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Create Your Own Mailing Labels in RPR: A How-To Video
One of RPR users' most frequently requested features is now live! REALTORS can now create mailing labels or export owner information from their RPR search results. These ready-to-print mailing labels will give agents another tool in their RPR toolbox for farming, prospecting or direct mail marketing within custom geographies. This "how-to" video will show you, step-by-step, how easy it is to create mailing labels within RPR. And there's no need to take notes, just click on this handy Quick Start Guide for detailed, written instructions and visuals.
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Everyone's a Winner: Lone Wolf and Real Estate Webmasters Push Integration with Announcement of New Strategic Partnership
Technology developers today share a major theme: integration. Sometimes developers create smart links and single sign-on applications that make it easier for agents to jump from one software application to another. At other times, they leverage the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable software solutions to "talk" to each other. The flexibility of integrations with SSO and API enables brokers to develop a full suite of cloud-based applications that are unique to their firm.
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Form Simplicity Updates to Improve Paperless Transaction Productivity
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5 Ways Brokers Benefit from Transaction Management
It's one thing to know what transaction management does--from keeping track of paperwork and requirements to submitting forms for final approval. But it's quite another thing to know what it does for the people who work in a real estate brokerage every day. So when we talk to brokers about technology, we always like to ask. How do they use transaction management? Here are some of our favorite ways that brokers have told us they use transaction management⁠--including a few innovative ones we wouldn't have thought of otherwise!
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5 Shocking Yet True Real Estate Statistics
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Why Does Transaction Management Take So Long?!
Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 11:00 AM PDT Nearly 50 percent of brokerages spend up to one hour on a single transaction. It can take even longer when you factor in the usual suspects like: Incomplete paperwork Last-minute changes Inconsistent forms It's 2019. Shouldn't transaction management be easier by now? Join us as we diagnose why transactions are taking so long. We'll pinpoint where the problems persist and identify exactly how much money transactions are costing brokerages per year. Finally, we'll prescribe a solution, proven to save brokerages up to 90 percent of time on their transaction management process. Register now!
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Small and Midsized Brokers Power Recruiting with Core BackOffice
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Top 5 New Real Estate Brokerage Models in 2019
Amazon, Google and Apple are looking to invest in real estate tech. The growth in popularity of smart homes makes this a logical move. Facebook has also announced plans to venture into real estate. Real estate data is published on Facebook by agents daily, and that data belongs to the social media giant. So why are these mega-corporations trying to get into residential real estate, besides the obvious? Because numbers don't lie. Check out some of the brokerage models that are currently out there.
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Real Estate Under Siege: Winning the Digital Fight
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ESIGN is 19! Time to reflect on electronic signature in the U.S.
June 30, 2019 marked 19 years since the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) was signed into law--as well as the 10th annual National ESIGN Day in the U.S. Nineteen is a funny, in-between age: already old enough to drive, vote, and (yes) sign contracts, yet still not old enough to get into the really good clubs. It's a good age, however, for reflection: a time to consider one's beginnings, how one is perceived, and what one's future may hold. So, let's briefly reflect on 19 years of ESIGN.
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The Day I Learned of a Chilling Plot to Digitally Censor My Voice
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Google for Real Estate: Leveraging Google Analytics
You can't know what works and what doesn't on your website if you don't have a way to track your results. Google Analytics is a fairly comprehensive tool you can connect to your website to monitor traffic and other important metrics.
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A Glance at America's Most Prominent Minority Homebuyers
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Top 10 Most Popular Articles of June
School may be out for the summer, but there's still learning to be had here at RE Technology. Last month, our most popular articles included words of wisdom (see #1 and #4 below), a lesson in inexpensive listing photography (#2), and a bit of intriguing research (#5 and #8). If you're an advanced student, check out the essay at #3 on the future of the buyer's agent, or swing down to #7 for a crash course on marketing strategy. For the rest, check out our list of the most popular articles of June below! 1. 5 Quotes that Will Motivate You to Become the Most Successful Real Estate AgentWant to experience more success in your career? Sometimes all it takes is a few motivating words of wisdom. Check out these five quotes for motivation to kick your career into high gear. 2. How to Shoot a House for Under $16Real estate photography can quickly become expensive, which is less than ideal. However, creating high quality professional images can be achieved at a fraction of the cost. To demonstrate this, we're going to shoot a property with a smartphone. You'll learn the key tips on the most important areas in the home so your listing will stand out. 3. Will Buyer's Agents Survive?The buyer's agent is a hard-working agent, especially in an inventory-constrained market. They represent the person bringing the money to the transaction and, yet, they are often unappreciated, undervalued, and under-compensated for their efforts. Some would suggest that the buyer's agent may not survive the next 10 years in our industry, but I am bullish on them remaining a vital contributor to real estate transaction services. 