REALTOR

RESO Continues to Expand it’s Influence and Leadership

by Marilyn Wilson on August 2, 2016

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The dedicated staff at the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) and thousands of volunteers from companies across the globe have labored away at the arduous task of creating consistent data standards to be used by all MLSs, technology companies and brokerages.  They have set the stage for a ton more efficiency and innovation in our industry. The RESO Data Dictionary is now available through nearly 550 MLSs across the country serving nearly 1.2mm REALTORS® today and the RETS data transportation standard has been adopted by every MLS organization and successfully utilized over the past 16 years since its inception. RESO’s hard work and success at creating a consistent method for transmitting and displaying real estate information is designed to help brokers be able to expand into markets more easily and to help technology companies move quickly to add new features that will help brokers differentiate themselves and provide more value to real estate consumers while reducing the complexities of support at the local MLS level. The RESO organization has done such a good job of creating awareness and adoption of its real estate data standards and formalizing official certification programs for all RESO standards that it has attracted many other standards organizations. RESO is expanding its leadership role to ensure all aspects of real estate are covered by one cohesive collection of data standards. Today, RESO partners with a myriad of real estate standards organizations creating an umbrella of standards that will help the real estate thrive. RESO enjoys an impressive list of partnerships with the Department of Energy, the National Multi-Family Housing Council and their Multifamily Information and Transactions Standards (MITS), the mortgage industry with the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization,(MISMO) the Building Industry with the Building and Land Development Standards (BLDS).  These collaborations make it easier for brokers to participate in multifamily sales, green home sales, mortgage transactions and new home sales.  In addition, RESO is a member within OASIS, ensuring the real estate industry leverages global technology standards that complement the needs of the real estate industry. Art Carter, CEO of the California Regional MLS and Chairman of the RESO Board shared this with us,  “RESO has worked long and hard to lead the way when it comes to real estate standards in our industry and we are thrilled to have become the de Facto leader of real estate standards in our industry.  The partnerships we have […]

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Howard Hanna Promotes 5700 REALTORS on Realtor.com

by Victor Lund on June 26, 2014

Today’s real estate broker faces some difficult decisions when it comes to online advertising. The choices are often predicated upon what your competition is doing; what sellers demand; traffic and leads generated by your website or franchise website; website owner terms of use; who gets the lead; who pays – agent or broker. It is really quite a mess. It is so bad, that many large firms have walked away from it entirely and leave it up to the agent. Other firms have taken the proverbial bull by the horn and worked hard to market listings online is a very controlled and purposeful fashion. Howard Hanna is one of those brokers. About Howard Hanna Howard Hanna is among the most dominant online marketing brokers in America. In their core cities of Pittsburgh and Cleveland – traffic to their broker website is greater than the national sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Homes.com (Hitwise). But Howard Hanna stretches well beyond those two metropolitan areas. The firm covers most of Pennsylvania, most of Ohio, and parts of Virginia, Michigan, upstate New York, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland (169 offices in total). They are the 4th largest firm in North America trading 52,827 homes and $9.7 billion in closed sales in 2013. Howard Hanna is also a full service firm offering consumers services in Mortgage, Title, and Insurance. An important component of the Realtor.com arrangement is not only that broker competition is not displayed on a Howard Hanna listing, but neither is any other competition from home services companies. Howard Hanna listings are generating leads for all of the affiliated companies they have. The effort also extends to the Realtor.com mobile application too. What is important about this announcement is that it is a renewal. Howard Hanna executive, Hoby Hanna made a statement made a statement about their online strategy back in February of 2012 announcing a partnership with Zillow and with Realtor.com http://youtu.be/ec2kJj-z2_I when the firm committed more than $500,000 to effort. In 2012, the decision the firm made was a bit of a well calculated and well researched test. They did not know what the outcomes would be. Clearly the renewal is a signal that the strategy has been successful. In addition to the link back to howardhanna.com, this image shows most of the 8 key additional areas of promotion Howard Hanna is purchasing on Realtor.com – it is like […]

