National Association of REALTORS

NAR’s Goldberg Kills Amp and Powers Up Upstream

by Victor Lund on February 2, 2018

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


Hits and Misses from NAR Chicago

by Kevin Hawkins on November 7, 2017


Chicago is a baseball town. Even with the Cubs disappointingly not returning to the World Series this year, you can’t escape seeing someone wearing a Cubs or White Sox hat or shirt every day in Chicago, even in November. McCormick Place, home to this year’s REALTORS® Conference & Expo, sits just two-and-a-half miles north of Comiskey Park, where the Sox play – their South Side team. So you get an idea of how far away this convention center is from the heart of downtown. And the proximity to a pro baseball park also gives me the perfect excuse to use baseball terminology to review some of the hits and misses I found this year’s conference in the City of Big Shoulders. Host city: Grand slam for hotels choices, restaurants, entertainment, and bars. But it’s a strikeout as a convention city when half your meetings are located 30-45 minutes away at hotels on Michigan Avenue. Even with the fantastic busway, an express lane that takes only convention busses from downtown hotels directly to McCormick Place, it took door-to-door, between the average shuttle wait time, at least 30 minutes because traffic clogs the arteries to the hotels. For me, that’s just too much wasted time spent on a bus, even with all the technology we have in the palms of our hands today. Oh, and the weather sucks in November. 2018 Woman NAR President: Elizabeth Mendenhall, a Realtor from Columbia, Missouri was a refreshing sight as she stepped up to the plate at the annual new NAR President press conference to field reporter’s questions. First, it’s been way too long since NAR has had a woman president. Second, she’s at least a generation younger than most of her predecessors. She came across as energetic, smart and politically savvy. She gave props to CAR’s WomanUp, a powerful new Women’s Initiative, and she laid out NAR’s agenda for 2018. She adeptly fielded questions from reporters. She was hitting the questions reporters were throwing at her solidly. That was until Inman News Bernice Ross  threw a curveball at her. Bernice is spearheading a woman’s initiative of her own. So she asked Mendenhall – since it’s been so long since we’ve had an NAR female President – if she had specific plans to support women Realtors during her tenure at NAR. Elizabeth just stood there, and let that beautiful slow pitch Bernice threw at her sail over […]


The Industry Has Risen

by Victor Lund on May 10, 2017


I had a feeling during the recession that the pillars that held our industry in trust had cracked. The first of two pillars of trust is the National Association of REALTORS® as fully constituted by its local, state, national, and international chapters. The second pillar of trust is the Multiple Listing Service. History has taught us that when you apply pressure to any society or organization it is likely to fracture. No doubt, these industry pillars came under massive scrutiny from their constituents. The real estate brokers who founded these noble entities became conscientious objectors to the organizations and their operations. As the distress of the recession began to ease, our industry began to reshape itself. The restoration of the National Association of REALTORS® and the Multiple Listing Service since 2012 has had a single key focus, careful consolidation. Consolidation is everywhere today. Portals are consolidating to create our industry’s largest and strongest public company. Yesterday, Zillow nearly kissed the $8 Billion dollar ring on Wall Street. Technology firms like Lonewolf, Boston Logic, Elm Street, and others are absorbing smaller firms at an astounding rate. Brokerage firms have consolidated too – represented by the tremendous roll up by Berkshire Hathaway.* But most of all, we have seen massive consolidation in our REALTOR® Associations and Multiple Listing Service providers. MLS Consolidation One of the most astute strategic thinkers in the MLS industry is David Charron. He coined the term Overlapping Market Disorder (OMD). Overlapping Market Disorder is a plague that erodes organizations that are contributing to the chaos. OMD happens when brokers and agents must become members to two MLSs in order to serve a consumer looking to buy or sell in an overlapping area between the two firms. OMD causes friction between the two MLSs whose duty it is to serve the broker and agent. The consumer is also trapped in this friction. Everything is duplicated in OMD areas as the data and operations fabric that is constituted by bifurcated organizations pits those forces against each other. On one hand, Charron provided a solution to the problem with a database for sharing data. It’s largest and most handsome installation was California Real Estate Technology Services. The technology solution to merge the databases was the first step. Then the participants recognized that data sharing was only a suspension of the inevitable. In the wake of data sharing came consolidation. The California […]


