There is an unsightly lack of holistic information that is being made available to consumers by full service brokerages. Until now, brokerage mobile applications provided plenty of information about properties for sale, but little information about brokers’ other service centers in mortgage, title, insurance, commercial properties, and property management (rentals). Long and Foster partnered with Xome’s Real Estate Digital division to deliver mortgage information to consumers through their real estate mobile application in an impressive way. For those of you who know Long and Foster, they provide a full array of real estate services through their company owned providers. Under the guidance of Long and Foster Chief Marketing Officer, Barry Redler, the firm is reaching across boundaries to provide consumers with “easy access to information” that combines comprehensive property search with mortgage calculation offerings. When Xome set the strategy of working with brokers, one of their touchstones was to advance mobile technology for enterprise brokers that think more broadly about the business that can be generated for mortgage and other broker service lines. In the case of Long and Foster, this application invites mobile visitors to the Long and Foster website to access the mobile application and get the same or greater access to information on their mobile device – including cost of ownership information like mortgage payment. Another great feature of the new Long and Foster mobile app is called Virtual View. If you are planning to attend the National Association of REALTORS® Midyear convention, you may want to download the app and experience this new search experience. Using your phone’s camera, you can point to properties and get information about them. It’s fantastic. I believe that Elliman was the first firm to debut this functionality in a mobile app.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
REALOGY has made a big deal of the new 3-D virtual tours that they believe is the future of property marketing. They may be right. WAV Group took a look look at homes on the internet which offered three distinctive methods of viewing images – Photos, 3D Tours, Video Tours. When you think of marketing homes for sale, real estate professionals need to think in terms of priority. In consulting parlance – we divide prioritization into three categories – Trauma, Pain Killer, Vitamin. Beyond marketing decisions, it is a healthy idea to use this categorization across many of your technology considerations. Here is what we opined from looking at listings offering all three media types. Trauma = Photos Pain Killer = Video Vitamin = 3D tours Trauma – It all starts with great photography. Your marketing will die without it. The worst-case scenario, agents take a single photo on their flip phone of the front of the house out of the window of their car (rear view mirror included). For the best case, look at photography by Malin Giddings of Coldwell Banker San Francisco. http://www.sfproperties.com/properties/ There are a number of issues related to the trauma of great photography. It starts with the agent. Agents who do not invest in photography are crippling their marketing effort. I have had countless conversations with agents about their photography commitment in property marketing. The answer is usually that they do the level of photography that is commensurate with the property value – Big Mistake! Every buyer is buying his or her dream home. Every seller is selling his or her most valuable asset. Buy a great camera and learn how to use it, or hire a great local real estate photographer EVERY TIME. WAV Group recommends that brokers manage the photography of all of their properties. Charge the agent the photography fee when the property closes. Pain Killer – Video is the best way to view a home. It is something that you have-to-have to deliver healthy marketing. As media evolved, consumers moved from print to video. We spend hours watching video on TV or YouTube – far more hours than we spend reading. Video is the most common form of consuming media. Our minds are trained to feel comfortable with video. Moreover, video stirs emotion that photography alone cannot produce as effectively. Photo players with great transition effects, audio overlays of music and […]
Technology companies are constantly battling usability in real estate. Among our user ranks we find a great human challenge – the 55-year-old real estate professional. This is the customer. There are some firms that do it right, and others that do it wrong. I recently saw a great example of software done right, and it is worth sharing. The example illustrates how you can improve software usability by putting help options immediately next to software fields and button functionality to explain them to the user. One of the most difficult software solutions for usability in real estate is the listing management module. Not only is data entry significant, but there are rules that must be followed to maintain compliance. Mistakes not only lead to frustration, but are also are followed by fines. The Keystone™ listing management product developed my Metropolitan Regional Information Systems or MRIS helps agents right where they need it most. When entering listings into Keystone, there is a drop down where agents can view the pick list choices. Sometimes the agent is not clear which pick list option best describes the property attribute. Keystone delivers help to solve the problem by inserting a support menu behind a clickable field label. If you click the field label, a pop-up window will provide the field definitions for each item on the pick list. A lot of time you see this level of support offered by putting a clickable question mark next to the item that provides definitions, support, training videos, or even access to live help. All of these “in app” support features help users help themselves; reduces help desk sessions; and increases usability of the application. A best practice to improving the usability of your application is to start with your help desk. Take the list of calls and/or emails and rank them in order of volume. Tackle the highest volume issues first. Build help guides for that specific issue and insert the instructions to resolve the issue right into the application. Some tools that you may want to use to create training and how-to instructions include TechSmith’s Jing Tool, Evernote, and video training using Engajer. Make yourself familiar with these tools and you will enjoy the increased rates of customer satisfaction and reduced help desk calls.
