MLS

5 MUST HAVES for your 2017 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 28, 2016

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

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CMLS

We would like to share that the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is accepting applications for its newly created Manager, Multiple Listing Service position.We are looking forward to working with this individual and believe this role will help to grow our cooperative relationship, inform policy development, and keep the MLS perspective part of the discussions.Know the perfect candidate? Help identify the individual that will maximize the potential of this position by passing along this information. A complete job description can be found below along with the link to the NAR job portal where candidates can apply.   Position: Manager, Multiple Listing Service Reports To: Vice President, Board Policy and Programs Division: Board Policy Position Summary: Provide support to NAR members, REALTOR®-association owned MLSs, and the MLS industry. Candidates should have experience working for an MLS and strong knowledge of the technical and administrative MLS operations. Major Duties and Responsibilities (Not all-inclusive): Actively connect with MLSs and REALTOR® associations, the Council of Multiple Listing Services, and the Real Estate Standards Organization by attending relevant meetings and cultivating relationships with the organizations’ leadership and executives. Track and issue reports on progress. Participate in strategic creation of educational and operational resources supporting REALTOR® association MLSs. Assist NAR MLS Committee Staff Executive in preparation of committee and advisory board meetings. Implement projects arising from NAR’s MLS committee and NAR’s collaboration with CMLS. Research, identify, analyze, and keep current on developments and events effecting MLS operations. Make presentations and help prepare other informational material as necessary. Work on other departmental projects as needed. Experience and skills: B.A./B.S. preferred 2-7 years of working in Operations at an MLS Knowledge of the organization and rules for REALTOR® associations and MLSs Tech savvy Knowledge of/participation in RESO is a bonus Self-motivated Strong written and verbal communication skills Effective and persuasive relationship building skills Strong problem solving and analytical skills Outstanding interpersonal skills Positive attitude Travel up to 5 to 10 trips per year Please find the link to the NAR job portal where candidates can upload a resume: http://www.realtor.org/careers-at-nar/search-jobs

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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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Congratulations to Annie Ives for being featured as a Power Player in Angeleno Magazine. For those of us not from Los Angeles, Angeleno Magazine is a highly respected local journal. She was touted for her leadership of TheMLS/Claw since 2002. Congratulations Annie! Read the entire article here!   https://themlsblog.com/2016/05/25/news-ceo-annie-ives-profiled-in-angeleno-magazine/

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RESO

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

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WAVES OF CHANGE QUARTERLY SERIES continues Thursday, May 26th with an online recap of the policy issues, announcements and news coming out of NAR Midyear as well as important industry updates, best practices and other thought-provoking topics to share with your leadership, brokers and staff. Sign up TODAY to ensure your organization benefits from the essential information our Industry Leaders will share on the latest news and trends, cutting edge technologies, research findings, and strategies to navigate the challenges we all face. WAV Groups Quarterly Webinar Series is designed to provide “cliff notes” following the major industry conferences such as NAR Midyear, CMLS and NAR Annual along with new information vital to our continued commitment in moving the industry forward. Progressive MLSs, Brokerages and Associations understand the value of taking advantage of this exciting and affordable way to keep their members dialed in on industry initiatives that have a potential impact, answer questions that your board and staff have about the climate of the industry, technology changes, as well as provide guidance on some best practices. It also allows for an opportunity for your voice to be heard, regarding issues we have in common, relevant questions as well as sharing potential strategies that lead to optimal success. By purchasing the WAVes of Change Series, up to 50 of your members can participate in four webinars throughout the year. You will also be provided with a recording of each session and the presentation assets to utilize and share. Some of the exciting topics that are covered in the WAVes of Change series: • Latest news from Upstream, AMP and the Broker Public Portal • NAR Announcements and Developments • The Customer-Centric Association and MLS – How to become the Zappos of the real estate industry • Highly Productive Board of Directors – How to make every minute of your board meetings more valuable • Fueling Innovation and Relevance – New Business Models for Associations and MLSs • The State of Agent Ratings and Testimonials • Gotta Have Technologies for Associations and MLS • Best Practices from Associations and MLSs • The evolving role of Zillow • The Next Generation of RESO Standards and how they will help our industry thrive • Voice of the Consumer – What are the key strengths and opportunities for REALTORS to serve their customers better? • The next generation of IDX rules For more information or […]

