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Baird and Warner Launches Powerhouse Tech Platform kvCORE to 2,500+ Agents
Baird & Warner, one of the top 20 largest brokerages in the country by transaction sides and a market leader across greater Chicagoland, has partnered with Inside Real Estate to provide technology platform kvCORE to their 2,500 agents, across over 30 offices. The platform will serve as a comprehensive, central ecosystem, driving profitability and new business growth for the brokerage, their agents and top teams.
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Small and Midsized Brokers Power Recruiting with Core BackOffice
When recruiting top agents and teams, commission calculations constitutes one of the most difficult hurdles for small and midsized brokerage firms. America has about 85,000 brokerages and over 1.2 million Realtors and teams and, truth be told, there may be hundreds of thousands of different commission calculation programs. Actually working out the commission program needed to recruit agents presents much less of a challenge than tracking these unique commission programs designed for each agent on something other than an Excel spreadsheet. Small and midsized firms need to support variety in their compensation plans in order to recruit. No doubt, enterprise systems like Profit Power and brokerWOLF support any type of commission calculation imaginable for firms with hundreds of agents. But smaller firms require an affordable solution that integrates with QuickBooks. In 2016 and 2017, entrepreneur Jeremy Shoenig developed software for exactly this purpose, called BrokerSumo. In 2017, the company was acquired by one of America's largest brokerage software companies, Inside Real Estate. Since the acquisition, Inside Real Estate made a massive investment in expanding the features and functionality of BrokerSumo, and renamed the product Core BackOffice. Today, Core BackOffice is recognized as one of the most flexible and easy to use broker back office commission management systems in America. Core BackOffice manages office financials and agent financials, processes agent monthly billings, and handles customized commission plans and closing net sheets. Core BackOffice even handles commission disbursement sheets and third-party direct deposit. QuickBooks does the rest. Even large teams are using Core BackOffice to run their financials. Yes, there is more... A key feature of the system is the seamless workflow for new agent and team onboarding. Transactions also sync with popular transaction management systems like dotloop, DocuSign, EZ Coordinator, and SkySlope. When you grow sick of using spreadsheets in your business to do all of the things that QuickBooks fails to do for real estate companies, check out Core BackOffice. Its affordability and ease of use make it a premium product.  
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Industry Acquisitions Drive Luxury Brokerage to Launch New Tech Stack
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Brokers Beware! That Old Tech Is Eating at Your Profits
Brokers and owners often view back office systems as an afterthought. This is because they aren't seen as revenue drivers. In fact, back office accounting platforms for the real estate industry have historically been expensive, with non-cloud based software that is a frustrating user experience, requires manual data entry, and lacks operational necessities such as seamless integrations and automation of simple tasks.
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How Do We Use Insights to Drive Action?
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Let's Start Tipping Brokers
In the past, we've talked about the compensation model for brokers (here and here). As Redfin continues to grow, the fixed-fee/discount model is continually positioned as a superior one. There's REX and its $2,000 fee, Homie and its $1500 fee, and a slew of others who are hitching their wagon to the trend that fixed-fee aligns best with the incentives of the client: why pay more simply because you spend more? The issue, as is well documented, is that there is often a stigma with 'discount' that implies lack of quality services provided when compared to the traditional brokerage model. What drives consumers crazy with the latter is the fact the agent gets paid more the more you spend, not necessarily due to better service. Is there a third structure that would optimize the alignment of incentives? Yes: tipping.
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12 Ways to Increase Your Real Estate Agency's Efficiency
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Virtual Is Becoming a Reality in Real Estate
There are new and exciting entrants into the real estate industry every year. While much of the focus the last calendar year has been on Compass, one firm that was born during the recovery from the great recession, eXp Realty, has been growing at a clip that should be hard to miss.
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Brokers: Does your real estate tech stack really help recruit and retain agents?
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Comp Talks: Real Estate Agents (Part 2 of 2)
Last week, we discussed real estate agent compensation and looked for parallels within the investment management industry to point to possible clues toward the future. Today, we're circling back to look at different models that exist currently, and what they mean for agents and the clients.
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The Importance of Quality Agent Onboarding for a Successful Team
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MoveEasy Masters Brokerage Integration
The number one business challenge brokerages struggle with when it comes to technology is "getting our systems to work together." That's what the more than half – 54 percent of real estate leaders said when asked about their major tech challenges. The study was conducted by Imprev, which last year polled nearly 240 real estate leaders who represent brokerages responsible for more than half of all U.S. residential real estate transactions. Integration isn't just crucial to brokerages – it's vital. A brokerage will never implement any new technology today if it can't work together well with their existing tech-stack. At MoveEasy, we offer brokerages a moving and post-move concierge platform combined with a human concierge service fully integrated with the brokerage's technology to streamline the last mile of the transaction and to help agents stay connected to customers for life in a seamless manner. Tech integration: But there's the rub! The challenge brokerages often face integrating technologies is that it comes with a cost. Even when a technology firm doesn't charge an integration fee – and some actually do – there are planning, development and training costs that the brokerage will bear. Brokerages also are often hamstrung by having legacy technology. These older software systems are so embedded into their daily routines, it makes it difficult or seemingly impossible (or cost prohibitive) for a brokerage to update its systems. That means a lot of new technologies just won't play well with this outdated software. Integration won't be possible with many tech firms without a lot of pain and torture. Moreover, brokerages face another major dilemma: their agents are inundated with technology. Many times, their agents are actually suffering from technology fatigue. That's because every time a brokerage adopts a new technology, agents have to learn the new technology – sign up for new training, then remember new logins and most importantly, change what they have been doing. Many studies reveal that even at the best brokerages, a high adoption rate is still well under 50 percent. No wonder brokerages struggle with getting their agents to adopt the technology they