The verdict against NAR in the Sitzer lawsuit has organized real estate up in arms.
But Michael Lissack thinks the decision is the best thing to happen to the industry in 100 years.
In fact, he sees the trade association as a criminal enterprise with little value beyond MLS access.
Michael is Managing Broker for The Virtual Realty Group, a 100% commission brokerage that operates in 12 states.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Michael joins Greg to discuss the real issue behind the lawsuits against NAR and describe what he would do to make buyer’s agent commission negotiable.
Michael explains why it’s necessary to decouple the MLS from NAR membership and how that would likely lead to bankruptcy for the trade association.
Listen in for Michael’s provocative take on why associations don’t deserve a way forward in a world where MLS access is open to anyone with a real estate license.
The real issue behind the lawsuits against NAR and several real estate brokerages
What Michael would do to make buyer’s agent commission negotiable
Why the DOJ takes issue with mandatory membership in NAR for MLS access
How decoupling the MLS from NAR would impact everyday REALTORS
What decoupling the MLS from NAR membership would do to the trade association (and what NAR might do to demonstrate its value and rebuild)
What it would take to decouple local, state and NAR membership
Why Michael believes a real estate license should be the only requirement for MLS access
Running MLSs as not-for-profit organizations vs. for-profit entities
Greg’s thoughts on providing a way forward for associations by compensating them for the work of building the MLS
Why bankruptcy might be apt for associations who don’t provide value beyond MLS access
Connect with Michael Lissack:
In 2020 Ben knew they needed to make a change. So he went to the Black Knight board and made a pitch, “give me the resources to build a modern MLS system”. To his surprise, they said yes. Now, 3 years later, that dream has been realized.
His dream was a mobile-first MLS platform that understands the history of how MLS platforms operate but offers a modern user experience.
That’s exactly what Ben Graboske and Lucie Fortier are working on, and their new product, Paragon Connect, is ready for its close up.
Ben is President of Data & Analytics and Lucie is Executive Vice President of MLS Solutions at Intercontinental Exchange or ICE, the financial services firm that bought Black Knight in September 2023.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Ben and Lucie join Greg to discuss ICE’s history of digitizing complex transactions and explain why its acquisition of Black Knight makes sense.
Lucie shares her motivation for joining the team at Intercontinental Exchange, and Ben describes how ICE’s resources benefit his department in the development of Paragon Connect.
Listen in to understand what differentiates Paragon Connect from other MLS vendors and learn how it simplifies the agent experience by providing an entire MLS platform on both a responsive and native app.
ICE’s history of digitizing complicated transactions and why its acquisition of Black Knight makes sense
How being an MLS vendor supports ICE’s vision for making mortgages easier
Lucie’s journey to joining the ICE team and how technology drives her career decisions
What features differentiate Paragon Connect from other MLS vendors
Why Ben’s team decided not to change Paragon’s name (despite offering an entirely new experience)
How Paragon Connect provides an entire MLS platform in a native app experience
The talented team of designers behind Paragon Connect
How Ben’s team benefits from ICE’s data assets and information security
Lucie’s approach to transitioning existing users to Paragon Connect
How Paragon is introducing a consumer app in Q1 of 2024
Why the rules around marketing to members need to change in an MLS system-of-choice model
What makes Paragon Connect ‘the MLS platform of the future’
Connect with Ben Graboske & Lucie Fortier:
Listing Bits EP085: A Less, But Better Approach to Real Estate Software Design – with Damien Huze of Lone Wolf Technologies
Among Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Design is the idea that good design is as little design as possible.
Less, but better.
And Damien Huze believes that the next evolution of real estate software will apply this concept, offering fewer high-quality apps that work together in a fluid system.
Damien is Senior Design Manager and Principal Designer at Lone Wolf Technologies, a software company working to build an end-to-end solution for real estate.
Damien served as Chief Design Officer at W+R studios before the Lone Wolf acquisition, and he is responsible for the design of Cloud CMA, one of the most popular apps in real estate.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Damien explains how making design a priority benefits companies building web-based apps and why he defines design as a skill aimed at problem-solving.
Damien describes how Lone Wolf is working to combine the tools of proptech into a single streamlined experience and shares his team’s user-centric approach to the problem of simplifying real estate.
Listen in for insight on the power of relentless focus and learn about Damien’s vision for designing real estate software that delivers more with less.
