real estate

Associations Rethink Forms Licensing Policy

by Victor Lund on November 29, 2017

Document Management

If you were in the real estate business before the days of email, you may recall the experience of driving to the local Board of REALTORS® to pick up a forms packet for a transaction. Alternatively, your brokerage may have had a forms file with every type of printed form that you might need. Simply stated, forms were printed until pioneering State Associations of REALTORS® learned to share them electronically. Today, electronic forms management is a member benefit for all Realtors® as a member benefit of The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). When Realtor Associations learned about this policy and product offering from the National Association of REALTORS®, they started to internalize and rethink their forms licensing program. Why Do We Love Standard Forms? Ages ago, and in some States of America, you had to hire a lawyer to do the documents for a real estate transaction. For the most part, this is busy work for Attorneys. In most States, licensed real estate professionals can complete forms and they are reviewed by their broker and processed by a title company. Most States have taken on the responsibility of creating standardized forms that handle the variety of transactions encountered by most Realtors. Standard forms have all of the legal terminology needed transactions, so the agent fills out the information about the subject property and the information about the party they represent on each form, along with things like price. The standardized forms make the contracting process simple, easy and fast. The Realtor fills in the blanks, gets signatures, and its done. Copyright is Owned by the Forms Author The use of the word “standardized” is a little misleading when it comes to forms. Written works of any kind fall under the protections of the federal Copyright Act of 1976. According to the Act, copyright is available “in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device,” United States Constitution 102(a). When you look at a form, you will notice a copyright statement on the bottom of each page. This tells you who owns the copyright. This is usually your State Association of REALTORS® who updates the forms from time to time as necessary. They invest a lot of the membership treasury in the […]

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Consolidation: What PR Tactics Can Help?

by Kevin Hawkins on November 29, 2017

Process Integration

2018 could very well be the “Year of Consolidation” in the MLS industry. With the recent NAR move towards an “MLS of Choice” policy, we are likely to see a huge momentum build towards consolidation, especially in the second half of next year. That’s because smaller MLSs are going to find profitability under their current pricing model impossible. The simplest (and most often the best) solution will be to merge. By failing to plan for the role communications and PR plays within a consolidation, you are planning to fail. That’s because an effective communications and PR plan is vital to the success of any consolidation. Without it, at the very least, you will fail some of your members as they will not feel included, and at the worse, you will fail all of them, as they all, may feel, in some way, left out. Importance of PR PricewaterhouseCoopers wrote about mergers “the need for effective communication is often overlooked or underestimated in the flurry of activity surrounding a deal. Executing a strong and clear communication strategy is critical to successful integration.” That came from an accounting firm: the folks that typically ask why you are spending so much money on advertising and PR?! Ask any professional consultant who has lived in the world of company consolidations about the importance of internal communications and external public relations. You’ll quickly understand this is a corner you do not want to cut. It is a vital business tactic. In some ways, consolidations are all about communications. Let’s look at just a few of the practical tactical communications and PR activities that are needed for planning any successful consolidation: Strategic Communications What are we telling our employees, our vendors or strategic partners, our investors, or other stakeholders about the goals, timeline and expected outcomes of the consolidation? When are we telling whom, what and when? What are the best internal communication channels we can use to communicate to our staff? What are the right messages for each phase, and when do we communicate these and why do we use just these channels and the right timing? How do we mitigate the chances of internal communications being leaked externally, keeping internal messages internal? Pubic Relations What is our story, the story we want to tell? What are the key phrases that we want to emphasize and resonate with our key audiences? What are our core […]

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What is a Brand?