WAV Group DMCA Safe-Harbor Alert

by Victor Lund on December 6, 2016


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


Respond to the Threats That may Kill Off Your Business

by Marilyn Wilson on July 23, 2015

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

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Who Will Install The Giant Rats of Real Estate?

by Victor Lund on July 10, 2015

If you visit New York City regularly, you will sometimes encounter a giant inflatable rat on the sidewalk outside businesses experiencing union disputes. Organized labor has also joined in the fight against companies like Airbnb and Uber. Ken Jenny of Trancen often remarks that: “with Airbnb, you have one of the largest hotel companies in the world who does not own a single hotel room. With Uber, you have the largest taxi cab company in the world who does not own a single taxi.” I would add that Facebook has become the largest publisher in the world and they do not write a single word. YouTube is the largest broadcaster in the world and does not make a single video. Incidentally, my 12 year old reads Instagram more than newspapers and watches far more YouTube than television. There is little doubt that in the future, the largest real estate brokerage in the country will not have a single listing or show a single property to a buyer. Anyone can compose a list of who will disrupt real estate. But the more interesting list to create is who is likely to defend the industry. The most obvious answer is the NAR. But I do not see that happening. The National Association of REALTORS is not a Union. It is a trade association that lives on the cornerstone of a code of ethics. If it is in the best interest of the trade group and the consumer to fend off the uberification of real estate, then they should stand up and deliver a few inflatable rats in front of businesses that are objectionable. I have witnessed the NAR march on Washington during the Midyear. I wonder if we will see a digital march or a financial march in our future.

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RETS Servers and Direct Feeds

by Victor Lund on February 20, 2015

The National Association of REALTORS MLS Issues and Policy Committee made a bold move to require RESO data dictionary complainant by Jan 1, 2016, and RESO RESTful web API by June 30, 2016. Further complicating the matters is the groundswell of considerations with third party portals making requests for MLS direct feeds. Data sharing between MLS systems, RETS Update, and system conversions taking place across the industry today deepen the data transport considerations. Wrapping it all together with a lit match could easily lead to mass hysteria. WAV Group took a look at what the largest MLSs in the nation are doing and we came upon a similarity that is worth noting. Large MLSs do not always represent best practices, but more often than not they do. Along with size comes complexity and a wider group of data management needs. Flexible Data Feed Configurations By Vendor One of the most significant problems facing MLSs when it comes to data management is managing variations of data feeds. A straight IDX feed can be configured in a pretty standard way. But feeds to other MLS systems, VOW Feeds, Broker Feeds, feeds to publishers with broker opt in or agent-opt in, or special other feeds become untenable. Most MLSs just bail out on variations and simply send all of the data with an agreement that says: “only use what is permitted.” This is a disaster waiting to happen and the worst business practice with data management. A friend gave me the analogy that sending all of the data but telling someone they can only use a portion of it is like depositing all of your money into someone else’s bank account and telling them they cannot use it. Moreover, sending all of the data when only a portion is necessary requires additional data feed bandwidth even if the vendor is throwing away the parts they don’t need. Most MLSs already use 3TB to 4 TB of data per month. Big markets use 10TB to 12TB per month. To solve this problem many of the large MLSs like the Houston Association of REALTORS provision a feed according to the exact data license agreement and only send the licensed data. They can even get fancy and turn watermarking on or off by data feed or any number of other interesting and flexible configurations. Becoming MLS Vendor Agnostic There are two styles of storing and managing […]


There IS hope for the real estate industry!

