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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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Now displaying: 2018
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

 

 

 

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