Real Estate Industry

How Do Top Homes.com and Realtor.com Compare?

by Victor Lund on September 8, 2016

House Ladder

Since internet is among the top three most important methods of generating real estate leads and online listing sites rank as one of the most valuable tools, every agent is challenged to leverage these resources for creating, capturing, and closing leads. But, how can agents effectively compare the value propositions of marketing on the most popular real estate sites? An analysis of online marketing solutions from Realtor.com and Homes.com show that their marketing tools stack up pretty solidly when compared side by side, offering a range of options to suit any agent’s CRM strategy, marketing budget, and revenue goals. Both online real estate sites possess expansive reach that enables agents to pitch their professional profiles broadly while electing strategies that fit within their budget and plan. The no-cost Realtor.com profiles promote trust relationships with prospects by detailing agents’ listings, client recommendations, ratings, and reviews. Similarly, two programs through Homes.com amplify an agents’ brand while also providing the benefit of decreasing regional competition for carry a nominal cost. For instance, the Local Connect program, available to only a select number of agents within a specific zip code, features links to registered agents’ contact information, profile, or website. An enhanced version, the Preferred Agent program, virtually eliminates online marketing competition by placing regionally-exclusive links to the registered agent’s profile only. Regardless of the price point an agent chooses, all of these programs deliver the ability to cast a wide net for maximizing brand awareness and lead pipeline development. In addition, leading online real estate sites can aid effective CRM expansion with prompt lead response tools. Both the Showcase Listings by Realtor.com and Lead Concierge by Homes.com direct all prospects solely to the registered agent through lead notification, alongside valuable consumer context such as recently viewed properties. While the Showcase Listing program automatically sends prospects an email to let them know an agent will reach out shortly, Lead Concierge answers online queries directly, e licits qualifying information, and transfers the prospect to the agent in real-time. The main distinction between these two online solutions is the degree of third party service, and agents’ needs will vary according to their budget and CRM development plan. Realtor.com and Homes.com also have agents covered for the indispensable integration of social media networking into their CRM strategy, with each site providing solutions designed for the specific scope of content marketing services required.  Realtor.com offers a free Social Connections […]

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Industry Vet Russ Cofano joins eXP Realty

by Marilyn Wilson on July 29, 2016

EXP Realty

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

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Be Uncomfortable

by Victor Lund on April 20, 2016

Man with ideas

It is pretty well known that Google is now Alphabet – a re-imagined company that is comprised of a variety of businesses around the focus of organizing the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful. Building a new brand on top of Google was an uncomfortable decision, but there is much to be learned from it. The Alphabet Companies (full list here) Google – Search Engine, Android, Gmail, and YouTube Calico – Healthcare company aimed at extending life Verily – Smart contact lenses X Labs – Research and Development Deep Mind – Artificial Intelligence Access – high-speed internet Jigsaw – think tank/tech incubator The company really did not change its structure, but the company did restate its structure differently and explained it. The uncomfortable re-imagination worked on Wall Street – as the company overtook Apple as the worlds most valuable company (albeit temporarily as today Google is worth $598.73 billion and Apple is worth $651.5 billion – what’s a $50B swing one way or another?) Real Estate could learn quite a bit from this. At the heart of Google is the vision to never become complacent. Great companies operate uncomfortably. Great companies take moon shots. Examples in Real Estate Brokerage – Pacific Union: Dissatisfied with listing presentation software, they built the Pacific Union DLP – Digital Listing Presentation. It is not only mobile enabled and beautiful, it is elegant and clearly born from the culture of a great brand. It was time consuming to develop. It cost five-times as much as anything they could have licensed. It could have been a disaster. It was an uncomfortable risk. It resulted contributing to one of the most remarkable growth spurts of any brokerage operating at enterprise scale – adding 20%+ growth year after year and becoming the 9th largest brokerage firm in America in the face of very strong competition. MLS – MRIS: For years, MRIS was atop the leaderboard as the largest MLS in the nation. They are among the only MLSs in the nation that do quarterly benchmarking for every department measured against user satisfaction. They measure their satisfaction goal on every calendar for departmental excellence. Internally, they hit on all cylinders. To become uncomfortable, they are working with TREND MLS to make the service offering even bigger, even better. This is not their first effort either. They also manage many of the nation’s largest MLS data sharing cooperatives. […]

