RE Technology

Industry Vet Russ Cofano joins eXP Realty

by Marilyn Wilson on July 29, 2016

EXP Realty

We want to congratulate Russ Cofano for his exciting new position at eXp Realty as Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Legal Counsel! I used to have a job as the Chief Strategy Officer when I was at Fisher-Price. It is SUCH a fun position where you can have a real impact on the growth and innovation of a company! Congratulations Russ!  Can’t wait to see what amazing news you bring to the industry in this position!     BELLINGHAM, WA – July 29,  2016 – eXp World Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: EXPI) today announced that industry veteran Russ Cofano has joined the Company as Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel. Cofano brings more than twenty-five-years of industry experience to eXp. He most recently served as senior vice president of industry relations for MOVE, Inc. operator of REALTOR.com® developing strategy and building relationships with the real estate industry’s leading organizations, MLSs and technology companies. Cofano has also served as chief executive officer for the Missouri REALTORS®, the largest trade association in the state of Missouri, and as vice president and general counsel for John L. Scott Real Estate, consistently ranked as one of the largest real estate brokerage companies in the nation. He has also served as an advisor to a number of REALTOR® associations and MLSs and as CEO of a real estate CRM technology company. “I have been looking for ‘the next great opportunity’ within the industry, and I’m certain that I’ve found that opportunity at eXp,” said Cofano.  “Unlike other new entrants, eXp is redefining the brokerage model of the future from within.  Glenn Sanford has assembled a fantastic team and I’m excited to join them and use my various industry experiences to help the company chart its course of success.” “Russ brings a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to the Company from multiple perspectives,” said Company founder and CEO, Glenn Sanford. “We’re fortunate to be able to add Russ to our team and believe he will have an immediate and lasting impact on the Company as we continue to grow.” Contact information for Russ Cofano: russ.cofano@exprealty.com About eXp World Holdings, Inc. eXp World Holdings, Inc. is the holding company for a number of companies most notably eXp Realty LLC, the Agent-Owned Cloud BrokerageTM as a full-service real estate brokerage providing 24/7 access to collaborative tools, training, and socialization for real estate brokers and agents through its 3-D, […]

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Brokers Talk Marketing Webinar Invitation

by Victor Lund on January 15, 2016

  WAV Group supports brokerage companies in selecting and implementing marketing automation software. Firms of all sizes need and easy to use, a one stop shop for agents to access all of the marketing tools that power their success.  Last year we worked with Hunt Real Estate and others as they integrated their chosen solution into their broker back office solution.  Dan Mirsky of Hunt Real Estate will be joined by marketing executives from Berkshire Hathaway, Coldwell Banker, and RE/MAX to share their perspectives on the experiences they have had with marketing automation. Joining the call with be automated marketing software provider, Bill Yaman, President of Imprev. Yaman will outline current and future trends that his firm is developing against. Please accept this invitation and join us on February 2nd, 2016 at 10 am PST/ 1 PM EST. The webinar will be recorded and distributed afterwards. If you cannot make it, that is ok – just register and we will send you the video to review at your leisure and for sharing with your leadership. The integration allows the broker and agent marketing plan to be triggered around specific business marketing strategies. Marketing Listings Recruiting New Customer Marketing Customer Retention Marketing

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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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Boost Your Member Satisfaction by offering RE Technology

by Marilyn Wilson on November 11, 2015

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

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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 […]

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WAV Group Named to the Swanepoel Power 200