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Broker Owned Portal

by Victor Lund on June 24, 2014

I have had a lot of interesting conversations with Associations of REALTORS, Broker groups, MLSs and REALTORS about portals. The same conversation has gone on for years. Used properly, they can be productive tools for online marketing. Used poorly, they can be a problem. A chief concern among brokers is that they do not participate in the revenue from the success that portals have. Simply stated, brokers understand that content has value and they recognize that others are realizing that value on the backs of their data assets. Feel free to agree or disagree. Real estate brokers around the world have the same heartburn. In Australia they are planning to do something about it. http://www.rebonline.com.au/breaking-news/7798-industry-portal-launch-imminent-networks-revealed They are starting a broker owned portal. I guess that I am not sure why portals – including those operated by MLSs and Associations – do not simply pay brokers a revenue share – or at least issue them a credit relative to the content that they are issued.  If you issue a credit – you preserve pesky tax reporting. I know brokers who own their MLS and they own the MLS consumer facing website and they love the profits they reap. Investments yield rewards. Do you think that they hate their MLS? Not a bit. Do you think that they hate the MLS consumer website that they own? Not a bit. They love their MLS and they love their MLS Consumer Website. The reality is that these firms who are participating in Australia may or may not actually be participating. I have seen this sort of conversation before. The press release is designed to get participation. You can bet that the phone is ringing off the hook from brokers who do not want to be left behind. We will need to wait and see if it will be successful. Whenever it comes to brokers writing checks to start a portal, their arms get short – but venture capitalists have no problem taking the risk. Because brokers do not invest, they get written out of the deal. The reality is that brokers are divided. The only way that they can truly accomplish lofty goals like a broker-owned portal is to agree and to invest. That has yet to materialize. For the record – I personally invest in portals through venture funds and through investment funds. I keep trying to find an opportunity to short them […]

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Reproposed QRM rule eliminates down payment requirement

by Victor Lund on September 5, 2013

The relationship between home buyers and mortgage banks if fundamental to real estate. Nothing can be more of a barrier to home ownership then a big down payment requirement. The National Association of REALTORS® indicates that the average American family would need to save for 25 years to afford a 30% down payment on a home loan. Without a change in this requirement, the rule would have taken effect on January 1st, removing access to loans for half of America. The National Association of REALTORS® has been in congress fighting hard to strike the minimum downpayment requirement of 20% on Qualified Residential Loans. They were battling against the Consumer Protection Bureau. Today, it was announced that the minimum downpayment requirement was stricken from the QRM rules. The rules are still tough on lenders, but this effectively avoids a January shut down in real estate sales that was predicted if the QRM rule went into effect with the downpayment rule in effect on January 1st. NAR President Gary Thomas has made this a significant component of his term in office. Great Job! Here is the NAR announcement http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2013/08/statement-from-nar-president-gary-thomas-on-qualified-residential-mortgage-rule Next time you wonder what NAR does for real estate, point to this. Its is a huge win.

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The Future of Anything

by Victor Lund on May 30, 2013

I would attribute the series of postures on The Future of the MLS to Saul Klein. He may not have been the first to coin the phrase, but he has embraced it and made it his own. It is with due respect that we leave that posturing behind and set forth on a new journey. Our industry is at an inflection point, and my fear is that we are too blinded by current affairs to look beyond the steps in front of us. This morning, I encountered a quote from Antoine de Saint Exupery, a French writer, poet, and aviator who lived from 1900 to 1944. I did not take the time to research the setting for the quote, but it really does not matter because I want to use it to frame a new strategy for our industry leaders. “Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.” I pecked out an industry overview of the governance of MLSs earlier this week. You can view it here if you like. I did not expect the flow of phone calls and emails. Apparently there are only a few people that are keenly aware of how different or fractured the governance of MLSs can be in America. Most brokers did not even know the governance of their MLS. It is a strange fog. Lets turn now to the key insights gathered in the rethink program. rethink is an organized effort to modify strategic planning at NAR. Here are the key insights presented at NAR Mid-year. I will provide commentary through the lens of enabling the future. Restructure Data and MLS Systems National MLS Take back REALTOR.com Be the Source for Big Data It would be a far reach for a trade association to morph itself into a data services company. This is the providence of brokers, not associations. Brokers are the group that need to enable the future of the MLS, online advertising, and big data. I would love to write the action plan for this. By the way – the action plan would likely retain local MLSs and REALTOR.com – but change them. Most MLSs and REALTOR.com have extraordinary talents at providing their services. It would be a mistake to restructure data and MLS systems without retaining the experience and talents of those service providers today. The real restructuring that needs to occur is broker involvement in […]