provide. A 360-degree integration solution MoveEasy has an answer that helps solve these broker challenges. We call it our 360-degree integration solution. Our integration is holistic – from agent account creation to client usage. As a result, it just doesn't make MoveEasy adoption better but helps increase the adoption of a brokerages other connected technology products, like their CRM. Our 360-degree integration makes everything connected seamless for the brokerage, agents and their clients. MoveEasy has become the "Masters of Brokerage Integration" because our roots are in technology and unlike our peers, we just don't focus on a single integration. We look at how we can help a brokerage automate as much as possible by doing multiple integrations. Let me give you an example of how we do this and the value this brings to agents and their buyer and seller clients. How Realty ONE Group benefits Realty ONE Group is the fastest growing real estate brand in the nation and ranked #5 nationwide by REAL Trends. With more than 11,000 professionals and over 150 offices, they deploy industry leading technology including MoxiWorks (CRM and agent websites), Skyslope (transaction management), and ONE Login (Dashboard Single Sign-On or SSO). Realty ONE Group exploits the full power of MoveEasy's 360-degree integration, including: With our MoxiWorks cloud integration, MoveEasy automatically pulled their entire agent roster, creating individual agent accounts (fully personalized with their headshots, contact details and brokerage branding) for the entire brokerage in less than two seconds per agent. As a result, Realty ONE Group's admins don't have to email roster information back and forth, or keep updating this information when agents leave, or new agents join. MoveEasy's Transaction Management integration with Skyslope ensures that the moment a transaction goes to pending, agents are automatically notified, and pending their permission, clients are automatically invited. MoveEasy's integration with Skyslope means agents don't have to worry about remembering to log into another system or entering clients' details every time. Automation does it for them: they are simply notified. When a client clicks on an agent invitation to use MoveEasy, the client's details also are pre-populated: clients don't have to enter any information their agent already knew. Once clients log in, they will never have to enter their details even once to confirm a service. MoveEasy calls this "one-click service." That means clients won't have to enter their zip codes to find movers, or property details to order home services. Even when clients contact our human concierge, all of their information is at hand. They can simply text, call or email and our system will automatically recognize them. Realty ONE Group receives a wide range of other benefits from our 360-degree integration. As clients use the service on MoveEasy, Realty One receives activity updates inside MoxiWorks Engage so its agents know what their clients are doing, allowing them to touch base with their clients just at the right time. Our integration can allow agents to automatically embed their MoveEasy platform into their individual agent websites. With our MoxiWebsites integration, agents can activate MoveEasy on their site in one click. There's absolutely no need for any training, or instructions, etc. Agents benefit because if a prospect signs up with MoveEasy from their website, a lead automatically gets created into the MoxiEngage CRM. The agents don't have to worry about entering it manually. Finally, if Realty ONE Group agents want to log into their MoveEasy admin dashboard to check analytics or update their profile, it's again just one click. MoveEasy is fully integrated with both ONE Login and MoxiWorks SSO connection. That means agents don't need to remember another login or password. Mastering integration matters It's safe to say that no one cares about integration in the moving and post-move services field more than MoveEasy. Talk to our brokerage customers for validation, but our approach has been to create each integration we do based on the brokerage's needs. That has allowed us to master the ability to integrate with some of the most popular real estate systems available. Already, MoveEasy has integrated with electronic signature giant DocuSign and some of the industry's leading transaction management solutions, including dotloop, Skyslope, and Brokermint. We've also integrated with CRM leaders MoxiWorks and LionDesk, as well as back-office solutions Profit Power and AccountTECH. Other integrations include SSO platforms such as Konverse and OneLogin. Most importantly, MoveEasy will work with each brokerage to integrate with any of their current CRM, back-office system, transaction management software, agent websites, or SSO –including proprietary software – so their agents can get the benefits of MoveEasy without typing an extra key. At MoveEasy, we're working hard, so it becomes easy for brokerages tech systems to talk to our systems. As the masters of brokerage integration, we want this experience to be as seamless as possible. Venkatesh "Ven" Ganapathy, Founder & CEO of MoveEasy, moving made simple by people+tech, at moveeasy.com.    
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Are Your Agents Cutting Their Commissions?
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One Brokerage's Key to Success
Starting a real estate brokerage from scratch is no easy task--especially in one of Canada's biggest housing markets. It takes hard work, dedication, and resources. But that didn't stop Michelle Napieralski. As a Realtor in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada's largest metropolitan area, it didn't take long for Michelle's drive to kick in. She wanted more from the brokerage she was working at; she wanted to be able to grow as a team with her partner. So she and her partner started a brand-new brokerage—and before long, Manor Hill Realty was on its way.
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The Unseen Perks of a Strong Broker Tech Platform
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How to Unlock Your Brokerage's Ultimate Power
If you've been following the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the last decade, you might know that it was all leading up to Avengers: Infinity War. That blockbuster featured all our favorite heroes trying to stop the villain Thanos from getting his hands (hand?) on the Infinity Stones, a source of immeasurable power in the universe. Obviously, Marvel couldn't let Thanos have an easy time getting those stones. Each required him to solve a different problem, some of which cost him much more dearly than others. Don't worry, we won't spoil it! Each stone represents one of six aspects of the universe, which are surprisingly applicable to your brokerage. It wasn't easy for Thanos to solve his pain points and get those stones, but it doesn't need to be difficult for you to solve yours and build your brokerage's power! So how do these apply to your brokerage, and how can you use them to unlock its ultimate power?
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Visualizing Data to Understand Brokerage Performance
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RE/MAX Just Bought booj. Are You Prepared for What's Next?
2018 is looking to be the year of the mic drop. With LeadingRE's Cloud announcement recently behind us, subsequently comes another. RE/MAX acquired technology company booj in order to future-proof their stake in the industry. First of all, congrats to booj for this epic announcement and sale; it's what every entrepreneur dreams about. I'd also like to congratulate the other end of the deal, RE/MAX, for embracing a great technology solution for their vast number of agents. Now, for all the existing booj customers out there that are independent brokerages...
