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Enroll Now for WAVes of Change

by Victor Lund on January 6, 2016

WAV Group is entering into the second year of offering our WAVes of Change™ webinar series. WAVes of Change is a quarterly webinar that is produced to keep executives and board members current on industry changes and opportunities for operational excellence. Program Overview The purpose of the WAVes of Change Series is designed to help Associations and MLSs across North America make well-informed decisions that will help propel their organizations forward. It is intended to keep your team up to speed without having to travel to multiple events around the country spending significant time and money. The quarterly (4) 1-hour online events will be designed to educate your Board, Staff and other invited guests about the following types of topics: Breaking News and its implications Technology Trends WAV Group research Industry Research Consumer Trends Broker Trends Threats and Opportunities Best Practices/Case Studies Your Board, Staff and invited guests will participate on the call with fellow Associations and MLSs from around the country, encouraging information sharing. Since Associations and MLSs share many of the same challenges, the questions posed by the audience will help provide ideas and insight for every participating organization. Since the event is virtual, your Board, Staff and invited guests can participate from whatever location is convenient for them – their office, home or your office. The session will be recorded and you will have full rights to share the recording to others in your organization as you choose. WAV Group can also provide you with the presentation materials if you need to use them for another presentation or discussion. About WAV Group WAV Group is one of the most highly respected consulting and research firms in the real estate industry today. They regularly publish white papers, research studies and articles helping to articulate ways to improve the productivity, profitability and long-term health of the real estate industry. WAV Group works with many of the nation’s largest MLSs and Associations as well as leading brokerages from around North America conducting industry updates and strategic planning sessions. The company also works with many of the most progressive technology organizations keeping them abreast of the latest trends in real estate tools. Third, the firm is the single largest source of real estate consumer research, providing regular insights about the latest needs and frustrations of homebuyers and sellers. Cost Includes: 4 1-Hour Sessions (up to 50 attendees) Recording of session Access […]

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MLS Policy for Days On Market

by Victor Lund on December 16, 2015

Depending on where you are, Days on Market could be a hot topic. Perhaps the most sensitive area to Days on Market is San Francisco. I had a chance to talk to Steve Mavromihalis of Pacific Union about this topic last week. Steve is one of the most productive agents in the nation. Every year, WAV Group watches the listing count for Pacific Union go down by two thirds starting just before Thanksgiving and lasting until March or April – that’s 5 months of the year. Clearly this has P&L implications and budgeting implications for the brokerage. The truth is that these listing are still kind of “for sale”, but the agents take them off the market to prevent Days on Market from accruing. Sellers authorize this, and every listing agent tells the story to every seller for every company in the area. This is not a specific agent or a specific company following an unwritten policy. “It’s the culture of selling real estate in the Bay Area,” according to Mavromihalis. “People want to enjoy the holidays or go skiing in Tahoe. Because of summer vacation, a lot of listings go off the market in August too!” Mavromihalis admits that if another agent were to give him a call, he could probably arrange a showing with his client. Because the volume of off-market listings can become vary significant in areas like San Francisco, many MLSs have incorporated a status called Coming Soon. It recognizes the need to manage data when a listing is not active or before it comes active. In hot markets, listings will sometimes go from Coming Soon to Pending without every having any active days. The big advance in policy here is that the MLS can get the data for comparables, CMAs, Market Reports, Market Share and other high value needs of the MLS, its agents, brokers, and consumers. Days on Market does not accrue during Coming Soon status. MLS Listings, the MLS to the south of San Francisco, has done a great job with the development of MLS policy around coming soon. MLS Listings CEO James Harrison and his then Board Chairman, Broker Robert Bailey championed policy development and shared their efforts with the industry. I am not sure how the other Bay Area MLSs have dealt with it. Overlapping market disorder is very prevalent in the Bay area – San Francisco listings are placed in […]