by Victor Lund on November 22, 2017

Brand

A brand is the difference between a pair of running shoes and a pair of Nikes. A brand is what people feel about you your product, the service you provide, or your organization. It’s part rational but mostly emotional. People will forgive a strong brand if it makes a mistake. likewise people won’t forgive a weak brand if it makes a mistake, remember Gateway computers? We thought so. WAV Group is not a branding agency – we leave that to leading firms like 1000 Watt. But WAV Group starts every project with an understanding of your brand. Marilyn Wilson, former Exec. Vice President of Marketing at Fisher Price managed the Fisher Price brand for nearly a decade. Fisher Price is one of the most valued and iconic international brands in the world. She did not build or create the Fisher Price brand, but every product they delivered (hundreds every year) had to deliver the brand promise, and everything WAV Group does for a client – strategic planning, communications, recruiting, and vendor selection – starts with brand. So what is the secret of a strong brand? The answer is surprisingly simple, focus. I’ll say it again, focus. Great brands stand for something, not a lot of things. One thing. For decades, Swedish car maker Volvo defined their brand with a single word, safety. Well, it seems to work for them. Sometimes you have to think beyond the category to know what your brand stands for. Harley Davidson makes motorcycles, want to guess what they stand for? Freedom.  Not a more powerful engine and not a more reliable bike or a smoother ride. Freedom. Brands are experienced. Take Starbucks. They differentiate themselves in many ways and offer a consistent brand experience in every Starbucks you visit. They even have their own language. Starbucks has created a unique community of coffee lovers that speak Starbucks-ease, and are true brand ambassadors – it’s customers. It doesn’t get any better than that. Starbucks has realized they aren’t in the business of serving coffee. They are in the business of serving people. What is a brand worth? So can you put a monetary value on a brand. The people at Interbrand research do that. Think about the fine folks at Coca-Cola. Guess what their brand is worth? According to Interbrand, about 61% of the value of the Coca-Cola corporation is brand. That is a lot of […]

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IRES & REcolorado Sign Binding Merger Agreement

by Victor Lund on November 13, 2017

IRES

Approval from Shareholder Boards is Next Step to Form One MLS for Denver and Northern Colorado IRES and REcolorado have taken another step toward creating a single MLS that will serve 26,000 real estate professionals in northern Colorado and the greater Denver Metro Area. Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES, and Kirby Slunaker, president and CEO of REcolorado, today announced the commitment between the two MLSs has now gone from a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU), as announced in September, to a binding merger agreement. The merger agreement has been signed by Hansen and Slunaker and has received approval from both the REcolorado Board of Directors and the IRES Board of Managers. The  next step needed is shareholder approval from the boards of the eight REALTOR Associations that are the owners of the two organizations. REcolorado’s shareholders are Denver Metro Association of REALTORS, South Metro Denver REALTOR Association, and Aurora Association of REALTORS®.  Shareholders of IRES are Boulder Area REALTOR® Association, Fort Collins Board of REALTORS®, Greeley Area REALTOR® Association, Longmont Association of REALTORS®, and Loveland Berthoud Association of REALTORS®.  The shareholders are expected to review and vote on the merger agreement in the coming weeks. “Thanks to the great work of the REcolorado and IRES shareholders and their boards, our vision of creating a future-focused MLS that serves REALTORS, Brokers and consumers along the Colorado Front Range is becoming a reality,” said Kirby Slunaker. “Colorado real estate professionals have told us they want the benefits that can only come from one MLS, which include the best products and services, faster pace of innovation, and world-class customer care.” A merged MLS organization serving the Colorado Front Range would bring substantial benefits to Colorado real estate professionals, which would be passed on to consumers. Benefits include comprehensive data, a broad set of technology tools and services, and powerful consumer-facing websites. “REALTORS, brokers, appraisers, and consumers deserve the most comprehensive, accurate, and timely data possible, as well as technology tools they can use to serve the needs of well-informed buyers and sellers,” said Lauren Hansen. “Bringing our MLS organizations together is what brokers want and what the market needs.” Chris Osborn, with Foster, Pepper PLLC, will continue to facilitate the merger process with REcolorado and IRES. “We continue to move at a steady pace, thanks to open lines of communication between REcolorado and IRES, as well as a shared commitment to work in the […]

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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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Communications and Public Relations are not Advertising

