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Listing Bits

Greg Robertson, co-founder of W+R Studios and publisher of Vendor Alley, talks real estate technology with the people who are shaping it.
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Oct 31, 2018

ShowingTime was built to help people buy homes more efficiently by making the process of scheduling a showing much easier. Since it was founded 18 years ago, the company has grown to include a family of technology products that serve MLSs, brokers and agents in the areas of showing management and market statistics.

Mike Lane is the Co-Founder and President of ShowingTime, the most widely used showing management service provider in the market. ShowingTime serves 1M agents and 200 MLSs, scheduling up to 5M showings per month. Mike has been with the company since its inception in 2000, and he continues to head its sales and marketing divisions and serve as the primary contact for MLS clients and large brokers. A former Naval Officer and seasoned athlete, Mike has competed in a number of triathlons, including three IRONMAN races, and he holds an MBA and Master’s in Engineering Management from Northwestern.

Today, Mike explains how ShowingTime facilitates the scheduling of showings by way of its online calendar and call center. He describes the company’s evolution, discussing how they got into market stats as a complement to their core business. Mike covers the ShowingTime Index, explaining how agents might leverage the information and what showing activity reveals about market demand. Listen in for insight on ShowingTime’s business model and learn what the company is doing to reach brokers and agents, remove the hurdles to ordering online, and navigate the complexities of bundling—and unbundling—its products and services.

What’s Discussed: 

How ShowingTime facilitates online scheduling of showings

How the ShowingTime call center unburdens brokers/agents

How Mike got into the real estate software business

ShowingTime’s acquisition of 10K Research and RBI MRIS

How agents might leverage the ShowingTime Index

How showing activity reveals demand in the market

Mike’s insight on the predicted turn in the market

ShowingTime’s focus on supporting mobile adoption

ShowingTime’s ability to facilitate reverse prospecting

How ShowingTime serves MLSs, brokers and agents

How to reach brokers and agents via online marketing

Vendor efforts to remove the hurdles to ordering online

The complexities of bundling products/services for REALTORS

 

Resources:

 

RESO Conference

Cloud Agent Suite

10K Research

RealEstate Business Intelligence

Greg’s Blog on MarketView

ShowingTime’s Showing Index

Zillow Research

 

Connect with Mike Lane:

 

ShowingTime

Mike on LinkedIn

Oct 30, 2018

Tim Dain has a reputation for being the ‘mad scientist’ of the MLS world. He is not afraid to challenge established systems and ask WHY things are done a certain way. Tim facilitates innovation by assigning a creative writing piece, commissioning a study or building a spreadsheet—and then implementing the best ideas with a commitment to being of service.

 

Tim is the President and CEO of MARIS MLS, a multiple listing service out of St. Louis that serves 13 REALTOR associations, 58 counties and more than 13K members. A seasoned MLS executive with a unique resume, Tim spent two years running the Austin Board of REALTORS and four years as Executive Director of SIR/MLS prior to joining MARIS. Tim has a background in information technology, and he has served the real estate industry in multiple roles since 2006.

 

Today, Tim explains why he is not afraid to disrupt established systems and shares the improvise-adapt-overcome leadership mantra he learned in the Marines. He offers insight around the redesign of the MARIS MLS website in collaboration with 1000watt, describing the skills development video library featured on the site. Tim addresses his work to rebuild the infrastructure at MARIS, offering insight on his essentialist approach to technology tools and his commitment to service over shiny objects. Listen in for Tim’s take on the current plight of the broker and learn about his dedication to facilitating an honest dialogue around industry challenges—and publishing the unscripted answers.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Tim’s reputation as the mad scientist of the MLS world

MARIS’s marketplace approach to the board structure

Why Tim is not afraid to disrupt established systems

Tim’s improvise-adapt-overcome leadership mantra

The redesign of MARIS’s web presence with 1000watt

  • Related content to continue learning process
  • Video library tied to skills development

Tim’s work to rebuild the infrastructure at MARIS MLS

Negotiating price vs. subsidizing tech for small brokerages

The essentialist approach to MLS technology tools

Tim’s commitment to make basics available at a low cost

Why service should be the Holy Grail of the MLS

AMP’s origins in a thought exercise re: small MLSs

Tim’s view of the consumer as the ‘lion over the hill’

How the MARIS Asksseries facilitates an honest dialogue

 

Resources:

 

RESO Conference

1000watt

Cloud Agent Suite

Bright MLS

Clareity DASH

Salesforce

Tim’s Infrastructure Spreadsheet

The Buckminster Fuller Institute

Bill Chee’s ‘Lions Over the Hill’

MARIS Asks

 

Connect with Tim Dain:

 

MARIS MLS

Tim on LinkedIn

Oct 29, 2018

Let’s say you have your heart set on a kitchen with hardwood flooring, natural light and an island. Imagine having the ability to search images on the MLS for those specific features. With advancements in artificial intelligence, it is possible to have software read the images, identify the room type and even recognize the objects in it! There are an infinite number of use cases for the real estate industry and Restb.ai is quickly becoming a leader in the space. 

 

Dominik Pogorzelski is the Vice President of Product and Operations for Restb.ai, a machine learning computer vision company specializing in visual recognition for real estate. The company’s plug-and-play solutions employ AI to automatically tag and classify property photos with industry-specific information. Dominik earned his MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona.

 

Today, Dominik discusses the societal shift to consume information in a digital way, explaining Restb.ai’s ability to filter images by room, features and amenities. He offers insight around the potential use cases for AI in real estate and the technology’s ability to unlock the data available in images and create value in a number of ways. Dominik describes how the pain points in the online ecosystem differ between Europe and the US, and he addresses the decision to apply Restb.ai’s technology to historical data or active listings. Listen in for insight on how an MLS might establish a partnership with Restb.ai and learn why AI is the next big thing in real estate technology.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Restb.ai’s niche as an AI company playing in the real estate space

Dominik’s path to Barcelona and his role as VP at Restb.ai

Restb.ai’s client base in Europe, Canada and the United States

How Restb.ai’s AI filters images by room, features and amenities

The societal shift to consume digital information in a visual way

The potential applications of AI tech for real estate professionals

AI’s ability to unlock the data available in images and create value

How Restb.ai could automate the compliance review process

The moral obligation AI companies have to the industries they serve

The horizontal players in the space vs. the specialists like Restb.ai

How the online ecosystem in Europe differs from that of the US

  • No central source in Europe like US MLS
  • Duplicate listings, competitor watermarks

The technical aspects of establishing a partnership with Restb.ai

The decision to apply Restb.ai to active listings vs. historical data

 

Resources:

 

RESO Conference

MLSOK

TLCengine

 

Connect with Dominik Pogorzelski:

 

Restb.ai

Email: dominik@restb.ai

Oct 29, 2018

As real estate professionals spend less and less time in the office and real estate offices host fewer and fewer walk-ins, you might start to question the merit of spending top dollar for office space in a high-rent district. What if you saved that money and reinvested it in agent services? What if you could build a full-service brokerage in the virtual world, conducting business and meeting with colleagues in VR?

 

Cameron Paine is the Senior Vice President of Industry Relations at eXp Realty, the world’s most successful virtual, full-service brokerage. eXp invests the money saved by having very few offices into the technology that helps its agents stay relevant. In his role as Senior VP, Cameron is responsible for seeking collaboration opportunities with MLSs, Associations, brokerages and technology partners. Camron’s resume includes 15-plus years combined experience as top executive for an MLS and Association, and he has been recognized by Inman Newsas one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate.