by Victor Lund on January 14, 2015

The most comprehensive list of the most powerful and influential people in the real estate industry has once again been released. Known as the SP200 (Swanepoel Power 200), this annual list is published by Stefan Swanepoel every January. There have been numerous other lists from time to time, but the SP200 stands as a milestone in the comprehensiveness, detail and objectivity it strives to portray. You can review the entire 2014/2015 list in detail at www.sp200.com. Comparable to Forbes, Fortune, JD Powers and other outside the industry lists, the SP200 utilizes a large selection of criteria. It takes hundreds of hours to put something like this together and often the people on the list are gratified, but those who do not make the list are disappointed. I had a phone call Stefan Swanepoel to understand more about his list and why he does it. “Our goal is to create an authoritative list by using information such as position held within a given company, size of company, tenure in the company, tenure in the industry, education, accomplishments, impact the person has had on the industry or is expected to have on the industry in the foreseeable future. We combine all of the stats, facts–as well as 26 years of research in the industry having personally met most of the people on the list–into our own unique SP200 algorithm. The list is as objective and real as we can make it. No pay-to-play, advertising or outside influencing is allowed. “We call this the power list for a reason. It is not just the influence a person has but the impact and control each of these people can exercise. Many of these people command large budgets, multiple resources, buy and sell companies, and can effect significant change. “We divide the SP200 into multiple categories for easier evaluation – Corporate Executives, Brokerage Executives, Technology Executives, Organized Real Estate, Outside Powers, Social Influencers, and Thought Leaders. My team and I, including my executive editor Rob Hahn, invested over 400 hours of specific SP200 research to provide this list as a service to the industry.” A term like Power is pretty elusive to define. So, I asked Swanepoel to provide his definition as applies to the list. “Power is defined as the ability to control, direct or influence people, companies, events, and circumstances. Powerful people cause change. Powerful people make a difference.” There is no doubt that people like Richard […]

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Spending Over $60K Per Month on Zillow

by Victor Lund on December 23, 2014

It is not very hard to find out who Zillow’s top customers are. Just visit the website and look at theAgent Reviews section. One of those top customers is Samer Kuraishi Group from the Washington, D.C. area. Samer is a second generation real estate agent. The brokerage, A-K Real Estate, Inc. (“A-K”) is a boutique 40 agent firm, located about two blocks from the White House, that was founded by his father. Together, they have grown the company significantly, supporting consumers in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Much of the company’s growth has happened over the past few years and was driven by advertising on Zillow. Samer indicated that the company did about $49M in 2012 when they first started buying advertising on Zillow. This year, Samer is expecting to do $27M+ personally and he expects to hit $150 million total in 2014 which is up about 50% from 2013 $101M in sales. Samer is purchasing Zip Code marketing on Zillow at a rate of about $60k+ per month. That is more than most brokerage firms. For that, Samer is guaranteed around 700,000 consumer impressions per month on Zillow. In truth, Zillow typically over-delivers on the contracted minimum impressions, so his actual impressions are over 1.2 million per month. That is a lot of online advertising. Most of his leads come from his group profile page. When Zillow markets its advertising impressions, it does so by creating a market value of those impressions by zip code. Some zip codes may be as low as $25 per thousand impressions. On the high side, the cost per 1000 impressions (CPM) can be over $100. Many markets seem to average about $50 CPM, and lots of markets around the nation are sold-out and have a waiting list. Samer even owns zip codes where he does not typically provide services, just to build his portfolio. Today, Samer owns 110 to 115 zip codes on the Zillow site, but he refers some of the generated business to local agents, whom he trusts. For $60k+ per month, Samer receives a little more than 700 leads per month. Additionally, Samer invests in other portals and has a technology partnership with Virtual Results for his website. He has a full suite of technology solutions that he admittedly built through trial and error. But Samer says that he has everything wired the way he likes it today. “I have a […]