by Marilyn Wilson on November 19, 2014

I had one of the best days I’ve ever had since I’ve been a part of this industry at the NAR conference this year!   I witnessed what I believe to be a historic moment in the real estate industry where MLSs, Associations, Brokers, Franchises and Technology companies ALL came together for the greater good of the industry.   No drama, no conflict, just unity! Hallelujah! Kudo’s to the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World for bringing forth a set of balanced recommendations to the Emerging Issues committee on behalf of large and small brokers around the nation. I am proud to say that I facilitated discussions with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World(LeadingRE’s) “TAC” or Technology Advisory Council that includes several of the nation’s best and brightest tech leadership from brokers of all sizes from around the U.S.  Together we brought forth a reasonable and well thought out set of recommendations that are designed to help everyone and simply allow brokers and agents to be able to use technology and data more effectively to attract new customers. These enhancements to the IDX policy could never have been approved so easily without the hard work and leadership of the Emerging Issues Committee led by Robert Bailey of Bailey properties. Behind the scenes, the Committee  invited LeadingRE to come and present the ideas developed by the TAC committee at their last session. They led a respectful, open and collaborative discussion trying to better understand the issues outlined and then asked LeadingRE to help them prioritize the issues to be brought forth to the MLS Policy Committee.  They also invited further discussion on other concepts suggested by the LeadingRE beyond the four that were presented and approved on Saturday. During the MLS Issues and Policy Meeting at the NAR conference, representatives of the Emerging Issues committee did a masterful job of explaining each of the proposed rules changes in simple terms to make it easy for the audience to understand the value of each policy enhancement. Special thanks to Henry Brandis of HomeServices for doing a masterful job of representing the needs of brokers and franchises.  Jonathan Bednarsh, CEO of Onboard Informatics also did a great job outlining how the Web API will help create efficiency, speed and innovation for real estate technology companies and their broker clients. The MLS Policy Committee brought forth four well-thought out revisions to the IDX […]

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Losing the Convention of Conventions

by Kevin Hawkins on November 19, 2014

It was 1986. Inflation was under 2 percent, the Dow Jones closed under 2,000, a gallon of gas was under a buck, Americans were being held hostage in Iran, and it was the year the US bombed Libya. It was also the year of my first NAR Convention, held in New York City at the then new Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. I had convinced my employer at the time, Great Western Savings of Beverly Hills, to let me scout the event for exhibiting, sponsorship and press opportunities, as the bank was ready to grow its lending model nationally. The media opportunities I discovered at NAR that year turned out to be an amazing start to a career-long journey. NAR was the ‘go-to’ real estate convention when it came to making connections, meeting reporters and pitching story ideas. I had been invited to attend a dinner of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, NAREE. It was held at an established Manhattan steakhouse, in a second floor private room. David Jeffers, head of PR for Fannie Mae at the time, had a slide projector queued up when I arrived. Legendary consumer real estate columnist Bob Bruss greeted me before I could sit down, and we soon became fast friends. He had me signed up as a member before I walked out the door. This was an era when NAR would host press conferences that were packed with reporters. It was a great place for journalists to mine news stories they needed to fill their gigantic newspaper real estate sections. Steve Kerch of the Chicago Tribune, Kirstin Downey of the Washington Post, and H. Jane Lehman, would pepper the NAR officials and their chief economist with tough questions that yielded better reporting for everyone in the room. The Dearth Today Fast-forward to NAR in New Orleans the beginning of this month. Today the press room is practically barren, with just a couple of bona fide journalists camped out, conducting an interview or two, filing a couple of stories at best. The back-to-back press conferences have been replaced by lightly attended media briefings. NAREE still holds its annual installation of new officers meeting and dinner in conjunction with NAR, but even NAREE has to wonder if the trek is worth it these days. I pinged a dozen reporters in advanced to see if they were attending. After all, many were NAREE members […]