What Damien learned from growing up with creative parents who immigrated to the US
How making design a priority benefits companies building web-based apps (and why so few do it)
How Damien thinks about design as a skill aimed at problem-solving
What Lone Wolf is doing to bring several real estate apps together in a single end-to-end solution
Why Damien believes the next evolution in real estate software is ‘less but better’
Lone Wolf’s upcoming announcement at the T3 Technology Summit
What it means for good software to have an opinion vs. being too flexible or customizable
How Damien’s team brings a user-centric, design thinking approach to simplifying real estate
Greg and Damien’s take on the advantage of simple tools that get the job done
The well-designed product that’s had the biggest impact on Damien’s life
Why relentless focus boosts productivity and how Damien applies that tenet to design
Connect with Damien Huze:
In 2021, Vijay Gopalswamy’s real estate business was growing like gangbusters. And at one point, he had 32 active transactions.
Which meant Vijay was spending every morning with his team, going over each transaction and asking, ‘Did you send this? Did you follow up with that? Did this contract get signed?’
But when he looked at the “transaction management” software on the market, Vijay realized that it was built for brokerages, not agents.
So, he set out to solve his own problem.
Vijay is Cofounder and CEO of Trackxi, a deal tracking software platform that helps agents visualize the next step in each transaction and provides full transparency for the consumer.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Vijay discusses his successful career in mechanical engineering and explains how he became an accidental real estate agent.
Vijay describes what differentiates Trackxi from other transaction management solutions and how it serves teams, transaction coordinators and new agents.
Listen in for insight around the visual nature of Trackxi’s tracking system and find out how the app can help you demonstrate your value prop with clients and grow your real estate business!
How Vijay moved to the US to pursue his Master’s in mechanical engineering
Vijay’s successful 20-year career in engineering, finance and sales with Daimler
How Vijay became an accidental real estate agent
How the challenge of managing 32 open transactions inspired Vijay to build Trackxi
The advantage of a dedicated app that does one or two things well
Why Trackxi is a deal tracking software platform (vs. transaction management tool)
What differentiates Trackxi from other transaction management tools
How Trackxi serves teams, transaction coordinators and new agents
How Trackxi’s tracking system provides transparency around the agent’s value
How Trackxi’s visual dashboard delivers a State of the Union of an agent’s business
What to expect from Trackxi’s hands-on onboarding process
Connect with Vijay Gopalswamy:
MLSs and associations face an issue Nick Gough refers to as RDR, an acronym for REALTORS don’t read.
So, what can these organizations do to communicate more effectively with the members they serve?
Nick is Founder and CEO at NoteRouter, the all-in-one email and texting platform designed to help organized real estate achieve record-high member engagement.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Nick shares his experience in leadership of associations and MLSs, explaining how it drove him to build NoteRouter.
Nick describes how NoteRouter helps users write content that connects with REALTORS individually and discusses why the presentation of your message matters as much as the value you provide.
Listen in for Nick’s insight on leveraging influencer marketing to reach more REALTORS and learn how to humanize your outreach by focusing on the real pains your members face.
Why Nick dropped out of college and became a real estate agent at 18
Nick’s experience in leadership of associations and MLSs and how it drove him to build NoteRouter
How NoteRouter solves the problem of member engagement
Using email and text outreach to help associations and MLSs connect with the people they serve
How NoteRouter helps users write content that connects with REALTORS individually
Why presentation matters just as much as the value you provide
NoteRouter’s expertise in outbound communication through email service and telecom providers
Why NoteRouter is designed around the principle of permission-based marketing
Why it’s crucial for MLSs and associations to learn influencer marketing
The relationship between email open rates and subject lines
The benefit of humanizing your outreach and focusing on real pains members face
How the latest MLS outage impacted Nick and the team at NoteRouter
Connect with Nick Gough:
Teams are the future of real estate. And one proptech vendor is capitalizing on this trend by helping team leaders run an effective business.
What’s more, most of the teams on his platform double their business every year—even in the current market.
Brian Charlesworth is Founder and CEO of Sisu, an end-to-end real estate platform for teams that streamlines the transaction process, bringing all REALTORS, vendors and clients together.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Brian shares his background in technology and explains how helping his wife build her real estate team inspired the creation of Sisu.
Brian discusses the coaching Sisu offers to help team leaders scale their business and describes how the platform changes the culture of a real estate team.
Listen in to understand how the Sisu client portal works like a ‘pizza tracker’ and get Brian’s advice for other proptech vendors on building for real estate teams.
Sisu’s function as an end-to-end real estate platform for teams
How Brian’s commitment to help his wife build her real estate team inspired the creation of Sisu
The coaching Sisu offers to help team leaders run an effective business
Why Brian believes teams are the future of real estate
What proptech vendors should consider in building for teams
Using the Sisu dashboard to track a team’s progress (e.g.: sales, potential revenue, etc.)