4. How to Handle Tough Conversations with ClientsYou don't want a client to forego working with you again or sending a referral because of tough conversations that could have been avoided or handled more smoothly. In fact, by handling those difficult conversations well, you might earn a strong Google review for your transparent, honest approach. Getting through the challenges can require some difficult talks with clients, but here are some ways you can help them through it. 5. [Infographic] Best Seasons to Sell a HomeAsk most anyone which season is the best to sell a home, and likely, with little hesitation they will respond, "Summer." This stands to reason. Schools are out, giving families a clean break to transfer children to a new area. The weather is much nicer for attracting people to open houses. But is it the BEST time to sell? We wanted to know, so we consulted the data. Here's what we found. Take a look—the answers may surprise you. 6. 3 Outside-the-Box Marketing Strategies that WorkedThe importance of having a consistent and diverse marketing strategy for your real estate business cannot be underestimated. Along with implementing marketing fundamentals, a number of agents are finding success using out-of-the-box marketing strategies to appeal to a broader audience, garner free press coverage and generate viral buzz. Here are three examples real estate agents have used that got results. 7. Listing Tips and Strategies to Stand Out and Sell More HomesEvery top agent knows the number one source of business is word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat customers. Every real estate professional needs a marketing strategy to intentionally give people a reason to talk about you and to make it easier for them to have that talk. Try these tips to help you do just that. 8. Study Reveals How Long It Really Takes for Each Step of the Home Buying ProcessOn average, it takes just over half a year for a home buyer to move into their new home. The research that revealed this also broke down the time spent on individual steps -- and pain points experienced -- along the way to closing a deal. 9. Is It Time to Update or Replace Your Computer?What year did you buy the computer you use most for your work? If you can't easily recall the answer, there's a strong possibility that it is time to update or replace your computer. Here's a brief checklist to help determine if updating your computer's software is enough or if it's time to replace this vital technology that helps you do your job. 10. 7 Secrets to Owning Your AreaAs a Realtor, you have many responsibilities. One of the most important responsibilities is to find prospects and convert them to leads. In the most recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, Nick Baldwin and Tristan Ahumada shared seven ways for you to do just that.    
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Let's Argue About CRM and Lost Business
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7 Crucial How-to Steps to Creating Powerful Social Media Content (That Gets Read and Shared)
The cost of promoting your brand can be mind-chilling. For example, a 30-second Super Bowl commercial in 2019 went for approximately $5.25 million--over 50 hundred thousand dollars for one skimpy half-minute of audience engagement. So, it's no wonder that many businesses use social media in an attempt to reach their audiences. Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all, easy route to social media success. In this post, you'll learn the seven crucial, fundamental steps for leveraging the ever-changing social media landscape.
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[Podcast] With RESO Setting the Standard, Will Real Estate Innovation Accelerate?
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Houston 2020: A Historic Dive into America's Biggest Boom Town
If you don't know the name, Ralph Bivins, then you've likely been insulated from Houston's real estate scene. Bivins is Houston's most enduring and prolific real estate observer, reporter, champion, and now, author. Houston 2020: America's Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up is the rookie author's new book in which he does a deep dive into one of the nation's fastest-growing and most remarkable cities. Bivins explores not just the projects and the people that mastermind this massive city but its global impact. He doesn't hold back and explores the good, the bad, and the ugly of Houston. Houston 2020 is a must read—even for those who have never been to Houston or have no connection to its the area whatsoever. I will tell you why.
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Brokers Need to Rebuild Their Marketing Departments
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HowardHanna.com Debuts 'Find It First' Search Feature
Howard Hanna announced a new online real estate search differentiator, Find It First. The Find It First program allows Howard Hanna agents to market a seller's home for sale exclusively on HowardHanna.com before it hits the open market. The company's website has close to two million visitors every month. Ohio is the first area where the company is offering the Find it First experience to consumers.
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Brokers Need to Rethink Their Website Strategy
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Fail First Approach to Cybersecurity Is Costly
Failing is a natural part of learning. When failure occurs, the opportunity to learn is critical in building knowledge. A fail first mentality towards the cybersecurity of systems and data, however, is not a learning experience. It is a disaster. We have three tips for starting a journey to learn techniques to prevent and recover from a ransomware attack.
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How One Real Estate Agency Is Increasing Engagements with Immersive Listings
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Just SEO Will Starve Your Real Estate Website
You're working hard at SEO, Search Engine Optimization, for your real estate website, so why can't you get on that first page of Google results for any of your major keyword phrases? You can't quit on the SEO, but you can add some SEO related activities to boost your positioning and traffic to your site. There is also one strategy you can use to boost your search engine positioning, so let's talk about it first.
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How Realogy and Keller Williams Will Win with AI
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Remember Single Tasking? Probably Not!
While doing my research for this article, I realized the mobile technology revolution has completely eliminated the single tasking we remember from many of our pre-Palm and pre-Blackberry days. I never want to go back to that time, but rather adjust our life--and more importantly--our brain. Before I get into single tasking, here are facts from people much smarter than me. (Don't believe me? Google it!) Multitasking decreases your productivity by 40%, lowers your IQ by 17% and shrinks your brain by reducing density in area that controls cognitive and emotional control.