by Victor Lund on November 4, 2017

Press Release

About four years ago, WAV Group expanded its consulting services to include Public Relations and Communications. Like everything at WAV Group, this service is an extension of our core Strategic Planning services. In our planning experiences, we learned that companies are not doing enough research to measure customer and employee satisfaction. So we started WAV Group Research. We learned that many companies have a hard time recruiting and hiring the right people, so we started WAV Group recruiting. WAV Group communications helps companies develop and implement great communications and PR strategies. Kevin Hawkins is our leader in this segment of WAV Group. His decades of experience are unmatched and he brings a passion that is the elixir to success. We had a discussion about Advertising Value Equivalents of communications and Public Relations. In Hawkins opinion, measuring communications and PR reach (like add impressions, click though rates, etc) by solely using Ad Value Equivalents sets the PR industry back by confusing Communications and Public Relations with marketing and advertising. There are better metrics, and we have a highly robust media platform that helps us benchmark and track PR success more thoroughly. Today, we find ourselves in an era of content pollution. The best example of that is SnapChat streaks. If you have a teenager, you already know that kids send snaps to each other every day to keep a streak alive with a friend. It’s a small gesture of caring and friendship that manifests itself of a photo of the floor more often than not – ergo content pollution. We see the same thing happen on Facebook, Twitter, and other micro-blogging sites. Heck – the whole fake news thing epitomizes the issue. Here at WAV Group, we develop public relations and communication plans that have meaning. Here is a primer: At the core of successful Public Relations is real “NEWS.” Did you purchase a company, hire a new CEO, close a round of funding, create a new product, open a new branch, grow your company though acquisition, etc. Moreover, if you expect a journalist to cover your news, it needs to be news that readers care about. If my company adds a consultant, that may be interesting to the readers of Inman News, RIS Media, Real Trends, and RE Technology – but not the Wall Street Journal. If Forrester purchased WAV Group – that might be news for the Wall Street […]

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Love HELPING REALTORS® succeed? Have we got a job for you!

by Marilyn Wilson on November 2, 2017

We’re excited to announce that WAV Group is working with Carolina Multiple Listing Service (CarolinaMLS) to find a Help Desk Support Manager. Carolina MLS CarolinaMLS is an 11,000 member organization which is a subsidiary of the Charlotte Regional REALTOR® Association.  This progressive organization is one of the largest associations in the U.S. and CarolinaMLS is experiencing significant growth.  In addition to providing wholesale service to North Carolina Mountains MLS and adding 3,519 users, it is in the process of onboarding over 600 more users by providing wholesale service to the MLS of Catawba Valley, bringing subscriber numbers to 15,000+.  Additional similar MLS growth is anticipated. This vibrant organization also has a school of real estate (Mingle School of Real Estate) and a 501(c)(3) foundation (the Housing Opportunity Foundation) as well as a Realtor® Store.  All are housed together in centrally located Charlotte, NC and they are in the process of building a new 66,000sq. ft. building with cutting edge technology and services at the same location. CarolinaMLS, as well as the organization as a whole, has remarkable stability and a very low turnover rate.  Retention is high, quality of life and home-work life balance are priorities.  It is a pleasant and casual environment with a culture of mutual respect and open communication but also a culture of service, with the realization that it exists to serve its members, participants and subscribers. Job Responsibilities The Help Desk Support Manager is a critical driver of member satisfaction and loyalty for the organization. This position is responsible for managing a team that is delivering timely, respectful and helpful information. The team is responsible for helping REALTORS® leverage CarolinaMLS tools to sell more real estate. This position is responsible for helping CarolinaMLS members fully leverage the technologies available including the Matrix MLS system, Carolinahome.com, Carolinarealtors.com, Mingleschool.com, Showing Time, SAFEMLS, Realist, Move/ListHub and Statistical Analysis Module (SAM).  They also assist with identifying and writing communications explaining system updates to members. The Help Desk Support Manager will work closely with the VP of MLS as well as the CIO and will also be responsible for working closely with the MLS Committee to ensure that the system continues to evolve to serve the ever-changing needs of CarolinaMLS members.  The successful candidate will participate in MLS committee meetings regarding MLS system updates and assist with implementing MLS committee recommendations to update or improve the MLS system.   They are […]

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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 Launches Partnership with SavvyCard