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Move releases the new Realtor.com Brand

by Victor Lund on March 5, 2013

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We have seen some re-branding released recently from leading real estate consumer brands. Today we see the release of the new Realtor.com – where home happens. Last year saw the rebirth of Century 21 – Stronger, Bolder, Faster. These are very well recognized consumer brands. MOVE EVP Marketing, Barbara O’Connor and her team took a close look at the Realtor.com brand within a year of her arrival at the company. I am excited to see how this new treatment works out. I can assure you that they have likely exhausted focus groups to predictably make a selection that reaches their target with both consumers and the industry. Presumably they had the additional challenge of NAR review, since the REALTOR brand comes through the license agreement. It is an interesting challenge to blend someone another company brand into your brand. I think that O’Connor and team did a great job. I like it. Beverly Thorne and her team at Century 21 led the charge for their initiative following a similar pattern. It is common for a new marketing leader to take a good look at the brand in their first year in office. As the custodian of a brand, great marketers establish a clear and measured understanding of what they have inherited. Both Century 21 and realtor.com appeal to consumers and agents alike. It makes branding hard. At once you are appealing to a 35 year old consumer and a 54 year old REALTOR ® Here’s a few thoughts from Andrew Strickman, VP Brand & Creative at move, Inc. “As we heighten our focus on developing a rich consumer experience and creating an emotional attachment to our audience, we recognized that it was time to update our realtor.com branding, positioning and tagline. We conducted extensive research and spoke with consumers from across the country as key input to the development of our revised logo and new site look and feel.  We heard from them that a valued online real estate brand is one that embraces the notion of home — whether that home is their first rental out of college, or the 3-bedroom house that marks the beginning of a new family growing out of their starter home. Most online real estate brands feel clinical, data- and machine-driven and do not have a human feel, even though they are all about creating connections with real human beings. Our role with this […]

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While brokers have lots of technology tools at their fingertips today, a high impact website is still a critical tool driving success for any size real estate company.  Third parties continue to gain traction and traffic with consumers because they know what consumers are looking for and they deliver on their needs consistently!  If brokers want to become THE source for real estate consumers, they need to find ways to enhance and re-invent their own web presence. Brokers also need to learn about how to use their online presence to nurture new customer relationships for their agents. RED and RE Technology are working together to host a really interesting webinar to help brokers learn how to make their online presence work much harder for them and become the preferred choice of consumers online. In less than an hour, learn how you can start to drive more traffic to your site, improve your consumer experience and turn visitors into leads! Take advantage of this FREE webinar and learn how to make your online spending work much harder for you. Here’s just a few of the tips and tricks you will be learn in this action-packed hour: Don’t waste a consumer’s time…understand the top 5 behaviors! See the “Make or Break Page” Learn the key performance indicators for your site Opportunities in “Organic Search” Today’s SEO: Think Beyond the Link Understand what the user – the consumer – really wants Date:Monday,  November 5th Time: 11 am Pacific, 12 noon Mountain, 1pm Central and 2 pm Eastern Time   Speakers David Camp, RED Platform Expert Real Estate Digital Corey Quinn VP, Business Development The Search Agency, Inc.  

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BHI Logo

WAV Group saw this news release come across the wire today.  What we would like to see is a much stronger collaboration between home builders and REALTOR organizations. Just about every area in the country is low on inventory right now. Why not partner with homebuilders to offer up their inventory. The industry can work with the homebuilders to be sure that REALTORS are getting adequately compensated for the work they do with builders.  Associations can also provide training to agents to teach them how to work effectively and professionally with homebuilders.  Homebuilders have been forced to go it alone to encourage consumers to buy new homes because we have not created this relationship.  See the press release below: Builder Homesite, Inc. (BHI), an Austin-based consortium comprised of 32 of the nation’s largest home builders, announced today the launch of a new initiative to positively influence public perception of new construction homes. The new initiative represents a significant industry first, supporting home construction as an entire industry and uniting home builders nationwide. This multi-year, multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaign is aimed at increasing preference for new construction homes among potential home buyers who are comparing new homes with existing homes. In collaboration with advertising agency GSD&M, BHI has developed a campaign focused on redefining the “new” in new home. The initial campaign launch is driven by digital advertising cleverly demonstrating the many benefits of new construction homes. Future campaign elements will include a comprehensive website, produced and user-generated videos, interactive games and other tools that highlight the joy and freedom of new home ownership. “We understand that consumers today face a wealth of choices when it comes to buying a home,” said Tim Costello, president and chief executive officer of Builder Homesite, Inc. “New homes offer many advantages for today’s modern home buyer, however, many consumers simply aren’t aware of the benefits of new home ownership. Our goal is to arm prospective buyers with the tools needed to make an educated decision that best fits their needs and lifestyle.” Research conducted by BHI in partnership with Hanley Wood revealed that buyers shopping for a home are most interested in lower cost of living through lower maintenance, improved energy efficiency, modern floor plans suited for today’s family and superior construction quality. Existing homes are often outdated and unpredictable, requiring home owners to make little compromises which often lead to costly repairs […]

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MLSs are under siege right now.  Since they control the most consistent and profitable cash flow source in the industry, they are very attractive targets.  They need to continue to innovate to increase their value and relevance since many are chipping away at their positions right now. It’s clear from the work we’ve done with MLSs. Data quality and comprehensiveness is the core value proposition common to all MLSs. No other organization has figured out a way to deliver the breadth and depth of quality real estate information that MLSs offer today.  Even well financed venture-backed start-ups have not figured out a better way to gather, aggregate and report property information than the MLSs currently own and control.  It doesn’t mean that many organizations aren’t trying to steal energy, budgets and eyeballs away from MLSs, however. Every time another organization becomes “THE” go to place for real estate information, REALTORS® and the MLS organizations that serve them are weakened at some level.