 

Today, Cameron shares eXp’s decision to invest in change rather than fight it. He explains how a progressive MLS facilitates a broker’s ability to do business and offers insight around the innovative joint system between Arizona Regional and Metro MLS. Listen in to understand how eXp helps its agents build wealth by investing in the company and learn how the brokerage is creating a virtual world for its employees and partners!

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

eXp’s decision to invest in change rather than fight it

How eXp serves as a virtual, full-service brokerage

How eXp agents build wealth by investing in the company

The benefits of running a brokerage without office space

Cameron’s background in MLS and Association leadership

How a progressive MLS facilitates a broker’s ability to do business

The innovative joint system between Arizona Regional and Metro MLS

Greg’s argument for a New Jersey and Palm Beach MLS data share

Cameron’s responsibilities as SVP of Industry Relations at eXp

  • Collaborations with other brokerages
  • Opportunities with tech vendors

How eXp was designed for agents as a tech-forward brokerage

How eXp has created a virtual world for employees and partners

 

Resources:

 

Russ Bergeron

ARMLS|Metro MLS

 

Connect with Cameron Paine:

eXp Realty

Cameron on LinkedIn

Oct 24, 2018

Talk of standards adoption at the recent RESO conference in Milwaukee sounded much like the conversation last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. So, how do we move beyond discussing the reasons for converting to Web API and begin to execute on that plan? What might vendors do to help facilitate a little less talk—and a lot more action? 

 

Mike Wurzer is the President and CEO of FBS, a leading innovator of MLS technology and one of the most respected real estate software brands. Andy Woolley is the VP of Industry Development for Homes.com, one of the nation’s top online real estate destinations and provider of tech solutions for the industry. In addition, Mike is the Vice Chair of RESO, and Andy serves on the Board of CMLS. They join Greg live from RESO Conference 2018to discuss the need for a shift in the conversation from the WHY of RESO standards adoption to actual implementation.

 

Mike explains how the platinum data-dictionary certification stands in the way and addresses the need for education around how to access the credential manager. Andy describes what his team is doing to facilitate the transition to Web API, sharing his intention to publish a follow-up to the whitepaperdetailing the first few conversions. They also cover the complexities around efforts to do away with replication and their responsibilities as established vendors to promote Web API adoption. Listen in for insight around developing a plan for conversion and learn how trusted vendors might work together to help their customers move forward—faster.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Greg’s frustration with the panel on standards at the RESO conference

How MLS platinum data-dictionary certification is a barrier to adoption

The need to move past a discussion of the WHY to implementation

The need for education around how to access the credential manger

What Andy’s team is doing to facilitate the shift to Web API

Mike’s solution to the issue of renegotiating licensing agreements

Andy’s case study of the first few conversions + the proposed follow-up

The complexities around efforts to do away with replication

  • Other methodologies better than Web API
  • Software developers expect copy of data

The responsibilities of established vendors in promoting API adoption

  • Serve customers, push MLSs to make feeds available
  • Implementation = fewer maintenance, data quality issues

Mike’s insight on how the API makes lead data available in all apps

Why every established vendor should have a plan for conversion

The pros and cons of creating a deadline when RETS will stop working

 

Resources:

 

RESO Conference

CoreLogic Trestle

Spark API

Black Knight

Andy’s Case Study

 

Connect with Mike Wurzer:

 

FBS IDX Solutions

Mike on LinkedIn

RESO

 

Connect with Andy Woolley:

 

Homes.com

Andy on LinkedIn

CMLS

Oct 9, 2018

How do MLS executives make decisions around which technology solutions work best for their REALTOR-members? What motivates leadership to establish a system of choice? Are there benefits to offering agents options when it comes to MLS solutions? And what are the challenges associated with giving members more alternatives?

DaVina Lara is the CEO of the Oakland/Berkeley Association of REALTORSand bridgeMLS. Her career in real estate began working for Russ Bergeron at SoCalMLS in 1993. Since then, she has served as an association executive with both the Hemet San Jacinto and Palm Springs Regional Association of REALTORS. DaVina took on the role of OBAR CEO in August of 2015 and added the MLS leadership responsibilities in April of 2016. She is committed to providing members with access to reliable data through innovative technology, offering subscribers access to 10-plus MLSs across California.

Today, DaVina shares her extensive industry resume, discussing her early years as the office manager for SoCalMLS through her current role as MLS and association executive. She explains the thinking behind her decision to implement a system of choice and what impressed her about the dynaConnections’ connectMLS system. Listen in for DaVina’s insight around the pros and cons of offering members additional technology options and learn more about the trend to separate listing input from MLS systems. 

What’s Discussed: 

DaVina’s early years as the office manager for OCMLS

DaVina’s extensive resume in the real estate industry

Why DaVina is establishing a system of choice

DaVina’s goals as the CEO of bridgeMLS

  1. Change name, reputation
  2. Improve governance structure
  3. More advanced technology

The advantages of dynaConnections’ connectMLS system

  • Give members options
  • Great mobile site
  • Phenomenal service

How data is shared in SoCal vs. the Bay Area

DaVina’s plan to provide connectMLS training

The trend to separate listing input from MLS systems

The relationship between choices and support challenges

Resources:

Cloud MLX

dynaConnections

connectMLS

Bridge Interactive

Paragon

BOOST MLS Staff Summit

 

Connect with DaVina Lara: 

DaVina on LinkedIn

bridgeMLS

Oakland/Berkeley Association of REALTORS

Oct 8, 2018

How does design impact a real estate brokerage? Does it go beyond aesthetics to influence processes? How does quality design shape the user experience? And what are the benefits of an in-house creative team?

Matt Beall is the CEO and Principal Broker at Hawai’i Life, the state’s largest listing brokerage with over $25M in annual revenue across 13 commercial locations. He founded Hawai’i Life in 2008 to solve for representation of properties in marketing and digital technology, and now the firm does thousands of transactions each year, representing approximately $1B in sales. Matt also produces the Worthshop Series, a unique industry event designed to facilitate content and conversation among real estate’s brightest minds, and he serves as the cohost of HGTV’s popular reality show Hawaii Life.

Today, Matt shares his diverse experience in real estate, discussing how his background in sales, investing and running a traditional brokerage inspired him to found Hawai’i Life and what differentiates the company from other firms in the space. He explains the value of design in creating a clean and simple user experience and his decision to employ a full-time team of creatives and engineers. Matt also describes the benefits of being featured on HGTV in terms of brand awareness and credibility. Listen in for a preview of this year’s Worthshop at Mauna Kea Resort and learn how the design focus at Hawai’i Life contributes to its company culture. 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Matt’s background running a traditional brokerage

What inspired Matt to found Hawai’i Life in 2008

Hawai’i Life’s recent merger with Joy International

Why Matt employs a full-time creative design team

Hawai’i Life’s focus on simplicity in user experience

The benefits of being featured on HGTV

The aim of Hawai’i Life’s annual Worthshop Series

What differentiates Worthshopfrom other conferences

The key aspects of Hawai’i Life’s company culture

How an ‘ethos of reset’ influences the tone of Worthshop

 

Resources:

Wake Interactive

Hawaii Life on HGTV

Worthshop Series

CMLS 2018

 

Connect with Matt Beall:

Hawai’i Life

Matt on LinkedIn

Worthshop 8

Sep 24, 2018

How does a tech company maintain a startup mentality after nearly five decades in the real estate space? Rapattoni has held on to its spirit of independence since its inception, embracing change and demonstrating a pride of ownership that is rare in the tech industry.