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Fox and Roach Reports Success With Buyside

by Victor Lund on April 20, 2016

About Buyside Website

There are a lot of technology applications that look promising, none more so than the recent launch of their Home Valuation System on foxroach.com powered by Buyside™. Fox and Roach is the largest Berkshire Hathaway Home Services company. Their offices cover many regions including Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware. In WAV Group broker website effectiveness studies, BHHS Fox & Roach ranks in the top 10 for the most traffic of any broker in America. Last month, they launched the Home Valuation System, built by Buyside™ that created a landing page for every off- market property and IDX listings in their market footprint. About Buyside            Innovating Ahead of Competition This is a broker-friendly solution that provides benefits beyond Zillow® the national leader in displaying data on off-market properties. The goal of the strategy is to develop seller leads for their agents, and engage buyers and property owners with good information about property values and the ability to track a home. We are huge fans of the use of three property values, known as AVMs. “I think that the shortfall with the Zestimate™ is that it has only one AVM opinion,” says Steve Storti, BHHS Fox & Roach’s Chief Marketing Officer. “By introducing the RVM™ from Realtors Property Resource and two other AVM’s (including the Zestimate™) we tell the consumer the real story about AVMs – they are all just mathematical estimates and it’s best to talk to a local agent for the most accurate professional assessment of your home.” Success by the Numbers In the first 45 days, Foxroach.com has had almost 51,000 valuation attempts done on their agent branded landing pages powered by Buyside™. It’s important to note that BHHS Fox and Roach rolled this feature out on both the broker site and agent websites. The broker site generated 68% of the traffic with just under over 34,000 of the valuations, and incredibly over 1300 agents participated in generating the other 32% or 16,000 for their own agent sites. There is truly a network effect that occurs when agents leverage the broker provided co-branded websites. BHHS Fox and Roach leverages the CoreLogic AgentAchieve™ broker and agent website platform which provides easy integration of the Buyside application. Buyside has also integrated CoreLogic’s ePropertyWatch into the BHHS Fox & Roach’s Home Valuation System. With ePropertyWatch, consumers can register to get an automated monthly email with […]

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3 Ways for MLSs to Frustrate and Alienate Brokers

by Marilyn Wilson on April 20, 2016

No!

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

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robot

Robots are cool. High school students building 120-pound robots in just six weeks to compete in sporting-like competition with and against other robots is cooler. Being a mentor for a local FIRST Robotics team, Spartronics Team 4915 of Bainbridge Island, Washington since it’s inception three years ago is the coolest, most rewarding, non-profit volunteering experience I have ever had. I have learned so much, and it got me to thinking about a couple of concepts that define FIRST and how it relates to what I do. So what could the real estate industry learn from FIRST Robotics? First About FIRST 25 years ago, Dean Kamen, an inventor extraordinaire, and MIT Mechanical Engineering Professor Dr. Woodie Flowers, created FIRST Robotics. They wanted to find a way to transform our culture from celebrating our sports and entertainment stars, to creating a world where students dream to become science and technology leaders. FIRST – or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – offers robotics programs for grades K-12. The top tier – FIRST Robotics Competition or FRC – is comprised of high school-aged teams who compete head to head on a special playing field with robots they have designed, built, and programmed. The game that is played changes every year and combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology and why it is called the “Sport for the Mind.” More than 3,000 FRC teams, 75,000 students, 19,000 mentors in 24 countries all start their robot build on the same day in early January and must finish and “bag” their robot on the same day, six weeks later. The kickoff day for the “build season” unveils the game to be played each year. This year’s game is called Stronghold, and consists of two Alliances: a red Alliance and a blue Alliance. Each Alliance consists of three teams, randomly selected for the initial matches. Each team has four players (coach, driver, shooter, and human player) and their robot, which is custom designed and built. No two robots are ever the same. Cooperating and Competing Unique to FIRST Robotics is a philosophy and culture that may sound very familiar to real estate agents. Real estate sales may be the only business where your competitor is also your collaborator, and the person you are competing against also may be responsible for your next paycheck. In FIRST, this concept is called Coopertition®. […]