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[VIDEO] Lone Wolf's Virtual Meet and Greet
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MoxiWorks to Deliver LeadingRE Cloud Data Services Ahead of Big Franchises
In an announcement made to their membership, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE) have entered into a definitive agreement with Moxi Works to provide LeadingRE Cloud to their 565+ brokerage members. Franchises and networks like LeadingRE have been providing data services for their brokers over decades. No doubt, the most notorious version is the legacy CREST system at Realogy Holdings Corporation. Keller Williams CEO, Gary Keller, has kicked off a billion dollar investment in technology. RE/MAX® is in the process to buy a company or outsource to a vendor. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services has projects underway but have not released their ambitions to the media. Remember, all franchise systems are required to have some sort of database for tracking payments from the broker to the franchise on transactions. They all need data systems to power up their franchise software solutions.
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Moneyball: The Analysis of a Real Estate Agent
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Compass Is Coming to Your Town
To recap quite possibly the most significant announcement of 2017 for our industry: Softbank invested a whopping $450 million into the new, shiny tech brokerage, Compass. Emphasis on the brokerage, emphasis on that dollar amount since it's the largest investment into real estate technology ever, from the world's largest technology investment fund. They basically did a mic drop to cap off an already crazy real estate tech announcement year.
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Key Aspects to Look for in a Brokerage Platform
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Inside Real Estate Acquires BrokerSumo
WAV Group would like to congratulate Inside Real Estate and BrokerSumo. Inside Real Estate acquired BrokerSumo in an all cash transaction today. Both real estate technology firms are clients of both WAV Group and RE Technology. WAV Group is highly impressed by the quality of the Inside Real Estate core product, kvCORE. Inside Real Estate acquired Kunversion last year and has expanded the platform beyond team to a full broker suite. The kvCORE platform includes agent and broker lead generation websites, smart CRM, transaction management, an application marketplace, and integrations into many of the most popular applications in the industry. For the most part, the combination of kvCORE plus Transaction Management integration goes a long way toward a true lead-to-close solution. But the one thing was missing was accounting and commission management. With the acquisition of BrokerSumo, they have completed the suite.
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Everyone Is Moving to the Cloud
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Will Redfin's Giant Team Take Your Market Share?
Redfin's stock dropped 5.45 percent earlier this month when Compass announced their plan of world domination. It was primarily due to their poor Q3 earnings release, falling short of analyst estimates, and we'll go ahead and mention the fact they currently only serve 0.71 percent of the U.S. housing market... BUT they're still Redfin. They're still a shark in a sea of minnows, constantly posing a threat. In real estate, agent teams are becoming kind of a big deal. In fact, according to REAL Trends, there are now 35,000 to 50,000 agent teams across the U.S., with the majority having two to nine team members. These numbers are only growing, with 37 percent of teams formed one to three years ago and 26 percent of teams formed one year ago.
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How to Streamline Your Real Estate Transaction Using dotloop and iBroker
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The Importance of Quality Agent Onboarding for a Successful Team
The real estate profession is unique when it comes to joining a new brokerage or firm. Unlike with traditional job onboarding, there is a combination of requirements to be successful as an agent. New agents need a thorough and effective onboarding process. Many new real estate agents drop out of the industry simply because they didn't receive proper training when they started out. Here are a few tips for how to improve the onboarding process for new agents.
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Which Back Office Platform is Right for Your Brokerage?
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Open Platform: The Newest Way to Run Your Back Office
How do you manage your back office? In truth, That's largely dependent on the software you've chosen to support your endeavors. Today, we're kicking off a two-part series that looks at a pair of very different back office solutions: a more traditional, enterprise level platform and an "open platform" that works as a hub to connect all of your existing tools. Both solutions are highlighted in our 2017-18 Technology Guide. Which approach is best for your business? Read on to learn more.
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Is Your Back Office Management Working for You or Costing You Time?
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Do You Have a Love-Hate Relationship with Your Brokerage Business?
There's so much to love about running a real estate brokerage: You can use whatever business model you wish, hire according to your standards, service the clients you choose, decide what tech tools to leverage, and even decide (within reason) when you'll make yourself available for work. But there's one big aspect of running a brokerage that almost every real estate broker hates: The administrative burden of operating a business that involves dozens of different technology platforms and marketing systems, plus the independent contractor hires. It can be overwhelming for even the most Type-A broker-owner.
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What Lone Wolf's Acquisition of Instanet Solutions Means for Brokers and MLSs
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Don't Let the Keller Cloud Kill You
Keller Williams recently announced that they have a $1 billion budget to set aside for their technology. You read that correctly, a BILLION. The idea that a smaller brokerage could be able to invest that kind of money to create and maintain their own technology is absurd. Not every brokerage is a Keller Williams and we bet that billion they're investing in their technology is just the beginning. How does any other brokerage compete with that? You can't, not at this level of investment. However, you don't have to sit back and let them bring you to a slow and painful death either.
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Translating the Power of a Franchise to Your Brokerage
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Rich Broker, Poor Broker: Breaking Free and Building Wealth in Real Estate with the 'Cashflow Quadrant'
By now, everyone is nauseatingly familiar with the mantra, "Work smarter, not harder." However sick of the expression you may be, as a professional in the real estate industry, can say that you actually consider this concept on a regular basis and actively practice it? Be honest, because what we see in this industry is an ideology centered around putting our heads down and logging long hours every week. This "hustle 'till you drop" philosophy seems to be the more prevalent mantra in the business culture of North America. The average person believes if they just put a little more effort into their work and take on a few extra projects or clients, they will eventually find success. The unfortunate reality is the average person working in real estate will never find freedom they're after, or the success they believe their hard work entitles them to. Their level of wealth will forever be directly correlated to how many hours they are willing to sacrifice with their nose to the grindstone "hustling." Don't Sweat, Succeed!