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Solving for Technology-Confused Agents

by Victor Lund on November 11, 2015

WAV Group supports organizations (Brokers/MLS/Associations/Franchises) to develop support services for the technology applications used by agents. To kick off these programs we audit the systems that an agent has access to. This is an administrative process whereby we inventory all of the tools that they access from any source. 7 Sources of Real Estate Agent Technology (with one common example) National Association of Realtors – RPR State Association of Realtors – Forms Local Association of Realtors – Lockbox Multiple Listing Service – MLS system Franchise – lead management Brokerage – eMail Self – website The Big Problem: 7 different channels of training and support Forget about training and support for a second. Let’s start with a basic observation: For an agent to even know what each of these tools do, they would need to spend at least 1 hour on a demo to get an overview. In reality, something as sophisticated as the MLS system would take at least two hours just to show an agent around. A fundamental problem with real estate today is that this basic process of introducing an agent to the tools they use is optional. Set up and basic training must be a key component of onboarding a REALTOR®. If you look across the horizon of these seven entities, there is only one logical source that can consolidate training – the brokerage. Where is your customer support directory? I constantly ask this question during our kickoff audit and the reaction to this basic question is the cornerstone of the tragic comedy that we face in our industry. Some people know part of the answer, but nobody knows the entire answer. And, to be fair – I did not list all of the applications that an agent would need to use. In most cases they have 5 or 6 services from their MLS, six to seven more from their brokerage and franchise, and another 2 or 3 on their own just considering the third party publishers. Fix this and sell more real estate. The old adage is true. If the agents would only use the tools we provide, they would sell more houses. Simple Steps To Solving This Problem Create a list of every product, making sure to contact every company to understand what the product does. Write a brief description of the product. Find out if each product vendor has a schedule for training Create […]

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It’s November, the beginning of budgeting and planning for a successful 2016. WAV Group studies the online effectiveness of many of today’s leading brokers and provides audits and advisory services on optimizing these programs. The true measure of online effectiveness is closing a transaction. Unfortunately, we have observed that closing a transaction is coincidental to online marketing and not a direct correlation. The relationship between an agent and a consumer is akin to dating. Both parties must be attracted to one another. There needs to be a connection and the development of things like trust and confidence. It’s a dating game where decisions are based upon emotion rather than facts and numbers. If I were to build a lead conversion team for a real estate brokerage today I would start by doing a personality profile to find the types of agents who are easiest to like and trust. Smoke that in your lead management pipeline. Obviously this does not work for real estate because of the democracy of a brokerage culture. We are all equally qualified, right? If you agree that you cannot force a relationship between a willing buyer and a random agent who gets a lead, then you can position the process of online marketing differently. Online Marketing is for Sellers, Recruiting, and Retention. Online marketing is for sellers. During a listing presentation, the agent explains that buyers always use the Internet in the process of looking for property. Your firm will place the property on all of those popular-kid sites. This is so easy to do and say that I doubt any seller would be “like-wow! That’s amazing.” So you need to do something different than blast listing syndication because everyone does that. Heck, it’s a free service from every MLS in the nation. That is why I am so bullish on Buyside – it allows the agent to tell a seller how many buyers they are working with today who is looking for a home like theirs. If I am hungry to sell my house, I would choose the agent who has 10 buyers in their hand over an agent that plans to go shake the bush to find one. Show results from online marketing, not your online marketing plan. Tell the seller “every agent you interview is going to tell you about how they are going to plaster your home all over the Internet. I […]

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One thing that most executives are not trained for is talking to reporters. Some have a natural talent for it, but most learn the hard way. Having spent more than 25 years coaching executives on how to best work with reporters, here are the seven most important thing that all executives must know before they talk to the press. Getting ready The first thing to remember when a reporter calls is that most of them are writing on a deadline. Even though you may have sent them the material days ago, and they may have already contacted you with a couple of immediate questions, if they don’t file a story immediately and sit on it, they will be likely to call back. When they do call back, chances are they will be on a tight deadline and you need to be prepared. Rule 1: Take a breath and think after every question. You may know what you immediately want to say, but if you take a pause, it gives you time to reflect to make sure you phrase your answer the best way and prevent you from providing an answer from the gut. Rule 2: Speak slowly. One of the most common problems executives have during an interview is talking too fast or transitioning from one subject to another too quickly. Slow down. Some reporters might record you, but most won’t, which means they have to take notes. Slowing down your speech helps increase accuracy. Rule 3. Most important one – You do NOT have to answer every question a reporter asks. This is the biggest mistake that most executives make: They think they have to answer every question. You do not. But you must explain why you can’t answer the question. Example, “How much money did you earn last year.” Answer “As a private company we do not report earnings, but I can tell you that over the last decade, we have been a profitable company.” Rule 4. What to say if you don’t know the answer. Unless you are a highly skilled dancer, don’t dance around the question. This is often the second biggest mistake most executives make: They don’t get their facts right or make up an answer they think they should know. When you don’t know the answer say so and offer to get the information reporters need and circle back. Rule 5: Everything is on the […]