MOVE published a release today announcing that Errol Samuelson has been promoted to Chief Strategy Officer, expanding his role at the company. The full press release is below. You may not know that Errol was once part of the most powerful team in real estate. I call them the four horseman – Errol plus Marty Frame, Prem Luthra, Ben Grabowski. All four have gone on to great success. Marty Frame is a leader at RPR. Prem Luthra is a leader at Real Estate Digital. And, Ben Grabowski is a leader at CoreLogic. They play pivotal roles in four of the largest and most successful companies in real estate technology today. Over the years, Errol and his family have become personal friends of ours. For most people in the real estate industry, I suspect that is true. Beyond his professional stewardship of his responsibilities at MOVE, he is a impassioned supporter of great industry principles. He also surrounds himself with a likeminded team. Kudos Errol! Take a look at the press release below. It outlines a few milestones of his career at MOVE. Errol Samuelson Appointed Move’s Chief Strategy Officer Seasoned leader promoted into newly created role to guide company strategy Apr 4, 2013 12:00pm SAN JOSE, Calif., April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE) today announced that Errol Samuelson is promoted to Chief Strategy Officer, expanding his role at the company. To capitalize on its strong 2012 results, and to fuel growth and drive sustainable competitive advantage the company created the new role and promoted Samuelson to fill it. “Errol has more than ten years experience with Move and twenty years in technology and real estate,” said Steve Berkowitz, Chief Executive Officer of Move. “He’s worked in both strategic and operational roles. He’s the perfect person for the job. This will be transformational for Move’s employees, customers, partners, and shareholders.” At Move, Samuelson led the team that acquired TigerLead and Relocation.com in 2012, and before that, SocialBios, ListHub, and TopProducer Systems. Through these acquisitions, he helped Move build the most complete set of real estate solutions and publishing tools in the industry, one that also protects the rights and intellectual property of brokers and multiple listing services. For realtor.com, a leader in online real estate operated by Move, Samuelson launched the 2007 program to increase the accuracy of its listings, with most listings now updated every fifteen minutes. He […]
There is great leadership thought around the possibilities that may exist for real estate widgets or apps. Very small teams of developers may be able to invent fantastic software that fills a diverse set of niche needs across the real estate industry. One cannot help but to be amazed at the explosion of applications for the iPhone or the Android or other mobile devices. Bringing that type of creativity to the Million-strong real estate community is very viable. Real Estate has the benefit of the economy of numbers – outpacing any other industry beyond teachers (who do not buy anything). Real Estate development is investment worthy because there is $2B to $6B in revenue moving from REALTORS® to the companies that serve them. Contrast this open product universe with the perceived monopolies of our industry today. There are only about 20 companies offering fewer than 100 products that service 90% of the software needs of the industry today. For each of these companies, its cost more than $1 million to launch a new product into the industry, sometimes many millions more. If the product is a real estate consumer product, the development investment may easily reach $50M or more when you combine the marketing costs. Trulia and Zillow have each burned through more than that. An app like Nudge can be developed easily for less than $250,000. Perhaps far less investment. Here is the rub… Have you ever noticed what happens when you put an app on your iPhone? Do you know whom you are doing business with? Have you considered what that company could do with your data? How about the data of all of your contacts on your phone, or contacts in your social networks? Do you trust that company to “protect” you and your information? Do you care? Think for a moment about the “private and confidential” data that REALTORS® and the MLS handle. In a way, today’s group of monopoly providers protects everyone. They have too much at risk to abuse their customer, and sell data out the back door. If they get caught, millions goes away. But the little app developer only risks a fraction of that – so their risk tolerance is far lower, and the risk to the REALTOR® using the app or widget is much higher. Help Me! Ever call for support on an app that you downloaded to your phone? You […]
Former Point2 executive brings extensive industry experience to help guide ListedBy’s direction and growth NAPA, Calif. – May 31, 2012 – ListedBy (www.ListedBy.com), the real estate industry’s first free online marketplace and social network with integrated live bidding and auction functionality, today announced the appointment of Roger Noujeim as vice president of marketing, to lead the company’s global marketing and branding strategy. As member of the executive team, Noujeim will play a key role in guiding ListedBy’s direction and growth, with a focus on accelerating market penetration and adoption. “We are ecstatic to have someone of Roger’s caliber join our growing team at ListedBy.com. In the short time that we have worked together, Roger has added unparalleled value and I see him as a true visionary as it relates to what we are trying to achieve with ListedBy becoming the future of the real estate industry,” said Stephan Piscano, founder and CEO of ListedBy. “Enabling real estate e-commerce in a free, fully transparent environment is