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Don’t Switch Software Vendors

by Victor Lund on May 2, 2016

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WAV Group constantly tries to educate MLSs and brokers to stay with their current vendor. We have long preached that making a change costs a lot more than you think and sets the company’s goodwill back years. We see this in user satisfaction research gathered from both agents and consumers. Unless your vendor is impossible to work with, stick with them. Recently, I was directed to research published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) that substantiates this issue even more. The article is titled Eager Sellers and Stony Buyers : Understanding the Psychology of New-Product Adoption. The article starts out with the famous quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” Unfortunately, Emerson is too often correct as executives are too quick to purchase shiny objects that promise greater benefits than the trusted product that is doing its job just fine every day. The fancy new product replaces the old one and nobody takes the time to learn it, causing a multi-year quest to get agents to use it. In the meantime, you crushed the productivity of the business. According to HBR, replacement products fail at a rate of between 40 percent and 90 percent depending on the category. Indeed, 47 percent of new products fail, too. So much for pioneering, right? There is a psychological factor to change that does not factor into new product selection. The bar to create change is extremely high! “People irrationally overvalue benefits they currently possess relative to those they don’t.” In 2002, an economist named Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for figuring this out. Here is the money quote: “…[users] overvalue the existing benefits of an entrenched product by a factor of three, while developers overvalue new benefits of their innovation by a factor of three. The result is a mismatch of nine to one, or 9X.” The strategic bias is to stick with the incumbent unless you must change. An alternative strategy is to run systems in parallel. We have seen the parallel system battle work really well. Of course, it duplicates the level of effort, but it may be a better system than throwing one out. California Regional MLS is doing this today, and more MLSs […]

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Blow Away Your Broker Profit Goals

by Marilyn Wilson on April 20, 2016

Leverage

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

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3 Ways for MLSs to Frustrate and Alienate Brokers

by Marilyn Wilson on April 20, 2016

No!

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

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The New Process for RFPs in Real Estate

by Victor Lund on March 30, 2016

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

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Is Real Estate Still in a Slump?

by Victor Lund on March 28, 2016

Real Estate Slump

After the crash in the housing market, real estate was hit by the worst recession in our nation’s history. Frankly, brokers took a beating and operated at a loss for a number of years. Since the low point, things have been steadily been improving. There was a lot of speculation that the foreclosure volume in the hardest hit markets were clogging up the supply side. As we turned the corner, these distressed properties were slowly released into the marketplace and they are mostly absorbed. There was a two to three year heyday for brokers and agents who specialized in REO properties. Looking at the production of many of the REO specialists, that business has largely fallen back to normalized levels. CoreLogic reports that the volume of “underwater” mortgages has been on a steep decline and is also returning to normal levels. That is pretty good news. It allows homeowners to trade homes without taking a loss. However, this is not opening up inventory levels for most areas of the nation. For many, inventory is still very low and that is having an impact on pricing. Home values have seen double digit increases, as supply has been so limited. That is expected to flatten out this year, largely because of affordability. Wages have not increased in line with housing values. The biggest slump we see in the market is driven by expansion. The demand for homes is outpacing supply by double digits in many areas like the San Francisco Bay Area. People cannot find housing and there is not enough new inventory being built. Pacific Union held a housing summit in November of 2015 that looked at the three year forecast for housing in the Bay Area – this was my chief takeaway. See more here: http://www.pacificunion.com/jazz. The slump has been caused by a shortage of builders. Many of the top analysts that cover the new home market estimate that even with new construction starts hedging up 10 percent, they have only recovered 64 percent since the bottom. That leaves a lag or shortage of 34 percent behind the normalized demand for new homes. An interesting nuance to the builder story is that multifamily is up 11 percent, and is running about 250 percent ahead of the trough and actually 1 percent above the norm. This is a huge bounce that represents a shift from home ownership to renting. Some Things […]

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The 7 Keys to A Successful MLS Conversion