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WAVes of Change Update

by Victor Lund on October 6, 2015

Our third installment of our quarterly webinar series called WAVes of Change is set for October 21st. The purpose of the WAVes of Change Series is designed to help Associations and MLSs across North America make well-informed decisions that will help propel their organizations forward. It is designed to keep your team up to speed without having to travel to multiple events around the country spending significant time and money. The primary topic for this session will be a wrap up of the Council of MLS meetings along with updates on new benchmarking strategies and industry projects like Upstream and Broker Public Portal. We will also address some new consolidation efforts afoot. These quarterly 1-hour online events are designed to educate your Board, Staff and other invited guests about the following types of topics: Breaking News and its implications Technology Trends WAV Group research Industry Research Consumer Trends Broker Trends Threats and Opportunities Best Practices Your Board, Staff and invited guests will participate on the call with fellow Associations and MLSs from around the country, encouraging information sharing. Since Associations and MLSs share many of the same challenges the questions posed by the audience will help provide ideas to every participating organization. Since the event is virtual your Board, Staff and invited guests can participate from whatever location is convenient for them – their office, home or your office. The session will be recorded and you will have full rights to share the recording to others in your organization as you choose. WAV Group can also provide you with the presentation materials if you need to use them for another presentation or discussion. If you are interested in subscribing to WAVes of Change or would like pricing for budget evaluation, please contact the series coordinator, Jenna Woodruff (jenna@wavgroup.com) or the series producer, Marilyn Wilson (Marilyn@wavgroup.com).

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DotLoop and Zillow

by Victor Lund on August 19, 2015

As far as I know, DotLoop customers were happy enough with the product and service until the announcement that the company was being purchased by Zillow. That news, along with the $108M price tag of the acquisition was the fundamental buzz at Inman Connect conference last week. About the price of $108 Million. Typically companies’ sell for a multiple of profit – 6x to 10x profit is not bad. The last acquisition of this type was the Real Estate Digital deal, which sold for a much lower multiple than DotLoop. In the case of DotLoop, it looks like Zillow paid a multiple of revenue. As best we can tell, DotLoop would be running at a rate of $15 million in annual revenue. Its privately held, so that number is a guess. They hold a distant third position in the market share behind ZipLogix and Instanet. With the calculus on this valuation, Instanet would be worth about $300 to $500 Million. ZipLogix would be worth about $750 Million or more. The multiple that Zillow paid on this deal is irrational unless they see an opportunity to modify the business to reap profits in entirely new ways. Rather than spend hours on the phone with the investor community discussing the deal, here is a summary outlook on why the $108 could be justified from Zillow’s point of view. I get the strategy. Today, consumers shop for property on Zillow. They then bump into a real estate agent who handles everything from there, and Z is long gone from the picture. With transaction management, they can stick their brand inside the transaction. This strategy not only allows them to measure ROI on Zillow lead conversions to measure “share of wallet,” but it also provides them with a lead to close solution that supports the consumer to think that they purchased a home on Zillow. Zillow connects with consumer mindshare first. If they continue to expand the consumer’s understanding of services from Zillow, the consumer will stick with them through more of the transaction steps. The long-term goal object seems to be to develop a Zillow customer for life. DotLoop fits with this. The homeowner will be able to log into Zillow and grab their transaction documents forever. The implications for the relationship with the broker and the agent in the loop would also seemingly be solidified. Far out strategy. Sometimes you need to […]

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PR: The most underrated marketing strategy in real estate

by Kevin Hawkins on January 21, 2015

In today’s world of real estate marketing, advertising gets all the money, social media gets all the glory, and public relations is often an afterthought. But should it be? Everyone understands advertising: We see it every day, in every medium; we are inundated with its messages, from the time we wake up to the moment we turn off the light for the night. It must work, or why would all these companies be spending gazillions of dollars on it, right? As for social media, it’s omnipresent. And according to the social media gurus, it is a must have because everyone is on social media all the time, everywhere, literally, although I am still trying to figure out why that Facebook icon is on a billboard. So you are on Facebook with a billion other people; somehow I am not impressed. But hey, everyone else sticks a row of social media icons on everything, so we should too, right? Were they thinking that maybe we’ll pull over when we see the billboard, go on our smartphone, search for them on Facebook and like their page? Yeah, right. Then there is public relations: Rarely understood and completely underappreciated. It’s the Marshawn Lynch of marketing. (Yes, I do live in Seattle, so forgive me). But if you dig a little deeper to understand what good public relations is and how it can benefit your real estate business, you’ll be the exception in real estate, and you’ll trump the competition. Here’s why: To me, the value of PR is simple math: Just measure its ROI (return on investment). Let me give you an example. Earlier this week, Stefan Swanepoel, real estate’s highly respected trends analyst and prolific author, released his Swanepoel Power 200 list, ranking “The Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate in 2015. My colleagues, Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund, the founders of WAV Group, were ranked among the Top 10 Thought Leaders on the list and 150 overall. It is an exciting recognition of WAV Group, and worthy of a news release, a key component of any good PR strategy. The list was made public at midnight. That night I penned the release, Victor and Marilyn did the SSE (second set of eyes), added a bit of polish and we issued the news release on the U.S. national circuit of NASDAQ owned Globenewswire at 5:30 am Pacific Time that morning. Within […]