 

Brian Tepfer is the Executive Vice President and CTO of Rapattoni, a 48-year-old startup that offers a suite of innovative software products and services designed specifically for real estate associations and MLSs. In his role, Brian is responsible for shaping the future vision of the company’s MLS and AMS software platforms and keeping Rapattoni’s products relevant and useful. He has been with Rapattoni since 2003, serving as Technical Operations Manager and Business Processes Manager before his 2014 promotion to the C-suite.

 

Today, Brian shares his background in computer science and business administration, explaining how he got his start in MLS tech support at Rapattoni. He describes the startup mentality at the company, its distinction as one of the first internet-based MLS systems, and Rapattoni’s decision to focus on the real estate vertical. Brian walks us through the latest developments in the organization, including the new Rapattoni Magic-Cloud AMS, recent updates to every piece of their MLS software, and Rapattoni’s drag-and-drop custom report writer. Listen in for Brian’s take on hot button industry issues like the front-end of choice model and the Upstream initiative—and learn how Rapattoni is working to provide one of the best MLS experiences in the rapidly changing real estate market.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Brian’s background in computer science and business

Rapattoni’s function as an MLS and AMS software service

Brian’s initial role in MLS tech support with Rapattoni

Brian’s affinity for the startup mentality at Rapattoni

How pride of ownership inspires Rapattoni’s independent path

Why Rapattoni ultimately chose the real estate vertical

How the company dealt with the passing of Andy Rapattoni

The advantages of the new Rapattoni Magic-Cloud AMS

Rapattoni’s focus on updating every piece of its MLS software

How the custom report writer helps agents stand out

Brian’s belief in the front-end of choice model

  • ‘Makes everybody better’
  • Requires separate listing input

Brian’s take on Upstream and its lack of cohesive messaging

Rapattoni’s intention to provide one of the top MLS experiences

 

Resources:

 

Rapattoni Magic-Cloud AMS

Cloud AMS

Cloud Streams

Rapattoni’s Custom Report Writer

Greg’s Blog on Rapattoni

Cloud CMA

Cloud MLX

Gary Keller at Inman Connect 2018

 

Connect with Brian Tepfer:

 

Rapattoni

Brian on LinkedIn

Apr 18, 2018

‘Defy mediocrity and deliver extraordinary experiences.’

Century 21 has been in business for the past 47 years, and in that time, the branding has remained virtually unchanged. When Nick Bailey took the reins, however, he moved quickly to rebrand the company in a way that reflects the consumer-driven movement in the industry, engenders multi-generational appeal, and inspires his global team to deliver extraordinary experiences.

Nick took on the role of CEO and President of Century 21 in August 2017, and he is responsible for the organization’s 8K offices and 118K independent contractors in 80 countries around the world. He has 21 years of experience in the industry, earning his real estate license at the age of 21. Nick served as the VP of Growth and Development at RE/MAX World Headquarters for 12 years and VP of Broker Relations for Zillow Group for five years. He is a leader in franchising, brokerage management and technology, and Nick is known for increasing margins while mitigating the impact of economic change.

Today Nick explains how his diverse background allows him to see issues through different lenses, including that of the consumer. He walks us through the Century 21 rebrand, discussing the company’s new motto around delivering extraordinary experiences and the positive response to its new brand identity. Nick speaks to Century 21’s reputation for training, his take on new models like iBuyers, and the consumer-driven movement in real estate. Listen in for Nick’s insight on the necessity for open network, mobile-first technology and the healthy competition between Century 21 and Realogy.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

How Nick’s diverse real estate background helps create clarity

The consumer-driven movement in the real estate industry

Nick’s insight on the core of Century 21’s business

  • Help affiliates grow companies
  • Help agents get closings

Century 21’s new motto around delivering extraordinary experiences

The positive response to Century 21’s new brand identity

  • Cross-functional (mid-priced AND high-end)
  • Multi-generational appeal

How a brand’s design impacts consumer trust

Century 21’s reputation for training and education

Nick’s take on new models like Redfin and iBuyers

How the process of finding buyers and sellers has evolved

The difference between home search and home shopper

How agents remain essential to consumers despite industry disruption

Nick’s preference for integrated, open network technology

The healthy competition between Realogy and Century 21

Century 21’s international presence

 

Connect with Nick Bailey:

 

Century 21

Century 21 on YouTube

Century 21 on Twitter

Nick on LinkedIn

Apr 7, 2018

88 MLSs serve 80% of REALTORS. The remaining 20% are served by the rest—that’s nearly 600 MLSs! We know that consolidation will make it much easier for brokers to serve consumers, but what is the best way to approach the issue? How can we work to understand the 20% in rural, small town and resort communities and bring that group in to alignment with the 80%?

Kevin McQueen is the President of the T3 Sixty MLS Division. He joined the firm with the express purpose of facilitating MLS consolidations, mergers and collaborations. Kevin has been a real estate consultant since 2000, when he founded Focus Forward to help MLSs and associations navigate the evolution of the industry. Prior to consulting, Kevin spent nine years as the CEO of Realcomp and eight years running technical operations for BORIS Systems.

Today Kevin shares his path to consulting, from his early days with BORIS to his experience consolidating MLSs in Michigan at Realcomp. He explains the role of a consultant in facilitating strategic thinking and what led to his collaboration with T3 Sixty. Listen in to understand Kevin’s mission to pick up the pace of MLS consolidation, addressing problem areas individually with a quiet, flexible approach.

 

What’s Discussed: 

Kevin’s early experience with MLS technical operations

How Kevin transitioned to MLS leadership at Realcomp

Kevin’s insight on the benefits of consulting

Why Kevin chose the name Focus Forward

The role of a consultant in facilitating strategic thinking

  • Discussion about what’s possible
  • Organizational assessment

Why Kevin sought a partnership with T3 Sixty

The value of accurate data in decision-making to supercede emotion-based decision making in boardrooms

The shrinking number of MLSs from 2000 to 2018

Kevin’s mission to pick up the pace of MLS consolidation

  • 88 MLSs serve 80% of REALTORS
  • 20% served by the rest (nearly 600)

Kevin’s take on NAR initiatives as dividing vs. unifying

Kevin’s Do’s and Don’ts of MLS consolidation

  • Be flexible, modify business model
  • Don’t go into takeover mode

Paul Prince’s quiet and respectful approach to consolidation

How Kevin’s MLS map initiated a conversation

T3 Sixty’s approach to addressing problem areas individually

 

Resources:

Number of MLSs By State

Paul Prince Case Study

T3 Summit

 

Connect with Kevin McQueen: 

T3 Sixty

Email kevin@t360.com

Kevin on LinkedIn

Kevin on Facebook

 

Apr 4, 2018

What do you think of when you hear the term ‘MLS’? The software vendors? The providers? The database itself? What about MLS executives? We tend to use the label as a catchall for all of those things, which can get problematic.

 

Shelley Specchio has a handle on all aspects of the MLS system. In 1994, Shelley began her professional career publishing a home magazine for the Reno/Sparks Association of REALTORS. The association expanded in 2003 to become the Northern Nevada Regional MLS, and Shelley served as their VP of Sales and Marketing until 2008 when she transitioned to the role of CEO. Last February she became the CEO of the MIBOR REALTOR Association in Indianapolis, a unique organization that marries the MLS, the association, and a nonprofit arm to impact the community at large. Shelley is involved with NAR on the national level, serving on the MLS Executive Advisory Board.