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3 Reasons Reporting Analytics Are Imperative for Brokerages
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Top 5 Reasons Why Getting Real Estate Accounting Software Could Be Your Play of the Week
Although real estate and sports teams differ in many ways, your real estate team shares many of the same needs as your favorite professional sports team. Here are five benefits to getting real estate accounting software for your team. 1. Financial System Accounting software gives your team a financial system. NHL General Manager Jim Rutherford needs to track his team's spending in relation to the NHL's salary cap. Since taking the GM position in 2014, Rutherford has kept his finances in check, continues to have a cap friendly team and has won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. Like a Cup contending NHL team, your real estate team needs to understand and track its finances. Accounting software gives your real estate team a financial system that helps keep track of your team's productivity, transactions and deals in the pipeline.
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Brokermint Matures into a Top Choice for Small to Mid-sized Brokers
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Providing Best-in-Class to Your Agents
Agents today have more options than ever of which brokerage they can take "their talents" to. The ability to attract, recruit, and retain top talent is more crucial than ever if your brokerage is going to dominate the competition in your market. What measures are you taking to ensure your business is the "it" place to work? If it's been a while since you reviewed your brokerage resources for agents, perhaps it's time to take an internal audit and reassess your value proposition. Questions to consider: Why would agents want to work here? What do I offer agents that the competition does not? How do I help agents be more productive and focused on selling? If these answers are not immediately coming to you, chances are there is something dated with your brokerage process. To get back on track, think two words: open platform.
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Brokermint's Business Intelligence Reports Get Smarter
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How Integrating Quickbooks with Your Back Office Can Save You Thousands
If you've been paying attention to the back office tech space, you've probably noticed a lot of talk about Quickbooks integration, especially by solutions that serve small- and mid-sized brokerages. This market segment has been rolling out integrations with not just Quickbooks, but other popular accounting programs like Xero and Waveapp. Why? Well, once integrated, transaction data can move seamlessly between your back office platform and your accounting software. That means automatically cutting commission checks upon the close of a transaction, and never risking missed payments (mandatory for retaining top talent!). Brokers can also create invoices, sales receipts, and generate checks and 1099s. Integrating back office and financial systems can save even small brokers significant cash. Back office solution Brokermint estimates that brokers that close just 10 transactions per month can save at least $1200 per year with integration.
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Friday Freebie: 2 Back Office Tools Go Head-to-Head!
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3 Tips to Leverage Your Brokerage's Data and Build a Better Team
If you've been working in real estate for some time now, you've heard the term "data-driven" at some point. Arguably one of the most popular buzzwords in the industry for the past couple of years, taking the data-driven approach has also become a critical determining factor of success in the real estate industry. From managing clients and keeping track of leads to researching property and coming up with marketing campaigns, big data is a key part of helping you close deals and boost profits. Needless to say, if you've not started focusing more on data in the workplace, then now's the time to start. Here are some ways that leveraging your brokerage data can help your team get the most out of their performance.  
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Dotloop and NextHome Team Up with Back Office Upstart BrokerSumo
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DocuSign Transaction Rooms and Profit Power: Stop doing double work
Tired of doing double work? Re-entering data into multiple systems is a hassle agents, brokers, and transaction coordinators are all too familiar with. The DocuSign Real Estate team is working to put an end to it with our latest integration with Profit Power! DocuSign Transaction Rooms and Profit Power have come together to provide brokerages with a streamlined solution for managing real estate transactions – from lead to close. Import transaction data captured in Transaction Rooms into Profit Power to reduce data entry, minimize errors, and increase data consistency. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3: Get set up quickly. Reach out to both your DocuSign and Profit Power Account Managers to request the integration be turned on. Then simply link your accounts from within Profit Power one time. No additional cost, no fuss.
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How Brokers Can Encourage Agent Tech Adoption
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Friday Freebie: Take back office tool BrokerSumo for a 2-week test drive
Dotloop users just got a shiny, new financial tool to play with: BrokerSumo. It's a back office and commission management solution, and today they announced a brand new integration with popular transaction management platform, Dotloop. So if you're a Dotloop (or other!) user looking for an easy way to manage revenue, agent billing and disbursements, consider taking BrokerSumo for a spin. Just auto-populate your listing data, and you'll be on the road to tracking not just your transactions, but each transaction's value, too. Try BrokerSumo Free for 14 Days BrokerSumo is a lean platform aimed at small to mid-sized brokers who want a simple but savvy back office tool—without the bloat (or the price tag) of the big systems used by large firms. What BrokerSumo does offer brokers is plenty: the ability to track and predict revenue, manage commission plans and agent billing, direct deposit, handle escrow, track the ROI of your marketing dollar, generate 1099s, and spin out a wealth of reports. Agents get a portal where they can see their transaction pipeline, track their income, manage their own vendors, and more. And brokers can easily onboard new agents by sending them an electronic onboarding package. Reports abound, too. BrokerSumo is fueled by financial data, and the system can analyze all those numbers to produce reports on things like vendors, your pipeline and its value, agent value, office and agent commissions, and beyond. BrokerSumo is free to try for 14 days, no credit card required. Take it for a spin today and tell us what you think!
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What Do Running a City and Running a Brokerage Have in Common?
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The Tech Ecosystem of a Thriving Real Estate Brokerage
There is no secret to success. There is no missing ingredient. The key to running a business, and running it well, is in the business' commitment to fundamentals. With the fundamentals in place, the business owner is free to determine what success means to them and able pursue that idea with fervor. Okay, that's great, but what are the fundamentals? Eliminate all the fluff. Throw out the shiny pennies. Strip your business down to the essentials. What are the essential external and internal functions necessary for your brokerage to operate in the real estate industry? Generally speaking, all brokerages need to 1) make money from clients 2) manage money from the clients and 3) distribute money to their staff and outside vendors. Each function is comprised of multiple other functions, such as lead generation, transaction management, agent billing, commission splits, payroll and so on and so on. With all this in motion, it's admittedly difficult to keep track of everything. So we've gone ahead and grouped all of these functions into components and put all of these components into a real estate 'ecosystem.' On the right, you can see a preview of what this ecosystem looks like.
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Does Your Accounting and Commission System Help You to Retain Agents and Recruit New Agents?