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CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO (NOVEMBER 7, 2014) – Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies, the industry leader in real estate solutions and services, announces a new integration with Instanet Solutions Authentisign Signit eSignature module. The Authentisign integration allows Lone Wolf clients to electronically sign the Transaction Record Sheet for each real estate transaction. It is a complementary service that streamlines the transaction management process and enhances the efficiency of brokerage operations. “This partnership showcases the true value of integrated solutions for a real estate brokerage and is an integral component in reducing manual processes for our clients,” says Chris Avery, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Lone Wolf. “Our goal has always been to offer one point of data entry through solutions that integrate and streamline brokerage operations. With the Complete Enterprise Solution and this new partnership, we’re providing more time for our clients to focus on growing their business and servicing their customers.” Brokers, agents and administrators are often required to go through multiple steps when processing a real estate transaction. This includes manual processes such as printing, signing, scanning/faxing and uploading documents. With Lone Wolf’s Complete Enterprise Solution and the new Instanet Authentisign integration, brokerage processes and transaction data flows seamlessly, significantly reducing the time and manual processes required to complete a real estate transaction. “Instanet Solutions has always been a leader in providing solutions to optimize the workflow in real estate. The integration of the Authentisign Signit API into Lone Wolf’s Transaction Record Sheet is a perfect example of how brokerages can reduce operational costs, save time and become more efficient through the use of Instanet Solutions technology,” said Martin Scrocchi, President and CEO of Instanet Solutions. In recent months, Lone Wolf has focused on expanding their partnerships in the forms and eSignature space for their transaction management solution, loadingDOCS. loadingDOCS, and its partnerships, cover the five steps of going paperless for a real estate brokerage including creation, execution, submission, review/approval, and storage of transaction documents. ### About Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies Inc. is the North American leader in real estate solutions and services with almost 10,000 offices utilizing their fully integrated product lines. Lone Wolf’s Complete Enterprise Solutions is comprised of its core products and services – brokerWOLF back office management solution, WOLFconnect front office management solutions, globalWOLF website solution, loadingDOCS paperless office solution, mobileWOLF mobile solution, WOLFmedia ad revenue generation service, […]

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Revaluate Property Reports

by Victor Lund on October 17, 2014

When real estate tech entrepreneur Chris Drayer (see linkedin) gets started on something, WAV Group is always willing to take a look. Today we connected with Chris to get an inside look at Revaluate, a big data resource that pulls property attributes from 2000 data sources to tell a property story. Today, Revaluate is in Beta and only available to New York City properties. There is great news and not so great news about this. The great news is that they tackled one of the most challenging cities in America to collect property data. The other great news is that New York City has an insane amount of housing spread across lots and lots of high-rise buildings, some of which have higher populations than small towns across America. It’s a big market with lots of consumers and real estate pros. It is free today, but they will charge in the future. The bad news is that it only works for New York City today, so you cannot see how the data will look in your market yet. Look at the sample report here. When we look at products, we try to understand what is different. In this category, there are a number of property reporting tools available, including Realtor’s Property Resource, OnBoard, TLCengine, Realty Trac’s HomeFacts, MOVE’s Find, CoreLogic’s Realist, and a bunch of category killers like WalkScore. For the most part, Revaluate has stayed clear of those solutions., for example, there is no AVM.  But in some ways, they pick up some important home attributes like Flood Zone, Crime, and air traffic noise that you do find in other applications. Some of my favorites were Heating System Interruptions – I guess that many Manhattan building lose heat often. Energy Efficiency – Apparently many of the buildings are not very energy efficient. Rats, Cockroach report anyone? Elevators Up Time – Elevators break, and if you live on the 50th Floor – you want to know how often. Litigation Records – How often and what is the context for legal battles in the building. To stay on point, they have a lot of data that I have not seen before but find very interesting. It is presented with a thoughtful UI. Check it out. If you think it is interesting, reach out and talk to them. I think that it may make sense for a NYC brokerage firm or a portal […]

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MLSListings in the Lead Pack of MLS Adopting Homesnap

by Victor Lund on October 16, 2014

Homesnap is approaching the Nation’s leading MLSs with one heck of a value proposition. The company optimizes all of the MLS data for mobile devices and delivers it through an app to agents…..for free. Well, its free for the first year. Homesnap is among a small handful of mobile solution providers that offer agent-only data.  The agents can access the full listing data along with showing instructions, commission splits, agent roster, and other confidential fields. The MLS data is organized and combined with census data, tax data, and geographic boundaries that are important to agents in the field. The solution also incorporates popular messaging for agent to agent chat, agent to customer chat, quick CMA, and my personal favorite……integration with a showing solution. When agents invite a client, the app is branded to that agent. Mobile MLS apps are hard. Goomzee, GoMLS, SmarterAgent, MobileRealtyApps, Prospects/MLSTouch and a few others have tackled the job. Agents have very high expectations when it comes to full access mobile solutions for their MLS. The free for the first year program is a smart way for Homesnap to gain experience and exposure to learn what it takes to roll out, train, and support the solution to thousands of agents. Trust me, enterprise software is not for the faint of heart. Many technology firms have been crushed by the demand. MLSListings joins the lead pack of MLSs giving Homesnap a chance to prove themselves including MRIS, The MLS™/CLAW, Palm Springs, and Greater El Paso. (Special shout out to GEPAR and Jason Sanchez – keep up the great work!).