by Victor Lund on October 24, 2017

In the press release below, CoreLogic announces a partnership with SavvyCard that will allow CoreLogic MLSs to consider this new optional service. As you may recall, CoreLogic has been focused on enhancing the buyer portal within Matrix to make is a more full service solution for agents providing MLS information to their clients. On the mobile side, this is also accomplished with GoMLS. This new service is an alternative that combines a variety of important agent applications into a unique and simplified service that has some outstanding connectivity to social media marketing. According to Chirs Bennett, General Manager of Real Estate Service for CoreLogic, “SavvyCard a platform. That looks and feels like a mobile website. That has simple apps on it that any agent or client would know intuitively what to do with. It works smoothly on the backside to promote new listings straight into the agent’s Facebook page (with handholding along the way).  So now, an agent doesn’t have to find a responsive website template, drop apps on it, test it, remember to push their listings into Facebook, or act like a technical webmaster. It’s all done for them. It really is a responsive website in-a-box that looks beautiful on a mobile phone. And couldn’t be simpler.” A great example of a SavvyCard can be viewed and experienced at https://www.savvycard.com/tomscaglione/tom/6a13b_scid Here you can see the core functionality at a glance – the consumer can call, email, or text their agent; view the agent’s listings and search the MLS, view the agents profile, view the office locations and contact information of the agent’s brokerage, an most importantly…..social sharing the agent’s SavvyCard or listings is easy by both the agent and the consumer. There are lots of agents who do not have basic websites today. Savvycard gives consumers everything they need to find property information though the application. Going into the CoreLogic agreement, SavvyCard has already developed relationships with Associations and MLSs that reaches 70,000 agent subscribers. The hope is that CoreLogic can extend that footprint across the many additional markets that CoreLogic serves. Press Release to follow:       CoreLogic to OFFER SAVVYCARD TO MULTIPLE LISTING CLIENTS IRVINE, Calif., October 24, 2017—CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today announced an agreement to offer SavvyCard® to its multiple listing clients as a new social marketing service that helps subscribers deepen relationships with clients […]

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Redfin Offers Method To Modernize IDX

by Victor Lund on September 19, 2017

“Let’s modernize IDX by linking to the listing broker!” IDX or Internet Data Exchange is a thesis that was developed by the collaboration between Brokers and MLSs that outlines a set of display rules for listings on broker websites. The idea behind IDX is that of cooperation among brokers. Fundamentally, the IDX policy states that a broker allows all other brokers participating in an MLS to display their listings on any broker (and usually Agent) website. Over the years, the IDX policy has evolved. And today, Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman suggests a radical new change. Kelman would like the IDX policy to require that every display of IDX listings provide a link to the listing broker’s website. As the screenshot illustrates, the National Association of REALTORS® MLS Policy on IDX requires the Broker to be identified as shown here. Displaying the listing agent is a local election and sometimes required. In the illustration below, everything is static. The big idea is to add a requirement to include a hyperlink to the broker/agent website (canonical source of information). Kelman goes further in the development of his concept to suggest that the broker name and link be prominently displayed above the fold (top of the page before you scroll). WAV Group joins Redfin in the belief that this would massively increase the traffic to listing brokers’ websites form search engines. Having hundreds of real estate websites link to the listing brokerage for each listing should completely re-orient search rankings. Search Engines are always looking for the most authoritative source of information – including real estate information. Kelman has strong beliefs and enormous respect for the listing firm. “The listing broker is the one who pays for, reviews and uploads all the photos. The listing broker updates and validates all the data about the property, and writes the marketing description. The home-buying consumer should be able to find her way to the full listing on the listing broker’s site, where she may also be able to see virtual tours, three-dimensional scans, and additional marketing materials about the listing, not to mention details on how to ask a question about the home or even arrange a tour with another agent at the listing brokerage if that’s what she prefers.” WAV Group’s research and analytics team finds that Redfin is, by a factor of two or three, the most popular brokerage website today. The leading […]

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It’s the Biggest Marketing and PR Mistake

by Kevin Hawkins on September 18, 2017

Targeting Consistency

Stay on message. Those three little words sound so simple. But it amazes me how difficult it seems for companies – and their messengers – to do this. It should be the core of their marketing and PR compass. Consistency and repetition: That’s what every well-crafted marketing and PR program adheres to over the long haul. Unfortunately, most companies forget these crucial tenets and they stray. Or worse, they veer so far from their original course, they completely undermine what they have already have accomplished. Building brand awareness takes time, often a very long time. Building brand loyalty (a.k.a. understanding and being able to explain your brand to others), takes a lot longer. To accomplish either requires – you guessed it – consistency and repetition in your communication. You have to stay on message. You must repeat, I say repeat, and repeat it again, and again and again. Yes, everyone at your company, especially you, if you are running the company, will grow tired of your messaging. And if you are like most folks, you will grow tired of it literally years before it has even come close to needed to be changed and refreshed. Yes, there are exceptions, but these two ideas — consistency and repetition — are pretty much an iron clad, time-tested (oh, say since the invention of Marketing and PR) fundamental truth. Set in stone. Make that steel. The Challenge in Real Estate I get that it isn’t easy to implement a marketing and PR program in an industry that requires independent contractors to play a key role in the public execution of your communications. I feel for real estate brokerages, in particular, and their unique challenges when it comes to the communications equivalent of herding cats. Independent people like to do things independently: like creating their own unique communications. Their own logos, their own flyers and brochures, even upon occasion (Egads!), their own new releases. I’ve seen and read many of them, mostly in horror, because the vast majority of them are awful. And I don’t fault the creators for the creative: they are not trained marketing and PR professionals. They didn’t spend a couple of decades or more perfecting this stuff, much less going to grad school for a degree in this area. Yes, there are exceptions and on occasion, exceptional work. But even then, those independently produced pieces often stray from the corporate […]