News Corp buys MOVE operators of

by Victor Lund on September 30, 2014

And so it goes. Move, the operators of the National Associaton of REALTORS portal called have agreed to sell the company to News Corp in an all-cash deal valued at $950 million. MOVE’s board of directors were swift to approve the offer, representing a 36% bump in the value of the company. News Corp owns other real estate assets including The Wall Street Journal (popular spot for luxury property advertising) and Australian real estate portal – (part of the REA Group). REA Group will apparently pay for 20% of MOVE, and News Corp will pay the rest. This is a pretty bullish acquisition. It demonstrates the belief that there is a lot of growth on the horizon for portals in the US Market. To me the future looks pretty competitive with lots of well funded competitors dueling it out. MOVE has made a number of acquisitions over the years to diversify revenue away from the portal offering. Aside from, Top Producer is a solid contributor to the company’s success and revenue. I wonder if the new owners will shed some of those assets and focus purely on and I also imagine that News Corp will be a little more aggressive in wielding the leverage it has with ListHub in a couple of ways – more international expansion and tighter agreements with publishers. Or not. They say that they have shared vision and shared values. Congratulations to the MOVE shareholders and executives. Nice win. My hope is that Joe Hanauer will be retained to continue is spectacular mission to support Below are three clippings – letter from NAR to the membership – letter from MOVE to industry leaders – and the press release – all in one place for your pleasure. By the way – does anyone know how much stock News Corp and REA Group have invested in Zillow and Trulia – I think they are partners in all of these firms now. Pretty cool strategic investment strategy. Letter from NAR to the Membership Dear NAR Member, Today marks an extraordinary turning point in the history of®. 

The website pioneered online real estate and was No. 1 in that space for 15 years. In recent years, even as®’s traffic grew, deep-pocketed Internet startups succeeded in eroding the site’s consumer mind share. One year ago, the National Association of REALTORS® altered its operating […]


Association Standards – It’s definitely TIME!

by Marilyn Wilson on February 11, 2014

Jeremy Conaway, Dale Stinton, and Bob Moline used the Swanepoel Trends report to push the real estate elephant into the spotlight in America. There are simply too many REALTOR® Associations not providing adequate service and support to their members. Today, 1100 of the 1400 REALTOR® Associations in America have fewer than 300 members. Many of these smaller organizations have a difficult time delivering the depth of services and training REALTORS® need to effectively serve the needs of their clients and stay relevant with all of the technology options available to today’s demanding consumers.  At the end of the day real estate aren’t associations supposed to exist to help their members be successful, while nurturing a thriving community and real estate market?  It is time for us as an industry to try to figure out how to get every REALTOR® member a comprehensive and relevant suite of services and support no matter what local association they belong to. These issues and struggles are not limited to the United States.. The Quebec Boards of REALTORS® separated from the Canadian Real Estate Association in absolute protest of some of CREA’s policies that they did not believe were in the best interest of their members.  The revolution took courage, but these Canadian boards were able to live up to the challenge and make it happen.  The good news…. the revolution created positive change, and now CREA and the Quebec Boards of REALTORS® have new terms in their relationship. Conaway mentions in his contribution to the Trends Report that “what one won’t find at the annual (NAR) meeting are demonstrators, protesters, dissenters, revolutionaries, or counter culture types…”  It shouldn’t necessarily have to come to this, but I think we’re all growing weary of little progress being made about an obvious problem in our industry.  It’s too easy to ignore the need for change without a crisis or critical event to bring it to our attention. I fear blanket condemnation of small boards.  There are some boards that deliver an amazing suite of services and demonstrate total member-centricity.  There are some larger boards that are much less responsive to their member’s needs than smaller boards. They bring an arrogance to the table that is not at all welcome with their members.  Some have staff leadership that has been in place WAY too long and has grown completely complacent.  My personal experience has taught me that just […]