 

Today Shelley addresses the role of an MLS executive, discussing her own career path and the pros and cons of the position. She shares her take on the fear of disruption in the marketplace, the Upstream initiative, and MLS consolidation. Shelley explains what drew her to the CEO position at MIBOR, describing how the association, MLS, and foundation work in tandem to impact the community. Listen in for insight around using ‘MLS’ as a catchall term and MIBOR’s adoption of the acronym BLC.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Shelley’s career path in real estate

The role of an MLS executive

The fear of disruption in the marketplace

Shifting from fear to strategic action

Shelley’s take on the Upstream initiative

  • No one solution for pain points
  • MLS needs to facilitate choice

Other graduates of the ‘Merri Jo School of MLS Execs’

Why MLS execs often relocate as they advance

The extensive travel required of MLS execs

The shrinking number of MLSs from 900 to 672

What drew Shelley to MIBOR

  • Economic development piece
  • Opportunity to move community forward

MIBOR’s unique structure as an association and MLS

The challenges of having a new boss every year

How MLS execs build relationships with the board

The confusion around ‘MLS’ as a catchall term

Why MIBOR uses the term Broker Listing Cooperative

Shelley’s insight on future consolidation

  • Less important to merge if data flowing
  • Tech like MLS Gridcould facilitate

 

Resources:

 

T3 Sixty

MLS Grid

CMLS Brings It to the Table

MIBOR REALTOR Foundation

 

Connect with Shelley Specchio:

 

MIBOR REALTOR Association

MIBOR on Facebook

MIBOR on Twitter

Shelley on LinkedIn

 

 

 

 

Mar 28, 2018

Real estate professionals spend $9B annually to drive traffic to their websites, but less than 1% of that traffic leads to conversion. What’s to blame for this abysmal data? The vast majority of customers are looking to get an answer to a quick question, yet they are met with an aggressive chatbot who demands their contact information before agreeing to provide any information. And even if they do acquiesce to giving a name and email address or phone number, they have to wait several hours for a response. Jatinder Singh and Katie Djurich have built a better chatbot, one that uses scripted AI to engage with customers immediately and understand their needs first.   

 

Jatinder and Katie are the visionaries behind Botplan, a chatbot for real estate that is compatible with Facebook Messenger, webchat and SMS. Available 24/7, the machine-learning tool initiates a dialogue with incoming leads, sets appointments and communicates the customer’s needs to the agent. Jatinder’s extensive background in the retail innovation space and Katie’s experience with the real estate industry led to an interest in designing a chatbot that helps agents effectively automate this portion of their business—and enjoy an occasional family dinner!

 

Today Jatinder and Katie explain the problems with the current chatbot solutions on the market and how Botplan addresses those issues. Jatinder explains why Botplan is transparent about being a virtual assistant and the distinction between the questions it can and cannot answer. He discusses Botplan’s ability to understand customer needs and communicate those needs with agents and how the team has made adjustments to the platform based on customer interaction. Katie and Jatinder address the reasons why chatbots that demand contact information before providing value tend to be off-putting and ineffective and how Botoplan uses scripted AI to employ the soft sell. Listen in to understand how Botplan is reaching agents and how the platform integrates with Facebook and SMS as well as webchat.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Why Jatinder and Katie built Botplan

The problems with current chat solutions

  • Cost prohibitive
  • Poor quality
  • Limited availability

How Botplan works with Facebook, SMS and webchat

Why Botplan is transparent about being a virtual assistant

How chatbots are compatible with a busy lifestyle

The questions Botplan can and cannot answer

How Botplan works to understand the customer’s needs

How Botplan communicates with agents

How Botplan has made adjustments based on customer interaction

Why chatbots that require contact information are off-putting

Botplan’s use of scripted AI to engage with customers

Jatinder’s background in the retail innovation space

Katie’s experience in real estate and virtual tours

How Botplan is reaching agents

  • Brokerages
  • Tech platform providers

 

Resources:

 

Botplan Webinar Registration

 

Connect with Jatinder Singh & Katie Djurich:

 

Botplan

Botplan on Facebook

Botplan on Twitter

Botplan on Instagram

 

 

Mar 9, 2018

‘You can change anything you want to change. People can sit around and complain all they want, or they can do something about it. We’re consultants. We want to go do something about it. We’re tired of talking about it. Let’s just go do it.’

 

Victor Lund is involved in some of the most ambitious initiatives in the real estate industry. From Upstream to Broker Public Portal, Victor is passionate about solving big problems, and whether or not you agree with his approach, you have to respect his willingness to advocate for change. As the founding partner of WAVGroup, he serves as a consultant to large brokerage firms and MLSs with a particular focus on operational effectiveness, communications and strategic planning. Victor is also the founder and CEO of RE Technology, the leading real estate technology and media portal in the US.

 

Today Victor shares how he made the transition from venture capital to real estate consulting. He discusses the role of RE Technology and its unusual practice of inviting companies to read their articles in advance of publication. Victor defends his advocacy for the Upstream initiative, explaining the scope of the project and the many benefits it will provide for industry players. He also speaks to the intent behind Broker Public Portal, clearing up misconceptions around how Homesnap functions as a partner rather than a vendor. Listen in for Victor’s insight on tackling difficult challenges in real estate and cooperation as the way forward.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Victor’s transition from VC to real estate consulting

The role of RE Technology as the CNET for real estate

Why RE Technology shares its articles before publication

How WAVGroup’s research department sets it apart

The significant disconnect between brokers and MLSs

Victor’s participation in controversial initiatives

  • Upstream
  • Broker Public Portal

Victor’s insight on the benefits of Upstream

  • Ease burden of agent onboarding checklist
  • Instant automation of systems migration
  • Efficiency for vendors to deploy products
  • Data sharing between MLSs and brokerages
  • Facilitates data integration (acquisitions)
  • Automate systems (photographer, records creation)

The incredible scope of the Upstream project

The timeline for getting Upstream up and running

Why Upstream uses Web API rather than RETS

Victor’s Upstream pitch for small brokerages

  • Premiere information management system

Why fear is the greatest challenge for the Upstream initiative

The impact of Add/Edit on an MLS and its related market

The intent behind Broker Public Portal

  • Reimagine way consumers get info
  • Consumer-facing website, benefit MLS

The joint venture between Broker Public Portal and Homesnap

How change of control provisions are built into the BPP/Homesnap contract

How Homesnap reinvented themselves as an industry partner

The concept of a parcel-centric database

 

Resources:

 

WAVes of Change

UpstreamRE

Broker Public Portal

Homesnap

Homesnap BPP

 

Connect with Victor Lund:

 

WAVGroup

RE Technology

RE Technology on Twitter

Victor on Facebook

Victor on LinkedIn

Victor on Twitter

 

 

 

Feb 15, 2018

As the saying goes, the best CRM is the one you use. Today’s guest has enjoyed great success onboarding agents to his platform, and when brokers with a strong training culture employ his software, agent adoption is as high as 80%--compared to the industry average 6%. So what’s his secret?

 

Zvi Band is the co-founder and CEO of Contactually, the leading intelligent CRM for real estate professionals. Agents have seen an average increase in GCI of 42% by staying in personal contact with their networks through Contactually, and the platform has facilitated $3B in deals closed. Zvi is also the co-founder and organizer of DC Tech Meetup, a monthly gathering of entrepreneurs, technologists and investors to see demos, launch products and network. Since its inception in 2011, the meetup has grown to a community of 18,000, making it one of the largest tech meetups in the country.