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MLSListings Shares Best Practices for Public Relations

by Victor Lund on September 5, 2017

MLSListings

Public Relations is a key communication practice for leading MLSs. Silicon Valley, California-based MLSListings is leveraging Public Relations to promote the relevancy of the MLS in the best possible way. They have developed communications for the real estate trade media and the consumer media that are both having positive impact. Consumer Media Trade The real estate industry has brokers and agents who continue to invest in newspaper advertising. By and large, newspapers may not display real estate listings from the MLS unless there is a special consideration. To save brokers and agents money, MLSListings has developed an agreement with 12 BANG Bay Area newspapers that allow the newspaper to display the broker and agent contact information and listings (fair display) if the newspaper provides MLSListings with a monthly bi-line. Articles written by MLSListings CEO James Harrison or their Board of Directors President appear each month in these newspapers though the agreement. As a result, MLSListings has gotten $400,000 in media trade. MLSListings subscribers further benefit because every article points buyers and sellers to the value brokers and agents provide. Consumer Press Release MLSListings’ press release strategy has shifted from market statistics to lifestyle and is generating incredible results. For example, a snapshot from March of this year generated $120,000 in earned media advertising. It has become very difficult for Associations and MLSs to get decent exposure to their publication about market stats. For a variety of reasons, newspapers publish data from Zillow Group, CoreLogic, or RealtyTrac. This shift by media company pickups has caused MLSListings to innovate around lifestyle. Here is a sample headline that talks about foreign buyers – MLSListings Becomes the First Real Estate Platform in California to Offer Chinese Translation Silicon Valley Property Information Translated for Agents and Brokers MLSListings Compiles List of Most Affordable Bay Area Homes Silicon Valley Property Information for Homes Under $300k As MLSListings issues press releases, they not only capitalize on supporting journalists with interesting consumer stories, but also educate consumers about the MLS, working with real estate professionals, and viewing listings on MLS- powered consumer websites. MLSListings has parlayed their PR strategy into tens of thousands of consumer visits to their consumer facing website, MLSListings.com. Moreover, the press release gets published to hundreds of news wire sites driving links back to their website for improved search engine optimization. The secret behind the success at MLSListings is Myra Jolivet, the vice president […]

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Looking for Job Security? Brokers are Looking for THIS!

by Marilyn Wilson on September 5, 2017

Job Security

By far, an IDX feed is the most heavily used broker tool offered by MLSs today.  Most brokers offer IDX data including active listings and many also include SOLD and PENDING listings thanks to the NAR IDX policy changes which allow brokers to leverage all statuses. One progressive MLS recognized how important IDX feeds are. RMLS in Portland, took the proactive step to transition every one of their IDX feeds to a RESO Certified collection of data.  This bold step allows all brokers to take full advantage of the rich collection of data relevant to their market available with Platinum Certification. Key Takeaways IDX Providers LOVE the idea of evolving all IDX feeds in a market to RESO Compliant standardized data. It saves them a ton of time and money and lets them focus on innovation and not data challenges. MLSs can help make the transition to RESO Certified IDX feeds much easier by following three simple steps: Concurrent Access – Give your IDX suppliers access to BOTH the current IDX feed as well as the new RESO compliant feed to make it easier for them to check the new feed is pulling data just as the current IDX is doing. That makes it much easier to test the new feed. Comparison Spreadsheet – Provide a spreadsheet that shows all of the fields currently offered and then show what the new data field will be called. Also show what fields are being added, removed or changed. Do not Increase Column Size – In all cases the length of the columns in the new RMLS IDX feed did not increase. They stayed the same size or decreased. From a database perspective, that makes it so much easier because the IDX providers do not have to change anything on their side. While we were thrilled to find out that the process was not that difficult from the MLSs perspective, we wanted to find out what the technology companies required to make the transition thought of the move. We interviewed Chris Freeman, CTO of Wolfnet Technologies to find out what he thought of the move.  Wolfnet aggregates data from 640 MLSs today so they are no stranger to data migrations. Chris was thrilled with the seamless process implemented by RMLS in Portland.  He told us, “It was one of the simplest data transitions we have had to make. The RMLS IDX feed was […]