How Sisu integrates with CRMs and other platforms to streamline and automate real estate transactions
How Sisu changes the culture of a real estate team
Why most teams on Sisu double their business every year—even in the current market
How the Sisu client portal works like a ‘pizza tracker’
What Sisu is doing to make sure clients work with the same real estate professionals for years to come
Brian’s advice to proptech vendors on understanding how agents think
What real estate companies can do to solve for agent retention
Connect with Brian Charlesworth:
But Homes.com employs a ‘your listing, your lead’ model, displaying the listing agent’s contact information.
So, does this comply with NAR’s attribution policy? And what else do we need to think about as companies like Zillow and Homes.com switch to IDX?
On this episode of Listing Bits, Michael Wurzer, CEO of real estate software company FBS, Greg Fischer, Owner of indie brokerage West + Main, and Andy Woolley, VP of Industry Development at Homes.com, join us to consider how ‘your listing, your lead’ jives with NAR’s IDX attribution policy.
Andy explains how ‘your listing, your lead’ differs from the referral model used on other sites, and Greg asks what is changing at Homes.com now that it’s a participant in the MLS.
Listen in for Michael’s insight on the repercussions on policy that come with mixing different use cases for data feeds and find out why it’s important for MLSs to develop a standard way for national portals like Homes.com to license data.
How NAR IDX policy changed to give brokers and agents attribution rights
Whether Homes.com’s ‘your listing, your lead’ model complies with NAR’s attribution policy
Why most brokers aren’t using the ‘attribution source’ field in RESO’s data dictionary
Homes.com’s decision to display the listing agent’s contact information
Why Homes.com made the switch from its original MLS feeds to IDX
What is changing at Homes.com now that it’s a participant in the MLS vs. a media publisher
The potential repercussions on policy that come with mixing use cases for data feeds
What differentiates Homes.com’s ‘your listing, your lead’ from the referral model used on other sites
How Homes.com allows buyer’s agents to protect their relationships on the site
How showing a listing agent on a lead placard compares to seeing their name on a yard sign
The challenge Homes.com faces when it comes to agent responsiveness
Why it’s crucial for MLSs to create a standard way for national portals to license data
Connect with Michael Wurzer:
Connect with Greg Fischer:
Connect with Andy Woolley:
Lauren Martin began her career in the fashion industry to be among powerful women.
But when she transitioned to proptech, she realized that real estate is the true pinnacle of girl power. And yet, women are not always represented in leadership.
So, when she landed her current role as Senior Account Director of Partnerships at RentSpree, Lauren approached her CEO about creating RENEW, the Real Estate Network for Empowered Women, an initiative that seeks to connect and champion female professionals across all sectors of the industry nationwide.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Lauren shares her journey from the fashion industry to proptech, describing how what she learned in fashion translates to real estate.
Lauren discusses her role at RentSpree, explaining how the platform partners with MLSs and other proptech companies to streamline the rental process—in a way that serves real estate agents and renters.
Listen in for insight on what inspired Lauren to build RENEW and learn how you can get involved in her initiative to elevate women in real estate!
How Lauren was poached from a catering company to work in sales at Remine
What Lauren learned in the fashion industry that translates to real estate and proptech
Lauren’s insight on approaching uncomfortable conversations with humor
Lauren’s experiences working with MLS professionals who champion each other
How RentSpree partners with MLSs and proptech companies to streamline the rental process
The revenue sharing model at RentSpree and how MLSs benefit from it
How REALTORS benefit from building relationships with renters early in their housing journey
Lauren’s role handling both MLS and proptech partnerships at RentSpree
Lauren’s best travel hacks for real estate professionals
What inspired Lauren to start the RENEW initiative to elevate women in real estate
Connect with Lauren:
From a vendor’s perspective, small MLSs are the most challenging to work with. And that’s no surprise, seeing as how they have fewer resources than the big players in the space.
So, how do we support MLSs with fewer than 400 members in keeping up with NAR rules, for example? Is there a way MLSs might share marketing, support and compliance services in a way that makes the market work better for all involved?
Betsy Hanson is General Manager and General Counsel at Markt, a multi-MLS service organization focused on pooling resources and expertise to serve MLSs, brokers and agents.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Betsy shares her journey from executive assistant at a small association to her current role at Markt, describing how she avoids the attorney’s reputation as the Department of No.
Betsy offers her take on what organized real estate is missing about the life and times of an ordinary REALTOR, why the average agent doesn’t understand the lawsuits facing the industry, and how those lawsuits might change the way we do things moving forward.
Listen in to understand how Markt works as an MLS back-office provider and learn how Betsy and her team are uniquely positioned to help MLSs of all sizes with local market delivery.