 

Today Zvi explains how his nomadic childhood and an early passion for building things led him to become a software developer. He discusses the significance of relationships in furthering his career and walks us through the way Contactually functions to help real estate agents maintain important business relationships. Zvi shares the thinking behind his decisions to fund Contactually via investors, to offer a multifaceted onboarding process, and to give prospects a 14-day free trial without securing credit card information in advance. Listen in and learn what contributes to Contactually’s success within a brokerage and how Zvi addresses agent concerns around sharing their contacts.

What’s Discussed: 

Zvi’s nomadic childhood in an academic family

How the Contactually intelligence CRM serves brokerages and agents

Zvi’s insight relationships as the most important asset you can have

The value of cadence in maintaining relationships

Why Zvi chose investors over self-funding

The shift from raising capital to building a business

Zvi’s take on why Contactually enjoyed strong adoption early on

Zvi’s proposal around pooling capital to solve big problems in real estate tech

The initial Contactually customer base of agents and teams

How Contactually has evolved to serve brokerages

Contactually’s multifaceted onboarding process

Why Contactually offers a free 14-day trial without requiring credit card info

Contactually’s growth from three to 70 team members

The remote-friendly culture at Contactually

What contributes to Contactually’s success within a brokerage

  • Provides tech AND systems
  • Integration with other toolsets
  • Open-ended training options

How Contactually addresses agent resistance to sharing contacts with brokers

Contactually’s focus on helping brokers use available data

 

Resources:

 Nintendo Labo

 

Connect with Zvi Band:

Contactually

Zvi’s Website

Zvi on LinkedIn

Zvi on Twitter

Jan 18, 2018

The vast majority of real estate professionals read the annual Swanepoel Trends Report for its analysis of the top developments shaping the industry. A phenomenal resource for agents, brokerages, associations, MLS firms and vendors, the T3 Sixty report offers in-depth research around what’s happening in real estate—from investment in tech innovation to the direct buyer phenomena to the latest brokerage models.

 

Jack Miller is the President and CTO of T3 Sixty, a team of strategic, technological and managerial experts in the residential real estate industry. The premiere consulting firm facilitates solutions for industry players throughout the US and Canada, leveraging their team’s vast experience and personal connections. T3 Sixty offers a wide range of support, including strategic development, technology audits, system design, operational improvement and continuous comprehensive market research. Jack has 16-plus years of experience in real estate, previously serving as the CTO of a boutique real estate brokerage that won Inman’s Innovator of the Year Award.

 

Today Jack shares his entry into real estate, explaining his role on the Keller Williams software development team as the firm grew from regional player to national franchise. He offers his take on the increasing importance of brokerage culture, the rise of the tech-enabled firm, and the impact of the recent influx of capital in the industry. Jack walk us through several current trends, including the legitimization of the FSBO model, the shifting role of the real estate agent, and the increasing velocity of brokerage expansion. He speaks to the best representations of the newer business models and the momentum of flat fee companies like HomeSmart. Listen in for Jack’s insight around T3 Sixty’s role in the industry and his advice for agents and brokers in the internet age.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Jack’s unique introduction to real estate on Keller Williams’ software development team

The increasing importance of culture as part of the brokerage value proposition

How tech innovation has shifted from consideration to core requirement

The potential impact of the billions invested in real estate in 2017

The role of technology in the growing speed of brokerage expansion

The legitimization of the direct buyer (FSBO) model

Why it’s difficult to commodify real estate

The changing role of the agent as a consultant, counselor

The best representations of the newer business models

Why T3 Sixty is betting on the trend toward consolidation

T3 Sixty’s branding as the premiere consulting team for larger, more sophisticated companies

Jack’s advice for new agents around building relationships

How brokerages can recruit a specific audience of agents

 

Resources:

 

Swanepoel Trends Report

Books by Stefan

T3 Summit

T3 Brokerage Accelerator

 

Connect with Jack Miller:

 

T3 Sixty

Real Estate Trends on Facebook

Jack on Facebook

Stefan on Facebook

Stefan on Twitter

 

 

 

Oct 27, 2017

The concept of the MLS creates a strange contradiction for brokers who are both competing with one another, yet sharing inventory by way of compensation and cooperation. In the middle of it all is CMLS, challenged with refereeing any acrimony between brokers and MLSs, promoting best practices, and supporting its membership of 203 MLS providers representing 1.2 million subscribers.

At the helm is Denee Evans, the CEO of this premiere organization dedicated to leading the MLS industry in North America. Denee is a self-proclaimed small-town girl who grew up in Nevada, earning a degree in finance with a specialization in real estate from UNLV. She has always been involved in the industry in some form, doing flips, additions, as well as scrape and builds.

Denee spent more than a decade in retail banking, where she dealt with home equity and mortgage loans. Prior to her role with CMLS, Denee was the Executive Director for EnergyFit Nevada, a nonprofit working to make homes more energy efficient. Through EnergyFit’s efforts to add sustainability information to the MLS, she learned about the opening for CMLS CEO and threw her hat into the ring.

Today, Greg asks Denee the tough questions around how to address MLS’s that don’t comply with best practices, the best way for CMLS to support its members, and the organization’s partnership with NAR. Denee explains the ‘blessing and the curse’ of taking on the role of CEO as an outsider in the MLS industry and the benefit for consumers when organized real estate’s stakeholders collaborate. Listen in and learn about the CMLS initiative to create an interactive tool that would assist MLSs in developing a plan to implement best practices.

What’s Discussed:

How Denee’s background in banking informs her understanding of real estate

The intense interview process she experienced to become CEO of CMLS

The blessing and the curse of being an MLS outsider Denee’s take on the ‘us v. them’ mentality of industry stakeholders

The dichotomy around brokers competing, yet sharing inventory

The challenge for MLS execs to make diverse stakeholders happy

The benefit for consumers when stakeholders cooperate

Denee’s role as an advocate for MLS execs

Denee’s contention that pain points exist in MLS’s of all sizes

The ‘wall of shame’ identifying who hasn’t complied with CMLS best practices

Greg’s proposal to offer free CMLS memberships to non-compliant MLSs

CMLS’s plans to create a best practices interactive tool
- Developed at last CMLS strategic planning session
- Could grow into certification necessary for membership

How CMLS should provide support to its members
- Education v. leadership/advocacy
- Study of industry initiatives to identify needs (e.g.: Upstream)

The controversy around CMLS’s partnership with NAR - CMLS members assigned seats on NAR committees - Speak as national voice for CMLS

 

Resources:

White Paper 7.42

2017 CMLS Best Practices Survey Brief

 

Connect with Denee Evans:

The Council of Multiple Listing Services

Denee on LinkedIn

Denee on Twitter

Oct 27, 2017

Katie Smithson picks her battles. Even well-meaning colleagues occasionally make insulting or offensive comments, and a professional woman has to decide what she can brush off and what she simply cannot accept. Though the lines can be blurry, nine years in the industry have taught Katie how to establish boundaries and present herself as a professional.