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Data is Power and You Have the Power Brokers!

by Marilyn Wilson on August 23, 2017

Reso Fall Conference

The smart money is on brokers who figure out how to differentiate themselves online by leveraging MLS data in new and exciting ways.   Brokers really DO have the power to take back their leadership position online if they fully take advantage of the rich and engaging MLS data that is available today. What’s the best way to learn how to make your website more interesting than other online sources?  Learn how to leverage standardized real estate information that has been built by the Real Estate Standards Organization. Thanks to the great work of four brokers that serve on the RESO Board of Directors – Alon Chaver, CIO of HomeServices of America, Craig Cheatham, CEO of The Realty Alliance, David Gumpper, CTO of Michael Saunders and Co., and Tom Flanagan, CTO of The Group, RESO standards are designed specifically to help brokers gain a competitive advantage online.  The recent Data Dictionary 1.6 Release includes literally thousands of ways for brokers to attract and engage consumers online. If you want to learn more about the best ways to take advantage of the great work produced by the hundreds of RESO volunteers and staff, join me at the RESO Fall Conference.   It’s a GREAT conference – it’s intimate so you can have meaningful conversations with brokers and their tech companies to learn how to get a competitive edge online. Register NOW New this Year!  Broker Business Solutions Workshop Standardized data is now being leveraged in practical ways to make it easier for brokers to expand into new markets, and make broker websites more engaging.  There will be a host of brokers on-stage talking about the marketing advantages and cost-savings being realized by using RESO Standards. REGISTER TODAY! Learn About These Exciting Business-Building Topics! Effective ways to capture the Green consumer How to tap into tomorrow’s online search The Brokerage of the Future with predictive analytics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence Capture significantly more leads with your mobile app and website. And many more….. REGISTER TODAY!  I look forward to seeing you there!

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Are You Guilty Of “Business As Usual Budgeting?”

by Marilyn Wilson on August 23, 2017

Bugdet Planning

How many of have been informed that need to spend the rest of your budget or its going to be reduced next year?   How many times have you blindly hit copy and paste and then added a bit for inflation and an unexpected project and then called it a day on your budgeting process?   If you’re walking somewhat blindly through your budgeting process then you’re practicing what we call “business-as-usual budgeting”. What’s that? Well, if your typical budgeting practice is to look at last year’s numbers and think, “OK, I spent $X on technology, salaries, support, IT and marketing this year. Let’s add 3 percent and call it good to go,” then you are, in fact, engaged in business as usual budgeting. And maybe this is the year you should admit it and reform yourself (and your budget) Business As Usual Budgeting Is Very Dangerous.  If all you’re doing is looking at last year’s expenditures and adding a little bump to each, then there’s a high likelihood that you may be spending money on some things that just don’t make sense anymore. You’re locking up dollars that could be used for more important items that you may be ignoring. Brokerages, Associations and MLSs are under attack today. There are tons of people that would like to see you simply go away so they could take over the industry. If you’re going to remain a leader for the long haul, you need to think fundamentally EVERY year about where you’re spending your money and WHY. Do You Have A Strategic Plan? Have you completed a strategic plan this year?   I don’t mean a business plan. I mean a deep, fundamental look at your businesses strengths and weaknesses – opportunities and threats.  If not, then how do you know where you’re going and what your key priorities are?  If you have not done a self-examination of your business then it’s going to be VERY difficult to build a benefit-based budget. Tie Your Budget To Your Strategic Plan If you have completed a strategic plan, then your budget should line up side by side with the key priorities that you have outlined. Make sure you set aside budget and resources to pursue every strategic goal with vigor – even those longer-term, less well-defined and scary ones. After all, there is no time like the present to pursue your larger dreams as a company. […]