Brokers Should Audit Their MLS

by Victor Lund on December 30, 2013

2014 may well be the year of the broker, or as they are referred to in MLS speak, the year of the Participant. If your MLS has adopted the National Association of REALTORS® template for MLS Rules and Regulations, you will find that brokers are Participants and agents are Subscribers. As a Participant in the MLS, brokers accept full responsibility to adhere to MLS rules and regulations. The MLS does a pretty good job of enforcing those rules. But who among you is making sure that the MLS is not running afoul? WAV Group MLS clients are traditionally the largest MLSs in the nation. If the MLS has a member count of less than 2000, it is unlikely that WAV Group has ever facilitated a strategic plan for your MLS. From this perspective, WAV Group has learned that large MLSs rarely run afoul of staying current. The place to spend time auditing your MLS is the small MLS. These MLSs are unlikely to attend NAR’s National or Mid-year meetings where MLS policy evolves. They rely on NAR emails to stay current. Moreover, the MLS board of directors is also unlikely to stay current with MLS policy, which erodes their appreciation and ability to make informed policy decisions. Beyond NAR, there is also the Council of MLS or CMLS. This is the industry trade group for MLS executives that has regular meetings to discuss best practices of operating an MLS. Ask your MLS if they attend NAR Annual, Midyear, and CMLS meetings. The goal of this post is not to pick on small MLSs. The reality is that they do not have the resources to participate in all of these things. Where WAV Group discovers small MLSs that have fallen behind is when we audit large brokers for rules compliance. Large brokers proactively engage in an audit each year to make sure that all of their systems are in compliance with local rules and regulations. This process is as much a vendor audit as it is a broker audit. MLSs often change rules and the broker or vendor miss the memo on the rules change. Alternatively, the NAR rules change and the MLS does not revise their rules to keep current. Either way, the broker is out of compliance, and is liable for fines and other disciplinary action. WAV Group gathers the rules and regulations from each MLS then review all […]


Choosing the Right Right

by Victor Lund on December 18, 2013

Real estate business consulting firms wear a lot of hats. When we are hired, our goal is to serve our clients goals as master – never our own goals. It’s a unique mindset. National Association of REALTORS® annual conventions are a keen reminder of this paradigm. In a single day, it was commonplace to speak strategy with technology companies; brokers; Associations of REALTORS® (National, State, Megaboard); Association governed MLS, broker governed MLS, broker owned and governed MLS. Perhaps the only oddity is that there is no example of a broker owned, Association governed MLS. Same Issue, Different Rights I think that often there is a tendency to try to lump disparate groups together in ways that are naive in our industry. Uninformed people may talk about strategic issues without regard for the nature of things in local markets. For example, a broker owned MLS consumer website appeals to many brokers whereby an Association owned MLS consumer website may not. REALTORS® may appreciate Association owned consumer websites, but brokers may object. There is no right or wrong. There are many rights and many wrongs. Choice is a matter of local consideration and proper execution. The Right Balance is Never Static Regardless of the chosen strategic paradigm in a market place, there will always be critics. Given a choice, groups form that favor or do not favor an initiative. Perfect alignment on any given issue involving hundreds or even thousands of people is unrealistic. We are a society of compromises that understands that you may be on the right side of some issues while your peers may sometimes be on the other side. There are Lots of Rights Remember that strategy is more of an array of strategies than a single strategy. With any enterprise organization there are many issues that form policy and policy forms strategy. You win some, and you will never win them all. But you keep fighting for your version of right. Being Two-Faced At the NAR convention, I had an encounter whereby someone remarked that WAV Group was supporting one issue over another. I had to explain that WAV Group does not support any issue. We support them all. WAV Group is not a policymaker; we are a research company that leverages information to help clients form and execute their strategy. Our only goal is for the client to succeed with the strategy that is chosen by […]

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How Great Companies React To Feedback