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Swanepoel Publishes Power 200 List of RE Executives

by Victor Lund on January 9, 2014

Stefan Swanepoel is best known for his engaging conference lectures and the running line of Swanepoel Trends Reports that has published since 2006. This year, Swanepoel partnered with Rob Hahn, Chris Nichols, Kelly Mitchell, Michael McClure, Susan Browne, Michael Krisa, and Shannon Musgrove to produce a new publication called the Swanepoel Power 200, The most Powerful People In Residential Real Estate in 2013. These types of lists were made famous by Forbes Magazine, the publisher who releases 52 Top lists a year, including Rich Lists, Top Companies, People, Investing, Places, Sports, Technology, and Education. I spoke with Swanepoel for a few minutes on the eve of the publication to learn a little bit about the publication in advance of its debut.  “The cornerstone of our selection process,” says Swanepoel, “is to define people who have the ability to make things happen. People who make decisions in large enterprises, have significant personal influence, tenure in the industry, signifiant reach, or have created an industry impact though a recent activity.” About the Publication There is a one page overview of the top three executives on the list, and a half page write up for all of those in the top 20. The other 180 individuals included are given a one sentence overview. In truth, I cannot imagine the challenge of collecting all of these people then putting them in some type of order. But Swanepoel and his team did an admirable job. 91 of our good friends and customers made the list. WAV Group Congratulates: (In no particular order – you will need to buy the book) Alan Tennant, John Mosey, Ty Doge, Paul Jackson, Krisstina Wise, Anne Bailey, Mike Brodie, Tom Hurdelbrink, Jeremy Conaway, Brian Larson, Constance Freedman, Craig Cheatham, Mike Fischer, Saul Klein, Gregg Larson, Mike Pappas, Rebecca Jensen, Matt Consalvo, Kathy Condon, Mat Ferrara, Jim Harrison, Brian Boero, Marc Davison, Mark Woodroof, Teresa King Kinney, Jay Gaskill, Any Rapattoni, Dan Forsman, Jim Litten, Merri Jo Cowen, Robert Merrick, John Featherston, Andy Woolley, Jon Coile, Lorne Wallace, Merle Whitehead, Mary Frances Burleson, Dan Parmer, Bev Thorne, Art Carter, Rob Sibcy, Rosey Koberlein, Pat Riley, William Raveis, Russ Bergeron, Saul Cohen, Nancy Seaman, Glenn Shimkus, Joe Horning, Steve Murray, Bob Peltier, Allen Tate, Steve Ozonian, Mark McLaughlin, Steve Baird, Ed Krafchow, Bob Moles, Dan and Stu art Elsea, Austin Allision, Ian Morris, Joan Docktor, Mark Lesswing, Hoddy Hanna (and Hoby, Helen, […]

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It’s Your Data – Make Sure You Can Use It!

by Mike Audet on December 9, 2013

I do a lot of work helping MLSs choose their next MLS technology vendor and I also work with brokers that use multiple real estate technology tools.  The one thing both sets of technology have in common is the fact that without good data the technology is worthless.  Numerous roadblocks exist today, however, on the data front that often derails the best software.  Some roadblocks come from within the MLS but some come from the technology vendors themselves. MLSs can serve as roadblocks to listing and sales data at the source, meaning they may put arbitrary restrictions on data use by their own members, through their MLS policies, or they make the process to get data difficult. This is not true for all MLSs, of course, but all of us that have been following the concerns voiced by the Realty Alliance realize there are still many Brokers who feel some MLSs make it difficult for them to get and use all of the real estate data they need and are entitled to. The other data issue, that may not be so apparent to the average real estate professional is the problem created when an MLS or Broker wants to move from one technology to a new technology and comes to realize that much of the data they have entered into their current technology platform will not be able to be transferred to their new technology platform.  This means thousands of hours of data input will be lost and huge amounts of work done by real estate professionals will have to be done again. The real estate data I am referring to in this case is not listing data, which of course is critically important, but rather data entered by users and consumers in the course of conducting real estate transactions.  This includes data such as contact information, agent saved searches, client saved searches, custom report templates, CMAs, listing carts and so on. Today, the most used part of any MLS system is the auto search and client connection feature.  There are numerous features and functions associated with these services.  Due to the sheer numbers of contacts agents have that use these features the MLS system spends more times handling these specific functions than it does doing searches for agents, or other functions just used by agents.  But, with the majority of MLS systems today, if you change vendors, you will […]