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Real Estate Around the Nation

by Victor Lund on April 13, 2016

House for sale / sold

Home building has been the last area of the real estate market to recover from the recession. Generally, it’s believed that builders were hit the hardest during the recession. Many builders use leverage to purchase land and take loans for home building. When the investment market for these loans dried up and the value of the land collapsed, many were forced to downsize, cease operations, or in some cases shutter everything. Coming out of the recession, builders have been slow to get started. It took a number of years for the market to work through the distressed and bank owned properties. Meanwhile, population growth continues in America and the lack of inventory remains a key issue. Last month, CoreLogic reported that about 1.7% of homes are for sale. This is about half of the normal inventory amount. The lack of inventory is driving transaction prices up even as unit volume remains steady. Home builders play a key role in supplying inventory to the market. Here are the home builder stats around the nation for March. Hot Markets The hot markets in America are The San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Orlando. Orlando being the surprise here. They were hard hit by the foreclosure crisis but have been quick to rebound. Most Improved Sacramento, Tampa, and San Diego were the biggest gainers in March. Posting higher transaction growth against their peers. Midwest Weakness Cleveland, Chicago and Cincinnati were the weakest for home builders. Biggest Drops Houston, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Southeast Florida, and Denver showed the largest drops in overall production for March.   Zelman is the leading publisher of real estate related market monitoring. To subscribe to Zelman, visit http://www.zelmanassociates.com

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Be a Part of the Change!

by Jenna Woodruff on February 18, 2016

WAV Group is a part of strategic plans very often for some of the largest MLSs and Associations in our industry. When conducting strategic plans we hear from brokers and board members that their organization is out of touch with today’s reality. So how do you get your board in touch? You can pay thousands of dollars for several of your board members to attend industry events. Many of these events can be very valuable for the content that is presented, the networking, and peer-to-peer learning. The CMLS conference and the AEI conference are two great opportunities for MLSs and Associations to get in touch. WAV Group offers another method for staying in touch with trends and learning from progressive MLSs and Associations around North America. We call it the WAVes of Change™ Series. This exciting online program allows every one of your Board members and department heads to keep in touch on the ever-changing trends in our business. This quarterly live webinar includes exclusive, early looks at WAV Group research as well as the ability to learn from industry experts about technology trends, consumer insights and broker and agent issues. We discuss the key threats and opportunities that face our industry today, helping everyone to find new ways to improve the relevance of their organization and ensure its long-term viability. The WAVes of Change™ series also encourages participating organizations to share their best practices and breakthrough programs, enabling all of us to learn from the best! With our the inaugural first year of  the series a great success, we invite you to join us for the 2016 WAVes of Change™ Series – Kicking off March 24th! If you would like to learn more about this exciting program, email Jenna@wavgroup.com or Gaea@wavgroup.com to set up a meeting, today.  

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Annual Swanepoel Power 200 Recognizes WAV Group

by Victor Lund on January 13, 2016

Howard Lund had a philosophy about lists. He said that it is great to be on the good ones, but don’t take too much pride in it. He shared his thoughts on this whenever I made honor roll, or was recognized for accomplishments in sports. It is the type of fatherly wisdom that sticks with you. I think that Mr. Swanepoel and his team does a good job in their selection – a process too difficult to imagine. Its an honor to receive the recognition, and I am especially proud of my partner, Marilyn Wilson. Her dedication to her trade and the people we work for is inspired. I rue the day when members of our firm are no longer on the list. It means that something terrible has happened or we have aged out of relevance. A big High 5 to our many clients that are represented on the list. And for those who did not make it, lets charge forth in 2016 to make a remarkable difference! Here is the link to read the Power 200. January 13, 2016 – San Juan Capistrano, CA. The annual Swanepoel POWER 200 2015/16 ranking the most power people in residential real estate was released today. Leaders from all the largest real estate companies in the United States and Canada, including Realogy, Zillow, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Keller Williams Realty, RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, Move, Inc., and the National Association of REALTORS® are represented. Holding the number one spot for the third consecutive year is Richard A. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Realogy Holdings. Realogy owns many of the county’s leading brands, including: Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Sotheby’s International Realty, ERA Franchise Systems, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, and ZipRealty. With approximately 13,600 franchised and company-owned offices, and over 250,000 brokers and agents worldwide, Realogy touches one out of every four home sales in America. Moving up one spot to the second most powerful person in real estate is Ron Peltier, chairman and chief executive officer of HomeServices of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. HomeServices posted solid growth year over year while continuing to add new companies in 2015, the largest of which was $2.5 billion First Weber in Wisconsin, pushing their total agent count to over 70,000, generating over 550,000 transactions annually. Zillow Group chief executive officer Spencer Rascoff, Gary Keller, co-founder and chairman of Keller Williams Realty International, and Dale […]