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3 Components of Transaction Compliance and How to Manage Them
What happens if your brokerage is sued because one of your agents allegedly fails to materially disclose something relevant to a transaction? If your transaction management software offers compliance features, you needn't worry. Compliance capabilities let brokers manage agents workflow and set required tasks, create a document approval process, and reference activity logs. Let's dig in to learn more about how each of these features work. 1. Managing Agent Workflow Checklists are the broker's first line of defense in making sure an agent not only completes all paperwork correctly, but that they also complete tasks related to the success of a listing—like ordering photographs and installing the yard sign—in a timely manner. "The first result of using transaction checklists is that it helps your agents to stay organized and save time," says Andrew Chishchevoy, founder of Brokermint, a back office solution with built-in checklists and other compliance features. "The end result is compliance; checklists ensure that you have all your documents in place. Basically, brokers and admins can sleep well at night and make sure they have all the needed files and know that if something happens, they're safe. Whether they have 15 agents or 150, checklists ensure that everything is structured, safe and secure." Most transaction management solutions have checklist capabilities built in. Your solution may have pre-made checklists included that you can customize, or you may have to build checklists from scratch. For agents, they look like a chronological task list that lists what tasks/documents are coming up, due now, or overdue. Here's what a checklist looks like in Brokermint:
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Product Review: BrokerSumo Delivers Comprehensive Back Office Solution
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Top 3 Tools to Integrate Into Your Back Office
When it comes to real estate software, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Small brokers have different technology needs than large brokers, and franchises have different requirements than independent firms. Rather than relying on one system to handle everything you need, today's brokers look to solutions that can integrate with others to share data. MLS listing data is typically the backbone of all integrations--given the right set-up, this information can flow into your transaction management systems and eliminate the need for repetitive data entry. MLS data can also be used to automatically generate marketing materials for every new listing. There is an almost endless amount of integrations available to brokers across multiple solutions. Today, however, we're going to narrow our focus to integrations with what we consider the backbone of your real estate firm--your back office solution. The 'Trifecta' of Back Office Integrations This article came out of a conversation we had with Andrew Chishchevoy, co-founder of back office solution Brokermint. Although Brokermint integrates with multiple solutions, there are three that they consider the "trifecta" of back office integrations. 1. MLS Integration - This is the core integration of any back office or transaction management system. When MLS data freely flows into the solution you use, you can save time and payroll by eliminating redundant data entry, and ensure that all listing/transaction data is accurate. For example, once a listing is entered into the MLS, a transaction is immediately created in Brokermint and agents and administrators can start uploading documents immediately. Depending on the back office solution you use, agents are assigned to a new transaction immediately, based on the listing data from the MLS. If your back office solution has a commission management component, a default commission structure may be added to the transaction, as well.
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Commission Management from A to Z
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A Solution for Login Paralysis
Login paralysis is a disease that afflicts us all. We have hundreds of usernames and passwords to remember, each with different configuration of letters and numbers. For today's real estate professional, it's overwhelming. As a result, agents shut down and give up on applications that could very well generate enormous success in their business. Technology firms have long known about login paralysis. To resolve the problem, they have developed ways that an agent can sign on once, and be dynamically signed into all of the software solutions that they may access. One login grants full access. It's called single sign on. One of the companies that has provided single sign on services to the Multiple Listing Service is Clareity. Originally imagined as a security solution to thwart illegal MLS password sharing, the firm has evolved into an identity management solution for MLS users. Once an agent logs into their MLS, the Clareity dashboard authorizes the agent to access any number of MLS applications without needing to go through another password submission process. Sometimes these are called "smart links." Just this month, Clareity dropped "security" from their name—the company had been called Clareity Security since its founding in 2004—to better recognize their broader product line, and they have expanded their customer vertical beyond MLSs. Now Clareity will be delivering their world-class single sign on solutions to franchises and brokers.
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A Simple Solution to Improving Agent Software Adoption
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Tips to: Protect Your Broker’s License
When it comes right down to it, the broker is responsible for the trust account. It is amazing to imagine how many brokers run a business with so much money changing hands, agents coming and going, and yet, they fail to spend 30 minutes a month checking over their trust account. The Pay Me List Holding trust money is an immense responsibility and one, if not done properly, that can literally force an office to close their doors. It is important each month to track the coming and going of trust funds, but ultimately know who owns every dollar in your trust account. Think of it this way: if you were to close your doors today and had to refund all trust money, would you know which buyer and transaction the money belongs to? If the buyers were lined up outside your door would you have enough at the end? Would you have too much? Your monthly bank reconciliation should not only show you your banking information, outstanding checks and deposits, but also a list of money you are holding – the pay me list. This list should be for all current pending transactions.
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Which Back Office Reports Are Most Valuable to Brokers?
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3 Foolproof Tactics to Recruit Top Agents
As a real estate broker, selling houses is not your only goal. Recruiting top agents is another important task that's on your mind. Recruiting top performing agents will benefit your brokerage. We all know that if they do well, you do well. Agents have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the brokerage they want to work with; it's almost like being a kid in a candy store. But if you want to attract top talent, you need to show them how you can positively affect their career. Showcase how choosing you will be the best decision they make! At the end of the day, agents are entrepreneurs. They work for themselves and they will see only profit. Show how you can help them be the best at their job. Show them how you can add value. Here are three foolproof tactics to recruit top agents: 1. Record Keeping Let's face it—an agent is not an accountant. Your agents can get out there and be the best only when they know you can handle their transactions efficiently and be transparent about it.
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Friday Freebie: Try Real Estate's Easiest-to-Use Back Office Solution for 30 Days
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Tired of manually managing transactions? (10/26)
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT Our weekly 15-minute webinar covers all the basic functions of the Brokermint system, starting with document upload, task management to more advanced functions like e-signature, pdf split-merge and Google Calendar. How to use Checklists that provide consistency for all users. Create Custom Fields – it's your business – make it personal. Set automatic Reminders for the items that matter most. Tasks – allow the system to prompt you for the necessary items needed to complete a file. No thinking, just doing! Register now!