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Pilgrims vs. Portals

by Victor Lund on September 20, 2013

History tells many stories of long ago that reflect on the conditions of today. I came across a story about the Pilgrims that made me think that in some way, it is similar to the real estate industry and portals. In 1630, a Pilgrim court dealt a nasty blow to one of its settlers. They ordered him to be incarcerated, burned his house, confiscated all of his goods, then ultimately exiled him from America. The Pilgrim’s name was Thomas Morton, and they said that he was a danger to society. Morton went to England and pleaded with the English court, which was the court of record for Pilgrim society. Morton had found a new way to trade with the Indians for furs. Rather than barter goods, he held parties. He picked a nice spot outside of town, brought some jugs of booze, and invited some of the town’s young ladies to join him. The Indians saw that they were having a good time and soon began flocking to his parties bringing furs as a gesture. Morton was getting richer by the day. The English court saw nothing illicit about Morton’s ways, and sent him back to America with the court ruling in hand. This is where my real estate industry and portals relationship analogy comes in. When you have a look at the top websites of our era, they are having a great party with listing information that pales to the stoic puritan society of real estate broker websites. They offer information on every home in the area, not just active listings or 7 years of recently sold MLS listings. They lift up the skirt of home values and show the legs of when homeowner purchased their home and what they paid. They even invite FSBO girls and Foreclosure girls and offer their frilly information to their guests. Things did not end well for Mr. Morton. Even with his English court papers. Upon returning to America he was jailed until he went mad. Somehow I do not think that today’s leading portals are going to loose their sanity anytime soon. Indeed, it would seem that the real estate industry is the crazy one. Perhaps we should turn our attention to supporting brokers in throwing parties of their own. When I do a gap analysis of the data on broker sites vs. the data on portal sites, the differences are plainly […]

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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 […]

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Build a More Well-informed Board with the WAVinar Series

by Victor Lund on September 10, 2013

Our industry is moving really quickly these days. There are so many challenges facing MLSs that threaten the viability of the entire industry–lawsuits, new players, technology revolutions, economic shifts. It is difficult and expensive to keep MLS leadership teams up to speed on the myriad of events, trends, policies, legal issues and research affecting the business. MLS organizations and their leadership need to keep up on all of these issues so they can make proactive decisions to keep their organizations relevant. That’s why the WAV Group created its new WAVinar series. The Solution: WAVinars The WAVinar is designed to provide you and your MLS leadership with crucial updates on what is going on in our industry. WAV Group will be leveraging all of its experience in research, technology, strategic planning, organizational development and thought leadership to deliver a thought-provoking yet practical look at the latest industry developments and trends. What is a WAVinar? Quartlerly online industry updates for MLS and board leadership on topics critical to successful organization management.  The Details: WAVinars are designed to stimulate conversation at board meetings and provide valuable information to help organizations make better informed decisions about technology, policy and legal issues, program changes, and service enhancements. WAV Group partners Mike Audet, Marilyn Wilson, and Victor Lund will be hosting the exclusive webinars. The content for WAVinars is specifically purposed for MLS Executives, MLS Executive Staff, and MLS Directors. Meetings are held quarterly via a live discussion and also recorded so that you may share the WAVinar with others in your company, refer back to previous episodes, or catch up on missed episodes. As an MLS leader, we would like to invite you and your organization to participate in our new WAVinar series. Staying current with crucial industry events and news is important but very difficult. WAVinars ensure that your leadership is informed and up to date. To learn more about WAVinars or to subscribe contact the marilyn@wavgroup.com or (805) 473-9119    