Betsy’s journey from executive assistant at a small association to General Counsel at Markt
What differentiates the role of executive assistant from that of chief of staff
How Betsy avoids the attorney’s reputation as the Department of No
Betsy’s experience teaching English in China between undergrad and law school
What organized real estate is missing about the life and times of an ordinary REALTOR
Why the average REALTOR-on-the-street doesn’t know about the lawsuits facing the industry
How public perception of REALTORS remains positive despite lawsuits around compensation
Betsy’s predictions re: how the lawsuits facing organized real estate might play out
How Markt began as a way for MLSs to pool support resources and create efficiencies
Markt’s potential to solve the challenge small MLSs face in keeping up with NAR rules
Connect with Betsy:
What if the data was presented in a way that helped agents answer seller questions in real time and make informed choices based on the numbers?
Wes Hartman is CEO of Showingly, a showing management solution that uses data and analytics to guide better decision-making.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Wes walks us through the key metrics Showingly looks at to drive pricing decisions and marketing strategy for a property.
Wes explains how Showingly is aggregating showing, offer and closed data to determine the best day and time to list a home and explores what simple things a seller can adjust to secure more showings.
Listen in to understand how the desire for choice might impact the future of showing management software and find out if Showingly’s approach is right for your brokerage or MLS.
Wes’ background as an aspiring fighter pilot, professional cyclist, real estate agent and tech vendor
How Showingly’s use of data to guide decision-making differentiates it from other showing management solutions
The key metrics Showingly looks at to drive pricing decisions and marketing strategy for a property
What Wes’ team is doing to get honest feedback on a property (and why that’s such a challenge)
How Showingly uses showing, offer and closed data to determine the best day and time to list a home
How sellers might adjust pricing and Open House hours to get more showings
Wes’ take on the future of showing management software
Showing Hub’s solution to the demand for choice in showing management software
Why Wes is focused on building relationships with brokerages, MLSs and other showing management providers
How Wes thinks about MLSs building their own showing solutions and why competition drives innovation
Connect with Wes:
But most of us focus on the individual transaction and miss an opportunity to build long-term relationships with our existing clients and turn them into raving fans.
And that means missed opportunities for referrals and repeat business.
Rivers Pearce is CMO of Milestones, a homeowner management platform that helps agents and lenders turn single transactions into forever clients.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Rivers shares his background as a touring musician and transition to proptech, discussing how he built the lead generation department at BoomTown.
Rivers explains why agents should market themselves as a trusted advisor for all things home and explores how real estate professionals benefit from referring business to home service professionals and other local businesses.
Listen in for Rivers’ insight on nurturing relationships with your existing database and learn how Milestones can help you provide the kind of value that turns one-off clients into lifelong fans!
Rivers’ background as a touring musician and how he transitioned to proptech
How the skills Rivers developed as a performer translate to real estate and proptech
Rivers’ experience in building the lead gen department at BoomTown
How the way proptech supports real estate agents with lead gen has evolved over time
How Rivers thinks about using sphere of influence vs. portal aggregation to generate business
The opportunity to build relationships with homeowners that most REALTORS miss
Why agents should market themselves as a trusted advisor for all things home
The benefit of referring business to home service professionals and other local businesses
How Milestones functions as a homeowner management platform for agents
How Milestones creates a custom maintenance plan for homeowners
How Milestones helps REALTORS nurture relationships with their existing database
Connect with Rivers:
If your role in real estate involves sales demos or any kind of training, you’re likely familiar with the frustration of delivering the same webinar over and over again.
Or worse, preparing a webinar that is either poorly attended or no one shows up.
But what if you could do 100 or even 1,000 webinars a month—without getting in front of a camera?
Prior to eWebinar, Melissa founded and successfully exited the real estate tech startup Spacio, a check-in app for open houses.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Melissa shares her journey as a proptech entrepreneur, describing how she developed her mad sales skills and why she was ready for a new challenge after Spacio.
Melissa discusses how her experience with onboarding and training for Spacio inspired the creation of eWebinar and explains what differentiates the platform from Zoom, YouTube videos and webinar replays.
Listen in for insight around Melissa’s intentional approach to life and learn how your real estate business might leverage eWebinar to get your time back and spend it on things you enjoy!
The initial idea for Spacio and how it evolved into a check-in app for open houses
How Melissa developed her hustle and sales ability out of necessity
Melissa’s successful exit from Spacio after 4 years of running the business
The real estate leadership dinner that launched Melissa’s career as an entrepreneur
What differentiates eWebinar from YouTube, Zoom and webinar replays
How Melissa’s experience with training for Spacio inspired the creation of eWebinar
How brokerages and real estate teams are using eWebinar to qualify leads
The benefit of using eWebinar in terms of video quality and availability of content
eWebinar’s use cases for sales demos, onboarding and training
How Melissa runs eWebinar to reflect her work less, enjoy more philosophy of life
Connect with Melissa:
NAR’s MLS Policy Statement 8.6 goes into effect on September 1, 2022.