Katie grew up in Franklin, Tennessee, and went to school at Tennessee Technological University. Discouraged by the boys’ club that was electrical engineering, she changed her plans and pursued a degree in marketing. Her first foray into sales and customer service was at a Sprint/Nextel store back in Franklin, where she saw the first MLS searches on a Blackberry. After a move to Knoxville, Katie worked in marketing for a local mortgage company that happened to use CRS Data for tax purposes. Tired of spending her days in a cubicle, she noticed an opening for a trainer at CRS. Katie won them over and secured her first job in real estate. After four years working with agents, realtors and MLS execs to implement the use of CRS products, Katie had a conversation with Greg in a lobby bar at CMLS Boston, and the rest is history.

She has worked at W+R Studios for five years, serving as Director of MLS Services since 2016.  Today she shares the details of her activism through the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute, the challenges for women in the real estate industry, and her advice around establishing professional boundaries. 

What’s Discussed: 

Why Katie gave up on electrical engineering to pursue a marketing degree 
Katie’s early sales and customer service experience at Sprint/Nextel
How Katie got involved with the real estate industry
Katie’s role as Director of MLS Services at W+R Studios
The shift from training to sales
Katie’s work with the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute
- Issues affecting women, children
- Get in front of legislators 
The challenges for women in the real estate industry
How Katie establishes boundaries as a professional woman
The complications of alcohol as part of industry culture
How Katie’s reputation in the industry has improved her experience with sexism

Katie’s advice for women coming up in the industry
- Keep your head on straight
- Maintain professionalism 
- Have a buddy

The challenge of dressing appropriately for women in a business environment
Katie’s recommendations around resources for sales executives


Resources:

CRS Data

Arianna Huffington on Repeating Outfits

‘The Rock’ Test for Sexual Harassment 

Inc. Magazine

Connect with Katie Smithson:

W+R Studios

Georgia Women’s Policy Institute

Katie on LinkedIn

Sep 27, 2017

By 2009, mobile users could do a lot with smartphone apps—get directions, listen to music, take pictures, play games, even film a video. Aaron Kardell thought that you ought to be able to add ‘look for a house’ to the growing list of applications, and he founded HomeSpotter with the intention of doing just that.

 

Aaron grew up in rural Nebraska in a family of entrepreneurs. He started writing software programs in high school, and went on to earn a BS in computer science at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He originated several businesses, including Altona Ed, an ed tech student information system that was acquired by Pearson School Systems in 2004.

Aaron’s first experience with location-based iPhone applications came along in 2009 when he created iGarageSale. Very shortly thereafter, a broker contacted Aaron about building an app to complement the firm’s successful lead generating website. Aaron retained intellectual property rights, and Mobile Realty Apps was born. The company rebranded as HomeSpotter in 2015, and today they have offerings for MLSs, brokers and agents. On this episode, Aaron joins Greg live from CMLS in Austin to discuss HomeSpotter’s business model, the latest capabilities around mobile listing input, and HomeSpotter’s recent launch of Boost, an automated digital marketing system with trackable ROI.  

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

Aaron’s entrepreneurial family 

How Aaron developed an interest in writing software programs

 

The genesis of HomeSpotter

-  Created iGarageSale app

-  Realtor asked to build app as consultant

-  Retained intellectual property rights

 

The tactical mistakes HomeSpotter made early on

Why Aaron chose to take the native mobile route

How Aaron built a business in the 99¢ app store world

-  Relied on SaaS model

-  White label broker offering

 

HomeSpotter’s service offerings

-  White label platform for brokers

-  MLS member access on-the-go

-  Boost (automated digital marketing with trackable ROI)

 

How high agent adoption in MLS markets led to the introduction of additional products

The new capabilities around mobile listing input

 

-  Ability to edit listings (corrections, status changes)

-  Update photo support capabilities

How Aaron funded HomeSpotter

-  Personal capital sustained first three years

-  Angel investors in Minneapolis/St. Paul

 

The particulars of HomeSpotter’s newest offering, Boost

-  Automated system

-  For agents, teams, brokers

-  Creates Facebook/Instagram ads for each new listing

-  Targets prospective buyers and seller

-  Helps average agent be more effective with marketing

 

Greg’s hesitance to get into the ‘advertising business’

Why agents are willing to spend more for advertising than tools

The scalability of an app like Boost

How HomeSpotter is upselling current subscribers to try Boost 

 

-  Partnering with brokers, franchises, MLSs

-  Email agent when listing added

-  Brokers pay for initial week in some cases

 

How Aaron’s team generates ideas for new products

Cloud CMA’s deal with Tom Ferry

The pros and cons of a pay-per-listing pricing model

The difference between HomeSpotter’s free and premium versions for MLS

 

Resources:

 

Cloud CMA’s Listing Presentation Kit by Tom Ferry

Zillow’s Report on Trends in Residential Relocation

 

Connect with Aaron Kardell:

 

HomeSpotter

Aaron on LinkedIn

Aug 22, 2017

If you feared more of the same when Bob Goldberg was named CEO of NAR, take heart. The rhetoric of our new leadership is focused on engagement, openness and transparency—knocking down the façade of the ‘Ivory Tower’ and facilitating dialogue with members, even those who disagree.

Bob Goldberg has been a senior executive with NAR since 1995, and his accomplishments include the launch of the REALTOR Benefits Program, the introduction of the top-level domain initiative, and the expansion of NAR’s technology partnerships via Second City Ventures and its REach Technology Accelerator. Prior to NAR, Goldberg served as senior vice president with PRC Realty Systems.

Bob is lauded for his leadership, recently named one of the 2017 Swanepoel Power 200 and Inman News Real Estate Influencers of 2017. Bob has forged his career on designing programs and partnerships to strengthen the REALTOR organization and drive success for its 1.2 million members. Today, he explains his approach to ushering in a new era at NAR, discussing his pursuit of transparency through social media, interviews and opportunities for Q&A. He also addresses his intention to serve members via a ‘flipping the pyramid’ model of leadership, and how he plans to empower his team with the authority to drive change. Listen to understand why Bob is an advocate of tech initiative partnerships, and how NAR can tackle the issue of professionalism among its members—with both consumers and fellow agents.

What’s Discussed: 

Bob’s pursuit of openness and transparency 

How Bob plans to connect directly with NAR members

Bob’s interview with Andrew Flachner of RealScout

How Bob and the panel approached Q&A at the NAR Leadership Summit

Bob’s intention to facilitate honest discussion about industry issues

Bob’s mission to break down the façade of the ‘Ivory Tower’

  • Message was controlled in past
  • Initiate dialogue with dissenting voices

Bob’s ‘flipping the pyramid’ concept

  • Think from member perspective first
  • Encourage member engagement

The upcoming NAR organizational design study

Greg’s characterization of Bob as having a ‘vibe of inclusiveness’

Bob’s aim to be a different kind of leader

  • Visionary
  • Empower team with authority to drive change

Bob’s background in MLS technology with PRC

How Bob plans to assess the value prop of tech initiatives

  • Cost of product
  • Member use

The NAR budget process

How NAR decides to sunset a program that’s run its course

Why Bob does not advocate for a national MLS

  • Not NAR’s core competency
  • NAR doesn’t have funding to compete
  • Better to seek partnerships with experts

Bob’s take on NAR’s role in raising the bar for agents

Professionalism with consumers and fellow members

The complexity of addressing professionalism in the industry

Bob’s willingness to be embrace social media

The world-class talent at NAR

The network effect of engagement 

 

Resources:

NAR Leadership Summit on Facebook Live 

RealScout Interview with Bob Goldberg

RealScout on Facebook

 

Connect with Bob Goldberg:

Bob on Facebook

Bob on LinkedIn

NAR Leadership Team on Facebook

NAR Leadership on Twitter

 

May 22, 2017

The Upstream Pivot with FBS CEO Michael Wurzer

I had a chance to sit down with Mike Wurzer again at NAR Midyear to discuss the recent announcement about Upstream, well not really doing upstream anymore.  This was recorded before NAR announced the details to their additional funding.  More on that in a later blog post.