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Broker Public Portal Update Webinar

by Victor Lund on August 17, 2017

As part of our commitment to keeping CMLS members informed about industry initiatives, we want you to know there will be an upcoming webinar for the Broker Public Portal. By sharing and encouraging awareness, CMLS supports unified leadership, open communication, and market knowledge within the industry. All The Questions You’ve Wanted To Ask About The Broker Public Portal, Answered Most people have heard about the Broker Public Portal and have questions about it. This webinar will allow you to ask your own questions and answer some common questions: What is the BPP? What is the relationship between the BPP and Homesnap? How much does it cost to join the BPP? What are the benefits of the BPP for MLSs, brokers and agents? Can the BPP actually compete with the large portals? How is listing data shared with consumers and agents in the BPP? At 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 24, CMLS will host a time for the Broker Public Portal to answer member questions. Denee Evans, CEO of CMLS, will join the conversation with Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES; Stephanie Hill, MLS director of GLVAR; and Merle Whitehead, chairman of the board, Broker Public Portal. ​If you have any questions for the panelists please email them to webinar@councilofmls.org. We will compile a list and get them over to the panelists prior to the webinar so they may be addressed. Be sure to register HERE!

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Homes.com Grabs Zillow Turf In New York City

by Victor Lund on August 9, 2017

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Homes.com signs direct agreement to receive REBNY’s Residential Listing Service feed Norfolk, Va. (August 9, 2017) – Homes.com®, the leading online real estate destination and provider of real estate marketing solutions, has announced that the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) will join Homes.com’s Data Partnership Program through a direct syndicated feed agreement with REBNY’s Residential Listing Service (RLS). The new partnership will offer the more than 600 New York City residential brokerage firms, comprised of 12,860 agents participating in REBNY’s RLS, the option to display their listings on Homes.com and utilize free exposure to their audience of more than 14 million transaction-ready consumers monthly. Homes.com will also provide RLS participants with access to the Homes.com Connect Lead System. The Homes.com Data Partnership Program is committed to the responsible display of residential for-sale and rental listing information by always promoting the listing agent and brokerage prominently on its listing detail pages, and always routing consumer inquiries directly to the listing agent. “We welcome Homes.com to our RLS Syndication network that is expanding the reach of comprehensive, reliable residential listing information to consumers searching for homes in New York City,” said John Banks, president of REBNY. “Partnerships with trusted real estate solutions platforms like Homes.com are a benefit to our members. This direct feed agreement demonstrates the importance of working together with partners like Homes.com to better serve all parties and the public.” The benefits provided by Homes.com’s Data Partnership Program include: Prominent Branding – Clear attribution and branding for the listing agent and broker on listing detail pages. Consumer Leads – All leads generated from listing detail pages are emailed directly to the listing agent. REBNY Branding – Prominent branding for REBNY’s RLS as the trusted source of the listing information. Direct Links – All listings on Homes.com can include “deep links” back to the broker’s website. Homes.com’s Data Partnership Program also includes all of the features of the Homes.com Connect Lead System: Contact, Lead, & Task Manager – Manage contacts and leads in one central platform. Central Lead Management – Aggregate leads from various sources into one central lead management system. Email Campaigns – Instantly add prospects to drip email campaigns. Social Prospecting – Aggregate contacts from major social networks. Agent and Broker Profiles – Prominent Homes.com branding with contact information, biographies, and links to agent and broker websites. com’s Q&A – Instantly connect with consumers asking real […]

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Are you Taking Your Subscribers for Granted?

by Marilyn Wilson on August 8, 2017

Asking for feedback can be one of the hardest things we do as adults, especially if you know that feedback is going to be at least a little bit critical. Nobody likes to be told what they’re doing wrong. However, there’s a big mistake that many service organizations make — The mistake? Neglecting to actively solicit feedback from their customers regarding satisfaction with their services. How do you know if you’re delivering good service if you’re not asking your members or subscribers? ? You’re taking money from them on a regular basis. Even if they don’t have a better option in your market, you still have a responsibility to understand how they feel about you. Minimally, every MLS should be conducting an annual customer satisfaction benchmarking study. Ideally the surveys will  maintain some percentage of questions from year to year to help them benchmark  satisfaction trends over time — technology satisfaction, technology adoption, customer support satisfaction, training satisfaction and more — and also pepper in questions about new service levels. And here’s something you might not have considered: Overall, most of your clients are probably pretty happy with your services. In every case where we’ve ever done customer satisfaction benchmarking, we’ve found that generally, satisfaction is strong — but what it does for every company is it gives them a window into their weaknesses, and they start to identify the areas where they can be stronger. If you conduct an annual survey and use it to eliminate your two biggest weaknesses every year, then in three years, your company is going to be much t stronger. Another benefit to customer satisfaction surveys: You can discover who, specifically, is not happy with your service — and once you find out who they are, you can call and contact them individually and give them the  one-on-one attention they’re looking for Usually the unhappy group makes up less than 1 percent of your total customer base, and they’re often complaining about something that annoys or frustrates other subscribers  too. So focusing on and fixing those problems will also elevate your customer satisfaction — and your relevance in the market — over time. Customer satisfaction is ultimately your biggest protection against market disruption, If you have an engaged customer base who loves you and feels like you’re there to work with them and help solve their problems, it’ll be a lot harder for any […]