So, what tools are available to make the implementation of the new One Data Source Policy easier for MLSs?
Katie Smithson is Director of MLS Relations at Zillow Group, where she leads the team building their MLS data licensing and distribution platform, Bridge Interactive. Prior to joining Zillow, she spent eight years with W+R Studios as Director of Enterprise Sales and Director of MLS Services.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Katie walks us through Policy Statement 8.6, explaining what problems the mandate does solve and why it’s a problem to provide vendors and brokers with data in a single feed.
Katie discusses the Bridge platform’s current functionality and describes the new feature her team is developing to help MLSs implement 8.6, the One Data Source Solution.
Listen in to understand how MLSs can use Bridge to auto-approve certain vendor agreements and find out if the One Data Source Solution is right for you.
How MLS Policy Statement 8.6 requires that MLSs offer participants data in a single feed
The security issue with leaving it up to brokers and vendors to know what data can be used in a VOW, IDX or back-office feed
What problems the new One Data Source Policy does solve
How the Bridge platform alleviates pain points around data distribution for MLSs
What differentiates the Bridge platform from CoreLogic’s Trestle
How Katie thinks about asking MLS boards to give Zillow their data (and pay for the service)
How Bridge gives MLSs a simple way to combine existing data feeds for members
The benefit of adding field-specific tags to MLS metadata via the Bridge One Data Source Solution
How MLSs can use Bridge to auto-approve certain vendors or certain types of data access agreements
Connect with Katie:
Email: katiesm [at] zillowgroup [dot] com
What if it was easy for an MLS to raise money to develop the data services it needs and run the software its customers use?
Colette Stevenson is CEO of REsides, the premier MLS in South Carolina. Formerly known as Hilton Head MLS, REsides serves REALTORS who represent properties in both South Carolina and Georgia, maintaining the most dependable and powerful data in the marketplace.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Colette shares the story of the rebrand from Hilton Head MLS to REsides, explaining what differentiates her team’s vision from that of the average MLS.
Colette describes how REsides is developing a new business model to address the challenge of raising capital for software development and discusses why she’s open to collaborating with MLSs anywhere in the US.
Listen in to understand Colette’s disciplined way of thinking about potential changes to cooperation and compensation—and learn how REsides is empowering agents and brokers with data in a way that keeps the industry at the center of the real estate transaction.
How Colette’s background in the ticketing industry informs her work at REsides
What REsides is doing to keep the industry at the center of the real estate transaction
The story of the rebrand from Hilton Head MLS to REsides
What differentiates REsides’ vision from that of the average MLS (and how being small benefits Colette’s team)
Where buyers in the Hilton Head market come from and why Colette is open to collaborating with MLSs anywhere in the US
How REsides is developing a new business model to address the challenge of raising capital for software development
Colette’s take on what keeps MLSs from making bold moves (and how REsides is overcoming it)
Colette’s disciplined way of thinking about potential changes to cooperation and compensation
REsides’ mission to empower agents and brokers with data
Connect with Colette:
But to make these alternatives to the traditional appraisal work, we need data in the form of an accurate floor plan. And we need it at scale.
Jeff Allen is EVP of Innovation Labs Clear Capital, a leading property valuation tech company, and President of CubiCasa, an easy-to-use app for automating the creation of real estate floor plans. On this episode of Listing Bits, Jeff explains how the barrier to entry to become an appraiser has sparked a total transformation of the industry.
He discusses his work helping GSEs test alternatives to the traditional appraisal, describing why floor plans are an essential part of ‘bringing the house to the appraiser’ and how he discovered the CubiCasa technology that automates the process. Listen in for Jeff’s insight on the copyright dispute over real estate floor plans and learn how to support the creative partnerships necessary for CubiCasa to scale.
How Clear Capital serves large financial institutions in the realm of property valuation
How the barrier to entry to become an appraiser has sparked a total transformation of the industry
Jeff’s work helping GSEs test alternatives to the full traditional appraisal
Why floor plans are essential in ‘bringing the house to the appraiser’
How Jeff discovered the CubiCasa tech for automating floor plans and how it works
The creative partnerships necessary for CubiCasa to achieve scale (e.g.: real estate photographers)
How the desktop appraisal option supports CubiCasa’s efforts to scale
The other major appraisal modernization initiatives coming from Fannie and Freddie
Jeff’s take on the current copyright dispute over real estate floor plans
Connect with Jeff:
Email: jeff [at] cubicasa [dot] com
I spend a lot of time at conferences explaining why MLSs, brokers, and franchisors should let the ‘professionals’ build their technology. And yet, there are real reasons why these stakeholders might want to design their own.