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We’re proud to announce that our founding partners, Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund, were recently named to Inman’s annual list of the top leaders in the real estate industry. The award recognizes their forward thinking visions about how the industry can and must adapt to change. Marilyn, according to Inman, is “an articulate spokesperson about the threats and the challenges faced by the industry,” while Victor is “an advocate for big strategic initiatives that the legacy industry must undertake to survive.” “It’s interesting to be acknowledged as one of the industry leaders because we operate a very small business,” Victor told me earlier today. “The recognition is more of a testament to the privilege we have to work with so many MLSs, brokers, and technology companies as their servant.” The recognition is also a testament to the huge potential impact of several key industry wide initiatives that WAV Group is working on: Supporting the communications of the Real Estate Standards Organization as they roll out Data Dictionary certification and the RESO API Supporting REDPLAN’s efforts to protect the assets of the real estate industry and to defend those assets against patent trolls and other nefarious activities Supporting the Broker Public Portal in its strides to build a national MLS consumer facing website Helping Project Upstream become operational now that they’ve secured the support of NAR and selected RPR as their vendor “We do these things at the liberty of the leadership that operates these initiatives,” said Victor. “I think a lot of times consulting firms are mischaracterized as the people doing these things when we’re merely the staff that supports them.” Regardless, WAV Group has been a driving force in pushing the industry to adapt to changing consumer expectations spurred by technology. To give you a better idea of WAV Group’s influential thought leadership, we’ve rounded up a sampling of their best articles from 2015: For brokers Upstream Revealed Top 3 Ways to Make the New IDX Rules Work for Your Brokerage Major Changes In Real Estate No HATERS in Real Estate Please! For MLSs Top 10 Ways to Become a Truly Broker-Centric MLS An Industry At Risk Enabling an Ecosystem of Innovation for Real Estate RETS Servers and Direct Feeds Understanding the MRIS-TREND Project Bad Customer Service Can WIPE OUT a LOT of Goodwill Away in Minutes! The Do’s and Don’ts of MLS System Selection It’s Time to Replace Core […]

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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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Syndicate like you Facebook

by Victor Lund on November 20, 2015

By now, everyone has experienced social media. The pinnacle of social media is Facebook. One of the early criticisms of social media marketing is that it is essentially spamming your friends. Posting the same thing every day is not going to make it more interesting. There is a lesson to think about here…let’s switch sites. Every month, MLS systems are estimated to send out 200 million emails to consumers notifying them of new and updated listings. I think most people refer to them as auto-alerts or auto-notifications. That number of 200 million grows larger when you include the number of notifications that go out through mobile apps, broker sites, agent sites, buyer tools, and even portals. Guess what? You are publishing the same thing every day! Oops. Lets go back to social media… The most effective way to engage an audience in social media is to curate your content. Experts talk about publishing strategies that include variation, emotion, etc. Advertisers do this too. Changing things up is a hedge strategy against ad fatigue. In parlance, it’s a campaigning strategy. Lets go back to listing notifications… Depending on the market, properties across America typically trade within a window of 120 days. Most of the time, the photos of the property and the description text remain static and unchanged throughout the listing term. The only part of the listing that changes is the price. How can we create a campaign strategy for listing notifications? Think Differently… WAV Group has written about the strategy of using price changes to trigger email alerts in the past. Lower the price by any amount and every system will trigger an email alert. The more price changes you have, the more direct marketing gets triggered to the people who have saved searches for the property you are marketing. This boost in audience impressions drives more engagement, or leads if you prefer. But the risk is spamming or lead fatigue. The audience will begin to ignore the effort if you do not switch things up a bit. Use the Facebook Lesson If you are going to use this strategy of price changes to market the property, think about what we know about social media spamming and advertising fatigue. Curate the information to keep it fresh. At the very least, be sure to change up the primary photo. By the way, experiment with interior shots; they often get more […]