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Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity are on the road again!
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Fe Fi Fo Fum: American Search Giants
WAV Group uses benchmarking tools like Hitwise and ComScore to study how brands in real estate accomplish the goal of reaching consumers online. By monitoring the websites and their strategies from month to month, we utilize these data-backed insights to coach our customers on the best practices to maximize their share of voice with the consumer. Here are the national rankings for May:
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Industry Acquisitions Drive Luxury Brokerage to Launch New Tech Stack
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Real (Estate) Talk: Differentiating Busy and Productive in Your Brokerage
What's the difference between being busy and being productive? In today's society, we tend to use those words interchangeably. If you're productive, you're busy. And if you're busy, you're productive. But there's a key difference we tend to forget about when it comes to being productive versus being busy. Busy is when there's a lot to do. It's stressful, overwhelming, and sometimes careless. Productive is when there's a lot getting done. It's focused, purposeful, and intentional. In other words: "Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort." – Paul Meyer So as a broker, how can you encourage productivity over busyness in your office?
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Meet the RESO Broker Advisory Group
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Digital Marketing Tools and Tips to Grow Your Real Estate Business
In today's digital world, a website is essential for your real estate business--no one will believe you're a "real business" if they can't find you online. But the value of digital marketing goes further: Done right, it energizes your real estate practice with a consistent flow of buyers and sellers ready to do business. Consistency is key, and a marketing mix where several digital techniques work together is more effective than any one approach. To move forward, consider these seven tools that have paved the way to success for real estate professionals:
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Real Estate Blogging for Market Domination
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How to Work with Facebook's Changes to Target Options for Real Estate Ads
Dennis Yu, CEO of Blitzmetrics, explains how to work with Facebook's changes for targeting options for real estate ads. Facebook no longer allows real estate advertisers to select specific ages, gender or zip codes for real estate ads to prevent discrimination. Dennis shares what it means and provides a strategy to handle the changes using simple, but effective creative way using 1-minute videos you can make using just your phone and letting the FB algorithm work to find the people who want to see and hear from you.
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Real Estate Journalists Heading to Austin
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How to Use Google My Business to Boost Local Awareness
What is Google My Business? Do you own a business? Are you looking to expand the customer awareness of your business or its online reputation? Do you want your business to be seen on Google? If you said yes to any of these questions, then Google My Business might be just the thing your business needs!
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How to Market to the Newest Set of Home Buyers: Generation Z
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Home Flipping Report Paints iBuyer Story with a Different Brush
Opendoor, Zillow, and others have created a stir in the real estate industry by putting a new name on home flipping called 'iBuyer.' According to the Q1 report from ATTOM Data, 49,059 homes were flipped in Q1 of this year, estimating that iBuyers may only occupy less than 20% of the flipper market today. The volume of units represents a 62% unit increase over last year, but only a 35%-dollar volume increase. This leads me to believe that flipping is occurring at a higher frequency in the lower price points of metropolitan areas. Flipping absorbs about 7.5% of the total US real estate market, so it is hardly significant and puts iBuyers somewhere in the 2% range of trades. The report spells bad news for Zillow Group as they try to scale, and neutral news for Opendoor.
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What's Going On in Today's Real Estate Brokerages? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Office Safety: Dealing with Angry Visitors, Part 4
Over the past month, we've been showing you what to do when an agitated person visits your brokerage, MLS, or association office. Today, our series wraps up with the final steps you need to take to deescalate a tense situation. Watch the video above to learn: How to guide an agitated person to a resolution by offering them options Why it's important to stress the consequences of each option Why respect and validation are crucial—and why ultimatums never work Sample scripts for offering options and validating their choice Need to catch up on this rest of this series? Check out parts one, two, and three here.  
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Out of Area Real Estate Buyers are Gold Nuggets
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The Dynamics of the Upstream Flywheel
As we approach the new launch of Upstream, we reflect on our path and what has changed to create our renewed momentum. We inevitably reference a flywheel. It's a powerful metaphor that succinctly describes our new partnership with CoreLogic and why 2019 is different.
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10 Blogs Every Business Owner Should Be Reading
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Tapping the Zillow Gap: Competing on Consumer Experience
Ah, Zillow. The real estate portal we all know and love? It's no secret that many homebuyers leverage the "Z word" to begin their initial stages of the homebuying process. Due to the popularity of Zillow with homebuyers, many brokerages and agents alike feel they must be committing a dedicated monthly budget to the platform out of a perceived fear of missing out on a potentially limitless stream of leads. Many real estate professionals also feel there is an unspoken expectation they need to be present on the search portal to truly compete with those who are also on Zillow.
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I Rented a U-Haul: Word of Mouth
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5 Don'ts to Help You Recruit Agents This Selling Season
Recruiting is a constantly changing field, especially in the highly competitive real estate market. How do you stand out? Attract the right agents? Convince them to join you? This selling season, let's take a look at five don'ts when it comes to recruiting agents for your real estate brokerage.