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Leaders and Innovators Often Walk Alone

by Mike Audet on September 10, 2013

I have been working a lot in Brazil these days working with a company called Prolist building the first true MLS in their country. The reason I mention Brazil is because it is a great case in point regarding leaders and innovators walking alone. In dozens of meetings I have had with major real estate companies, associations and banks in Brazil I meet those that are leaders and innovators and I also see those that are part of the herd, that only go where the herd goes. The brightest, those with clear vision into the future, often those who have been exposed to the US style of real estate, see why MLS makes sense and they are ready to change Brazilian real estate. They see a need to change and they recognize you will never get different results by doing the same thing, over and over. These people are totally comfortable moving outside the herd mentality, thinking and moving on their own with confidence. Others I speak with tell you how Brazil is different and how things don’t work that way down here and why MLS could never works…blah, blah, blah…! What they are really saying is “Don’t move my cheese, it makes me uncomfortable.” Well, the truth is, change can be uncomfortable and leaders and innovators understand this and have learned to move right through it. These are the people that are constantly moving outside of their comfort zones because they know growth doesn’t occur unless they do. Unfortunately I see our industry move as a herd too often as well. MLSs make choices based on what other MLSs do or don’t do. We don’t innovate. This isn’t unique. People in all industries become creatures of habit. We do things because we are comfortable until we realize we are facing disaster. This is how vendors like Zillow and Trulia took over our Internet space so quickly, because we held on to old ideas and couldn’t move out of our industry comfort zone to embrace change that was being demanded by consumers. What other things in our industry are at risk? Are we managing change effectively? Are we challenging the status quo and asking the tough questions? What parts of our own organizations are at risk because of stagnating thinking and complacency? Leaders Stand Out   Think of anyone that has been the catalyst or architect of innovation in any […]

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Challenge for Positive Change

by Marilyn Wilson on June 12, 2013

RoadToChange

I have been reflecting on what I observed at NAR’s Mid-year conference and I have to tell you that I am more than a bit disheartened. While there is more optimism than there was even a few months ago about the health of the market, there is more dysfunction than ever in “organized” real estate. Concern #1 – The Large Broker/MLS Conflict Since I’ve been involved in real estate I have observed tensions between large brokers and MLSs at least in some markets. The negativity and disillusionment shown between these two groups, particularly at the MLS Policy meeting, was epic.  Instead of trying to work together to solve challenges for real estate consumers, there was more blame gaming happening than I’ve ever seen.  Brokers expressed their serious concerns about the motivations, focus and service quality of the MLSs they work with around the country.  The most disappointing thing to me was that there is a lot of truth underlying their concerns. While I would like to say that every MLS does whatever it can to serve the needs of its brokers, the truth is that there are MLSs out there that do not provide the service and support they need to.  Some won’t supply data to brokers so they can fuel their own back office management systems, for example. Some MLS takes MONTHS to approve a new data feed, when it should take days or even hours to accomplish the task. Others have Boards that are dominated by agents, more concerned with fixing their favorite pet problem with the MLS system than they are with protecting the interests of even their own broker, never mind all brokers. At WAV Group, we are lucky to work with those MLS organizations that respect their brokers and do whatever they can to build productive, collaborative relationships, supplying technologies that are relevant, up to date and easy to use.  Even those organizations, however, still sometimes suffer from misunderstandings leading to mistrust with their customer base. Concern #2 – The Agent/Broker Conflict In other conversations at the NAR Mid-Year meetings, I heard about how agents don’t trust their brokers. Some agents refuse to use the technologies offered by their broker simply because they don’t believe that they can differentiate themselves if they use the same technologies as their peers. What many fail to realize is that it is not the technology that helps you break […]

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WAV Group Logo

In almost every RFP (Request for Proposal) process I facilitate I get asked the question, which MLS vendor and system is the best?  In every instance I say, it depends, there isn’t a single right system for everyone.  Unlike the waitress who tells you everything is good on the menu, I really am not trying to avoid the question.  I will openly discuss what we see as pros and cons of each system, but the truth is, the vendor that is right for one customer is not going to be right for another. There are many things to consider in arriving at the right choice and one huge thing to consider is the MLS vendor company culture and the culture of your MLS.  If you choose a vendor because you like their system but you find out you don’t really like the way they interact with you or their overall culture it can be a very frustrating experience.  On the other hand, if you are working with a vendor that you trust, and really mesh with in terms of the way you communicate and operate, it is easy to address issues and overcome the difficulties that will naturally come up. Determining the type of vendor culture that is right for you is a lot like determining an investment profile.  Do you feel safer with a large, solid company that has high market share or would you prefer to work with a medium or smaller company where you may have more direct contact with the real decision makers.  One may offer a sense of greater stability while the other may offer the perception of faster change and the ability to react to market changes.  Does the stability of a large company give you a comfort that is necessary to you or do you prefer working with a smaller company where there may be a more personal touch. In terms of technology, do you want to choose a company with a product that has been time tested for many years or are you more of a risk taker looking for leading edge capabilities.  If you are, then you should be the type of partner that is also willing to work through the first generation bugs and adjustments that come with the fun of being on the leading edge.  There isn’t a right or wrong here but there are realities that come along […]

