real estate technology

It seems like every week we’re hearing about a new announcement from a large brokerage or franchise telling us they are spending millions on technology and re-positioning their brand story around their technology suite.

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Upstream Fixes Many Problems, Not Just One

by Victor Lund on February 27, 2018

Upstream Logo

As a leading consulting firm, WAV Group operates deeply inside the complex technology stacks of MLSs, Brokerages, Franchises, REALTOR® Associations, and technology firms. From this experience, we recognize the pain that these groups face because of the lack of connection between the systems and applications that agents and consumers need. Upstream aims to deliver a better data management foundation for the data that brokers are entrusted for safe handling.

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Buyside Makes It Real

by Victor Lund on February 20, 2018

If you know anything about Hunt Real Estate Corporation, you know that they are a family owned and operated brokerage with high integrity and a fierce approach to competition. Since 1911 they have been a market leader in upstate New York, cities like Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and the many Southern Tier communities that border Pennsylvania. They recently expanded into the Boston marketplace though a significant acquisition. We have known the Hunt family since Marlyn and I lived in Orchard Park, NY. We became friends though our interactions at The Buffalo Club and The Country Club of Buffalo. At the time, Marilyn ran marketing at Fisher-Price and I was spinning up my first start-up companies.

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WAV Group Systems Audits and Integration

by Victor Lund on February 20, 2018

We are excited to have David Gumpper on the team here at WAV Group. Since joining our firm, he has been actively supporting our brokerage, MLS, and technology clients with a wide variety of systems audits and systems integrations.

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Michael Gabriel

When I interviewed Craig Newmark for California Real Estate magazine a dozen years ago, it struck me how down to earth and unassuming he was. After all, he had created one of the most pervasive and influential internet sites in the world. But Craig remained remarkably modest, humble and approachable. I called him the “Reluctant Internet Mogul.” Last year, Forbes wrote how Craig has now become the reluctant internet billionaire.

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Elm Street Technology Announces Acquisition of Agentjet

by Victor Lund on February 12, 2018

Elm Street Technology

February 12, 2018 – Greensboro, NC – Today, Elm Street Technology (EST) announced the acquisition of Agentjet, Inc., a digital marketing, lead generation and technology provider for top producing agents and teams. Today’s announcement marks the fourth transaction in the company’s two-year history and provides a scalable lead generation compliment to the company’s Elevate productivity suite of technology and client servicing platforms.

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In an announcement made to their membership, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) have entered into a definitive agreement with MoxiWorks® to provide LeadingRE Cloud™ to their 565+ brokerage members. The solution is called LeadingRE Cloud. Franchises and networks like LeadingRE have been providing data services for their brokers over decades. No doubt, the most notorious version is the legacy CREST system at Realogy Holdings Corporation®. Keller Williams® CEO, Gary Keller has kicked off a Billion dollar investment in technology. RE/MAX® is in a process to buy a company or outsource to a vendor. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services® has projects underway but have not released their ambitions to the media. Remember, all franchise systems are required to have some sort of data base for tracking payments from the broker to the franchise on transactions. They all need data systems to power up their franchise software solutions. Realogy made a $220 Million investment in the acquisition of ZipRealty® to upgrade their technology. Formerly CREST, this system is now called Dash, a data management system that allows the franchise to delivery all of their software as a service systems like Zap™ (Lead Managment, CRM and Agent Website), DotLoop® (Transaction Management), etc. Each of the brands does something a little different in their software stack, but core solutions like Listhub™ and LeadRouter™ carry across them all. Remember too that Realogy is also the world’s largest brokerage, NRT®. Operating in more than 100 MLS areas, they are handling a lot of data aggregation. A lot of the features in LeadingRE Cloud are on the roadmap for Dash and Zap, but they are not available yet. LeadingRE Cloud is not a competitor to Upstream, but has some similar benefits to brokers. All of these activities are representative of brokerage and franchises collaborating to disrupt themselves. Unlike the taxi industry that got rolled by Uber and Lyft – or the travel industry that was rolled by Expedia and dozens of others – brokerage is fixing itself before any third party disrupters take over. Admittedly, brokers and franchises were already rolled by Realtor.com and Zillow Group in online search. But data strategy is open territory to get it right before the newcomers step in. LeadingRE just took the lead. How apropos. How LeadingRE Just Passed the Franchises There is a keynote of significance to the move made by LeadingRE. Today, WAV Group is unaware of any franchise […]