The first step of problem-solving is to assign blame. Right?

 

That seems to be part of Upstream’s tactics in explaining their delayed progress at NAR’s May Legislative Meeting in DC. They succeeded in raising the heartrate of today’s guest – by implying that a lack of cooperation from vendors is to blame for the snail’s pace of the project. Upstream also made a big announcement regarding what they term as a pivot, but may be more appropriately called a 180.

 

Michael Wurzer is the President and CEO of FBS, an employee-owned company committed to exceeding customer expectations. Their signature product, Flexmls, is a standards-driven technology platform connecting real estate professionals to their customers with collaboration tools that deliver timely and accurate information. FBS products serve 185 organizations and 2,000-plus agents in the real estate sector.

 

Under Wurzer’s leadership for the past 20 years, FBS has worked to constantly evolve and embrace change. They were among the first to build a web-based system, striking a balance between the stability of being an established company and creating a culture of innovation. Today he examines the Upstream pivot in detail, discussing how the Upstream messaging has evolved over time, the pain points the initiative was working to address, and the need to foster collaboration among industry players.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

The major players in the Upstream initiative

How the Upstream messaging has evolved over time

The major Upstream pivot announced at NAR’s Legislative Meetings

How the pivot was influenced by feedback from experienced MLS professionals

Greg’s take on the fundamental change in premise of the Upstream initiative

The pain points the Upstream project was working to address

  • Ability to sync listings
  • Integration with third party products

The buy-in for Upstream from big brands

Upstream’s explanation for its delayed progress

The need to foster collaboration among industry players rather than assigning blame

  • All focused on solving broker problems

The CMLS campaign to highlight the value of the MLS

The controversy over RPR’s team of developers

The confusion re: the meaning of a ‘live demo’

The ability to enter a listing from third-party system as a RESO objective

The evolution of technology in the real estate software space

  • ‘We’re building the airplane as we’re flying it’

Success stories in MLS system consolidation

The beauty of competition in shaping market dynamics

Zillow’s next steps in light of the Upstream pivot

The need for clarity of communication re: syndication

What the Upstream pivot means for AMP

Wurzer’s prediction of what’s next in real estate tech innovation

Upstream as ‘another option’ rather than a revolution

 

Resources:

 

Realtor Magazine Article

 

“Upstream Returns to Earth” by Matt Cohen

 

Connect with Michael Wurzer:

 

Email mwurzer@flexmls.com

Twitter

Blog

 

May 15, 2017

Henry Ford is credited with saying, ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.’ True innovation provides you with the tools you didn’t even know you needed. Today’s guest understands the challenges of the real estate industry, and he created a platform that provides a unique solution tailored to the work we do. A solution that will make you wonder how you ever did without!

 

Tyler Gordon is the CEO and Founder of Agent Inbox, an all-in-one communications platform that empowers MLSs to launch a market-wide platform that allows every agent to communicate with every other agent about any listing, from any device, within any product. Agent Inbox seeks to build the messaging infrastructure so that everyone involved in the real estate transaction (including vendors) can effectively communicate via one system.

 

After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in finance, Gordon went to work for Grooveshark, an on-demand streaming music service, where he built their data products and market research team, boasting a research panel of over 300,000 participants. From there, he joined the family business, a real estate brokerage in south Florida. Realizing just how difficult it was to be a real estate agent, Gordon set out to solve some of the problems he encountered – and Agent Inbox was born. Today, Gordon explains the nuts and bolts of Agent Inbox, sharing how the tool works with any app under the MLS umbrella. Listen and learn the benefits of a single communication system that connects all the stakeholders involved in the real estate transaction!

What’s Discussed: 

The shift in how people communicate

  • Agents have migrated away from phone/email

The idea behind Agent Inbox

  • Create market-wide messaging platform
  • Every agent can communicate with every other agent

The installation of Agent Inbox

  • Integrated directly into MLS link
  • App is available to download, but not necessary to use the service

How to access Agent Inbox

How the Agent Inbox infrastructure might be used to include other industry stakeholders

  • MLS
  • Association
  • Vendors

The benefits of Agent Inbox

  • Sits on top of any product in MLS
  • Allows for live, contextual conversation

How Agent Inbox was conceived

The trend toward specialized products

Where Agent Inbox is already up and running

The user-friendly nature of Agent Inbox

The benefits of messaging (vs. email)

  • 99% of people open, 95% respond
  • Socially acceptable to wait several days before responding to email

 

Resources:

Intercom Customer Messaging Platform

Slack Team Messaging

Connect with Tyler Gordon:

Agent Inbox

Email tyler@agentinbox.com

May 9, 2017

LIVE from the RESO Spring Conference 2017

 

‘…You’re building a new infrastructure. You’re building a brand new interstate, and one of the hardest things is the off ramp and the on ramp.’

RETS has been a solid technology standard for fifteen years, and many vendors are resistant to make the change to API. But as the needs of mobile shift the industry, a new ‘interstate’ is necessary. Today’s guest is prepared to discuss the details of this controversial pivot.

Jeremy Crawford is the CEO of RESO, the organization responsible for the creation, promotion and adoption of standards in the real estate industry. RESO seeks to fuel innovation and help streamline the real estate transaction. Crawford has been involved with RESO since 2010, serving on its Board of Directors and co-leading the Education and Outreach Workgroup. He has a unique combination of talent and experience, with an extensive background in information technology and corporate management. After graduating from East Tennessee State University with a degree in computer science, he landed an IT position with Safeco Insurance. From there, he worked in network management for BB&T Corporation and MarketLinx (a division of CoreLogic). His resume also includes leadership roles as CIO of SANDICOR, CIO and COO of MLSListings, and COO of Aculist.

Crawford explains the need for a pivot away from RETS to API, the benefits of saved search portability, and the progress of the transition to date. Listen in to understand the steps being taken to improve the permissioning process and who might play a role in further advances.

 

What’s Discussed: 

The controversial pivot to API

  • Resistance from traditional vendors
  • Interstate analogy (on and off ramps)
  • Shifting needs require API
  • Parallel uses of both RETS and API likely

The progress of the move to API

  • Distribution piece complete
  • Updates component under development

The vendors who are taking advantage of API capabilities

The benefits of switching to API for established vendors

  • API built to access data on the fly
  • Can still replicate data, but have option not to
  • Saved search portability

Progress with regard to the challenges of permissioning

  • Standardized data licensing agreements
  • NAR turnaround time policy for IDX access
  • Access to developmental data feeds to facilitate product development

Who is responsible for permissioning process

  • RESO R&D Workgroup drafting best practices
  • Brokers must help shepherd process along

 

Resources:

AgentSquared 

Agent Inbox

 

Connect with Jeremy Crawford:

RESO

Twitter

May 7, 2017

LIVE from the RESO Spring Conference 2017!

In a world where your every move is tracked via geocode through your Starbucks orders and Instagram posts, there is an abundance of data. And those who know how to interpret that information can learn an awful lot about a person and her behavior, using it to either market or serve … or both. The world of real estate is no different, and there is much buzz in the industry regarding an innovative new data solutions product for agents.