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Tedesco Moves From Tucson to RI State Association

by Victor Lund on October 14, 2014

Phil Tedesco is one of those senior level MLS and Association Executives that everyone wants to lead their organization. He has a depth of experience across many large Associations and Mid-sized MLSs that have led him to his new role as the CEO of the Rhode Island State Association of REALTORS® and Statewide MLS. He will be departing his current position at the Tucson Association of REALTORS® at the end of this year. Interestingly enough, the Tucson Association and the Rhode Island State Association (4000 members) have nearly identical membership numbers with Tucson having a slight lead (4700 members) as one of America’s Large-Boards. He leaves Tucson in great health and looks forward to the experience working with Rhode Island, one of America’s great real estate marketplaces. Tucson REALTORS® CEO Tedesco to lead
Rhode Island’s state association Philip Tedesco, CEO of the Tucson Association of REALTORS® (TAR) since February 2010, has been named CEO of the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® and State-wide Multiple Listing Service. He will remain with TAR until Dec. 31 and plans to assume the Rhode Island post in mid-January. 

Philip Tedesco Prior to joining TAR, Tedesco served as the CEO for the San Mateo County (Calif.) Association of REALTORS®; CEO of the Santa Cruz (Calif.) Association of REALTORS®; and Vice President of Marketing at the REALTOR® Association of Greater Miami.

His professional designations include: Realtor-Association Certified Executive (RCE); and Certified Association Executive (CAE).

He is a member of the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) Board of Directors and the TREO Chairman’s Circle. He also serves on the board of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance (SADA) and the Tucson Business Alliance (TBA). 

“It is with deep regret and mixed emotions that we accept Phil’s resignation. Since becoming our CEO, he has been instrumental in putting our association in solid administrative, financial and operational position.  We wish him well in his new position,” said 2014 TAR President Steven Redmond. 

The Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® is one of the largest professional organizations in the state. It has some 4,000 members in 600 offices who collectively closed 14,000 homes worth about $4.3 billion in sales last year. TAR has about 4,700 members who sold about 13,950 homes in 2013 for a total sales volume of $2.7 billion. 

Tedesco has over 20 years of non-profit and association executive management experience. He holds a B.A. and Master’s degree from Colorado State University in […]

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The NAR and Top Level Domains

by Victor Lund on October 8, 2014

WAV Group has been participating in the MLS Domains Association as an advocate for the strategy for organized real estate to gain control of top level domains. These domains that represent organized real estate like .MLS, .REALTOR, and .realestate were available on the open market for anyone to grab. You can read our articles on the topic here http://waves.wavgroup.com/?s=mls+domains There is a group called ICANN that organizes the top level domains on the internet. The most used top level domains are .com, .gov, .biz, .org. The top level domains have meaning like commerce, government, business, non-profit organization. Countries have top level domains too – like .ca for Canada.  In an altruistic fashion, ICANN carefully expands the authorization of top-level domains to meet the real issues like “we are running out of domain names.” For example, there is a possible combination of 456,976 four letter domain names. They are all gone. Not a single one is unregistered. Three letter domain names were snapped up years ago. The large conglomerate 3M had to petition ICANN to get the inclusion of numbers in domain names.  Because if ICANNs efforts to expand top level domains, we will never run out of domain names. It is possible that we will run out of ip addresses. IP addresses are assigned to everything that connects to the internet – phones, servers, tablets, computers, cameras, alarm systems, televisions, and even refrigerators! There are only 4 billion internet addresses possible under the current system, but lets leave this story for another day. Trust me, that day is coming and IPv6 will make Y2K sound like a whisper. Top level domains play a significant role in how the internet is organized. Imagine the Internets’ confusion between a real estate MLS and soccer MLS. Imagine what would happen if the name .realtor fell into the hands of an organization other than the National Association of REALTORS®. A top level domain like .realestate is pretty ambiguous when it comes to who should administrate it, but the NAR was successful in their bid. Kudos to the NAR! Who should buy the new domains? I think that everyone should buy their brand on these new top level domains and launch a placeholder website on them. If you have a web presence today, don’t change a thing. This effort is simply to lay a foundation for future change if the business conditions warrant those efforts. […]