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The Value of Your Value Proposition
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Transaction Checklists: The Magic Pill for Compliance
"Plan your work and work your plan," is a phrase we hear around the RE Technology offices a lot. It's a sage reminder that setting up processes and following set tasks is the most effective way to handle large projects. It's advice that can greatly simplify real estate transactions for agents, too, and keep brokers in compliance. Having a predetermined set of steps that agents can follow for each of their listings can greatly speed up a transaction's timeline by preventing missed documents and deadlines. This can also boost a brokerage's bottom line. If a transaction closes in 60 days instead of 90, that's 30 extra days of capital in your bank account. One way that real estate professionals are planning their work and working their plan is via transaction checklists. You may have seen similar checklists for marketing listings in your CRM, but transaction checklists are focused specifically on the steps and documents needed to keep transactions on deadline and compliant. "With transaction checklists, brokers and administrators can sleep well at night and make sure they have all the needed files, so if something happens, they know they're safe," says Andrew Chishchevoy, founder of Brokermint, a back office and transaction management solution that offers built-in checklists. "That's exactly what brokers say when they talk to us. 'I'm really worried about my business, I have 15 agents, and I want to make sure everything is structured, safe and secure.'" So what exactly should brokers include in the transaction checklists they build for their firms? Brokermint offered us insight into the items they include in their customizable checklists. Here's an overview.
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A Tool for Visualizing Your Transaction Pipeline
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What DocuSign's New 'Lead to Close Strategy' Means for Brokers
DocuSign revealed a new 'lead to close' strategy for real estate at last month's Inman Connect conference in San Francisco. But what does that actually mean? Here's a breakdown. What is a 'lead to close' strategy? "Lead to close" is a succinct summation of DocuSign's new mission: to make real estate transactions 100 percent digital, from lead generation through recording of the deed. The heart of this strategy is integration with other major tools that brokers use. For example, one of DocuSign's newest partnerships is with Realtors Property Resource (RPR). Thanks to the integration, DocuSign users no longer need to enter property data into the program. That information is automatically pre-populated into DocuSign Transaction Rooms from RPR's database. Another new integration is with Lantrax's back office and accounting solution, Profit Power. All data about a property sale is pushed from DocuSign into Profit Power. By connecting transaction data to financial performance, this integration gives brokers greater insight into their business performance. DocuSign launched a similar integration with brokerWOLF, Lone Wolf's back office solution, last November.
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Product Review: Brokermint Offers Complete Back Office Management to Small and Mid-Sized Firms
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Tired of manually managing transactions? (8/31)
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT Our weekly 15-minute webinar covers all the basic functions of the Brokermint system, starting with document upload, task management to more advanced functions like e-signature, pdf split-merge and Google Calendar. How to use Checklists that provide consistency for all users. Create Custom Fields – it's your business – make it personal. Set automatic Reminders for the items that matter most. Tasks – allow the system to prompt you for the necessary items needed to complete a file. No thinking, just doing! Register now!
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How Efficient Are Your Office Staff?
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QuickBooks integration for your real estate back office (8/17)
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT This webinar is for both existing and new QuickBooks users who want to automate data entry, integrate with back office, setup recurring billing, etc. Why QuickBooks is a perfect fit for thousands of real estate businesses How to automate data entry and connect your back office to QuickBooks Bonus: Invaluable Best Practices. Recurring billing, direct deposits and much more Register now!
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Aculist Turns Data Into Smart Business Decisions
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Boston Logic Launches a Small Broker Game Changer
Boston Logic is a new WAV Group Communications client. They called upon WAV Group to help with the public relations on their new product launch called Ace. For those of you who are familiar with Boston Logic, they offer brokerage software for websites, customer relationship management, lead management, marketing and other such tools. They are among a small handful of solutions that meet the needs of large firms – think 500 or more agents and lots of offices and MLSs. At the enterprise level, these systems are complex and intended to be operated by the broker's team of experts in technology system administration and online marketing. The system is advanced by its very nature, and provides brokerages who use their services with a competitive advantage. Ace is out of the box thinking for a real estate technology platform developer. Rather than dumb down their system, Ace bundles their technology with an expert to run it. Brokerage firm and small teams do not need to employ a systems administrator. The software comes bundled with one. Adding in a technology Ace allows smaller firms to enjoy the benefits of world class enterprise technology without hiring, training, and managing the human resource that is necessary to get the most out of the solution. The Ace integrates into the brokerage or large team and caries the ball on the technology management to keep the business' online assets positioned to return value. It's more than tech support. The Ace drives the technology every day to help the firm win.
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Lone Wolf: Tools for the Data Driven Brokerage
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Utilizing the Lone Wolf Business Directory (6/23)
Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT Learn more about utilizing the Business Directory which stores your preferred vendors within your WOLFconnect! We will review: What is the Business Directory? Setting up the Business Directory Utilizing the Business Directory Our adWOLF Program Register now!
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Who Is Driving Your Bus?
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brokerWOLF Tips and Tricks (5/25)
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 12:00 PM PDT This webinar will provide users with tips and tricks on how to save time in the brokerWOLF system and streamline efficiency! Register now!
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Back Office Solutions for Brokers
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Does Your System Look Good?
WAV Group has been doing a lot of MLS and broker business solution RFPs recently—like 20 of them in the last three months. We used to do vendor selections the old fashioned way. We would develop a feature checklist and ask vendors to fill it out. Then we would look at the answers to discern what the answer means. Seeing a “Yes, we have it” will often mean that they can sort of do it, or that they do it but differently, or that they do it exactly the way it is expected. We still have the 400-point checklist, but we try not to use it anymore unless the customer insists. Out pivot is to having a customer (MLS or broker) write down their story. The story is related to their company size, their culture, their competitors, and the features of operating their business that are most important in servicing customers, creating agent productivity, and being competitive. Impressions mean more than anything else in vendor selections. When you spend hours every day looking at technology solutions, you quickly learn that most of them are the same in terms of functionality. Sure, some companies have differentiators, but they are typically short term. But simply stated, most solutions offered to MLSs and brokerages today are ugly. There has been a lot of advancement in front-end consumer facing applications. These are beautiful, responsive, user friendly, and delightful. Then the agent logs in and all of that is lost. The back office solution is ugly, unresponsive, cluttered, confusing, poorly organized, and gross. Log-in on a mobile device and the experience is horrid.