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Amazon Echo Show 5 Coming Soon
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How Do You Say Award-winning AI in Real Estate? Try OJO
Last week was one for the awards record book for Austin-based OJO Labs, real estate's leading Artificial Intelligence powerhouse, which includes Twin-Cities-based data giant WolfNet. OJO Labs won two major awards that every tech firm cherishes: the prestigious "2019 Red Herring Top 100 North America Award" and the highly coveted Austin's "A-List Award."
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Tech Helpline Tips: Is It Time to Update or Replace Your Computer?
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Office Safety: Dealing with Angry Visitors, Part 3
So now you know the first two steps (see parts one and two) in dealing with an agitated person who visits your real estate office. You're aware of how to identify an angry person from a distance, and the non-verbal tricks that can help you de-escalate the situation. Now, let's talk about verbal strategy. What do you say to an upset individual to defray a tense situation? Watch this week's episode of "Real Answers" to find out. In the video above, you'll learn: Why validation is key to calming an agitated visitor Sample scripts for validating their feelings Why you need the person to be calm and rational, and how to get them there Next week, we'll explore the next steps in defusing the situation with your upset office visitor. Stay tuned!  
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Educate and Empower Your Agents with RPR's New Commercial Learning Series
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Top 10 Most Popular Articles of May
Spring must be in the air, as our monthly list of our most-read articles is a bit... free-spirited. We kick things off with 19 GIFs and memes (our #1 article) and outrageous marketing ideas (#2). Those who use their laptop more in their car than in their office will appreciate article #4's tutorial on setting up an internet hotspot on the go. Looking for attention? In May, posts about standing out (#5), getting attention with Google ads (#6), and impressing prospects (#9) topped our charts, too. Check them—and more!—out in the list below: 1. 19 Real Estate Memes and GIFs that Will Make You SmileLooking for some fun real estate memes and GIFs to share with your coworkers and clients? Here are 19 animated real estate memes for you to share. 2. 7 Outrageous Real Estate Marketing Ideas that Actually WorkedIf you truly want to stand out from the average real estate business, sometimes you need to take a leap of marketing faith. Agents who are willing to go outside the norm can make massive marketing gains with creative, quirky tactics that other agents aren't willing to try. Grab some outside-the-box marketing inspiration with our look at seven outrageous real estate marketing ideas... that actually worked! 3. Top 10 Real Estate Photography TipsWant your listing to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible? Make sure you listing photos are as good as they can be. In this article, BoxBrownie founder Brad Fillponi shares his expert tips and tricks to nail those all-important shots. By following these simple steps, you can ensure you are showcasing everything your listing has to offer in your photos. 4. No Internet? Here's How to Set Up Your Own HotspotReal estate agents know better than most that sometimes it's just easier to accomplish specific tasks on your laptop than attempt to do the work on your phone. But sometimes those tasks require an internet connection. If you are always on the go, and you don't have a nearby Wi-Fi connection, how can you get instant internet service? Use your smartphone and create your own internet connection for your laptop. Here's how. 5. 5 Tips for Standing Out from Your Real Estate CompetitorsIn real estate, things move fast and the competition doesn't sleep. So what are you doing to stand out? In order to be the go-to agent in your market, you need to be one step ahead of your top competitors. Start with these five quick tips. 6. 12 Tips for Gaining Client Attention with Google AdsGoogle Ads is a proven marketing tool. Real estate agents are using its reach to bring in quality leads that have the potential to become customers. Understanding how to customize this highly targeted advertising approach is key. Use these 12 tips to get the most out of Google Ads. 7. You Won the Listing! Now Create a Winning Marketing StrategyCongrats, you've done it! You followed the plan and you won the listing! Naturally, the next step is to follow through on your marketing plan. It's time to get as many eyeballs on the listing as possible and earn your commission. Learn the four parts of a good marketing plan. 8. Leveraging Google Calendar for Real EstateOne of the most important skills any real estate professional can master is time management. And that is a lot easier when you have the right tools to keep you on track and record what you need to do and when you need to do it. That's where Google Calendar comes into play. 9. A Guide to Making a Great First Impression with Your Real Estate ProspectsAs every real estate agent knows, May is one of the busiest months of the year. Buyers are on the hunt, which makes it a great time to sell quickly and for a good price. So at this crucial time of the year, making the best first impression is most important. Here are a few ways that you can "strike while the iron is hot" and make a great first impression. 10. A-Z Open House TipsIt may seem old school, or even cliche, but open houses are a tried and true way for agents to meet potential clients, break the ice, and gain their business. Whether you're a seasoned pro, or haven't closed your first deal yet, this complete open house guide offers proven tips and strategies.  