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Today’s News Summary

by Victor Lund on September 30, 2014

News represents change in real estate. It also represents staying the course. There were lots of both today. Not knowing what to expect, the industry unloaded today. Bullets were flying everywhere. The MOVE acquisition by News Corp was the headline – If you look at our post on it, we have added the letter that NAR sent to the membership, the letter that MOVE sent to the industry, and the press release. Taking the temperature on this, it is probably a good thing. The only big concern is that REA group from Australia has investments in the top 3 portals in America. They are minor unless you give credence to The Motley Fool http://www.fool.com.au/2014/06/25/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-rea-group-limited/ In their country, the price of a premium ad for a listing is $2000 per month – most agents pay $1000 per month for online advertising. We are miles from that in America where brokerage firms pay about a buck or two for listing enhancement. The Australian model is not sustainable in the USA. Edina Direct Syndicates to Trulia (and Zillow)? Trulia sent an email to the world today that Edina is sending listings directly to them. You can read the entire story here http://www.trulia.com/industry/announcements/edina-direct-agreement-with-trulia/ I did not make any calls to fact check what I am about to say, but here are my instincts on the matter. Real Estate Digital (RED) provides a variety of web services to Edina and some of the other Home Services brokerages. For syndication, RED offers a product called REData Vault. REData Vault is a solution that provides the brokerage with a number of features that are not included in other syndication solutions, and since RED is already handling their data – it makes direct syndicaition easier and includes a link back to the agent or broker website (RED already has the URL). With REData Vault, Edina can also allow firms to manage exactly what information goes to publishers – number of photos, modified description text, etc. You probably can also imagine that Edina has a pretty square agreement on fair display of their listings on Trulia and Zillow. Online advertising works when done carefully. You can be certain that this is being carefully monitored. Clearly this is a big win for Trulia and Zillow and they deserve it. They earned Edina’s trust, and it took years of persistence and learning about the principles of Edina Realty. That is exactly the way that you […]

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Midyear Broker Website Benchmarks

by Victor Lund on September 11, 2014

WAV Group just completed providing our broker clients with a review of their Google Analytics for September. Something rather remarkable happened this month that has confirmed a strategy that we have long suspected, but have not had enough data to confirm. Virtual Tour Videos Drive More Traffic Than Listing Syndication on Broker Websites. Quite a number of WAV Group broker clients have been publishing automated virtual tours to YouTube for a few years now. They are using vendors like Property Panorama, RealBiz, Virtual Tour Café, Imprev, VHT or some other solution. We do not endorse any product over another, but encourage brokers to chose a vendor based on product design, customer service, and cost. The product that tickles one broker and not another is a space that I do not fully understand. They all work as far as we are concerned. Customer service and cost are our key considerations. Through August of this year, brokers who have been publishing all of their listings to YouTube have seen that traffic volume grow to 5th or 6th in their overall ranking of traffic-by-traffic-source.  For most brokers – Direct or None is the top referrer. This means that Google Analytics could not track the referring website or the user typed in the domain name – ie wavgroup.com. Also at the top is Google. The Google Search result is important for two reasons. First, more consumers use Google than any other search engine. Second, Google displays YouTube results in the search results above the fold. Meaning that the video gets great SEO – usually better than the broker’s listing detail page. This is the driving force behind the strategy of publishing virtual tours on every company listing. A small handful of brokers are creating virtual tours on every IDX listing – but I am not sure that is IDX compliant – so I would not endorse that without discussing it with the MLS first. Some say its ok, others say its not. There is no clear rule. Below Google and Direct traffic come the other search engines. Bing has passed Yahoo in most markets. For some reason, AOL is very popular in the eastern United States. As we have noted before, Bing and Yahoo traffic have more value. The time on site and page views per visit are higher for those search engines – generating more leads and indicating that PPC campaigns may be […]