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Inside Real Estate Acquires Circlepix

by Victor Lund on February 1, 2018

Circlepix has sold everything. They operated an extensive network of photographers that they sold to VHT Studios in January. Now they have sold the rest of their company to Inside Real Estate. If you have not followed Inside Real Estate lately – pay attention. Inside Real Estate is the incredible company that recently landed Keyes – one of the largest firms in South East Florida among others. They are taking a piecemeal approach to purchasing world class software providers to complete their suite of an end-to-end solution for brokers, teams, and agents. At the heart of Inside Real Estate is Kunversion – a competitor with Commissions Inc and Boomtown. What’s different is that Commissions Inc. and Boomtown do not really have an enterprise broker solution. Inside Real Estate invested a year of development to extend the original Kunversion platform to make it a fully enterprise broker solution. For brokers looking to run significant digital marketing campaigns, you need to look at systems like Inside Real Estate. Inside Real Estate calls their broker platform KVCore. It’s great website solution for lead capture off of online media buys. Behind the lead capture, they have an impressive CRM. It does everything that other CRMs do, but is built to look fresh and impressive to agents. It is among the best broker-in-a-box solutions – broker facing website and co-branded agent websites with impressive integrations supporting SSO and Web APIs.  WAV Group has written extensively about how brokers can remargin their business by generating online leads and referring consumers to their agents for a referral fee. What is interesting about Inside Real Estate is that they are building their application stack by purchasing known companies with lots of customers. Kunversion was their first big purchase. Reimagined as a platform, KVCore provides broker website, intranet, and agent websites. It also incorporates an excellent CRM that is pretty competitive to other CRM leaders. Inside Real Estate handles digital marketing and lead capture on Social Media and other platforms as well. Inside Real Estate is integrated with around 450 of the 690 MLS markets supporting RESO certified data feeds. Their system internalizes about 85% of all listings in America. Inside Real Estate purchased an amazing company called BrokerSumo a few months ago. They have a commission accounting solution that is lighter than LoneWolf, AccountTECH, or ProfitPower – but pickup up the full accounting ledger with Quickbooks integration. With […]

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Steve Murray Appointed to Lone Wolf Board of Directors

by Victor Lund on November 7, 2017

WAV Group would like to congratulate the Lone Wolf board of directors for expanding their ranks to include Real Trends President, Steve Murray. It’s a great move and brokers should celebrate! About Lone Wolf: If you are not familiar, Lone Wolf is among the largest technology providers in the real estate industry with a focus on broker back office solutions where they are the market leader. Their accounting solutions have profound market share – likely exceeding 50% of all brokerage firms in America. Last month, Lone Wolf acquired Instanet – making Lone Wolf either the #1 or #2 provider of forms and transaction management solutions for brokerage. Lone Wolf has a vast array of tools that complete the full footprint of any technology stack that brokers want to deploy in their business today. If a company is looking for a complete lead to close solution, Lone Wolf may be the only company that has the entire system. About Steve Murray: Real Trends has been consulting with the broker community for decades and Mr. Murray is clearly the most experienced consulting firm at putting together brokerage mergers and acquisitions.  Murray has a keen eye for helping brokerage firms develop profound and meaningful value in their company as an asset. When you look at business development and operations though that lens, Real Trends is expert. WAV Group Observations Lone Wolf is a company in transition. Lone Wolf founder, Lorne Wallace continues to lead the company as Chairman of the Board of Directors. He has handed the operational reins of the company over to CEO Patrick Arkeveld. The remaining director positions are held by the company’s investment banking firm, Vista Equity Partners. Vista Equity Partners are masters at delivering the same kind of advice to software companies that Murray provides to brokerages. Companies need to set goals on customer acquisition, customer retention, lifetime value of customers and dozens of other KPIs. Vista delivers a vast amount of experience helping companies manage to those KPIs and benchmark against their other portfolio companies to keep the business in line with excellence. Call for Celebration The problem with running a software company like a software company is that there is a risk of not staying grounded in the needs and relationships that you have with your customer. We have seen this time and time again in real estate as some of the greatest software companies on […]