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3 Alternative Sources of Revenue for Brokerages
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[INFOGRAPHIC] 5 Signs You’re Ready for a Paperless Office
The concept of a paperless office has been around for a long time, but you still haven't made the transition. Maybe you're not fully aware of the benefits or you're questioning if you're really ready. Wondering if it's time for you to go paperless? Check out the infographic below for the 5 signs you're ready for a paperless office.
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Lean, Mean Brokerage Machine: Technology Empowers Firm to Operate with Zero Debt
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Keeping Up with Technology – Where Does Your Business Stand?
The National Association of REALTORS® Real Estate in a Digital Age report states that 46 percent of all real estate firms consider keeping up with technology in the next two years a big challenge. The continuous change to existing technology and the development of new technologies make it tough to stay ahead of the game. So how do you? Consider your prospects and clients. Target your technology according to who comes to you for real estate support, advice and assistance in finding a home. Statistics from the report found that the use of online information such as website listings and photos were more effective when marketing to Millennials and Generation Xers. Whereas baby boomers found virtual tours on your listings and in-person meetings more effective to meet their needs. The availability of new technology also means the transaction process has changed. The recent partnerships with companies like BackAgent, DocuSign and Dotloop® have shown leading technology company Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies guiding this change. Lone Wolf's Transaction Management Integration Program is facilitating the various ways agents submit transaction documents. The program serves the diverse needs of the office and connects the industry for more streamlined and efficient operations.
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A High-Volume Brokerage on the Solution that Enriches Their Bottom Line
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Listing Integration: The Possibilities Are Endless
Since the advent of Internet Data Exchange (IDX), it has become commonplace to sync property listings to a real estate brokerage or agent's website. This feature is popular because composing a quality listing takes time. Once you have entered your listing in the MLS – added the description, technical specs, photos and more – you don't want to spend even more time duplicating this information in your office technology and marketing channels. Listing integration technology opens up a world of opportunity for both brokerages and agents. By syncing your listing information into other areas of your business you will begin to realize the possibilities and full potential of your business. Front office management solution: Integrate listing data into your front office platform to allow agents and administrators to stay informed of listing changes, open houses, daily activity and more, resulting in improved communication and workflow. Transaction documents: With listing integration technology, data is automatically populated and integrated into transaction documents. This eliminates the time agents and administrators spend re-entering data and allows them to focus their attention on providing quality service to their clients. Clients can also access their transaction documents via online portals.
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Having a Technologically Integrated Brokerage is Crucial to Recruiting Top Agents
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Broker Back Office Powered By MLS
MLSs have taken a relentless beating by large brokers over the last year. The message was clear: "Help us!" Brokers are fighting for their lives in a technology cold war where they see everyone as a co-petitor. Third party sites are co-petitors in attracting consumers to property search websites. MLS consumer sites are sometimes co-petitors, too. Obviously, other brokers are co-petitors, especially when it comes to the paradox of the MLS services vs. brokerage services. For many brokers today, it is hard to know who is your friend and who is your enemy. It begs the question, "Why can't we all just get along?" The lines between partners and competitors are blurred. Firms want partners in online marketing with third party websites, but they want their content respected (see Fair Display Guidelines). Firms want the cooperation and compensation offered by the MLS, but they do not want them to level the playing field with too many core services offered to all subscribers. Some firms are delighted by the success of an MLS consumer website, but would rather not have yet another competitor attracting the consumer. The leading MLSs in the nation are sensitive to this issue, and they work as partners with all of their brokers by listening to their concerns and supporting them at developing opportunities to be successful. What is becoming more obvious by the day is the gap between this attitude found by large MLSs vs. the inconsistency found in smaller Association run MLSs. "There is an enormous amount of variation between MLSs across America today making it nearly impossible for large firms to deploy solution in every market to each of their agents," says Craig Cheatham of The Realty Alliance and the RESO Board of Directors.
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Back Office Solutions 101
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5 Tips To Help Your Agents Plan, Prepare, and Perform For Success This Spring
After what many will remember as one of the worst winters in recent history, we've now made it into spring. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and For Sale signs are popping up on lawns everywhere. Spring is here and home buyers and sellers are ready to get moving. Though there is no 'right' time to buy or sell a home, research has found that 35% of home sales occur between May and July, making the spring market the busiest in the industry. This is also the perfect opportunity for real estate brokers to review their brokerage operations and ensure their agents have tools in place to succeed. As the real estate market comes out of hibernation, leading brokers are ready with initiatives to help their agents perform at their peak today and tomorrow, resulting in increased revenue. The recent release of the top performing brokerages as ranked by REAL Trends proves how planning ahead to capture more revenue works in any market. Tips from Top Ranking Brokerages Here's a list of 5 things you can do to help your brokerage move to the top and keep your agents performing for success: 1. Be available to your agents – In the busy spring and summer months many agents can be overwhelmed by the demand of the business. Often, agents are just looking for reinforcement and encouragement, much like anyone in any business. Using brokerage technology to evaluate your agents' performance allows you to proactively coach agents before they come to you in a panic. Being available to your agents reinforces your value and will help them be more successful.