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Agents Love MLS Newsletters

by Victor Lund on September 3, 2014

When RE Technology was founded by WAV Group partners in 2010, the goal was to provide an information resource inside the MLS system that would sharpen agent understanding of technology in real estate. We will forever appreciate MRED, MRIS, MLSListings, and MFRMLS for introducing the first 100,000 users to the service. Today, 91 MLSs and over 700,000 users have access to RE Technology as a member benefit. Because technology companies sponsor the service, there is never charge to the MLS or the broker or agent. The concept behind RE Technology is to support MLSs at delivering insightful information about technology that allows real estate professionals to make the best possible choices when purchasing solutions for their business. When it comes to real estate technology – websites, CRM solutions, digital signatures, IDX providers, virtual tour providers, and so many other solutions, the array of vendors is confusing. RE Technology makes learning about technology easy, and combines user ratings, product overviews, product descriptions, press releases, and company contact information all in one place. It was our belief in 2010 that social media, blogs, and rss feeds would take over the MLS newsletter as a primary method for communications. In some ways it has, but the MLS newsletter continues to endure. The RE Technology newsletter is MLS branded for every market. It is part of our localization strategy that organizes information for each MLS. For example, products offered as member benefits or premium MLS services are highlighted for the agent. RE Technology also informs the broker or agent if products requiring data have an active IDX or VOW data license in the market. We also include any information in the newsletter that the local MLS would like us to include. Moreover, MLSs can republish any articles or other information on RE Technology for other communications, like MLS customer magazines. For example, many MLSs are picking from the hundreds of articles about RPR to educate REALTORS on that new member benefit. Today, RE Technology sees about 40,000 daily visitors to the site. We also send out just under 57,000 emails a day. The open rate on those emails is about 22%, and the click though rate is about 50%. Apparently, article headlines play a significant role in open rates and click through rates.  The hottest topics in the industry today are How to Use an iPad in Real Estate for listing presentations (CMAs) and […]

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MyOnlineYardSign Attacks MLS IDX Policy

by Victor Lund on August 28, 2014

Generally speaking, real estate business media companies write pretty respectful commentary regarding the well-developed MLS IDX policy. Sure, the policy is a living document and the MLS Policy Committee is an open forum for clarifying the policy and amending it from time to time. But generally, it is a well adopted program that publically exemplifies cooperation among brokerage firms. Today, Travis Saxton of Real Trends promoted a product called MyOnlineYardSign. The product allows real estate agents and brokers to put contact information and the company logo on their photos for free. Watermarking of this type has been around for a long time and I think the product is exceptional for listings that are being syndicated. However, the article suggests that agents upload these photos to the MLS – which is a clear violation of every IDX policy in America. But wait, it gets better. The website, http://myonlineyardsign.com, goes on further to explain what agents should do if the MLS not approve the photos. On the resources page, http://myonlineyardsign.com/Resources they suggest that Talk to other agents in your office including your managing broker to call or write to the MLS Talk to other agents in other offices to call or write to the MLS Start a petition to the MLS I am more than a little surprised that the Real Trends article does not inform the agents or the broker that the photos would be a clear violation of IDX policy that will ignite disciplinary action agent the firm and the agent. Be that as it may, MLSs may want to put agents and brokers on notice about this company and remind them about the MLS policy that forbids this activity before it gets started. But in a larger sense, I do think that IDX policy could use some renewed thinking. Perhaps the stoic policy of tucking the listing broker and possibly the listing agent down at the bottom of the page has lived out its life.  Perhaps a discussion should be started about IDX following the broker fair display guidelines, or eliminating IDX all together. The consequences of brokers who want to tightly manage the display of listings online is a very slippery slope. It slides from the open range of anyone using the broker’s data for any purpose without restriction to the closed door of requiring that only a consumer working with an agent may ever view the listing. […]