by Victor Lund on December 13, 2013

AgentMatch from  was a solution that was tested in two real estate markets – Boulder, CO and Las Vegas, TX. The pilot program was developed as a service to connect consumers with agents based on performance, interests and recommendation data. Putting aside the debate about the strengths or weaknesses of this form of rating an agent, there is plenty to learn from how it was rolled out, how feedback was generated, and how the company reacted to the feedback. Pre-roll Out Decisions With any new service, the first question should be opt-in or opt-out. WAV Group has always recommended that the default on any consumer facing solution should be opt-in unless there are powerful mitigating reasons that support opt-out. In this test, worked closely with both MLSs to be sure all were in agreement with how the data would be displayed. Pre-roll Out Communication Some companies have mandated classes on product roll-outs. WAV Group is not a big fan of this. Rather, offer the class or training online. Record it. Do not enable the service until the broker has either waived or attended the training. Getting the acknowledgement is really important. It is absurd to think that you will be able to reasonably solicit some form of acknowledgement from every broker – but make sure you get acknowledgement from most brokers. Schedule meetings face to face with your 10 largest brokers and phone conferences with 11-50. Again here, I applaud for organizing local, executive and broker advisory boards during the development of this pilot. Pilot Testing New product roll-outs are never perfect. Indeed, the mantra for innovation is “fail fast and fail often.” What RDC did by putting the product out into the wild was aggressive. I know they worked closely with, and solicited feedback from, agents before AgentMatch was publically displayed. But they still got a pile of new feedback in the early days of the pilot. React to Feedback AgentMatch was taken offline today. In a statement, President, Errol Samuelson said “The AgentMatch pilot has concluded, but the larger project remains: We intend to create the most accurate and complete resource for consumers looking for a Realtor online, and to continue moving the industry forward with innovative solutions.” What makes the company stronger in the eyes of their customers is that they were comfortable with embracing feedback and taking action to resolve important issues […]


Top 5 Articles of the Week

by Victor Lund on November 22, 2013

How to Lose a Listing My neighbors really like their original real estate agent, Agent One. They wanted to work with her again. But they tell me that they probably won’t choose her to list their home. This is pretty catastrophic for her, whether she knows it or not, because repeat and referral business is a real estate agent’s bread and butter. 4 NAR ® Member Benefits You Should Be Using The REALTOR® Benefits Program brings members of NAR discounts and special offers on real estate products and services. The value of the Program isn’t just the financial savings; it also ensures that the prodcuts offered are carefully selected to meet the needs of real estate professionals like you. It’s about receiving a quality product for a quality price. Buying a New Tech Tool? The First Question to Ask I consider myself a very open-minded person, but try to convince me to switch from Mac to PC, for example, and I’m going to dig in my heels. I’m not alone; most of the people you meet are committed to their marriages, their families, their careers, and their operating system. So when you’re choosing any technology product, your first question needs to be whether or not it will work with your OS.  Every Listing is Worth a Million Dollars Okay, perhaps not literally. Some of your listings will sell for much less while others may sell for even more – and everywhere in between. But your attitude should always be the same. You should treat each listing and each client as if they are the most valuable you’ve ever represented. Your 2013 Holiday Blogging Plan With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to let your blogging habits fall by the wayside. The festive season presents a wealth of easy post ideas, however, so make sure sure you’re not neglecting your blog! We’ve rounded up a few topics that will help you connect to consumers by providing useful information.


Anybody that runs a company wants to believe that consumers LOVE their brand – after all we love our brands don’t we?   While that’s a great goal, it’s a lot harder than it looks to create a strong emotional connection with your customer base. Apco Worldwide, a public relations firm recently fielded a global survey. Here’s the list of the Top 100 Most Lived brands.  According to Apco’s press release, here’s what it takes to rank as a loved brand: “APCO’s proprietary Emotional LinkingSM model served as the basis for evaluating the companies by measuring consumers’ emotional attachment to brands along eight dimensions, providing companies with a roadmap to understanding consumer expectations in an actionable way. Technology companies were the largest industry represented in the top 10 with Apple coming in at ninth on the list. “The best brands are those that build a strong, enduring emotional attachment with consumers,” said Bryan Dumont, president, APCO Insight. “In addition to acting as a highly predictive tool for consumers’ purchase choices, the Emotional Linking model has proven to be an excellent way to help companies retool their campaigns to build stronger emotional attachments between their key audiences and their brands.” The rankings are the result of a decade-long research project including a global survey of more than 600 of the world’s largest corporate brands among more than 70,000 individuals in 15 key markets around the world. The Emotional Linking model identified eight emotions that are critical to effective brand communication. These eight critical emotions are: Understanding, Approachability, Relevance, Admiration, Curiosity, Identification, Empowerment and Pride.” This methodology is very interesting and seems to have found a way to quantify emotional connections to brands. So what can real estate brands learn from this research about how to create stronger brand loyalty and connections to their customers? Understanding In the real estate industry we are notoriously bad about engaging consumers in dialog to truly understand their wants, and emotional desires.  We cannot expect to create a meaningful connection if we don’t even know what really drives them? As I have written about many times, it’s time for our industry to embrace the consumer and engage in regular dialog with them.  Companies like the Houston Association of REALTORS® as well as Trulia and others regularly engage in conversation. Approachability Do we make it easy for potential customers to approach us?  In many cases, consumers are afraid […]