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Hosting Events to Build Your Real Estate Business
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The Online Real Estate SEO Maze Simplified
SEO as practiced by most real estate professionals for their website hasn't really evolved much. There is still a lot of emphasis on keywords and key phrases, how much repetition, and where to place them. Then there's the inbound linking and internal linking stuff you have to weave into your content. Let's face it--there's just a whole lot of stuff to try to weave into a page about how to price a home for sale, and getting it all in there usually results in something your website visitors don't want to read. Is there a better way to deal with real estate SEO? Put a simple-to-follow, step-by-step plan into place that won't drive you crazy and should improve your results.
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Thinking Like a Homebuyer Will Get You More Leads
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WATCH: Win Over Sellers and Close More Listings with This Tech Tool
From wowing sellers during listing presentations, to increasing sight-unseen offers, to increasing your speed to market, there's a marketing technology that can turbocharge essential aspects of your business. We're talking about 3D virtual tours--and during a recent webinar, we took an exhaustive look at all they have to offer. We were joined by representatives from Amy Kite Realty, who gave us first-hand insight into how their business is winning new clients and closing deals faster, thanks to Matterport. If you missed the webinar, no worries. We recorded it for you! Check out the video (and our notes) below:
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How to Become a Content Marketing Master
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Hiring a Gen-Z Intern May Be the Best Thing You Ever Do for Your Business
There comes a point when your company is bringing in more business than you can manage on your own. That's when most people start hiring help or looking for a business partner. Another option is hiring an intern. A large portion of Generation Z are graduating high school and working their way through college. As they do, they'll be looking for job experience and career opportunities. They'll likely make up the bulk of your intern candidates. Members of Generation Z were born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s and make up approximately 25% of the U.S. population. They grew up surrounded by advanced technology and are the most social media and tech-savvy generation yet. If there's a technological aspect of your business that could use some help, a Gen Z intern can probably help.
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Engel & Volkers Launches New Website for the Americas
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8 Modern Problems that Every Business Faces
Being a business owner today is anything but a walk in the park. A host of forces--local, national and global--challenge business owners to be resourceful or close up shop. But here are the top eightl business problems that entrepreneurs are up against today – and how you can overcome them.
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Building Your Brand Voice and Referral Business with Instagram
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Office Safety: Dealing with Angry Visitors, Part 2
When an agitated visitor comes into your office, it's better to be proactive than reactive. If you can identify an angry person before as they approach, you can prepare yourself to de-escalate the situation--and keep you and those in your office safe. How can you do that? In this week's episode of "Real Answers," we'll show you exactly what to look for. Watch the video above to learn: The physical signs of an agitated person Why you need to lead the de-escalation process, not the visitor The body language to display to better calm a person--and the physical stances to NEVER take in a tense situation Want to learn more? Check out part one of this series, where we showed you what NOT to do when an angry person visits your brokerage, association, or MLS office. Then stay tuned for a new episode next week!
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Brokers Beware! That Old Tech Is Eating at Your Profits
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It's Time to Modernize the Clickwrap Experience
We've all done it at some point. We've checked the box on a signup form that says we agree to a company's privacy policy, or we've scrolled to the end of a terms-and-conditions page and clicked the "I accept" button. Companies have been using--and people have been accepting--these standard "clickwrap" agreements for years now. The process seems simple enough. One click, and you're done, right? Maybe that's the case for customers. But for companies, clickwraps are more complex, incurring needless risks and costs.
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Real Estate Technology: Why Disruption Isn't the Answer
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Piecing Together a Commercial Market
When it comes to commercial real estate, REALTORS need access to accurate and reliable data. Pulling together bits of market data here and there can be frustrating as well as time-consuming. Commercial agents need it all in one place, at the touch of a button.
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Is Your Marketing Email Driving Away Business?
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3 Reasons Why Every Brokerage Should Schedule In-Office Trainings with Homesnap
This blog post was written by Homesnap MLS Account Manager Jordan Weiers, who attended this Homesnap event in Ohio in April 2019. There's something in the water at USA-1 Real Estate in Pataskala, Ohio. When Homesnap Trainer Jack Hanlon and I were greeted at the door with an ear-to-ear grin by broker Robert Teague, I had no idea we'd walk out an hour and a half later having trained the most enthusiastic crowd of agents I've ever encountered.