So, when is it appropriate for an MLS to create its own tech stack rather than relying on a vendor? And what does the development process look like?
Faith Geronimo and Colleen Yasuhara are the CEO and COO, respectively, of Hawaii Information Service (HIS), the MLS provider for the islands of Hawaii and Kauai. On this episode of Listing Bits, Faith and Colleen explore HIS’s history of building its own technology and explain their decision to spend the last four years creating a new MLS system.
Faith and Colleen discuss the transition from their initial system, REsearch, to the new HIMLS, describing HIS’s partnership with software developer MEV and their experience working with a team of Ukrainian developers. Listen in to understand why the Russia-Ukraine conflict hasn’t disrupted the development process and learn how HIS leveraged research and user testing to inform the design of HIMLS.
HIS’s role as MLS provider for the islands of Hawaii and Kauai
HIS’s history of building its own technology
How Faith & Colleen’s decision to build a new system on their own was influenced by their ability to integrate public records and MLS data
Faith’s take on why Hawaii needs 3 MLS providers
What Faith & Colleen learned in their research on MLS systems and how it informed the design of HIMLS
How the pandemic influenced the development process and allowed for rigorous user acceptance testing
The timeline for the transition from REsearch to HIMLS from 2018 to present
HIS’s partnership with MEV and how they built the portal and web API together before tackling the MLS
Faith & Colleen’s experience working with developers in the Ukraine and why they flew the team to Hawaii early in the process
How Ukrainian developers continue to work on HIMLS despite the Russian invasion and how they’re handling the conflict
Connect with Faith & Colleen:
When Zillow announced its intention to acquire ShowingTime in February of 2021, a slew of companies jumped into the showing solutions space. But Instashowing had already been in business for two years, and despite the fierce competition, its young founder believes that his startup has an edge.
William Schoeffler is the Founder of Instashowing, a software company out of Bend, Oregon, that offers the premiere showing solution for forward-thinking real estate professionals. On this episode of Listing Bits, William shares the experience with an agent that inspired him to build Instashowing and describes the suite of listing agent tools his team is developing.
William explains how he raised $4M on the heels of Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime, discussing the expectation to grow that comes with that kind of an investment and the advantages Instashowing has over its many competitors. Listen in to understand the challenge of supporting several showing solutions in a single market and learn how William is forming a syndicate to allow MLSs to invest in Instashowing.
The experience with a real estate agent that inspired William to build Instashowing
How William raised $4M from industry giants Pete Flint and Greg Schwartz
The wave of competitors in the showing solutions space after Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime
Why Instashowing started selling to agents and brokers (not MLSs) when it launched in 2019
The advantages Instashowing has over its competitors
How Instashowing’s success in a given market hinges on full integration with its MLS
Why William believes the industry will return to a single showing solution product in each market
The suite of listing agent tools Instashowing is developing
The expanding vision and expectation to grow that comes with a $4M investment
Why William is not planning on adding a call center to the Instashowing offerings
How William is forming a syndicate to allow MLSs to invest in Instashowing
Connect with William:
Ask the average consumer what they know about the MLS, and you’re likely to hear about their favorite Major League Soccer team. But CMLS wants to change that, and the organization is on a mission to educate the general public around the benefits of working with a real estate professional and listing a home on the MLS.
Katie Smithson is the Director of Enterprise Sales at Lone Wolf Technologies, and she serves on the Board of Directors for both the Council of Multiple Listing Services and Real Estate Standards Organization. On this episode of Listing Bits, Katie shares CMLS’s new In the Know Campaign, describing how the initiative seeks to convey the importance of the MLS to consumers.
Katie explains why CMLS partnered with 1000watt to develop assets for In the Know and how agents and brokers can use the campaign’s digital content to share the CMLS message with consumers. Listen in to understand how Lone Wolf is integrating In the Know content into Cloud CMA and find out how other vendors can get involved in educating consumers on the value of the MLS.
How CMLS’s Making the Market Work Campaign communicated the value of the MLS to its members
CMLS’s partnership with 1000watt to develop assets for the new In the Know Campaign
How the In the Know Campaign conveys the importance of the MLS to consumers
Why In the Know is not specific to a particular MLS system but advocates for the industry as a whole
CMLS’s hope that brokers and agents will share the campaign’s message with consumers
Why exclusive listings are not a good look for organized real estate in light of Fair Housing legislation
How listing on the MLS gives sellers the best exposure in a given market
How In the Know assets are designed for brokers, agents and vendors to put to use
How the Lone Wolf Technologies team is integrating In the Know content into Cloud CMA Live
Katie’s insight around how other vendors might get involved with the In the Know Campaign
Connect with Katie:
Email ksmithson [at] lwolf [dot] com
Prior to 2003, Supra had a monopoly on the lockbox market. But NAR membership wanted choice, so the trade association invested in its first outside tech company, SentriLock. Today, a similar market dominance exists in showing service solutions, and SentriLock is stepping in once again to compete with the dominant player in the space.