by Victor Lund on January 12, 2016

If my history recollection serves me, Vancouver is where Canada’s first real estate board was formed in 1888. The current Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) has been in continuous operation since 1919. They are also members of a leading regional MLS that encompasses the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board as a partner and the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and the British Columbia Northern Real Estate Board as customers. Together they transitioned 16,000 Realtors to Black Knight’s Paragon system. Many industry insiders are touting it as the smoothest conversion in history. WAV Group connected with Eileen Day, Chief Operating Officer, and Mike Pedersen, Chief Information Officer, to get a summary of their change management process where we learned the 7 keys to a successful migration. Each of these is critical to success, so they are in no particular order. Planning Every component of their conversion was planned in advance. They developed a plan for everything and spent two years planning ahead. The entire process was engineered in advance, and goals were set for every component of the plan right down to each detail, including specific goals for training attendance, help desk wait times, and communication uptake. Budget Very few MLSs plan for the financial stress to the organization in advance. The resources budgeted for conversions will vary from market to market, but if you planning a conversion, you should benchmark between $50 to $100 per user as extraordinary expenses. Done correctly, system conversions are expensive. Triple Your Staff Most large MLSs have systems for managing the effectiveness of the help desk, technical, training, and communications operations. In the case of help desk, excellence is maintaining averages of under 2 minutes for answering a call and call time averages in the 3-5 minute range.  One major choke point of a conversion is when you overload your systems during the parallel period and once the cut over happens. Under no circumstances do you ever want to let your members down with poor service. As a rule of thumb, factor in a 3x to 4x increase in your staff size for 6 months and provision overflow support from your vendor. In REBGV’s case, the staff went from 6 people to 20 people. Adhere to your benchmarks for hold times and continue to add staff to keep up. Test, Survey, Analyze This group did trial runs to test everything. As an […]

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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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It is RESO week. The week when CIO and CTO types gather together in Austin, TX for the Annual Real Estate Standards Organization meeting. This year’s conference was sold out for the first time with a rumored count of more than 700 participants. Kevin Hawkins of WAV Group Communications says that the environment and buzz at the conference is amazing. You can follow Kevin’s RESO updates on Twitter @RESO_RETS  or follow the RESO hashtag at #reso15 to listen to the conference chatter. One of the astonishing calls that I got today was from an MLS asking me if CoreLogic was providing their new RESO compliant/certified Trestle solution to non-corelogic MLSs for free. The Answer is YES! We verified that Black Knight Paragon customer Coastal Carolina MLS is going through the certification process on the Trestle RETS platform from Corelogic. WAV Group’s understanding is that Black Knight and other MLS system vendors may be charging a reasonable one time fee for their customers to update their RETS servers and go through the certification process. We did not check with every MLS vendor to find out the policy. We have learned over time that these types of fees are often calculated on a market by market basis anyway. CoreLogic is not charging any fees for compliance at this time. Brokers and technology vendors who rely on RETS have long been frustrated by the lack of a single standard and a RESTful API for too long. The National Association of REALTORS MLS policy committee made the RESO standard a requirement for NAR-affiliated MLSs over 16 months ago. The deadline for meeting that requirement is December 31st of this year. The requirement to provide the RESTful API is July. This is a huge endeavor for every one of the 770 MLS in America today. RESO has not announced how many are certified. WAV Group has watched for the announcements and it seems like about 50 to 100 have gone through the process. There are only 60 days left for MLSs to get certified! In truth, every vendor of MLS services is involved in RESO and it is not unreasonable for a vendor to charge a fee for the service. It is a major undertaking. The biggest challenge is that the MLS must fill out the paperwork and pay the RESO application fee before the vendor can do anything to update the system in time for the […]

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Broker Public Portal Update – October 2015

by Victor Lund on October 27, 2015

Many participants in the Broker Public Portal project were in attendance at the Council of MLS annual meeting in Kansas City. It was an extraordinary event, and one could not walk away without a sense that brokers and MLSs are communicating and working together better today than ever before. The BPP, LLC leadership in attendance was able to have meetings with prospective and partner MLSs, providing status updates on our progress.  We also spent the day before the conference to make progress on two fronts – the data license workgroup and the technology workgroup. Data License Workgroup Update Representatives from the legal advisors, Larson Skinner, attended the CMLS legal summit and there was some discussion of the data license agreement between the broker public portal and MLSs. Aside from some clarifying questions, there was strong support for the agreement template among all in attendance. No significant changes were suggested. Technology Workgroup Update The BPP, LLC will be among the first applications to be driven off of the RESO RESTful API that is mandated by NAR for MLS adoption by mid summer 2016.  This will provide the opportunity to add new MLS markets in hours rather than days. A number of our more than 50 MLS supporters will be providing API access for development. The Broker Public Portal product itself will be both responsive and come with native app support for iOS and Android. Business Update In October, three more brokers and two more MLSs joined the BPP. We welcome @Properties of Chicago, BHHS Bruce Mulhern, BH&G Gary Greene of Houston, and the Heartland (Kansas/ Missouri) and RealTracs/Middle Tennessee Regional MLS’s. Although we are getting strong industry support now numbering more than 50 Brokers and 50 MLSs, it will take more than that to be successful. Please check out this webpage to see the industry leaders who are participating. http://www.brokerpublicportal.com/founders.html – please encourage others to help. Vision The BPP aims to provide a home search experience as it was meant to be, simple, direct from the MLS, and based on the common sense principle of connecting consumers to the people who create the listings and are best able to help them. We will be successful through the support of our current community of BPP, LLC unit holders combined with the ever-increasing encouragement of brokers and agents all over the country. We aim to delight the consumer while adhering to Fair Display […]