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IRVINE, Calif., October 30, 2017—CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today announced it has successfully converted 46 data recipients of the Central Texas Multiple Listing Service (CTXMLS) to Trestle™.  CTXMLS is a regional service provider operated by five REALTOR® associations with approximately 3,600 members. Trestle by CoreLogic is a leading real estate data management and distribution platform that offers RESO Platinum-certified data access to real estate brokers and technology providers. “Customers are seeing the benefit of moving their data feeds to Trestle as they are able to offer RESO compliant feeds, managed with sophisticated digital license agreements and ecommerce,” said Kevin Greene, senior leader of Product Management for CoreLogic. “CTXMLS is among the first clients to migrate the majority of its data recipients to Trestle, and we’re extremely pleased with how smoothly the transition has gone.” According to Beth Gatlin, consulting director of CTXMLS, their technology vendors and other data recipients recognize the value Trestle delivers, such as improvements to listing delivery speed and data consistency. Many of their vendors were already using Trestle in other markets, making the CTXMLS integration a familiar and straightforward process. “Forcing change is never easy,” said Gatlin, “But we are already more than halfway through the conversion with 46 companies moved over. We hope to have everyone moved over in early 2018.” Gatlin also said Trestle’s contract and billing features are outstanding new tools that simplify the management of CTXMLS data licenses. Interested technology providers can visit http://trestle.corelogic.com to get technical information about integrating CTXMLS data and electronically submit their data license application, which will then be routed to CTXMLS staff for review. About CoreLogic CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider. The company’s combined data from public, contributory and proprietary sources includes over 4.5 billion records spanning more than 50 years, providing detailed coverage of property, mortgages and other encumbrances, consumer credit, tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information. The markets CoreLogic serves include real estate and mortgage finance, insurance, capital markets, and the public sector. CoreLogic delivers value to clients through unique data, analytics, workflow technology, advisory and managed services. Clients rely on CoreLogic to help identify and manage growth opportunities, improve performance and mitigate risk. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., CoreLogic operates in North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information, please visit www.corelogic.com.    […]

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CoreLogic Logo

IRVINE, Calif., September 11, 2017—CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, announced today that its focus on innovation in real estate solutions is helping drive its market penetration to record heights. Across all its solutions for residential real estate—which include listing, property information, and brokerage management platforms—CoreLogic now serves more than one million real estate agents throughout the United States and Canada. The most widely used CoreLogic solutions are Matrix™, North America’s leading multiple listing platform with approximately 750,000 users, and Realist®, the real estate industry’s most popular property information and advanced mapping system with more than 800,000 users. Many clients use both Realist and Matrix, but the combined unique user count is over a million. “Serving a million unique users is a tremendous milestone,” said Chris Bennett, executive leader of Real Estate Solutions for CoreLogic. “We’ve worked hard to deliver the forward-looking solutions our clients need to thrive in the modern real estate economy, and this is the result. Now we’re focused on Matrix 360, a project that will combine Matrix and Realist on the same platform, culminating in a groundbreaking property-centric system that will set the standard for the entire industry. We showed off many innovative ideas for future development at our annual Real Estate Solutions User Group Summit in Dana Point, Calif., and our clients just loved it.” CoreLogic recently completed a multi-year conversion project to consolidate its legacy multiple listing platform clients on Matrix. Version 7.0—the latest upgrade currently rolling out to customers—introduced a responsive client portal that agents can use to collaborate with buyers on the home search process. “Our agent members are raving about the new Matrix client portal,” said Merri Jo Cowen, CEO of My Florida Regional MLS. “The design, the usability, the mobile-friendly interface… everything is great. Most importantly, homebuyers and sellers are loving it too.” About CoreLogic CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider. The company’s combined data from public, contributory and proprietary sources includes over 4.5 billion records spanning more than 50 years, providing detailed coverage of property, mortgages and other encumbrances, consumer credit, tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information. The markets CoreLogic serves include real estate and mortgage finance, insurance, capital markets, and the public sector. CoreLogic delivers value to clients through unique data, analytics, workflow technology, advisory and managed services. Clients rely on […]

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Big Data Can Drive Bigger Broker Margins

