge of a listing. This entire era evolved when the MLS evolved and knowledge of massive numbers of listings became the shared knowledge of large numbers of brokers and their sales associates. As research has confirmed, homes sell for more money when they are introduced to the widest number of real buyers that are working off the MLS. The thesis is that the MLS marketplace is an orderly environment that is founded upon the constitution that there is cooperation among buyer brokers and seller brokers and that compensation will be offered during cooperation. Hegel calls a beginning state of affairs a “thesis.” So for our philosophy lesson today, let’s just call the MLS before Zillow® the thesis. Antithesis For those of you who have education in Latin or root words, the term “anti” means the opposite or contrast to the thesis. In Zillow®, we certainly find a contrast to the MLS. Zillow is agent focused, and believes in the opposite of the MLS. Zillow wants to provide open access to the knowledge of a listing. Most of all, Zillow does not have any construct for offers of cooperation or compensation for brokers. In fact, they invite For Sale By Owner listings and invite offers to be made on properties without any broker involvement (sidebar: it is interesting that a consumer with no demonstration of experience is given the opportunity to put a listing on Zillow, but a licensed real estate agent with a contract to represent the consumer does not). Zillow represents the antithesis of the MLS because of the invitation to FSBOs, no offers of compensation or cooperation, and the invitation for buyers to make offers without a broker. Zillow is an open market trading environment […]

{ 0 comments }

Empty Listing

‘Naked’ listings are a disservice to both buyers and sellers and WILL hurt your brokerage! When a listing hits the MLS and is syndicated to brokerage and portal websites — especially in 2017 — there are qualified, avid buyers who are waiting for that listing. They want to learn everything they can about their potential new home so they can decide whether it’s worth the asking price and whether they should spend some of their precious house-hunting time taking a tour.   Let me ask you something: How easy do you think that is to do without any listing photos? “Naked” listings are all too common in an era when there’s no excuse for it. Not everyone is a photographer — but everyone has a phone in their pocket with a high-resolution camera and five or ten minutes to read up on a few quick tips for how to shoot photos with that camera in an emergency (Google them — there’s an article for every phone model). Brokers, let’s be clear: Not having a single photo for the listing you are about to put into the MLS is an emergency. When that listing goes live, it sends the photo-less data to dozens of website within MINUTES. Your lack of attention to detail will be broadcast to hundreds of agents and potentially thousands of buyers with the click of a button.Just because your MLS doesn’t REQUIRE a photo to be included for one or more days  after the listing goes live doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include a photo. Your listing is going to be published on hundreds of IDX sites and third party sites literally within minutes of you hitting the “SAVE” button.  Why would you severely impact your ability to sell a property by not taking the time to build the most valuable marketing asset there is for a home – attractive photos? Think this is an exaggeration? This is what your listing looks like across the internet when you neglect to take at least one photo. Those bland street maps are really inviting to buyers, aren’t they? Franchise systems can also make it easy to forget about the photos, so agents should make sure they are uploading only complete listings to the MLS and to any franchise system that their brokerages use. Allowing your agents to upload listings to the MLS without at least one high-quality photo of the […]

{ 0 comments }

How Loyal Are YOUR Customers?

by Marilyn Wilson on June 6, 2017

It is critical for MLSs and Brokers to measure the relationships they have with their customers.  While most MLSs do not have DIRECT competition, they have tons of indirect competition.  MLSs compete against companies that generate leads for agents since that it one of their key roles. They compete against training companies providing CE credit and teaching about technologies. MLSs also compete. MLSs also compete with companies that provide ways to aggregate and distribute real estate listing information for the purposes of monetizes the information flow.  While MLSs have survived well in the real estate ecosystem, some are more well-regarded than others. Brokers, on the other hand have TONS of competition from their fellow brokers.  Understanding customer loyalty is even more critical for them. To really know how well you are doing in building and strengthening customer relationships, it is critical that MLSs measure customer satisfaction. There are two measures that WAV Group recommends for its clients – the Net Promoter Score® or NPS. Second is the Customer Effort Score or CEF®. What is a Net Promoter Score (NPS)? Net Promoter Score, or NPS is a customer experience metric developed by Fred Reichheld, aimed at determining the level of customer loyalty. NPS was introduced by Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article “The One Number You Need to Grow“.  Net Promoter Score measures a customer’s willingness to recommend a brand’s product and services to their friends, family and colleagues. NPS is a simple metric, based on a single question that measures customer loyalty: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company’s product and services to a friend or colleague?” Respondents answer by choosing a number from 0-10, with 10 being the most likely to recommend.   While this question can work well for brokerages and technology companies where there are lots of competition in the marketplace, we have seen it not work as well for MLSs, mainly because in most markets REALTORS® do not have a CHOICE of MLSs organizations to work with. Sometimes it angers MLS subscribers and they will say things like “I have no choice so I would have no need to recommend my MLS to anyone. Depending on the score they give, customers are then classified as promoters (score 9-10), passives (score 7-8) and detractors (score 0-6).  The more 9 and 10 scores you receive the higher your Net Promoter Score will be. Those that […]