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Who Syndicated My Listings?

by Victor Lund on August 25, 2014

We have learned over the last half-decade of doing listing syndication that it is complicated, especially for firms that have multiple offices, multiple associations, multiple MLSs, and possibly a franchise or network. We call this overlapping syndication disorder and the existence of this disorder can lead to syndication fraud. Last month, Amy Gallagher of Century 21® Hometown Realty in California encountered a fraud attempt that was blocked by ListHub. This is an important component of our service that you may not be aware of. Gallagher’s firm participates in three primary MLSs along the central coast of California and is also a franchise of Century 21. All three MLSs offer listing syndication and so does Century 21. Because the firm’s listings overlap in some MLS areas (same listing in multiple MLSs), they choose to use the ListHub service offered through their Century 21 franchise as their primary syndication tool. Gallagher has a ListHub account in each MLS, but has the listing syndication turned off. In June of 2014, Gallagher received an email stating that her new ListHub account in a certain MLS was requested. The ListHub team alerted her that someone was using her broker credentials to try to create a ListHub account. The effort was blocked. “Without this fraud alert feature in ListHub, our listings could have been taken over and abusively syndicated!” Since over 90% of consumers begin their home search online, it is essential that technology is available to support real estate professionals who choose to advertise their listings online within a safe environment. And if brokers want to block syndication there should be a mechanism to support this option as well. ListHub, a leading technology-provider used by more than 450 MLSs and 50,000+ brokers in the United States, is a good example of a managed syndication platform. ListHub is controlled solely by the broker-in-charge and connected directly to the MLS. With ListHub, for example, only the broker-in-charge can decide where the company’s listings are being distributed online, or if they are distributed at all. ListHub has protective measures in place to help brokers prevent listing fraud including the ability to block syndication for your office codes, ensuring that no other broker or agent is able to fraudulently syndicate your listings via ListHub. A little background to understand how this works… The ListHub platform is set up so that when a broker account is configured ListHub pulls the […]

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The End Of War Between Zillow and Trulia

by Victor Lund on August 13, 2014

There is a major war going on in the taxi industry today. Uber and Lyft are duking it out. Both companies have deep cash pockets and they are deploying it in marketing and undercutting each other. It is pretty hard to know which service is better as they work hard to drive market share. As Zillow marches toward the stock swap to join forces with Trulia, perhaps a new wisdom of that transaction will reveal itself. They just avoided a very expensive war where the two of them may have killed each other off to reign supreme. It is pretty clear that the company that spends the most to attract the consumer is the company that gets the most traffic. Sure, the site itself is important in terms of usability or in terms of features like AVM, mortgage information, agent ratings, rentals and the like. But the real reason why these companies have the traffic they have is that they take every dollar they bring in from agents and brokers and buy more traffic. Many industry analysts have long term concerns about the voice of real estate not being a broker or an agent or part of the REALTOR family. Those are reasonable concerns that any incumbent would have in the face of new competition. But look at the facts. These companies are marketing the entire real estate industry on the back of investor dollars more than ad revenue from agents and brokers. Even if you want them to go away – be sure to thank them for the advertising first. They built the mulit-billions in value in their business. As an aside – Uber and Lyft have grown their value to $18.2 billion. I guess the taxi booking business is big business. Remember, market-share lead does not assure success. These companies are hopeful that it will, but in the interim, some brokers and agents are riding on the returns from their investment in reaching the consumer. They are putting more dollars to work than the dollars that you pay J We expected this value to continue for many years as Trulia and Zillow independently competed against each other by deploying dollars from their IPO. With the merger, these companies are not likely to be injured by competition between the two of them. They are on the same team. It will be time for Realtor.com and Homes.com to step up. Competition […]