It’s Time to Re-invent the Search

by Marilyn Wilson on September 10, 2013

There’s a fundamental problem in the real estate business today. Since time immemorial real estate ‘searches’ have utilized a property-centric approach that ignores the other 50 percent of the business: the buyers. In the real estate industry, we focus so much on displaying listings hoping to attract a buyer without spending nearly enough time and resources to analyze and understand the market segment that are the drivers of the purchase. This is also symptomatic of the industry’s fundamental focus on the needs of agents, not consumers. Doesn’t it make more sense to focus on the needs of the consumer? The marketplace has made a plethora of search tools available just about everywhere for consumers. In fact, 96 percent of buyers search multiple websites before contacting an agent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Fundamentally, this is why the process is called “house hunting”–buyers are forced to search, filter and pull properties “off the rack.” Property search provides a shotgun approach to exposure. It may sound good in a listing presentation to say, “I’m placing this on 300 websites,” but how does this process in any way help match agents with new, active and revised listings with “real” buyers that are Willing, Able and Ready (WAR)? This approach seems fundamentally wrong. Click here to download the complete white paper that fleshes out a whole new way to look at search. Drowning in a Tidal Wave of Internet Leads According to the public statements of leading consumer real estate portals, there are over 50 million consumers that simply like to search property sites each month to see what their next door neighbor’s house may be worth, dream about retirement or a move to a bigger home, or to simply look for home improvement ideas. These “voyeurs” have no intention of buying a home anytime soon, yet via lead management systems, they contact agents and soak up productive time best invested in working with “WAR” leads. All of this leads to a VERY unproductive Internet lead conversion rate. Numerous industry studies show that 95 percent to 99 percent of the “leads” generated online will never close. According to evaluations we have done on behalf of some of our clients, most homes are getting less than one click-through per month and even fewer legitimate property inquiries. Is property search, as we know it, dead? The 2009 Swanepoel Trends Report addressed this same question […]


FIND Offers Unique Reciprocal Data Sharing.

by Victor Lund on September 10, 2013

Before REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR) was conceived, the National Association of REALTORS® was working with their partner, Move, Inc. to develop a library of information on every property in America. NAR selected another vendor and developed what we know as RPR today. MOVE took their prototype and developed a free product called FINDSM. FIND is proprietary software for MLSs that provides property centric data on more than 100 million real estate parcels in the United States, and offers agents and brokers access to timely, accurate and reliable listing information across MLS boundaries. Available as a link or a tool bar that resides in MLS systems, it provides a depth of property information to enhance the MLS listing. The data accessible is a laundry list that includes fly over zones, flood maps, neighborhood demographics, and so on. FINDis free to any MLS. Over the past three years, about 60 MLS have launched the FIND program to as many as 450,000 agents. To participate in FIND, the MLS need only contract directly with Move for property data, and allow Move to display sold listings on Before FIND, only received active listing data to display. Since Trulia and Zillow and others were actively working to collect and display sold data, FIND allowed to compete. With FIND, can once again occupy the leading position in real estate. The news here is not that REALTORS® have been able to access all data on through FIND. Now, to support reciprocal data sharing, the agent in FIND can have direct access to other MLS systems through something called Deep Linking. The first reciprocal data sharing solution using FIND is between iTech MLS in Los Angeles and MetroList Services, Inc. in Sacramento. Those MLSs have an agreement between them to allow access to each others’ systems, and offers of compensation. Since FIND is powered by single sign-on (SSO), agents do not need to remember their password credentials to get into the other system. They simply search on FIND, and if they want to view the MLS listing details, they click the MLS link in FIND and they are ported right in. Where MLSs have a relationship for cooperation and compensation, when an agent looks at a record from another MLS, it will allow that agent to launch into the reciprocal MLS. Today, Rapattoni is the only MLS system that has deployed this. […]