by Victor Lund on June 9, 2017

customer reports

WAV Group spends a lot of time consulting with brokers on how to re-margin their business. We published a paper in 2013 called Harvesting Business From Broker Data.  That paper characterized the methods that we developed with a number of brokers to harvest business from across the enterprise of title, mortgage, residential, relocation, insurance, commercial, and property management businesses. It has worked very well for many brokers to recapture repeat transactions and new business though cross sell. In many ways, the rethinking that went into the thesis around harvesting business across the enterprise was the first intellectual break from the linear approach of Advertising for Lead Generation to Lead Maturation to Lead Conversion. Brokers were spending too much time trying to onboard new customers and far to little time staying connected with customers they have already won. Strangely, there has been a shift in advertising dollars away from the broker and more toward the team and agent. This shift is largely reflective of commission economics. But also driven in big part by Zillow remodeling their brokerage platform. If top producing agents and teams are capping out and getting 80% to 100% commission, there is no contribution to broker budgets for advertising. How does the broker get commission margin back? Referrals! WAV Group is now in a position to support brokers to re-margin their business with big data programs that we have been maturing. The programs key off of the relocation and referral commission programs that brokers retain about 35% commission on. Brokers who increase their referral business stand to reap greater margin rewards. Brokers are in a position to purchase big data solutions that use predictive analytics to generate leads for consumers upstream of Internet leads from websites or portals. CoreLogic, SmartZip, Opcity, and a host of other companies are framing up these solutions for brokers today. WAV Group works with brokerage firms to make these programs pay out. Here is the rub. The broker must become competent at developing these opportunities and purchasing solutions efficiently. The challenge for brokers is taking this strategy, understanding how it fits into your business plan, allocating resources, implementation, and managing effectiveness. You cannot just buy the service and expect the checks to start rolling in. This strategy needs to be developed as a center of excellence in your company. Brokers Can Win! WAV Group has done some experimenting with market buy-outs. In some […]

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Fixing Real Estate with People and 2.0 Technology

by Kevin Hawkins on May 10, 2017

Zavvie Logo

In Colorado there’s a modern brokerage called 8z Real Estate that has become known for its collaborative work environment and home to top producing teams that support one another. And despite all the competition – after all it is in RE/MAX’s backyard – it’s become a dominate player on Colorado’s Front Range. Most recently, 8z Rea Estate garnered the attention of The Denver Post, which selected Boulder-based 8z Real Estate as the “Top Workplace” of 2017 for midsize companies in Colorado. And 8z and its founder Lane Hornung were also recently profiled in a Colorado Business Magazine story “8z Real Estate: Purpose, alignment and trust.” But the most interesting part of the 8z Real Estate story is its spinoff, a sister company, called zavvie.  The hot Colorado start-up was created based on the technology developed for 8z Real Estate agents, and it was recently feature in both the Denver Business Journal – “Boulder entrepreneur launches social media site for real estate agents” – and Boulder’s Daily Camera story “’Real estate 2.0′: Boulder’s 8z spins off technology into new company zavvie.” Together, these firms share the same DNA, as both of its principals – Hornung and Stefan Peterson – are the chief architects of the business strategies for both firms, fusing decades of both real estate and technology experience into building these next generation real estate businesses. Right now both companies are only operating in Colorado, but the results of both these firms are impressive, and worth watching. The Denver Post “Top Workplaces” Honor 8z Real Estate took top honors from a survey of more than 48,000 Colorado workers. The Boulder-based brokerage landed at the top of The Denver Post 2017 list of Midsize Workplaces for companies based in Colorado. 8z topped established national brand names based in Colorado including Safelite Autoglass, New York Life, and First American Title, as well as every real estate brokerage firm in Colorado. Midsize workplaces surveyed included companies with 150 to 499 people. The Post list of all “Top Workplaces” includes other household names such as USAA, Edward Jones, T-Mobile, Charles Schwab, and many others. “Being named as the ‘best of the best’ by the most independent and respected media institution in Colorado is the highest honor,” said Hornung, 8z Real Estate founder and co-founder of zavvie. “But more importantly, knowing this list is created based on the ratings provided by our own agents, that’s […]

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Hacker Connect Agenda Released