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Great Vendors Embrace Rules

by Victor Lund on November 22, 2011

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There has been a lot of conversational concern about companies that enter into new verticals of data management and service offerings. Four such instances were announced this year. REALTORS® Property Resource contracts with LPS for data services and LPS subcontracts to Real Estate Digital. Zillow purchased an IDX vendor, Diverse Solutions. MOVE purchased Threewide, the providers of the popular Listhub syndication service. CoreLogic launched a new appraisal tool leveraging MLS data. In every case, the vendor has been virtuous and adhered to contracts and data use rules. In each of these cases, many feared that data could be misused or abused. But, thus far, there have not been any discoveries of inappropriate behavior.

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Putting the teeth back into the REALTOR® Brand

by Marilyn Wilson on November 21, 2011

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Real estate agents in our industry spend millions of dollars as a group annually to become a REALTOR® and to stay a member of the REALTOR® family. As someone who cut their teeth working with some of the most highly trusted brands in the world like Fisher-Price, Sesame Street and others, I have a few observations of the real estate industry’s branding efforts. First, when I ask most REALTORS® what makes them different than non-REALTORS® they say “the code of ethics”. While I appreciate the fact that those that live to the letter of the code of ethics may treat their customers differently, I would beg to differ that the code of ethics is a strong brand differentiator. Consumers expect every licensed real estate agent to live by a standard of service that includes integrity, honesty and above board practices. Wouldn’t you lose your license if you demonstrated unethical or even unprofessional business methods? I don’t believe the code of ethics “cuts it” as a key brand differentiator.

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Melanie Blakeney Selected as MAAR’s New Leader

by Marilyn Wilson on August 29, 2011

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MEMPHIS, Tenn., August 25, 2011 – Today the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors named Melanie Blakeney as its Executive Vice President, effective Dec. 1, 2011. She succeeds long-time Executive Vice President Jules Wade, who will be retiring this fall. Blakeney currently is Executive Vice President over MAAR’s Commercial Council and MLS. She came to MAAR in 1999 from the Lafayette Board of REALTORS® in Louisiana, where for a decade she served as President/CEO. Previously, she was Executive Officer over the Norman Board of REALTORS® in Oklahoma. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

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KIRKLAND, WA — (MARKET WIRE) — 08/03/11 — Market Leader (NASDAQ: LEDR) (http://www.MarketLeader.com), a leader in online marketing and technology solutions for real estate professionals, today launched Market Insider, a comprehensive, powerful and innovative set of tools to brand agents as the neighborhood expert, keep prospects coming back to their website, and drive greater loyalty and sales from customers and referrals. Market Insider engages home buyers and sellers with customized, up-to-date reports of home sales, trends, demographics and side-by-side statistics on their favorite neighborhoods. This detailed, local market data is available for consumers to browse on the agent’s website, and can also be sent via monthly e-newsletters. Market Insider is fully integrated into the Market Leader software platform.

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LPS Applied Analytics Introduces LPS Home Price Index

by Marilyn Wilson on July 11, 2011

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – July 7, 2011 – Lender Processing Services, Inc. (NYSE: LPS), a leading provider of mortgage and real estate technology, data and analytics, today announced that its LPS Applied Analytics division has introduced the LPS Home Price Index (HPI). The LPS HPI shows historical price trends for residential properties in the United States, offering cost-effective estimates of property values that underlie residential mortgage portfolios and securities.

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RE Technology (www.retechnology.com), the leading media site for the real estate technology industry, has become a daily resource for many MLS professionals, brokers, and agents. Their already-rich array of content is now being augmented with an exciting new column: “Follow the Leader.”

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Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS

WAV Group has been retained to hire a new Chief Executive Officer for the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS®. The job description is listed here. If you have any questions about the position, feel free to drop me a line at marilyn@wavgroup.com. ORGANIZATIONAL DESCRIPTION: The Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® is the 6th largest real estate association in the United States serving over 11,000 members with a strong breadth of MLS services and Association benefits.

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