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Ten Years From Now: The Future of Real Estate and Everything
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NAR Midyear 2019 Recap
The REALTORS Legislative Meetings in Washington D.C. have become a mainstay on our WAV Group travel calendar. I guess that is why we still refer to it as "Midyear." The meetings provide a dual opportunity to gain insight into the important policy issues and the ability to spend some face-to-face time with clients. It's always in the same spot: at Woodley Park across from the National Zoo, housed in both the Omni and Marriott. There also are some meetings a shuttle bus ride away at the Washington Hilton, just north of Dupont Circle. Since I'm a former DC'er – I worked at Fannie Mae – I already have done my share of playing the tourist in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area, so I focused on work and the conference itself. The biggest surprise this year was the appearance of President Trump on the last day of the convention. But as a long-time real estate developer, is it really a surprise that he turned out for a largely red crowd? And that's how this year's NAR Midyear felt compared to past meetings: more predictable and less edgy. MLS meetings Last year, the MLS Executives meeting had a great edge to it with the appearance of Redfin's leader Glenn Kelman. He hit it out of the park and his honest, off-the-cuff style, laced with his self-confessed Jewish angst, made his presentation funny, insightful and highly memorable. This year, the star of the same meeting was a legal review. Every MLS in the room will face hurdles once the final guidelines are issued around California's CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) go into effect January 1, 2020. There was a clear sense of frustration and apprehension in the room, as one might expect. (WAV Group consultants Victor Lund and David Gumpper support MLSs, brokers, and technology vendors with compliance.) Even at CMLS "Brings it to the Table," sans a few observations in a presentation by the always solid Brian Boero of 1000watt, it was a fairly straightforward, predictable day. Brian did a great job of making the case that many of the companies that are getting the most media attention have a great story to tell and do an excellent job of telling it. His "What's your story?" pitch was spot on. That is the first question we ask when developing a communications strategy and many companies do not have a well-articulated story. Boero's comments compelled me to personally congratulate Jennifer Thompson-Kersting of My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS), who was attending. MFRMLS announced the launch of a new company under the name of Stellar MLS just before Midyear. The name goes into effect on June 4th. Merri Jo Cowen and her team have done a stellar job in creating a compelling story (yes, I was being punny). For the rest of the day at CMLS, the MLS focus was solidly on best practices. Not a lot of new ideas or trends were covered that had not already been exposed to those attending a RESO conference. But CMLS needs to be commended on the organization's efforts to source and share programs of excellence that make MLSs great. Another highlight was Chris Haran of MRED and his "Computer Vision" presentation on using artificial intelligence for photos via vendor Restb.ai. It appeared to have the most attendees engaged: taking notes, photos of his slides and asking a lot of follow up questions. RESO members and conference attendees remember the first restb.ai presentation and its cutting-edge technology well. It was particularly exciting to see one of the largest MLSs in the world adopt and deploy this new tech so quickly. Kudos to Haran and MRED. With Restb.ai, MRED is extracting attributes of photos submitted to the MLS using deep learning artificial intelligence. This adds a breakthrough value for subscribers in the data stored in the MLS. The biggest at the CMLS event was that it ended an hour earlier than originally scheduled to give folks a chance to make a key late afternoon session NAR was offering. Overall, the CMLS sessions were rich with practical takeaways. That's why it remains a "can't miss" event at NAR Midyear for everyone affiliated with the MLS industry. Next up for most MLS folks is the trifecta: Inman Connect in Vegas, July 22-26; RESO in St. Louis, Sept. 9-12, 2019; and CMLS annual meeting, Oct. 16-18, 2019 in Salt Lake City. Midyear trade show takeaways If you're of the baby-boomer generation (others can Google it), you may recall a famous advertising phase attributable to remarkable and well-earned success: "You've come a long way, baby." Ignoring the fact that this was a cigarette ad campaign, that was my reaction when I saw Homesnap's new exhibit at NAR near the entrance of the convention hall. Homesnap is the technology that powers the Broker Public Portal (BPP). The BPP is one of real estate's most successful industry initiatives in recent years. Just before NAR Midyear, Homesnap announced it had hit the one million real estate agents mark. Its growth rate has been stunning and their booth stood as a testament to its pervasiveness. Never before have MLSs and brokerage firms collaborated on reimagining a fundamental building block of our industry. The collaboration and unification of our industry around a central idea is powerful, and the execution has been better than anyone imagined. A picture is worth a thousand words. Last year, Homesnap operated out of a regular booth: this year they had a much larger and well-designed presence that shouted success. The NAR REach class had their stations set up at the end of the big NAR Pavilion area and these innovative startups stayed very busy with questions from curious prospects. Over a random 10-minute period I observed, Kleard, the newest real estate agent security technology, draw the most attendees and captured strong engagement. I also stopped by the Florida Realtors' exhibit, got a peek at their new, much more user-friendly and intuitive version of Form Simplicity. But I stopped by Florida Realtors' exhibit because they offer an on-site tech support person from Tech Helpline to troubleshoot and answer any tech questions agents, brokers, MLS execs or others might have. It reminded me to ask the industry this question: Why was NAR so quick to give every agent access to a CRM, but not have Tech Helpline provide universal tech support? In our age where an agent cannot do their job without technology working well, it seems to me NAR put the cart before the horse! Every real estate agent and broker should have easy access to tech support and Tech Helpline already does that better than anyone. Best of all, it is industry born, industry operated, and industry owned. And Tech Helpline serves about half of all REALTORS already – 600,000 in North America. Note to NAR: your members deserve universal tech support and they need it. Tech Helpline for all is a