by Victor Lund on December 29, 2016

Hacker Connect

WAV Group is excited to sponsor Hacker Connect. If you want to get the most out of Inman and you are in the technology side of the real estate industry. You want to attend this one day event on Monday before the full conference. Note: You can attend this for one day, or send your technical staff for one day without doing the entire conference. Connect is one of my favorite conferences in the industry for scheduling meetings with clients and leaders in our industry. It’s a conversation that is stimulated by counterpoint. Inman Connect breads thesis and antithesis in a way that either divides or generates synthesis on many of the leading topics in our industry. But Hacker Connect is different. As the agenda will illustrate, it is about learning. 9:00 – 9:30 DDOS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet Connected home technologies have the potential to leave clients vulnerable to harassment and attack. Get an inside look at the historical nature of technological disruptions, how cyber weapons have been used in the past and the very real implications of leaked information on the industry. Molly Sauter, author and researcher 9:30 – 9:50 API Successes to Replicate and Pitfalls to Avoid “Build it, and they will come.” Maybe. How you design, market and align you API makes all the difference. Learn what works and what doesn’t, straight from the trenches. Peter Goldey, WitLytic 9:50 – 10:10 Using Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Science for Designing UI/UX. Get a first-hand look at how designers are using emotional intelligence and brain signals to bring a more scientific approach to UX/UI design. Firat Parlak, Founder, Awesome UX & UI Design Agency 10:10 – 10:30 Protecting Real Estate Data Against Phishing Phishing and beyond. Data security issues that are plaguing the industry and how to combat them. Thomas Kinsella, Cyber Intelligence and Investigations Manager, DocuSign 10:30 – 10:50 Blockchain and Real Estate Blockchain/Bitcoin is poised to transform real estate in four distinct ways including: Disintermediation, Fraud prevention, Money 2.0, Smart contracts. Hear what’s next and about a pilot program in Chicago using a blockchain title and lien platform. Ragnar Lifthrasir, Founder velox.RE 10:50 – 11:10 Facebook Marketing Automation for Real Estate Tarun Sharma, Facebook 11:10 – 11:30 Next Generation Real Estate Chatbots Take a look beyond the ChatBot and see how next generation, “cognitive” real estate apps are being developed using machine […]

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Send Your Techies to Inman Hacker Connect

by Victor Lund on December 20, 2016

WAV Group is sponsoring Inman Hacker Connect. It is a one day conference for your product managers and technology staff. For this group of constituents, this may be the best one day event of the year. Our sponsorship does not pay the whole fee, but we are paying for a lot of it. Please take advantage. Reasons to Send Them Technology is always changing, but real estate technology is going to have a revolution in 2017 with the widespread availability of the RESO Web API and other APIs. Today, there are only a handful of technology firms developing around our industry standard APIs. Now that they are real and available, MLSs are going to be flipping on the switch to develoment. Is your staff familiar with this new landscape? If not, you may want to begin to socialize them with the concepts and the people who are planning to launch applications in your MLS area early next year. Top Initiatives Using Web API The two key initiatives that are launching with Web APIs are Upstream and the new MLS product from Realtors Property Resource called AMP – Advanced Multilist Platform. Managing huge databases using the 15 year old RETS standard has hampered innovation and data management across our industry. Now that RETS is in our rear view mirror, MLS data can be connected quickly, affordably and easily to applications that need it. MLSs and their technical staff need to be fluent in how these new data systems operate, even if only to keep your technology vendors in check. Agenda DDOS Actions, Hacktivism and Civil Disobedience on the Internet API Successes to Replicate and Pitfalls to Avoid Using Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Science for Designing UI/UX Protecting Real Estate Data Against Phishing Blockchain and Real Estate Next Generation Real Estate Chatbots Roadmap for the Portals: New Product Preview What Technology Will VCs Fund This Year? Lunch on your own Sharing Data Better Building Best Practices in Small Companies Model for Tech Partnerships Driving Adoption in Legacy Companies Integration: Life Made Easier With Portals How to Make a Marriage of Tech Startups and Legacy Companies Collaboration Forums Facilitated by Industry Leaders Next Generation Buying/Selling Experience Advancing VR Integration: Making Life Easier With the MLSs and Other Data Providers Collaboration Forums with Industry Facilitators Buy or Build? Who Decides and Why? Recruitment Made Easy Combating Cybercrime Data Standards in Real Estate Recommendations, Best […]

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What Will DocuSign Payments Mean for Real Estate?

by Victor Lund on December 20, 2016

The ability to set recurring payments through DocuSign Payments is coming and will be a boon to the leasing, event space rental and other industries. DocuSign Payments will also support ACH and Electronic Check Payments in the future which will be a perfect fit for Earnest money deposits. As the industry standard for eSignature, DocuSign offers a major contribution to real estate. There are two major forms companies that provide services to the industry – ZipForms® and Instanet Forms ™. In the case of Instanet®, they offer Authentisign ™, in the case of ZipForms, agents have a choice to use either Digital Ink™ or DocuSign®.  Zillow® subsidiary Dotloop® is also a competitor in this space with its own signature solution. DocuSign has built the category and created consumer brand equity that has driven more than 250,000 companies and more than 100 million unique users to adopt DocuSign across 188 countries. Their Lead to Close strategy for Real Estate is enabling brokers and agents to integrate CRM, accounting, and, now Payments, to reduce manual data entry and minimize compliance challenges. DocuSign truly sets themselves apart with their world class security and unparalleled reliability, giving the industry complete control over their documents, information, and data. While Real Estate is certainly important to DocuSign, they have clients in virtually every other sector outside of the industry too. And the company’s launch of DocuSign Payments plays big in all of them. Slated for release early next year in partnership with international payment processor Stripe – and supported by Apple, Google and Visa’s Authorize.Net – DocuSign Payments saves time and effort by providing a fast and easy way to collect payments and signatures in just one step. This delivers a superior customer experience, instant payment, and an error free contract-to-payment process. At launch, the pre-built integration with Stripe will give customers the option to use Apple Pay, Android Pay or any major credit card; PayPal, Authorize.Net and other payment options will follow soon after. MLSs and Associations may turn to DocuSign for contract signatures and payments by members. For real estate, we see this as a way for buyers and renters to easily make deposits and payments on properties for sale or lease. Let’s face it, people rarely carry around a check book anymore. The DocuSign real estate team has not really said much about Payments yet. I would venture that they are focused more […]