Scott Fisher and Devin Beck are the CEO and Director of Revenue of SentriLock, the first and only combined lockbox, showing service and experience management solutions for real estate. On this episode of Listing Bits, Scott and Devin explain why SentriLock is expanding into the showing service space and how proptech consolidation accelerated industry interest in their new offering.
Scott and Devin share SentriLock’s approach to entering a new market with a dominant player, describing how their partnership with NAR and commitment to customer service differentiate them from the competition. Listen in for insight around the unique features of the SentriKey Showing Service and learn how you can benefit from their lockbox offering, showing service or combination thereof.
How Scott’s telecom background led him to the lockbox space
Devin’s efforts to diversify SentriLock’s portfolio of offerings
What inspired the partnership between NAR and Scott’s team
Why SentriLock is expanding into the showing service space
SentriLock’s approach to entering a market with a dominant player
How Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime accelerated interest in SentriLock’s new offering
How SentriLock’s lockbox and showing solutions are designed to stand alone yet work together
Why consolidation causes uncertainty in the MLS community
Why NAR is unlikely to sell SentriLock
How Scott sees their commitment to take care of the member first as SentriLock’s secret weapon
The features that differentiate SentriLock’s showing solution
How competition among vendors brings value to the industry
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At present, MLS data access is unnecessarily complex. And brokers are calling for a more efficient system with a single set of rules around how the data can be used. In response, the CMLS Data Access Concepts Workgroup drafted the Listing Exchange and Access Policy or LEAP. But does the new policy really solve these problems? Could it be improved in a way that recognizes the changing landscape of the real estate industry?
Sam DeBord is the CEO of the Real Estate Standards Organization, the trade group responsible for developing standards for the industry, and he writes for publications including REALTOR Magazine and Inman News. Michael Wurzer is the CEO of FBS, the leading innovator of MLS technology and one of the most respected real estate software brands, and he covers industry issues on the FBS Company Blog. Both Sam and Michael are active participants in the LEAP debate on Twitter and have written long-form posts on the topic.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Sam shares the goals of the proposed Listing Exchange and Access Policy, describing how it seeks to simplify the rules and make access to MLS data more efficient. Michael discusses his concerns around the draft policy, explaining why licensing should be a part of LEAP and what a usage-based pricing model might look like. Listen in for Sam’s speed limit versus toll road analogy for the issues at play and hear both sides of the debate on whether LEAP solves the fundamental problems brokers face in using MLS data.
LEAP’s goal to simplify the rules and make access to MLS data more efficient
Why Michael sees a problem with how LEAP treats IDX, VOW and Back Office the same
Michael’s argument that the value of aggregated MLS data as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Why Michael believes that licensing and pricing should be a part of LEAP
How the definition of a Participant is evolving and why Michael thinks LEAP should address the shift
Sam’s concerns around using policy to penalize companies who are using data well
Sam’s speed limit vs. toll road analogy for the issues at play in LEAP
Michael’s point that portals would be worth dramatically less without MLS data
The potential to charge licensing fees for MLS data based on usage (with free low-usage plans available)
Sam’s view that MLSs should make local decisions about pricing rather than NAR policy
Connect with Sam:
Connect with Michael:
Policy may not be sexy, but without standards around how we format real estate data and build technology systems, we simply can’t share data or integrate the tools we need to do our jobs well.
Sam DeBord serves as CEO of the Real Estate Standards Organization, the trade group responsible for developing the open standards that drive efficiency and streamline technology for the industry. His resume includes a wide range of leadership positions in the real estate space, including President’s Liaison for MLS and Data Management at NAR and VP of Government Affairs with Washington Realtors. Sam is also the VP of Strategic Growth for Coldwell Banker Danforth in Seattle and writes for REALTOR Magazine, Inman News and the Swanepoel Trends Report.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Sam describes RESO’s role in the real estate industry, explaining how the standards set by his organization provide certainty for developers and support data shares and tech integrations. He shares the progress RESO has made in the last year, discussing what they have done to streamline compliance certifications and initiate the proposed Listing Exchange Access Policy. Listen in for Sam’s insight on the constraints of the current market (and the new tech that’s emerged as a result) and find out how he thinks about the kerfuffle surrounding the most recent mergers and acquisitions in the real estate space.