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Your Elected Friend

by Victor Lund on May 13, 2013

Chairman

MLS and Association leadership brings forth an unusual ‘changing of friends’ on an annual basis. It is in the spring of each year that we begin to see these friendships take hold as CEOs arrive at NAR Midyear with their new Board Chairman in tow. It is all part of an important synthesis that takes place in our industry – one that often goes unappreciated. For five or more weeks each year, CEOs are on the road with their Chairman, building a friendship that is pivotal to a successful year, and in some cases, lasting a lifetime. WAV Group strategic planning appreciates the culture of leadership in real estate. We recognize that each year, the Board Chairman takes aim at challenges for the organization, balancing goals for the year with long range planning. The National Association of REALTORS® is even more specific about this paradigm. Each year, the NAR leader is explicit about their charge. In many ways, success comes from energizing the State leaders and local leaders to adopt the mission. Adoption by the nation’s Mega Boards plays a significant role in that success. Similar extension happens on MLS boards also. Continuity plays a key role in the long-term success of any MLS or Association. If the company were to dramatically change course each year with the churn of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the disruption would erode the effectiveness of the company and undermine the services offered to the members. It is more common for the Chairman to pick a cause each year, but also play a sustaining role in moving along the long-range goals of the company. Great CEOs of Associations and MLSs recognize this. It is critical that they bring the past chairman, chairman elect, and standing chairman to industry conferences. Conferences are important conveyors of business strategy for these companies. These conferences provide two key references. One is the conference content itself, offering sessions about the topics of our day. The sessions also allow similar organizations to share strategic information and case studies about how they are moving their business forward. The second key reference is more informal. It is the conference behind the conference – the coffee breaks, and meals with peers where fellow chairman and executives commune with their peers about the goals of their organizations. When you add up the conferences that shape the direction of our industry, you recognize […]

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TheMLS/Claw seeking Senior DBA

by Marilyn Wilson on February 21, 2013

MLS

  Senior DBA Job Description Los Angeles based company is conducting interviews for a permanent, full time Sr. Database Engineer who will be responsible for the design, development, coding, testing, optimizing, debugging and documentation of database applications. Candidate must be able to thrive in a fast paced, team oriented environment. Your Nature: Ability to work independently with minimal supervision as well as a team player Self-motivated  Ability to manage support tickets through to completion. Ability to prioritize workload and manage time effectively. Excellent communication skills and customer service skills. Exceptional problem solving and results oriented Take ownership of your work Troubleshoot and quickly resolve production issues Responsible for documenting all contact with the systems or clients in the trouble-ticketing application Updating client knowledge base as appropriate.) Ability to prioritize, meet deadlines and to work well under pressure The Senior DBA Responsibilities: Work on project deliverables while supporting day-to-day production activities Maintenance or enhancement of existing applications Perform database backups\restores, maintenance, replication and data archiving Ensures the security and integrity of the production databases Address Database performance related issues Monitors disk space and performance, coordinates with the development team to develop/tune SQL queries, stored procedures for the production site Create SQL server scheduled Jobs to automate database related processes. Apply good and efficient Databases design practices Work with very talented developers and be a major contributor to projects Working in a multi domain environment. Plan and coordinate application roll-outs with QA and Development teams Administration, optimization, monitoring, tuning and backup/retrieval of enterprise databases Work with development team to develop data architecture documentation project. Review systems design and database solutions, assuring adherence to defined corporate standards Senior DBA Position Requirements: 7+ yrs hands-on experience in database development in corporate environment SQL Server 2000, 2005 and 2008 Strong T-SQL skills. SQL Server in a multi-node Failover Cluster Configuration Experience in creating, modifying, and tuning Stored Procedures, UDF and Views. Experience in Database Optimization: index/query tuning and optimization SQL Server Integration Services – SSIS SQL Server Reporting Services for 2005 and 2008 – SSRS Good understanding of SQL server replication, log shipping, database mirroring and\or other high-availability/fault tolerance solutions. Understanding of SQL Server security and authentication Experience with database code enhancements such as architecture, development, design, test and support. Logical database design and normalization\data modeling techniques Familiarity with Microsoft Visual Source Safe Experience identifying and developing solutions for optimizing production reports and queries Provide […]