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Exciting news was announced today! Clareity has been purchased by CoreLogic. CoreLogic purchased the security company and the consulting company. Gregg and the entire Clareity team became part of the CoreLogic family effective today. WAV Group congratulates both companies. What it means for the industry….. I reached out to a few people to get their opinions and here is what I found. Inman News Summary – For the most part, this acquisition will be business as usual for all clients of Clareity. For obvious reasons, a lot of the comparative services that Clareity has provided will be carefully considered – ie – vendor selection or maybe MLS competitive survey. They are not shuttering the consulting services. Matt Cohen’s opinion is that CoreLogic intends to maintain the same policies with Clareity supporting competing MLS systems. Clareity will join Realist, ePropertyWatch, Listing Data Checker, Trestle, and the many other products that can service any MLS regardless of the core system. We will just carry on as usual. David Friedman, CEO of Boston Logic commented that he “did not know they were shopping.” Boston Logic is actively acquiring real estate technology companies and recently announced the acquisition of Property Base on June 1st of this year. The transaction was somewhat significant, but not reported. WAV Group’s surprise was that the companies have decided not to release the price of the transaction or the revenue of Clareity at the time of the transaction.  CoreLogic’s auditors probably set a threshold on material acquisitions that may not have been pierced. However, WAV Group suspects that the terms of the transaction could be shared publicly or filed with the SEC within a reasonable amount of time. CoreLogic is meticulous and hygienic when it comes to the obligations of a public company. Keep your eyes peeled. Ken Jenny pointed out that “Clareity Security’s prime feature is insuring tat every agent pays for MLS access. I suspect that Clareity Security is installed on most CoreLogic accounts. If nothing else, CoreLogic will be assured that they get paid for every seat in the MLS. I whish MLSs would invest as much in protecting data. The biggest security breach is going out via data feeds. MLSs should worry about that as a priority rather than a few real estate agents not paying the dues. The MLS is a very unsecure place to keep data.” Stefan Swanepoel had no comment but encourages […]

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Technology Provides Seamless Authentication Across Multiple Platforms IRVINE, Calif., August 2, 2017—CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, announced today that the company has added Clareity Security software solutions to its suite of Real Estate Solutions products. This addition expands the range of CoreLogic technology services to Multiple Listing Organizations and Associations in North America as well as product offerings for brokerages and their agents. Clareity® is identified as an industry leader in secure identity and access management.  Serving over eight hundred fifty thousand real estate professionals daily delivering over two hundred fifty application and service integrations. Clareity’s flagship product, SAFEMLS®, has been serving multiple listing organizations for a dozen years and its popular, custom-branded dashboard platforms serve hundreds of multiple listing organizations, associations, and brokerages across North America and will now do so using the CoreLogic solutions. All Clareity products and services are now part of CoreLogic, including their software solutions for secure authentication; single-sign-on (SSO); integration and workflow automations; secure messaging and communication; content management and business intelligence. “The Real Estate industry is full of visionary tech companies driving all of us forward,” said Chris Bennett, executive leader of Real Estate Solutions for CoreLogic. “Every day, a cutting-edge app or web service is introduced to agents and brokers to help them find and serve customers. The addition of Clareity solutions to the CoreLogic Real Estate Solutions suite helps tech companies deliver those innovative tools to users more transparently. We think our mutual cultures of commitment to moving our industry forward through innovation is a terrific catalyst for the benefit of our customers.” Gregg Larson, founder and CEO of Clareity, who will be joining the CoreLogic executive team states, “We’re thankful for our employees, customers, and integration partners for their continued trust in Clareity. We’re confident that CoreLogic’s dedication to customer centered innovation will help fuel the growth and enhancement of the Clareity line of solutions.” 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 […]

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