a high potential opportunity. I am excited to join ListedBy and to be involved with its revolutionary ideas and business model,” said Noujeim. “The real estate profession can now harness the full power of the Internet to accelerate sales and to further service quality and value.” Most recently with Yardi Systems’ real estate marketing solutions division, Point2, Noujeim has nearly 25 years of experience in strategic communications, advertising, research, public relations and marketing. These include seven years in the online real estate marketing and e-commerce solutions segment. Noujeim’s career encompasses principal roles in the launch and market leadership of several national and multinational consumer product brands, as well as building the West Bay Semiconductor (acquired by Intel) and Point2 (purchased by Yardi Systems) brand names into market prominence. Noujeim’s professional track also includes key positions with Leo Burnett advertising where he worked exclusively on Procter & Gamble brands, Ernst & Young, and National Public Relations, Canada’s largest PR firm where he provided counsel to client organizations primarily in the technology sector. Supporting Resources Twitter: www.twitter.com/listedbyyou Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/listedby About ListedBy ListedBy (www.ListedBy.com) is the first free online real estate marketplace and social network with integrated live bidding and auction functionality. Buyers, sellers, real estate professionals and service providers join ListedBy to network, build their social profile and to list, research, buy and sell Multiple Listing Service (MLS), For Sale By Owner (FSBO), pre-foreclosure and Real Estate […]
WAV Group provides consulting services to MLSs and Associations to develop strategies and plans for business success. Today, WAV Group is introducing a series of Case Studies developed for NAR’s REALTOR® Property Resource or RPR®. These Case Studies outline best practices for driving adoption of RPR as a REALTOR® benefit. WAV Group developed these best practices by evaluating RPR “power users” and “power promoters” of the software. Download MLS Case Study. WAV Group has followed the introduction and rollout of REALTOR® Property Resource (RPR) closely since it was officially introduced and then launched in September 2010. In previous papers, WAV Group outlined the factors needed to make an informed decision about whether RPR and other data-related products were appropriate for individual MLSs and Associations. These case studies are not intended to help an organization make a decision about participation in RPR. The purpose of these case studies is to help members who are using RPR to gain tangible methods to integrate RPR into their daily business practices and to suggest effective ways to gain adoption and regular usage of RPR by REALTORS®. WAV Group has watched with interest as more and more MLSs and Associations have signed up for this service. From its early beginnings, the product has continued to evolve with more and more tools for REALTORâ members. As of May 6, 2012, 384 MLSs and Associations have signed agreements with RPR, representing 618,914 REALTORS®. 244 have RPR installed and operational for their 503,444 members with more in the review process. While these numbers are impressive, REALTOR® usage and adoption of these products is the ultimate goal. It’s one thing for MLSs and Associations to approve and install RPR. It’s quite another thing to find the magic combination of marketing programs to successfully gain significant adoption among your members. As we discussed in our paper Keys to Technology Adoption, gaining any significant adoption for any technology offered to REALTORS® is a very difficult process. RPR asked WAV Group to interview some of the early adopters of RPR to build case studies to help the industry understand the key benefits and value of RPR for agents, brokers, and MLSs. These case studies examine “best practices” for building awareness and adoption. Building each of the three studies involved gathering perspectives from “power users” to help identify “best practices” of REALTORS® using these tools on a day-to-day basis. The first case study reviews the successful […]
Today’s real estate technology companies are partnering with MLSs at an unprecedented rate. This trend is brought about by natural gravity. The MLS is the primary source of fundamental technology for real estate professionals. WAV Group is beginning to see a number of MLSs pursuing a variety of strategies for offering non-core MLS services. Historically, MLSs only pursued site licenses for technology for their members, paying a price per member per month. This trend expanded as emerging products like Listhub, Property Panorama, and Listingbook began to offer Freemium services, where the MLS offered a free basic version of the product, but subscribers could opt into advanced features by paying a premium. Recently, Metrolist in Colorado; MRIS in the Mid-Atlantic States; and MLSListings.com in California launched retail stores for technology. Last week, the California Regional Multiple Listing Service announced a partnership with Homes.com to offer the complete Homes.com tool set as a member benefit – returning to the trend of site licenses. Homes.com has had a long-standing relationship with MLSs in California site licenses for a cross-MLS property search and CMA tool under the product name Mercado with the MLS Alliance search. The new relationship adds abundantly more product offerings that marry data to key agent resources beyond the Mercado marketing package. Agents will have access to the Homes Connect Marketing platform (Design Center) tied to the Homes.com Customer Relationship Management solution. This CRM solution recently added social prospecting