no-brainer solution. Super Sessions Two meeting highlights worth mentioning because they were rich in broker takeaways both happened Tuesday morning. The first session of the day, the Economic Forecast, featured Lawrence Yun and his next predictions and included a presentation from Dr. Johannes Stroebel, associate professor of finance at New York University, who dove into social connections on Facebook. Stroebel's heat mapsl showed how different places in the US are connected using Facebook data. Who knew that Kern County (Bakersfield area) and North Dakota were strongly connected? That indicator promoted him to dig further, and both are huge oil-producing areas. He surmised that people from California transferred to North Dakota and thus the heavy saturation of social connectedness. I guess that brokers in North Dakota should start advertising in Bakersfield, and agents should start talking to their counterparts in Bakersfield for relocation collaboration. Most importantly, social connection research shows how we feel about real estate – whether it is a good time to buy or not. There is a direct relationship between Facebook connections and attitudes about the real estate market. I expect we will hear much more about this research from Facebook and a wide number of applications this data could provide in building more effective and targeted real estate marketing campaigns. WAV Group consultant Victor Lund says, "When you think about Big Data, imagine the role that Facebook can play in predicting future real estate market conditions using deep machine learning and artificial intelligence. Facebook could drop advertising revenue and simply harvest consumer data to predict the stock market." Later Wednesday morning, the RISMedia Power Broker Newsmakers Forum had a terrific lineup of top talent. Lennox Scott, leader of John L. Scott, noted that lead generation companies (like Zillow) are shifting to lead capture companies. They are shifting from advertising firms to referral companies. Fellow panelist Michael Saunders, who runs the well-renowned Florida-based brokerage which bears her name, offered a truism. She said, "I don't think it's (real estate) rocket science, even though the tech companies make it feel that way. We are in a relationship business." "Our biggest competitors today is ourselves," said Mike Huff from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. Broker-owner Todd Hetherington of Century 21 New Millennium had added that as an industry, we need to learn from our competition, and to do that we need to get granular and know our numbers. Diane Ramirez, Chair and Chief Executive of Halstead Properties, jointly moderated the panel with John Featherston, RISMedia leader of 39 years. Ramirez was a strong addition and had a couple of comments that were candidates for the Quote of the Day. After discussing the rebranding efforts her firm has undertaken over the years, and the one they most recently completed, she offered, "Rebranding is the most nerve-racking thing you can do as a leader." Ramirez addressed the 800-pound gorilla on everyone's minds in the room, Compass, chiding that the difference between the "C" brokerage and established brokerages is the size of the dollars being used to recruit. "I have to hit profitability," she notes. The best takeaway goes to Featherston, who recommended that brokerages need to "chart the stats of those who have left your group to show others that the grass isn't always greener." Products like BrokerMetrics from Terradatum allow you to visualize the impact of a broker change. Nearly 100% of the time, an agent's production goes down when they change brokerages. Use this data in your agent retention meetings. Finally, a shout out to Peter Schravemade of BoxBrownie, who gave a funny and informative lesson during an MLS session on the ethics in virtual staging photography. The company has been on fire since it was part of the NAR REach class last year. Based on the buzz I am hearing, its technology is likely to be one of the fastest growing in recent memory. But you need to be careful. Virtual staging of a property could become a misrepresentation. CoreLogic's Matt Cohen wrote a great article about this issue. Parties + Dinners On the Midyear party scene, kudos has to go to our sister company, RE Technology. It held its annual Midyear event and it was packed to the brim, again. The music was RE Technology Partyfantastic, again, under the perennial leadership of the extraordinary talent of John Heithaus and his band members who rocked the Columbia Heights location. The best description of the event's success came from W+R Studios (Cloud CMA, etc.) leader and Vendor Alley blogger Greg Robertson. If you know Greg, you know he was dancing the night away. The next day, I bumped into Greg at MRED's super reception on a rooftop looking out to the Washington Monument. He said with a huge smile, "I had so much fun my cheeks hurt." Homesnap's reception was another standing room only event. For the last few years, the Homesnap party has offered the most convenient offsite location: across the street from both hotels. The best part was to see all the Homesnappers in attendance: Homesnap is local and many of their employees turned out to celebrate hitting their one million-agent mark. The staff's positive energy was as intoxicating as the bar's margaritas. The best story about the dinner scene in DC came from Michael Saunders. During the RISMedia Power Broker Newsmakers Forum, she told a story about getting into a hot new restaurant in DC whose distinction is providing an all "locally sourced" dining experience. Saunders nearly brought the crowd to tears of laughter as she described her conversation with her server. For every item she asked about – and I mean item after item – she was told it wasn't on the menu because "everything is locally sourced." That limited the choices to the point that someone in the crowd added, "They'll go out of business." With a look of disbelief, Saunders responded, "But it was packed!" Finally, the real star of NAR The star of NAR this year was the weather. Hands-down, mid-May may be one of the most fickle windows for weather. It typically is either sweltering with humidity north of 90 percent or pouring rain for three days like last year. This year? 70s and sunny. "California weather," one attendee told me. Even when I had the opportunity to visit my home state's Senator – Patty Murray – for a meeting as part of the Washington Delegation, the last thing she said to us was, "Go outside and enjoy the weather. It's beautiful out there today!" Spoken like a true Seattleite. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Broker Public Portal with Homesnap Hits Milestone: 1 Million Agents
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CENTURY 21 Launches Podcast Series to Inspire Salespeople to 'Defy Mediocrity'
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[Podcast] Tech Redefining the Closing Experience? Just Ask Qualia!