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Visit the new HowardHanna.com!

by Victor Lund on November 18, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA (November 18, 2015) – Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the 4th largest real estate company in the U.S.A., invites the public to try the new website for the first time today. Working collaboratively with 1000Watt, the leading agency focused on real estate and mortgage branding, marketing and innovation, the new HowardHanna.com is widely regarded as the most powerful real estate site in the entire industry. HowardHanna.com achieves new milestones in real estate brokerage navigation by combining active listings, recent sales and public records data for properties within a clean, modern design that highlights the strength of the Howard Hanna brand. It is easy to navigate and provides the information and features that consumers love. “Why did we do this? Consumers want INFORMATION!” said Helen Hanna Casey, President of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. “We challenged ourselves to break through the thinking that limits most real estate company websites. Why can’t a real estate website serve prospective sellers as well as buyers? Why can’t we display information on every property and not just those for sale? Why can’t our agents enhance the user experience through their own contributions? Our new site demonstrates what is truly possible.” The website delivers three industry firsts: 1. Combined search for active listings, recent sales and public property records The new HowardHanna.com offers consumers something they won’t find on any other website: the ability to get details on any property, whether it’s for sale, recently sold or off the market. By combining up-to-the-minute updates from over 30 MLSs with millions of public records, we can offer any consumer – buyer, seller, or a property owner thinking of selling, a complete picture of the housing market. And by offering all of this information on our site, it gives Howard Hanna agents the opportunity to connect with prospects online in new ways. Studies show that consumers who are ‘thinking of selling’ often seek price histories and recent sales prices to gauge the market. They can now get this information at HowardHanna.com, along with clear calls to action to also get the expert assistance of a Howard Hanna agent. 2. “Hanna View” neighborhood photos People don’t just buy homes, they buy a place to live their lives. That means they want to see what a community or neighborhood is like before they make the commitment. The Hanna View feature gives them that by displaying current photos of […]

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What’s “News” at WAV Group?

by Victor Lund on November 11, 2015

WAV Group strives to provide up-to-the-minute information about developments in real estate practices and technology. This means that we are always updating our blog with new articles to keep you informed and on top of things in our industry. Some exciting things have happened since our last newsletter! We’ve collected our recent articles here so that you can get up to speed heading into the NAR meetings. You can also get our updates in real time by visiting our home page (click here) and subscribing to our RSS feed. Tech Helpline Now Available to Orange County Association of REALTORS® CoreLogic Extends Trestle RETS Server to other Systems for FREE Damien Huze Joins W&R Studios’ Leadership Team As Chief Design Officer Online Marketing is for Sellers, Recruiting, and Retention Gavin Blair Named as New CEO of the Iowa Association of REALTORS® WAKE UP BROKERS! Hablas Español? Is Email Volume Killing Your Company? America’s Largest MLS Offering System of Choice CoreLogic and Instanet Get Married

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5 Hot Trends in 2016 to Look for at NAR

by Kevin Hawkins on November 11, 2015

This year’s REALTORS® Convention & Expo in San Diego traces its origins to the first Chicago meeting of the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges held May 12-14, 1908. One hundred and seven years later, some 20,000 real estate professionals will visit the San Diego Convention center where more than 400 organizations will display their offerings and pitch their products. 2016 promises to be a pivotal year of rapid adoption of sweeping innovations and the emergence of new powerhouses in the residential real estate matrix. Here are five hot trends to look for and listen at the workshops to learn about to get the most out of NAR to help you next year. Full disclosure: All of these trends identified here come from my own personal biases and prejudices, having delved deeply into these subjects over the last several months. Trend #1 – Marketing Automation It’s is a no-brainer that Marketing Automation will dominate the minds of broker owners in 2016. This is what solves the low adoption rates by agents of new technology offerings their firms provide. It’s also a huge boost for broker ROI as it removes agents from the quagmire of self-created marketing materials. Agents waste a huge amount of time creating marketing materials to promote a listing and themselves, and Marketing Automation allows them to focus instead on the things they are good at: Generating listings and closing sales. Take the agent out of the equation when it comes to creating, deploying and promoting listings by automating the marketing for them and you have 100% agent adoption and deliver zero wait time to promote properties for every seller. Bill Yaman, President of Imprev, a leader in this effort, has written extensively about this topic in his blog, here. Trend #2 – Mobile everything It’s go mobile or go home in 2016. It’s not just Google driving this accelerated change, it’s also your clients. Zillow is saying that 70 percent of its weekend search traffic is coming from mobile devices. Mobile First remains the best strategy and companies that understand the difference that this approach brings – versus the shortcut of building responsive websites or just mobile apps – are going to distance themselves from the competition when it comes to lead gen. At NAR, look for firms that really are committed to a Mobile First strategy. Trend #3 – Mobile Admin Speaking of mobile, forward-thinker Randall […]