features through Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter contact integration. Topping it all off, agents will receive IDX and VOW offerings included in the package along with agent facing and consumer facing mobile offerings and the Facebook Listing Application for Facebook business pages. (Kitchen sinks available if requested). But wait, there is more…… Participating brokers and agents will also have their listings displayed on Homes.com and their agent MyHomes profiles populated from the MLS roster on the site. CRMLS has purchased all of these products from Homes.com and will be offering them all as a member benefit. By my basic accounting, this includes every Homes.com product with exception of advertising enhancements on Homes.com (Homes Connect Plus and Homes Connect Pro). Some more observations: CRMLS offers multiple MLS systems: Matrix and Tempo/ Fusion. To some extent you could include REALTORS Property Resource and WyldFyre 7 to this list although they are not MLS systems (only MLS data search). CRMLS offers multiple IDX/VOW solutions: SmartDesk IDX […]
Century 21 announced today that it will provide its U.S.-based real estate professionals with new tools from Market Leader including marketing, lead follow-up and a full CRM platform. Market Leader and the CENTURY 21 marketing team worked together to define a customized solution, leveraging a number of the integrated building blocks that make up Market Leader’s comprehensive software platform. The base system that will be provided to all agents at no cost while advanced capabilities will be available for high-end producers at a small premium. PRESS RELEASE
WAV Group Webinar Feb 15th at 10:00am PST This WAV Group webinar will focus on a panel discussion about the topic of non-dues revenue. Numerous MLSs around the country have launched or are in the process of launching these programs to provide lower cost business solutions to MLS subscribers. According to the recent CMLS survey – 54% of today’s MLSs offer some form of non-dues revenue. “These companies are pushing the boundaries of their non-dues revenue programs,” says Marilyn Wilson, WAV Group Partner. Topic: Why MLSs pursue non-dues revenue Different options for generating non-dues revenue How it is positioned to their Board of Directors and members How to measure success Panelists: Victor Lund – Founding Partner of WAV Group John Heithaus – Chief Marketing Officer at MRIS Jeremy Crawford – Chief Operating Officer at MLSListings.com Prem Luthra – Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Real Estate Digital Melissa Olson – Senior Manager, Marketing & Sales at Metrolist Colorado Travis Huch, Western Area Regional Director at Zuora Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 Time: 10:00am – 11:00am PST Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/697962370
LPS saw the spin off of their Agent-Broker products division in a management led buy out last September. The new company formed is called Real Estate Digital. Today, it was announced that the LPS Tax company was sold to Lereta. This company has nothing to do with the data that is licensed to RPR or MLSs. This is a tax services company totally separate from the Applied Analytics Data Solutions company that licenses public records and serves MLS. These are interesting times. We will keep you posted on what we hear.
Although Real Estate Digital is a new brand in the real estate industry, the management and owners of the company are industry vetrans whose consumer website prowess dates back to the first consumer property search solutions. Real Estate Digital was formed when former LPS company executives formed the new company with assets acquired from LPS early in the fourth quarter of 2011. Since Real Estate Digital began standing on its own, they have shown a remarkable, albeit somewhat predictable ability to transition customers over to the new company and continue the growth of the products under their new brand (THINK FIDELITY TO FNIS TO FNRES TO CYBERHOMES TO LPSVCS to Real Estate Digital = LOTS OF EXPERIENCE CHANGING BRANDS BRANDS). Earlier this year they announced an expansion of an agreement to provide MLS Consumer web services to CRMLS; the nation’s largest MLS with an estimated 70,0000+ members. The new website lives under the homeseekers.com domain name. Today, Real Estate Digital announced that they will be building a new MLS consumer website for the Long Island Board of REALTORS and Multiple Listing Service. The strategic positioning behind an MLS consumer facing website is to provide REALTORS and brokers with a direct connection to the consumer beyond their own websites. Many MLSs believe that publishing listing on the MLS website is the purest form of listing syndication beyond member websites. MLSLI is among the three largest Boards of REALTORS in the United States – this is another big win for Real Estate Digital – congratulations! At the core of their succes seems to be the combination of a website with the REALM advertising platform. This winning combination allows MLSs to offer a consumer facing website that provides revenue back to the MLS to fund other MLS member benefits or reduce member dues. Our understanding is that only MLS Listings in California’s Silicon Valley has a competitive offering to REALM today. Jim Harrison, CEO of MLS Listings says ,”we built our own ad network in 2011 and plan to partner with other MLSs to expand the network in 2012.” WAV Group has recently published a paper for .MLS Domain regarding consumer interest in MLS consumer facing websites, adding to this long list of mls consumer website articles and reports. Here is a complete list of Real Estate Digital products courtesy of RE Technology. Here is Contact Information to Real Estate Digital courtesy of RE Technology. […]