What RESO does to create efficiencies and streamline tech for the real estate industry
RESO’s evolution to an independent trade organization and how it relies on thousands of volunteer SMEs to build its Workgroups
RESO’s recent work to streamline its compliance certifications and create a new development guide for vendors
How RESO standards provide certainty for developers and support data shares and integrations
Why Sam is a proponent of creating a single policy for how data is used and displayed (and how that would help brokers)
RESO’s work with the broker community and CMLS to draft the proposed Listing Exchange Access Policy
The progress RESO has made in just the last year to align industry trade organizations, brokers and MLSs around common goals
How RESO standards helped facilitate the NorCal MLS Alliance
Sam’s take on how the artificial constraints of the current market impact agents and the tech facilitating the trend to buy homes sight unseen
How Sam thinks about the most recent mergers and acquisitions in the real estate space
Why proptech companies need to recognize our cultural preference to work with an agent
The potential problems associated with a broker-member of an MLS being paid by that MLS for a technology service
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Video marketing is a powerful way for agents, brokers and real estate companies to reach consumers. But how do we get the most mileage out of our videos? How do we maximize the marketing value of the content we create?
Christian Sterner is the Cofounder and CEO of WellcomeMat, the premier platform for managing your real estate video. Christian’s team facilitates successful video marketing campaigns for agents, brokers and companies who are committed to video as a long-term marketing strategy, helping clients leverage video content to generate traffic and engagement on their domain. Christian has been playing in the technology and marketing space since 2000, and he has led WellcomeMat since its inception in 2006.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Christian explains how WellcomeMat maximizes reach for every video in a user’s library and helps them make educated decisions about what videos to create. He offers insight around what kind of content really moves the needle for real estate professionals, sharing his take on the pros and cons of producing humorous or provocative video content. Listen in to understand how WellcomeMat is working to facilitate visual search for the real estate industry and learn how drone automation can be used to create killer listing videos and accelerate the adoption of video marketing among brokers and agents.
WellcomeMat’s mission to make video the most valuable thing agents and brokers can do to market themselves and their properties
What makes WellcomeMat the best way to maximize reach for every video in your library
How WellcomeMat accepts content from any service (and allows users to switch providers at will)
What WellcomeMat does to help users make educated decisions about what videos to create
How WellcomeMat increases site visits by an order of magnitude over using YouTube alone
Why listing videos are best for pushing top line revenue
The value in producing evergreen content like neighborhood tours, agent profiles, etc.
WellcomeMat’s referral database of 5,000 video production companies
Christian’s take on producing provocative and/or humorous video content
The MLS rules around branded and unbranded content + how WellcomeMat offers tools to remove branding for MLS compliance
WellcomeMat’s work to facilitate visual search for the real estate industry
How drone automation facilitates the production of quality video at scale for the real estate space
Connect with Christian:
What can technology vendors do to better connect with the agents and brokers we hope to serve? And what can we learn from the perspective of a computer engineer turned REALTOR about how to approach real estate professionals and what kind of tech solutions they need?
Georgia Purpura is Managing Broker at Urban Nest Realty, a mid-size independent brokerage out of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she specializes in helping agents grow their business. She is also very involved in the local association, most recently serving as Chair of the MLS. Georgia has been a licensed agent for 12 years, acting as broker for Keller-Williams Southwest before joining Urban Nest in 2018. Prior to real estate, she earned her degree in business and information technology and spent eight years working as a computer engineer.
On this episode of Listing Bits, Georgia discusses how her background in IT has served her well in real estate, explaining how she evaluates technology solutions and what vendors can do to market their software more effectively. She offers advice for vendors and brokers on creating a business model that mitigates agent churn, challenging us to focus on producers rather than subscribers—casting a deeper net as opposed to a wider one. Listen in for Georgia’s insight on how modern agents learn about technology tools (and how that’s evolved over the years) and get her take on the top technology needs in the real estate space.
Georgia’s background in computer engineering and how that tech experience has served her well in real estate
How Georgia learned about tech tools early in her career from sales meetings and through the local association
How modern agents learn about tech tools through word-of-mouth on social media
Georgia’s advice for vendors around marketing to top producers who can create influence for you
Why vendors should lead with the problem they’re solving for in pitching agents and brokers
How Georgia evaluates tech based on its potential to shorten the sales cycle and save time or money
Georgia’s criticism of how brokers have gone about increasing profitability by having the biggest army (rather than the best)
How real estate brokerages and software vendors can build a business model that mitigates agent churn
The top technology needs Georgia sees in the real estate space
--Integration among tech solutions (strategic alliances)
--Agent retention and engagement tool for brokers
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