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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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Is Email Volume Killing Your Company?

by Victor Lund on November 3, 2015

Lingchi is the roughly the word that the Chinese use to describe a form of torture whereby a person is executed by 1000 cuts. Dying the death of a thousand cuts has become a familiar business term that can have any range of meaning. WAV Group fielded a question from large brokerage firm – “how do we reduce email in our company?” Communication in a company is good, but too much communication as an adverse impact. What follows is my reply. Calculate the spoilage – If it takes each member of the company an hour to clean out their inbox each day, how many hours of productivity per day is the company losing? You can only control how many messages you send. Do an exercise where you look at the emails that you send and count the number that you could have not sent. Set a goal for each person to reduce the number of emails sent each day by 20% – 1 in 5 emails sent by professionals is typically the number that is easy to reduce. Carbon Copy is the devil. Never copy someone unless they are pivotal to the conversation. We live in a forward world. We see something that we like and we forward it. Consider putting those things into a folder and creating one email per week with your highlights. Reply with care. Don’t just Reply to All. Reply with a purpose. Turn off Read Receipt – If you are getting a read notice on all of your emails, you are insane. Turn that off. Make it o.k. for managers to discourage email use and coach offenders. Curate Content Expand the range of weekly reporting to bi-weekly or monthly. Develop a corporate bulletin board on your company intranet or send out a company newsletter with notes from around the company. Encourage the use of Facebook for broadcast publishing Here is a series of articles about Inbox Zero: http://www.43folders.com/izero

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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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MLS As A Communication Tool

by Victor Lund on October 6, 2015

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

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Brokers Partner On Technology

by Victor Lund on September 30, 2015

Long and Foster and Windermere are both brokerages that are family owned and operated. They are large firms and they struggle with build vs. buy whenever they consider a technology solution for their companies. Windermere supports 7000 agents across 300 offices. Long and Foster has over 200 offices supporting 11,000 agents. There are a number of technology solutions that each company builds and supports. Moxi Works, the technology company founded by the Jacobi family of Windermere, builds a plethora of core technology solutions used by Windermere. Moxi Works provides the Windermere broker website, co-branded agent websites, lead management, drip marketing, company intranet, and their keystone product, TouchCMA. TouchCMA is a listing presentation tool that Long and Foster licensed exclusively for their markets back in 2014. WAV Group is very excited to see these two companies own the technology company that serves them. This philosophy is component to broker ownership of Upstream, and broker control of the board for the Broker Public Portal. Both Windermere and Long and Foster have significantly increased their closing rates on listing presentations with Moxi Works. We have written about this before. WAV Group confidently believes that brokers build better technology solutions for real estate agents than technology firms that have never sold a house. Together, Windermere and Long and Foster have nearly 20,000 agents on the Moxi Works system. The only CMA tool that is close to their equal is CloudCMA. However, CloudCMA is usually offered through the MLS, meaning that the possibility of more than one agent showing up to a potential seller meeting with the same listing presentation is highly likely. Windermere and Long and Foster never want their agents to be pitching their services using the same tools as a competitor. Differentiation is what defines brands. The CMA is the cornerstone of the sales presentation to a buyer or a seller. Sales presentations demand uniqueness. In a larger sense, I would expect this trend to continue. Although it takes a bit of technical acumen to understand this, the foundational architecture of real estate software is changing. Today, most products used in real estate are built the old way. The application has a database associated with it. The new architecture is similar to Apps that are on your smart phone, or Salesforce.com. In the new architecture, the database is separate from the application, and normally in the cloud. Applications no longer need to […]

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