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  Greater Alabama MLS and ListTrac put out a joint press release that you will find below. ListTrac is free, which makes it an attractive product for any MLS. We are keeping a close eye on them to see how it goes. Today, the voice of real estate seems to be the publisher sites – nobody is counting the traffic in the MLS or IDX sites. However, we know from looking at MLS activity, auto-email, MLS consumer website traffic, and, IDX site traffic that – if measured, equates to some significant consumer listing engagement. Under NDA, WAV Group has seen some of the early reports where ListTrac is installed, and the traffic is huge. Mid-sized MLS are sending out 6 million consumer emails every month at 80% open rates. MLSs have significant daily traffic and listing impression numbers. ListTrac pulls all of that data together so sales associates and brokers can include that information along with portal traffic in telling a seller how their listing is being marketed. I have not noticed any other ListTrac press releases, but I know that they are installed in a few markets because we have reviewed the reports. The console operates in real time – which is surprising. I am interested to see how consumers react when they see how much marketing is being done in the MLS and IDX sites. Listhub has been doing a great job of reporting on syndication sites. I am not sure if Listhub has been installed into any MLS system. I think that they are installed in piecemeal fashion on broker sites. Onboard tested the thesis that ListTrac is delivering in MRED a few years ago.  From what I have seen so far, this product has some strong legs. Time will tell…. Press Release follows: -New Capabilities Help REALTORS® Measure and Report on the Effectiveness of IDX, MLS, and Syndication Marketing  SAN DIEGO, CALIF., August 12, 2014 – The Greater Alabama MLS and Birmingham Association of REALTORS® have entered into an agreement to provide ListTrac™ as a member benefit to their broker and agent subscribers. With this new service, the Greater Alabama MLS will be monitoring and measuring engagement every place a listing is viewed by a REALTOR® or a consumer. Greater Alabama is joining a handful of other leading MLS in America who are pioneering this effort to improve the management of listing data online. “As online advertising […]

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Real Estate Book and Homes & Land Under One Roof

by Victor Lund on August 5, 2014

Real Estate Media Holdings, LLC, a Lion Equity company, has broadened its investment in the real estate marketing space by adding Homes & Land, a leading real estate media brand, to its portfolio, along with the additional brands Estates & Homes, Rental Guide and Home Guide. The group purchased NewPoint Media Group, publishers of The Real Estate Book, in June of 2012. Both The Real Estate Book and Homes & Land publish local real estate magazines in hundreds of markets across the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean through a network of independent business owners. In addition, both brands power high traffic consumer websites, RealEstateBook.com and HomesandLand.com, with millions of homes listed for sale, as well as mobile, social, and direct mail marketing tools for real estate professionals. “Real estate marketing, and specifically, locally distributed print advertising, is a very strong business model,” said Ari Silverman, Co-founder and partner in Lion Equity Partners. “Reaching local buyers and sellers is paramount to an agent’s business, and hyper local offline advertising does that very effectively. We’ve experienced this with The Real Estate Book and feel that adding Homes & Land will strengthen our investment in the industry and further build the return to our investors.” A recent study conducted by Borrell Associates on the marketing spending habits of agents, brokers, and builders indicates that they have not abandoned their commitment to local print as part of an integrated marketing strategy. In fact, the forecast suggests spending will increase. The category represents nearly 650 million in spending and is expected to continue to grow 8% over the next 5 years. “Many would have you believe consumers shop for homes exclusively using the web,” said Scott Dixon, President of NewPoint Media Group, publishers of The Real Estate Book. “Our experience is that when a consumer is in the zone, in terms of shopping for a home, any and all information regarding the most important financial investment in their lives is deemed relevant and useful. Local real estate magazines offer a useful reference point for shoppers and a way for top real estate agents to distinguish themselves from others in the market who rely solely on their company’s website and Zillow or Trulia.” “Zillow and Trulia, who announced their consolidation earlier this week have effectively become a public MLS system, while our offering is targeted to showcase those premier agents who offer their clients marketing services […]

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