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Broker Efficiency: How to put more money in the BANK at the end of the month
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Product Review: brokerWOLF
brokerWOLF is a double-entry bookkeeping and back office management solution for brokerages. It enables brokers to manage listing inventory, transactions, commissions, agent billing, accounts payable and receivable, and more. That's the short story. In truth, brokerWOLF is a far more robust program than a simple list of features and available reports can articulate. While it can help balance your general ledger, its real power is in how it enables brokers to leverage data to reveal everything from uncovered expenses to which agents provide the most value to their firm. When it comes to data, of course, more is better. The more data a broker has access to, the greater their opportunity to hone in on ways to improve profitability and streamline business. brokerWOLF allows brokers to input data on nearly every aspect of their firm's operation. The catch, however, is that users only get as much as they put in to the program. The more they leverage brokerWOLF's multitude of features, the clearer the picture of their brokerage's health will become. So what does brokerWOLF have to offer? While it's far too dense a program to go over every detail, today we'll provide an overview of major highlights, as well as an evaluation of end-user concerns like usability and support. Here's a quick peek at major features: Complex fee structure with template capabilities Hundreds of available reports, including real estate specific ones like Pending Transactions, Commission Cutting, Agent Net Worth, Leads Production, and more Keyboard shortcuts and favorites Comprehensive Help menu, tip sheets, and the ability to contact customer support from within the program
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Choosing a Back Office Solution
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Did You Forget About the Data?
You are buying another brokerage, you've negotiated the terms and you've finally cut the deal. The acquisition of that competitor's office is going to finally happen. Congratulations! Now you are thinking about changing the building sign; getting new business cards and yard signs for the agents; how to announce the deal; etc. This is all of the surface stuff that people see. But have you thought about the engine that runs the machine? Your technology, your back office accounting systems, your web integration to the MLS/Boards and every tool that actually makes your company run! These essential tools are often overlooked until the day after. And what you don't see is what creates challenges! Here are some things to consider: When integrating one office to a new environment, the back office systems are often not the same. And, even if the two companies are with the same technology partner, the service level or menu of products can be different and will require some advanced planning to seamlessly integrate. The MLS systems can be challenging and will also require some advanced coordination between you, the other party, your MLS, real estate boards and your technology partner. Sensitivity and confidentiality prior to your announcement are critical and you should ask your technology partner and any employees involved to sign a NDA.
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How Accounting Data Aids Managerial Decision Making
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Standardizing the Offer Process
Receiving, managing and negotiating offers online is not something new, but it is increasing in popularity due to widespread multiple offer situations that exist in the current market. eBrokerHouse.com has been a leader in this service for over four years. They are quickly transforming the offer process into one that is more transparent for all parties involved, and easier to manage for the listing agent. How does it work? It's actually very simple. Each listing entered into eBrokerHouse generates a unique URL, which an agent copies and places into the offer instruction in their MLS. Agents click the link and are taken to the offer submission page for that listing where they enter offer details and upload their offer documents. eBrokerHouse CEO Alan Fenn says, "Fax and even email offers are quickly becoming outdated methods for submitting, negotiating and managing offers. We are providing smarter and more efficient way to do handle offers. Our goal is to standardize the offer process throughout the entire industry."
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Getting Into the Thick of It – Prepare For the Busy Season and Close More Deals
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Technology Tools Used by Great Office Managers
All too frequently, companies focus on broker tools or agent tools, losing sight of the tools used by great managers. Brokers who truly understand the value of office managers dedicate resources to deliver manager tools that drive company success and agent productivity. These tools fold into three categories: Market Analysis, Sales Analysis, and Agent Effectiveness. Market Analysis Tools Market Analysis involves using tools like Terradatum Broker Matrix or Trendgraphix. These tools give office managers access to two specific measurements that are key to success: Competitor Sales Volume and Agent Sales Volume, relative to market pace. The first is a competitive overview of competitor sales volume vs. office sales volume. Managers can compare their office productivity relative to competition in the market to understand pace. Pace is a different measurement than market share, and is more important. Your office will always grow or shrink in sales volume relative to real estate cycles. Pace is the measurement of growth vs. competitive growth. If your office is up 22%, you may be excited. But if competitive offices are up 28% in the same market, you are losing pace. Likewise, an excellent manager may have a 10% loss in sales, but if competitors lost 15%, that manager's office has outpaced competitors by 5%. Sometimes, even when you are losing, you win.
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Going Green: Real Estate’s Paperless Movement
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How to Reduce Your Paper Consumption
Do you print a lot of electronic content or documents in your busy day? Ever thought about the effect your decision to print has on the environment? As you read this and other electronic documents throughout your day, consider the environment before you click 'Print'! Now that you're thinking green, keep reading to learn how you can change our daily actions to help save the environment. Now is your chance to make a change. Go green! Going green isn't just a fad; it's a lifestyle. It's being aware of the impact that your actions have on the environment and the effect they may have on future generations. Did you know a typical business office will produce about 1.5 pounds of paper waste per employee each day? If your office eliminated office paper form your waste stream, you could potentially cut your waste bill by 50% or more. Everyone wants to save money, now you can save the environment too!
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The FTC MAP Ruling and How It Impacts You
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Look Out! Business Process Systems Are Everywhere You Look
Why don't brokerages update their business process systems to create the exceptional real estate transactions consumers and agents are looking for? Most real estate companies don't run efficiently because effective business process systems are nonexistent, and any business process management is a mostly rudimentary, manual process. So I wonder: If the manufacturer of a coffee drink or automobile can have systems that assure consistency, quality, and great experiences, why can't the same be said of a $300,000 home—the most important investment most Americans will ever make? "I would like a Frappuccino™ please." Business process systems are everywhere you look. Someone at the front counter presses a button on a computer; A barista follows a very specific series of instructions, illustrating which ingredients to use, how to assemble and then package the drink; Each location purchases their products and ingredients from approved vendors that follow strict guidelines set by corporate. This ensures quality, fresh products are served to their customers. Your Frappuccino™ tastes, looks, and is delivered the same way whether you are in Miami, New York, Boston, or Los Angeles. This business process management yields efficient and consistent results, benefiting the customer, store and corporate. I am a firm believer that the real estate transaction has been commoditized. What is going to separate the winners from the losers will be the quality and consistency of what the brokerage and its agents can deliver to the consumer. The key to this will be the ability to install business process systems that facilitate the seamless, accountable, and transparent organization of information key to the real estate transaction. Improving your business process management will allow you to deliver the best real estate transaction possible for agents and consumers.
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