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MLS As A Communication Tool

by Victor Lund on October 6, 2015

Years ago, real estate agents gathered for breakfast with wrinkled sheets of paper culled from notes that took at listing presentations. Of course, they were not listing presentations at the time. It was more like a walk around the place. Someone in the area, often a relative or a neighbor, was trusted for selling property. There were not a lot of transactions then. Many families homesteaded their land, like my great grandfather. Today the decedents of that family occupy that property, subdivided as necessary to provide homes for grown children. Real estate information is something that people knew long before it was a database. They did not need to go to the courthouse to look up who owned a parcel. They were at the funeral when Mr. Gibbs died. They embraced his children as they mourned. They spoke in whispers about how the family wanted to transfer the deed. It was personal, and only involved a sale when there were debts that had to be settled. More often than not, trades were done within the family. I imagine that the real estate breakfast roundtable was a noisy place in those days. Today it is MLS software. Somehow, less personally communicating facts and little humanity. But, it is efficient and effective. It’s the modern way. I had a similar conversation regarding a family lot in Alabama recently. In this case, the lumber on the land is worth more than the land itself. Once the lumber is harvested they leave the stumps behind, rendering the land useless for farming, pasture, or households until the lumber grows back – 25 years or so. Selling the land to the lumber mill kills the land, and the family blood with it. It’s a place where generations of kin were raised. Real estate agents always shake their head when property is sold then destroyed. Looking after the land, neighborhoods, and families is always been the soulful charter. The real estate agents and brokers who were evolutionary developers of the MLS pictured it as a database only. Trend 1 – MLS Agent-to-Agent Communication in the MLS Today’s MLS is devoid of many of these stories, or as I said, humanity. They do not facilitate conversations. It is a tragic loss. Broker office meetings and the weekly Association of REALTOR® meetings are the last vestiges of that, and perhaps the most valuable. We do see some semblance emerging […]

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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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In the real estate industry, the collection and distribution of real estate listing data has been a hot issue for many years, and The Great Lakes Repository (GLR) has made tremendous headway toward solving those data issues. The GLR is comprised of a group of MLSs and REALTOR® Associations (participants) in Michigan that have agreed to share listing data with other participants using a repository method of sharing. Under this method of sharing data, all participants of the GLR run their own MLSs; enforce their own set of rules; manage their own membership; control their own MLS products, but cooperate by sharing listing data in one central location. The sharing of listing data benefits all GLR Members and the consumer by providing all the listings data to all GLR Members, and at the same time eliminating the need for a REALTOR® to belong to more than one MLS, i.e.: offering MLS of choice. Over the last seven and a half years, the GLR has grown from zero to 11 Members all sharing data in their home database. The GLR recently finalized agreements with the eight (8) REALTOR® Associations that are Shareholders of Realcomp II Ltd., an MLS in Farmington Hills, MI. “We are excited to welcome these new Members to the GLR, giving the GLR a total of nineteen (19) Members representing twelve (12) MLSs sharing data,” said Dave DeRees, President of The Great Lakes Repository. Currently, the data is being mapped and is scheduled to go live on March 1, 2016. Once the new data is live, the GLR will be estimated to have over 55,000 active listings in the state, and is also estimated to have 67% of the REALTORS® in Michigan and 66% of all active and historical listings in the state. Powered by CURE Solutions Group, an MRIS subsidiary, the GLR is able to overcome the technical barriers associated with sharing MLS content through multiple geographic areas. This makes the GLR an indispensable resource for brokers and agents in the Great Lakes area. “MRIS is thrilled that the GLR is making great strides in expanding access to listing information across the state of Michigan,” said Jeff Jennings, MRIS Director of Strategic Alliances. “Over the past seven years, the GLR has proactively continued to make it easier for brokers and agents to access the information they need, and we look forward to their continued growth and success.” […]

