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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: 2023
Nov 27, 2023

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.

 

What’s Discussed:  

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:

Michael.Travel

Michael on LinkedIn

 

Resources:

Sitzer v. NAR

Michael’s LinkedIn Post

 

Our Sponsors:

Trackxi

Nov 8, 2023

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.

 

What’s Discussed:  

 

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:


Intercontinental Exchange

Ben on LinkedIn

Lucie on LinkedIn

Email lucie.fortier@bkfs.com 

 

Resources:


ICE Acquisition of Black Knight

Paragon Connect Demo

Damien Huze on Listing Bits EP85

Paragon Connect on Vendor Alley

 

Our Sponsors:


Trackxi

 

Oct 20, 2023

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’s Discussed:  

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:

Lone Wolf Technologies

Damien on X

Damien on LinkedIn

 

Resources:

Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design

T3 Technology Summit

Starlink

FaceTime on Apple TV

Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson 

 

Our Sponsors:

Trackxi

Oct 19, 2023

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!

 

What’s Discussed:  

 

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:

 

Trackxi

Email vijay@trackxi.com 

Vijay on LinkedIn

 

Resources:

 

Trackxi Review in Inman

The Close Picks for Best Transaction Management Software for 2023

 

Our Sponsors:

 

Trackxi

Sep 25, 2023

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.

 

What’s Discussed:  

 

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:

NoteRouter

Nick on LinkedIn

Email nick@noterouter.com 

 

Resources:

Seth Godin

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell

 

Our Sponsor:

Cloud CMA for Brokers

Jun 12, 2023

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.

 

What’s Discussed: 

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:

Sisu

Brian on Instagram

 

Resources:

Sisu Mastery

Side

PLACE

 

Our Sponsor: 

Cloud CMA for Brokers

May 24, 2023

Two years ago, NAR policy was updated to give brokers and agents attribution rights, meaning they get to decide how they appear in listings.

 

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.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

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:

 

Michael at FBS

Michael on Twitter

 

Connect with Greg Fischer:

 

West + Main

Greg on Twitter

 

Connect with Andy Woolley:

 

Homes.com

Andy on Twitter

 

Resources:

 

Greg’s Twitter Thread on Your Listing, Your Lead

NAR’s IDX Policy

RESO Data Dictionary

Homesnap Pro

 

Our Sponsor:

 

Cloud CMA for Brokers

Apr 12, 2023

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!

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

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:

 

RentSpree

Lauren on LinkedIn

Email laurenm@rentspree.com

RENEW Initiative

The RENEW Podcast by RentSpree

 

Resources:

Remine

Project Runway

Vendor Alley

SentriLock

Rent the Runway

Teresa King Kinney & Liz Sturrock on The RENEW Podcast EP001

Betsy Hanson of Markt on Listing Bits EP078

 

Our Sponsor:

Cloud CMA for Brokers

Mar 31, 2023

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.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

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:

Markt

Email betsy@themarkt.com

 

Resources:

Notorious ROB

Industry Relations Podcast

Turn On by 1000watt

 

Our Sponsor:

 

Cloud CMA for Brokers

Feb 17, 2023

Most showing management software aggregates data. But how useful is it to get a report at the end of the month?

 

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.

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

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:

Showingly

Email wes@showingly.com

 

Resources:

ShowingTime

Showing Hub

TourZazz

 

Our Sponsor:

Cloud CMA for Brokers

Jan 26, 2023

A solid fan base is what makes a rock band successful, and it’s no different for real estate professionals.

 

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!

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

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:

 

Milestones

Rivers on LinkedIn

Rivers on Twitter

Rivers on Instagram

Email rivers@milestones.ai or ashley@milestones.ai for a 3-month free trial

 

Resources:

 

BoomTown

Mark Davison on Listing Bits EP042

Curaytor

CallAction

Agent Legend

Drew Meyers of Geek Estate

Tom Ferry

 

Our Sponsor:

 

Cloud CMA for Brokers

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