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Matterport Has Gone Mainstream

by Victor Lund on December 6, 2016

Matterport Logo

Matterport delivers the most immersive virtual tour experience in the marketplace for consumers to view property. Immersive is a term used frequently in business to describe something that is deeply engaging. But, the real definition is more than that. Immersive describes a digital technology or images that actively engage one’s senses and may create an altered mental state. Indeed, if you have sampled the Matterport experience, it does just that. The realism of the experience is mind altering, but it comes at a price. The cost of the tours varies by market, combining expensive and patented camera technology with sophisticated software for hosting and viewing these novel experiences. But, the result is a truly differentiated type of marketing that transcends two-dimensional media. Moreover, it woos! Matterport was founded in 2011, and according to Crunchbase, the company has raised $61 Million in 6 rounds of financing by 20 investors. This has provided the company with ample funding to mature the product and explore the possibilities of how the experience can stretch the boundaries of 3-dimentional experiences. RE Technology is excited to have the opportunity to invite you to this free webinar to get a first hand update on the company, the products, and the future of Matterport. Today, the product is a listing tool first and a buyer’s tool second. WAV Group understands from Matterport clients that sellers are impressed by the technology. Sign up here for the webinar – held December 8th at 11 am pacific, 2 PM Eastern. Webinar Title: Learn what it takes to win more listings and outsell the competition. Overview: The real estate business is changing, and it’s more important than ever to understand the new tools and techniques available to savvy REALTORS® today. Do  you want to be recognized as one of the most tech-forward, marketing savvy businesses in your market? Attend our live webinar to learn why Matterport is the future of property presentation and how you can get in on the ground floor of the growing #D movement in real estate.

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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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Disrupt

In the 1990s, it was called disintermediation. In the 2010s, we are calling it disruption. Back then, we talked about a “new paradigm” that would alter the real estate business forever. Now we talk about “new business models” doing the same. The names may have changed, but the bottom line is this: I am still waiting for digital real estate transactions to be a common practice, not the exception to the rule.   What has really changed? Next month in early August, like many of my colleagues, I am heading to Inman News Real Estate Connect in San Francisco. It’s hard for me to believe that it has been nearly two decades – twenty years or more than 7,000 days – since the first Real Estate Connect in 1996. Brad Inman held the first real estate + technology confab at his family retreat in the Sonoma Valley. That was in late September 1996. Several months later, I met with Brad in a restaurant next to the Hyatt in Bellevue, WA, listening to him tell me what I missed and what he wanted to do next: a full-blown Real Estate Connect conference at the Hilton in San Francisco. He had a goal of 800+ people in attendance, including the Who’s-Who of real estate and technology leaders, at a sold out exhibit hall and wanted my help. Now I think back to 1996 and 1997 to what real estate looked like then and what it looks like today. Despite all the talk about disintermediation and the gust of wind that Internet 1.0 blew into the aggressive expansion of technology into the real estate space, and the current blitz of amazing innovations, I have to ask: What has really changed? Fundamentally unaltered It’s no longer Homestore that is the invincible giant: it’s now Zillow. But seriously, did Homestore add any real value to the real estate business? Has the consumer saved a dime because of Zillow? Or were both firms simply guilty of redistributing dollars and taking market share from someone else? When I watch a real estate transaction today, I see almost exactly what I see when I bought my house on Bainbridge Island in 1996: the vast majority of folks still use a real estate agent, still typically pay a 6% commission, you still have to turn in a ton of documentation – more now than you did in 1996! – […]

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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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