The closing. Not sexy and not terribly interesting. Yet it's a place that generates an enormous amount of profit for brokerage companies who understand that building a business around GCI margin is increasingly a very, very challenging endeavor. And despite this very important role in the industry, the title and closing process has been largely unchanged by technology. But that just might be changing. In this episode of Gradually...Then, suddenly!, we take a hard look at what might be THE closing platform of the future. Meet Nate Baker, the CEO of Qualia, who just a few short years ago was an Ivy League grad, and today has raised more than $40 million to prove that technology and a new business approach can radically change the closing experience for all participants, even consumers. Want to know more? Tune in by clicking the button below or listening on your favorite podcast site. Tune in to the podcast now! Russ Cofano is a thirty-year real estate industry veteran who has served in executive capacities in various industry sectors. Russ was President of eXp World Holdings, led Industry Relations for Realtor.com, and acted as Chief Executive Officer for the Missouri REALTORS. He is a noted author and speaker at industry events on data, technology and innovation in the brokerage industry.    
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Top 10 Most Popular Articles of April
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Zillow 3D Home Tour Is Really Property Panorama
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Mission Focused: Behind the Scenes of a Top Team
The Nick Shivers Team is mission-driven, dynamic and red hot. What's their secret? Peek behind the curtain of one of the most successful teams in the Pacific Northwest. Nick Shivers Team, Keller Williams Realty Portland Central Building a Culture In real estate, we talk a lot about culture — and culture seems especially important when it comes to building, growing and sustaining a team. How would you describe the culture of the Nick Shivers team? Our team culture is about giving back, through our Sell a Home, Save a Child initiative. So at the core of it, we all believe in trying to help people; that's the basis of the team and the business. But as the team leader, I know that if my agents don't have business opportunities, they can't help clients or give back. So, we recruit with a combination of making sure the culture fits, but also by feeding them high-quality business opportunities and leads so they can better jumpstart their businesses. Extending Your Brand Online and Listings Statistically, sellers list with someone they know and trust. How do you carry your brand over to online to start building trust with those who don't know you and your team? The Local Expert™ product from realtor.com® really helps us in our listing presentations. It's an online ads solution that targets buyers and sellers with ads on realtor.com® and Facebook. And I know it works because my agents are using it to win the listing. The biggest thing that I've seen my agents do there is show sellers, "When people click in your area, you can have your open house advertised right there." It's massive exposure and I know that sellers, who are really interested in their house being seen by as many buyers as possible, are impressed. I can tell without having a lot of data (because we're in the early stages), that it is working right now. We also have our rocket listing, which is our instant buy program that I run on radio and billboards and advertise on realtor.com®. Lead Nurture, Persistence and Conversion If you meet a potential seller online, they may be months away from making a decision to sell. How do you keep the relationship fresh? To be successful, you need to be structurally able to follow up immediately. We offer new agents a 90-day ramp up where they're trained on scripts, dialogue and follow-ups for leads. The key is the follow-up and how they can use our technology to do that. We also focus a lot on staying the course. When I started in the business, I was really good at working with the leads who were interested in transacting in the next 30 to 60 days. I was not so good at the longer-term prospects and that's where the gold is. The sale might come after seven, eight or nine follow-ups. That is where you're going to get a lot of those deals, but it is in those repeat contacts that a lot of agents will give up. So we are laser-focused on training our agents not to give up too soon. Retention Once your agents "get it" and start using these guidelines, do they stick around? If I get my agents on the system, my retention improves. I suggest agents stick with me for a minimum of three years and then if they decide to start their own team, that is completely all right with me. I had an example in 2018, my number one producer decided to go out on his own. We are really good friends and I said, Great, go for it. He made less money this year and admitted that it's a lot easier to think about it and talk about it than to actually do it. Final Thoughts from Nick What defines your company? What are the main reasons that should someone consider joining your brokerage? Our big mission statement is about serving people — saving kids by selling real estate. Everything that we do is based on how we can give back to underprivileged children around the world, so that's number one. If that strikes a chord with you, then you're going to get past the first layer. The second thing is we love the underdog. I don't care where you have been. I want to see that you've had success, but I also believe that it doesn't matter where you start, it's where you're going. Last, it's about our systems and our lead generation and solutions and their long-lasting impact. And from this, we've built a tribe of loyal clients. In today's market, that's so important for agents. And of course, a big part of that is that our followers and clients know what we stand for. Because when you can literally say that your industry has helped — our Sell a home, Save a Child movement has raised over a million dollars to help kids — I think that makes a point where people go, "Wow, I'm not going anywhere else but with these guys and gals."    
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