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Black Knight Financial Services (NYSE: BKFS) announced today the execution of an agreement with the California Regional MLS (CRMLS) to deliver its Paragon MLS system to CRMLS’ more than 75,000 members. With the addition of Paragon MLS, CRMLS strengthens its position as a leader in the real estate industry and demonstrates its commitment to its professional members who rely on fast and easy access to MLS information. Offering intuitive and straightforward navigation, cross-browser compatibility and multi-tasking capabilities – all of which are mobile-optimized, Paragon MLS will enable CRMLS subscribers to increase productivity and grow their business. CRMLS has been steadily expanding its presence in California, now serving 35 local real estate associations, three boards of REALTORS® and one multiple listing service (MLS). In August 2015, CRMLS won Inman’s Most Innovative MLS award. Black Knight’s Paragon MLS system has received top ranking in the annual Clareity Consulting MLS Customer Satisfaction Survey for the past three years, and recently was installed in numerous new markets for MLS organizations. “It is time to break through the barrier of being limited to one MLS platform,” said CRMLS CEO Art Carter. “We have wanted to do this for some time, and we are pleased to form this partnership with the Black Knight Paragon team. Our industry is constantly evolving, and we need to be more responsive to agents, brokers and consumers who are redefining the way they work. The result of this project will give our members better choices as the vendors vie for user selection.” “It is an honor to be selected for this CRMLS initiative,” said Rich Lull, managing director for Black Knight MLS. “We commend them for their vision and leadership, and look forward to working closely with CRMLS to continue providing leading-edge solutions as the industry evolves.” About California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS) California Regional MLS (CRMLS) is the nation’s largest and most recognized subscriber-based MLS, dedicated to servicing over 75,000+ real estate professionals from 35 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. www.crmls.org About Black Knight Financial Services, Inc. Black Knight Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE: BKFS), a Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF) company, is the mortgage and finance industries’ leading provider of integrated technology, data and analytics solutions that facilitate and automate many of […]

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REcolorado Joins Homes.com’s® MLS Partnership Program

by Victor Lund on September 17, 2015

Norfolk, Virginia (September 16, 2015) – Homes.com®, leading online real estate destination and provider of real estate marketing solutions, has announced the addition of REcolorado to its MLS Partnership Program. The new partnership will offer REcolorado’s 18,000 real estate professionals free exposure for their 9,500 active listings by gaining access to Homes.com’s audience of more than 13 million monthly transaction-ready consumers. REcolorado brokers can now offer their agents direct access to syndicate their listings on Homes.com, ensuring those listings are advertised accurately and updated regularly. Consumers visiting Homes.com will benefit from the improved quantity and quality of available listings in Colorado, and will have a clear path to connect directly with the local brokerage and agent representing each listing. “Our new partnership with Homes.com offers REcolorado brokers and agents listing-level control where their listings appear, while improving the quality of listings available for consumers on Homes.com,” said Kirby Slunaker, president and CEO of REcolorado. “By driving engaged consumers back to either the broker’s website or recolorado.com, everyone involved wins.” The benefits provided by Homes.com’s MLS partnership program include: Data Accuracy – More timely and accurate listing data. Prominent Branding – Clear attribution and branding for the listing agent and broker on listing detail pages. Consumer Leads – All leads from Homes.com are emailed directly to the listing agent. MLS Branding – Prominent branding for REcolorado.com as the trusted source of the listing information. Direct Links – All listings on Homes.com can include “deep links” back to the broker’s website or REcolorado’s consumer website, REcolorado.com. “The primary objective of Homes.com’s MLS partnership program is to provide timely and accurate listing information to consumers searching for their next home, and to ensure those consumers are able to connect directly with the listing agent representing the seller,” said Andy Woolley, Homes.com’s vice president of industry development. “By prominently displaying the listing broker and agent, and always sending leads directly to the listing agent, Homes.com ensures REcolorado members are able to connect directly with our transaction-ready consumers.” For more information on the benefits Homes.com can provide MLSs and their subscribers, visit http://connect.homes.com/mls/. About Homes.com  Homes.com is a leading provider of real estate marketing and media services, including brand advertising, property listing exposure and syndication, search engine marketing and instant response lead generation. Homes.com Connect offers the real estate industry’s first-ever all-inclusive marketing platform for agents and brokers featuring single-login convenience. Homes.com is visited by more than […]

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