Product Overview of BombBomb for Real Estate VMail

by Victor Lund on August 28, 2013

BombBomb is a video mail program. You can record yourself talking on your computer or mobile device and send that recording as an email. It is a streaming email, so you are not sending a large file. Beyond vMail, BombBomb allows you to vLog or video blog. You can publish the recordings you make in newsletters, on your blog, website, or social media page. Suffice it to say, once the video is created, you can ship it anywhere. Using BombBomb for the first time was quick and easy. I entered a little bit of profile information and was off creating my first video within less than a minute. However, there are a few areas where I believe there could be improvement. The good news is that they are all very fixable. Suggestion 1: Don’t Change My Password – When I registered it asked me for my password. In the registration email confirmation, there was a password which was system generated that I did not set up. Suggestion 2. Promote the Mobile App – I feel like vMail is something that is more impactful and more efficient on mobile. I would rather talk into my phone than try to type – especially when I am on the go. None of the registration pages or confirmation emails mentioned anything about support for iPhone, Android, or Windows Mobile. Fixing this is a simple matter of dropping in some icons and linking those icons to the application stores. Suggestion 3. Contact Sync – Once I set up my account, I would expect to be taken directly to add contacts. They do support uploading a CSV file – but agents will not do that unless they have a burning desire to adopt vMail or vlogging. Even those that do will be constantly challenged to keep contact records in both places. As a company that consults with enterprise business, I would tell you that without Gmail Contact Sync and Microsoft Exchange Sync, it would not be licensed for all agents. Again, this is not heavy lifting for any skilled development team, so I would expect that BombBomb may be able to add this functionality inside of a month or two. My guess about the reason that they do not do contact sync is because they bill by the number of contacts you add, which I believe is a mistake. I would counsel them to bill on […]


Realtors® Reaffirm Commitment to®

by Marilyn Wilson on July 24, 2013

New brand

CHICAGO (July 24, 2013) – The National Association of Realtors® Board of Directors today reaffirmed NAR’s commitment to making® the first, best online destination for home buyers and sellers. The board voted in favor of recommendations to modify an existing operating agreement that will help the site compete more effectively in an evolving online marketplace. “Over the years, Realtors® have invested a lot of time and millions of dollars in building information technology to give consumers online access to real estate information, and we know that consumer demand for all things ‘home’ has never been greater,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif. “As the most trusted resources for real estate information, Realtors® want® to have the resources and flexibility it needs to give consumers what they want while ensuring that today’s buyers and sellers can continue to rely on Realtors® for the most accurate, credible market data. We think the proposed changes achieve both goals.” The operating agreement is between NAR subsidiary Realtors® Information Network and Move, Inc. subsidiary RealSelect, Inc.  The RIN board sought advice from NAR’s BOD because any changes to could have a substantial impact on NAR’s members. The RIN board met immediately after the NAR BOD meeting, and approved the final recommendations. “When today’s consumer is searching for their dream home, they are utilizing more tools and information than ever before,” said® President Errol Samuelson, Chief Strategy Officer for Move, Inc. “Today’s historic and collaborative recommendation from  the NAR board members empowers us to further expand and enrich the consumer experience on and its mobile applications with greater breadth of content, and to do so with our continuing commitment to the highest level of quality and accuracy for both the real estate community and consumers.” The proposal recommended by NAR’s BOD gives® more flexibility to identify listings from sources beyond those provided by Realtors®. That includes additional new homes and rental properties. At the same time, the site will reinforce the value of using a Realtor® when buying, selling or investing in real estate, and will give consumers tools to differentiate between Realtors® and real estate agents who are not Realtors®. “We want consumers to be able to envision their American dreams of homeownership online and then make those dreams a reality in the offline world,” said Thomas. “Working together,® and Realtors® […]


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