Remine is a Big Data company that delivers predictive analytics to real estate professionals exclusively through their MLS. They analyze property records, transactional history and consumer data to determine someone’s propensity of buy, sell or refinance a home. Their user interface utilizes heat maps and other visualizations to help real estate professionals contextualize data, identify new leads and win more business. The team is comprised of successful agents who understand the needs of real estate professionals.

 

Jonathan Spinetto is the COO of Remine, and he has been a licensed agent since 2002. Using his own custom technology systems, Spinetto has completed over 3,000 single family residential transactions. As both a practitioner and a technologist who offers unique insight into industry trends, he delivers keynotes internationally around Big Data in real estate.

Lucie Fortier is the newly appointed VP of Product. She brings an understanding of the MLS space and a great deal of implementation experience to the Remine team. Fortier spent the last five years as Senior Director of Operations at CoreLogic, where she was accountable for the support and execution of a suite of Real Estate web-based applications delivered to 600,000-plus agents in the US and Canada.

Spinetto and Fortier articulate the specifics of the Remine product and how it ties together property attributes with data about people in order to provide meaningful insight for agents. Listen and learn how Remine is different from other companies that offer predictive analytics and why they chose to partner with MLSs.

What’s Discussed:  

How Remine employs data to help agents find prospects

Why Remine doesn’t fit into a particular product category

The types of data Remine has aggregated and linked to MLS data

  • Contact info
  • Property data
  • Mortgage data
  • Airbnb data
  • Predictive analytics
  • Individual stats about residents
  • Parcels

Why Fortier joined the Remine team

The beauty of providing meaningful insight that agents can use

The difference between Remine and other companies that offer predictive analytics

  • MLS-centric (available to all members)

How Remine democratizes the data to help agents be proactive

How Remine fills a gap in the real estate tech space

Why Remine chose to partner with MLSs rather than sell directly to agents

The importance of face-to-face demos

The necessity of stewardship when it comes to data sharing

  • Privacy concerns
  • Shift in societal norms

The responsibilities of a company like Remine to share appropriate personal information

  • Controlling product delivery via coordination with MLS systems helps stop bad actors

The Remine implementation schedule

What Fortier brings to the table as VP of Product

  • Understanding of MLS space and how agents use applications
  • Experience in implementation

How Remine adjusts predictive analytics to localize to a given area

How Remine is funded

 

Connect with Jonathan Spinetto and Lucie Fortier:

 

Remine

May 3, 2017

Pioneering Innovation in Real Estate Tech with WolfNet CEO Joel MacIntosh

LIVE from the RESP Spring Conference 2017!

Talk about being at the forefront of new technologies… Today’s guest was working to develop ecommerce in the mid-1990s, streaming video in 1998, and consolidating MLS data in 2000.

Joel MacIntosh is the CEO of WolfNet Technologies, a real estate tech pioneer offering highly configurable IDX and VOW property search applications, MLS data standardization services, and property search API services. WolfNet accesses data from 600-plus MLSs in North America, offering the most accurate and up-to-date MLS data in the business, and the company serves national franchises, brokers, agents and MLSs.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management with a BS in Entrepreneurship and Business Management, MacIntosh founded WolfNet in 1996 as a work-for-hire web development company. WolfNet moved into the real estate space in 2000 when a broker approached the firm with an interest in "Broker Reciprocity", and they have been developing groundbreaking products and services for the industry ever since.

MacIntosh was recently named one of the 200 Most Powerful People in Real Estate for a reason, and today he shares how WolfNet stays on the cutting-edge of real estate software innovation. Listen and learn about their flagship products and services as well as projects in the works around photo image categorization and AI.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

WolfNet’s journey from work-for-hire web development to real estate tech

WolfNet’s flagship products

Why MacIntosh favors the consulting aspect of his work in the data space

How WolfNet pioneered data sharing among MLS systems

  • Up and running in Minnesota since 2001
  • Big growth from 2008-2012
  • Just added 635th MLS

Why most bigger players prefer direct database access over RETS

The benefits for WolfNet of building their own API

The two main WolfNet customer profiles

  • Established companies who want the data
  • Newer ‘bootstrap’ firms who want a transactional API

The ‘magic number’ of MLS markets at which point a company benefits from aggregating the data itself

How the numbers validate the concept of consolidation

  • Fewer than 10 MLSs have more than 100,000 active listings
  • 118 MLSs have 25,000-plus active listings
  • It takes 234 MLSs to get to 90% of the listing inventory
  • 500 MLSs comprise roughly 8.6% of the inventory and just 3,000 listings

WolfNet’s client base

How the data services component of WolfNet was conceived and productized

The built-in permissioning WolfNet offers

How WolfNet’s additional features connect data points to add significant value

  • Photo processing to generate thumbnails
  • Address data processing
  • Acquiring public records data

What is involved in WolfNet’s image categorization and tagging project

  • Identifies the category of room pictured in a photo (i.e.: kitchen, mudroom)
  • Distinguishes specific attributes (e.g.: white kitchen with stainless steel appliances)
  • Utilizes technology trained via neural network and human tools
  • 100,000,000 photos processed
  • MacIntosh anticipates release at the end of next quarter

WolfNet’s new data loader product

Vendors introducing AI in the real estate software space that impress MacIntosh

 

Connect with Joel MacIntosh:

 

WolfNet Website

Mar 24, 2017

 

“If the MLS industry had a face, that face would have a facial tick – because it’s always threatened by something or someone.”

With such constant scrutiny, you’ve got to have a pretty thick skin in the MLS business. And if your goal is to consolidate, let’s say the listings for the entire state of California, you’d better be even tougher. Today’s guest on Listing Bits faces such across-the-board resistance daily as he works to convince real estate professionals that giving up a little local control is worth it in the long run.

 

Art Carter is the CEO of California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (CRMLS), providing products and services to over 82,000 subscribers. CRMLS works to connect real estate professionals throughout the state of California via access to the most data at the lowest cost possible.

 

Carter spent nine years working for the Pacific West Association of Realtors as they pushed the envelope on innovation and brought the association world to a new level before moving to CRMLS in 2005. For the past 11 years, he has been dedicated to making a difference in the daily lives of Real Estate Professionals. He is best known for leading the data share revolution in Southern California.

 

Carter has been named one of Inman News’ 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders twice, and he is a member of the Dr. Almon R. “Bud” Smith, RCE, AE Leadership Society in recognition of dedicated service and commitment to advancing the association management profession. Listen in as he shares the progress CRMLS has made toward listings consolidation in California.

 

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

The disparity between consumers and agents/brokers when it comes to data access

How agents and brokers respond to the prospect of listings consolidation

The unraveling of calREDD

The history of CARETS

The advantages of data shares over an aggregated database

Why CRMLS seeks to consolidate listings for the entire state of California

The politics preventing consolidation

Where the resistance to consolidation comes from

The progress CRMLS is making toward consolidation

  • From 21,013 members in 2005 to 82,037 today
  • Working to grow another 10% this year

The benefit of implementing a ‘system of choice’

  • Eliminates the need to convert
  • Allows agents to access data with the tool they prefer

Solutions for the permissioning issue

  • Unified contracts
  • Online process

Why the MLS industry itself should resolve the permissioning issue

The primary purpose of the MTP Project

Carter’s advice for MLSs seeking to consolidate

  • Build relationships
  • Consider every ‘no’ a ‘not yet’

 

 

Connect with Art Carter:

 

CRMLS Website

Twitter

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