{ 0 comments }

LIBOR and BNAR getting serious about REALTOR(R) safety

by Marilyn Wilson on May 16, 2017

Did you know that nearly 1/3 of REALTORS(R) STAY in situations where they feel unsafe as they strive to make a sale.   Nearly 4 in 5  do NOT ask for Identification/Verification before meeting a client.  Just about everyone (88%) of agents are alone when showing a home to new prospect. Bottomline, many agents put themselves at risk REGULARLY.   While real estate is an amazing industry that provides exciting career opportunities to nearly 2 million people every year, it’s a job that deals with the public.  By definition, it puts agents at risk. The Long Island Board of REALTORS® and the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® have recognized these issues and are trying to support agents to help them stay safe.  Today they have announced a partnership with Real Safe Agent to provide safety training and technology. Read the Press Release Below:  Austin, TX, May 16, 2017:  The Long Island Board of REALTORS® and the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® are joining the growing list of Multiple Listing Services and REALTOR® associations deploying the Real Safe Agent system, which includes the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service and the Fort Smith Board of REALTORS®. “Staying safe means preventing a crime, not reacting to one.  So, when I presented the Real Safe Agent system to my BOARD, we knew we needed to purchase the system for our members”, stated Dave Legaz, President of LIBOR.  “As a former NYPD Sergeant, it’s clear to me that Real Safe Agent understands both REALTOR® and criminals; and allows the agents to prevent a crime without jeopardizing a sale.” BNAR’s CEO John Leonardi, a retired US ARMY Lieutenant Colonel and 25-year industry veteran as an MLS and REALTOR® Association executive said, “Real Safe Agent is one of the most innovative products I’ve seen, it’s rare that something comes along that changes a paradigm in our industry and Real Safe Agent completely changes how REALTOR® safety is approached.”  The Real Safe Agent system differs from traditional safety products in that it’s based in behavioral science and uses the real estate community to prevent the behavior patterns of predators from bearing fruit for the predator, as well as denying the predator the environment needed to commit the crime.  Carl Carter, Founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation and son of murdered real estate agent Beverly Carter commented, “I think the Real Safe Agent system is the real answer for the industry, […]

{ 0 comments }

CRMLS Agrees to Offer Remine to its 82,000 Subscribers

by Marilyn Wilson on May 16, 2017

Remine is at it again!  In recent months, the company has forged partnerships with several of the nation’s largest MLSs. CRMLS will be launching the product to its 82,000 members according to the press release issued today.  Remine is taking the industry by storm.  Every MLS I work with across the country seems to be looking at this exciting new product. Remine is an intelligent service marrying social media profiles with home ownership factors to help agents identify prospects and then use social media to advertise to them.  The company has deep expertise in manipulating large data sets and then boiling them down into simple reports to help agents significantly increase their ability to target specific customer segments.  The myriad of reports are designed to help agents identify markets with strong investor representation, high incidence of kids in the household, ownership length and many, many other interesting factors that REALTORS® can use to hone their prospecting efforts. Remine  has created a whole new way for MLSs to help their subscribers leverage real estate information to successfully target potential sellers and help deepen relationships with current clients. Check out the press release here:   SAN DIMAS, CA — (May 16, 2017) —California Regional MLS, has signed a multiyear license with Remine to bring the power of big data and predictive analytics to more than 82,000 real estate professionals throughout California. “We organize d a focus group of 30 top brokers and they enthusiastically voted in favor of making Remine available for our MLS. We look forward to harnessing the power of consumer data with Remine to enhance agent productivity and usher us into the future of MLS services,” said Art Carter, CEO of CRMLS. Leo Pareja, CEO of Remine, said, “We are excited to empower agents in California with our big data visualizations and predictive analytics.  Agents will be able to find new listing opportunities that are most likely to sell, and be able to score their own contacts based on who is likely to buy next.” About CRMLS California Regional MLS is the nation’s largest and most recognized subscriber-based MLS, dedicated to servicing over 82,000 real estate professionals from 32 Associations, 3 Boards of REALTORS® and 1 MLS. CRMLS is the industry powerhouse and thrives on providing the most relevant products and services to its subscribers. For more information on CRMLS visit www.crmls.org. About Remine     Remine delivers real estate […]

{ 0 comments }

It is indeed a bright day in the MLS. The largest MLS consolidation in history is on the countdown to launch. A memo was released today to REALTORS® who will be impacted by the project called MLS Evolved – revealing the new name of their future MLS – Bright MLS Memo from Tom Phillips, CEO of Trend MLS As we continue to update you, TREND, MRIS and 7 other organizations are working to consolidate and create the next era of the MLS. I am excited to announce the name of this new MLS organization will be Bright MLS. 

We chose this name based on our vision for the new organization and a desire for it to: Inspire belief that each day is an opportunity to give real estate professionals all they need to shine, today and tomorrow. Instill the vision of something that empowers our customers for a successful future. Lift us out of the sea of acronyms most MLSs use. These acronyms are often based on geographies or basic descriptions of informational databases. Be imaginative, clever, empowering, and supportive. Project leadership and innovative thinking. As I’ve mentioned before, you likely have questions about the new MLS and in January we anticipate being able to provide you with more information.   MLS Evolved is one of the most impressive initiatives in America. It is a shining example of how organizations can place self-interest to the side and have an open and transparent business discussion and critical evaluation of the future of our industry. And, the role that MLSs must play to support REALTORS and Brokers in the best possible way. Anne Bailey of Pranix Consulting had a very moving discussion on stage at CMLS with David Charron of MRIS, a company that, along with Trend MLS, is at the heart of this MLS consolidation. Charron asked Bailey the question of “How many MLSs should we have in America?” It was a longish answer that centered on the notion that over 700 is too many, and one is probably too few. MLS Evolved covers multiple States, demonstrating that State lines are not necessarily the answer. There are many statewide MLS initiatives. Perhaps the number is 10 or 20 or 30. We do not really know. With Bright MLS, and California Regional MLS, we are seeing the emergence of two mega MLSs. For the first time, we will see multiple MLSs with […]

{ 1 comment }

Page 1 of 912345...Last »