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Cindy Miller joins NTREIS

by Victor Lund on December 4, 2012

Cindy Miller NTREIS and MetroTex Association of REALTORS

WAV Group had the opportunity to work with North Texas Real Estate Information Systems in 2012, facilitating the company’s strategic plan. NTREIS is among the largest MLS service providers in the nation, and probably covers more square miles of real estate than anyone (not fact checked). It is a great organization with a popular governance model that establishes each Association of REALTORS® as the MLS Service provider to their members, powered by NTREIS. The Associations are the first line of support, training, and billing to the agents. During our project, we had the opportunity to work closely with Cindy Miller who was the MLS Director for MetroTex AOR, the largest AOR, and the largest shareholder in NTREIS. Cindy Miller has joined the team at NTREIS where she can spread best practices of providing MLS Services of all Associaton Shareholders of NTREIS. Here is the press release Dallas, Texas (NTREIS.net) – North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, Inc. (NTREIS), announced Cindy Miller as the new Director of Communications. Ms. Miller joins NTREIS after eight years as MLS Director of its largest shareholder, The MetroTex Association of REALTORS, having previously served as CEO of local associations in North Texas and East Texas. With an ever increasing number of new products and technologies to roll out to subscribers, Ms. Miller’s primary role will be to keep the Shareholder Associations informed and trained on the latest offerings. In this new role, Ms. Miller is also leading the NTREIS Customer Care Team that directly supports the staff at each of the Shareholder Associations. “Cindy’s experience working with Associations and MLS management of various sizes along with her involvement in community and civic public relations campaigns provides unique insight to our efforts at NTREIS to effectively communicate with our Shareholders”, said John Holley, NTREIS CEO. “Having worked within the region for so many years, Cindy already has an established relationship with our Shareholders and with many of our vendors which has made this a smooth transition for our team.” Ms. Miller is a REALTOR Certified Executive as well as a certified e-Pro instructor. She will be presenting a workshop on “New Perspectives for Small Associations” at the NAR Association Executives Institute in San Diego in March 2013. Miller said “I am happy to be working with the great staff at NTREIS and look forward to the challenges ahead. In addition to our traditional means of communication, […]

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Howard Hanna enters Michigan Market

by Victor Lund on October 19, 2012

howard hanna logo

At a joint press conference held in Ann Arbor, Michigan this afternoon, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services announced that Edward Surovell Realtors of Ann Arbor, Michigan has become part of the Howard Hanna family of real estate. Surovell is one of the largest real estate companies in Michigan and was #1 in homes sold last year in Southeastern Michigan. As Surovell joins Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, it becomes part of the 4th largest real estate company in the United States and the #1 home seller in PA and OH, with almost $6 billion in volume and 34,292 transaction sides last year. The company was founded in 1957 by Howard and Anne Hanna with one office on the University of Pittsburgh campus; three generations of the family are involved in the company today with home bases in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and 144 offices across the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia and now Michigan. Howard W. ‘Hoddy’ Hanna, III, Chairman and CEO of Howard Hanna, said his family has known the family owned Surovell Realtors for more than 20 years. “Surovell’s superb culture, along with the quality of their agents, management team and business, mix well with our family-owned company,” said Hanna. Howard W. ‘Hoby’ Hanna, IV, President of Howard Hanna Michigan and Ohio, added, “Today we are beginning a new chapter in service to real estate consumers in this region. We are excited about the future and growth of both of our companies, as well as the region.” Surovell’s owner, President and CEO, Ed Surovell, stated that over the course of a year, as he examined the needs of his company and sales associates and staff, the decision was made to seek a business relationship with an established super-regional firm that would broaden the company’s opportunities while also strengthening their core real estate sales, property management and title insurance businesses. “We chose to join forces with the Hanna Company,” said Surovell, “as it models our own company, in that both are family owned and operated with an emphasis on professional excellence, full-time sales associates and a full line of real estate related services. I’ve known the Hanna family for many years and our close relationship will allow for an easy transformation from out three decades of growth as Edward Surovell Realtors to our next stage as Howard Hanna Realtors.” Hoddy Hanna added the company’s exclusive 100% Money […]

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