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Upstream Now RESO Certified
Upstream has joined the growing list of companies now RESO certified. The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) was formed to create industry-wide data standards to help make it easier to leverage real estate information that directly benefits MLSs, brokerages, and technology vendors. The RESO Certification Program is the real estate industry's seal of data excellence as it ensures that MLSs, technology vendors, and brokerages have correctly implemented RESO data standards. Earning this independent validation from RESO solidifies Upstream's work and vision for data control by brokers.
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The Risk-Free Way to Get Upstream Before Everybody Else
I'd like to tell you about two competing brokerages. They were similar in size, both operated in multiple MLSs, and both had teams. From the outside, they were very much alike. Internally, however, was an entirely different story. The first brokerage struggled with operational expenses affecting their company dollar. Each time they hired a new agent, it took hours to enter their profile into the back office systems, intranet, and order business cards, set up their software and tools, etc. If an agent left, there wasn't an easy way to remove their access from all tools, resulting in unauthorized access and paying for unneeded licenses.
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The Dynamics of the Upstream Flywheel
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MLSs Demand Broker Data Sovereignty
A battle was waged between MLSs and the National Association of REALTORS® against the Library of Congress, who administers copyright in America. For many years, it has been the common practice of MLSs to copyright their data set, referred to as the MLS compilation, each month or each quarter. About a year ago, the copyright office of the Library of Congress continued to receive the copyright applications but stopped issuing copyright numbers.
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The Power of Alignment
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Data Privacy: Everyday Best Practices to Remember
Today, the world recognizes Data Privacy Day. As privacy protection concerns and privacy laws around the world, such as Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California's incoming digital privacy law (the California Consumer Privacy Act), continue to build, we are reminded to be more mindful of data privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust. Let us mark this day by increasing our awareness of data privacy and considering key data privacy practices in our everyday work. Here are some best practices around maintaining privacy and enabling trust to keep in mind and share with your colleagues.
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Upstream Charts New Direction
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TRIBUS Becomes First Broker Platform to Send Solds to Zillow
TRIBUS, a leading provider of custom real estate brokerage platforms, has become the first such vendor in the industry to provide its broker clients with the ability to automatically send all their sold data to online real estate database portal Zillow. These sold listings will automatically be claimed for the correct listing or selling agent immediately after closing.
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MLS Policy: Broker Attribution Back to the Drawing Board
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We Need a 'Common App' for Data Feed Approvals
Sometimes we just make it too hard to do business in real estate. We spend SO much time and energy talking about herculean tasks like statewide consolidation efforts, yet spent so LITTLE time talking about practical, unsexy solutions that can make our lives so much easier. During the broker panel Helping Brokers Compete and Innovate: Broker Panel at the this month's RESO Conference in Milwaukee, we discussed a simple innovation we can deliver in our industry that can make a world of difference in helping brokers get access to real estate information with a lot less hassle! While brokers and their tech partners are looking for easier ways to access the RESO Web API, there are even MORE interested in a way to make the process of gaining data feed approvals easier. Today, every MLS's data feed application is different. In some cases, the information needed to gain approvals is not clearly spelled out and it is extremely difficult to find someone at the MLS to answer questions.
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Fair Listing Attribution
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On Fair Input Guidelines
Mitch Skinner of the law firm Larson Skinner did a wonderful post on their website that drafted a framework around MLS Fair Input Guidelines. This is a major topic for our nation's MLSs and it is time for collaboration and thought leadership. Let me begin by complimenting Skinner on his efforts. If you have not seen the post, you may want to buzz over and look at A Conversation About Fair Input Guidelines before contemplating this article.
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Zillow's Opinion of Upstream and CAR's Forms License Policy Is Obvious
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GDPR Is Not Alone, Personal Data Protection Laws Hit the U.S.
Consumer data protection continues to be a focus for governments after the latest round of data breaches and Facebook allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest its users' data. In a hastily crafted bill, California legislatures and the governor passed AB 375, or the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. There is good reason for hardly anyone noticing this new law; it was fast-tracked through the legislative process within seven days.
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How to Future-proof Your Brokerage
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Enhanced Listings with Upstream
Today's array of property marketing options used by real estate professionals are boundless. For marketing your properties for sale, Upstream provides you with some extended advantages you may need. One key advantage of Upstream is the ability to store and utilize high-resolution photos. For many real estate pros, professional photography distilled through the MLS may be unsatisfactory in resolution for high-quality print (flyers, brochures, magazine ads). Sometimes you may also want high-quality photos without the MLS watermark on them. You and/or your authorized photographers can load the original high-resolution images to all of your marketing platforms. The best part is the easy to use drag and drop functionality and the awesome upload speed.
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5 Key Takeaways in Preparation for the FTC/DOJ Workshop
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GDPR Playing Havoc in the EU
It's only been a week since GDPR has become a law and we need to start this week's discussion with a simple question. How many of you thought the GDPR was only about privacy policy change emails and subscription notifications we have received over the last few weeks? Well, that was just the beginning.
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First Upstream Listing in a Direct Input Market Goes Live
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It's Alive! Control Your Data and Your Future with Upstream
We are excited to announce that today we launched Upstream's platform in RMLS (Portland) as Direct Input, and ARMLS (Phoenix) and NTREIS (Dallas) as Broker Direct Feed with CRMLS (California Regional). West Penn (Pennsylvania), Realcomp (southeastern Michigan), ABOR (Austin), Northstar (Minnesota), and Ann Arbor (Michigan) are soon to follow. We plan to continue our expansion, launching in five to six new markets per month. We will now begin to onboard brokerages and their vendors in production markets. Here's how it works:
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Zillow Group Continues Tradition of Showing Consumers FSBO, Other Non-MLS Listings
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CoreLogic Enhances Trestle for Brokers and Matrix Clients
CoreLogic today announced that real estate brokers can now use Trestle to receive listing data feeds from participating multiple listing organizations (MLOs). CoreLogic also announced that clients of its Matrix multiple listing platform can now use Trestle to manage their existing RETS data feeds in addition to RESO platinum-certified data feeds. Trestle is a national data marketplace that solves the fundamental data access problems faced by MLOs and the brokerages and technology providers who receive their data.
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How Europe's New Personal Data Rule Impacts Real Estate
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[Infographic] What Brokers Need to Know About Upstream
Upstream: What is it good for? Absolutely something... but it's the something that many brokers are unclear about. If you're one of those brokers who is unfamiliar with, confused by, or even skeptical of the Upstream project, check out this new explanatory infographic to get a better grasp on what Upstream is and what it can do for your brokerage.
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10 Questions to Ask Your Tech Vendor About Your Data
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Upstream Fixes Many Problems, Not Just One
As a leading consulting firm, WAV Group operates deeply inside the complex technology stacks of MLSs, brokerages, franchises, REALTOR® associations, and technology firms. From this experience, we recognize the pain that these groups face because of the lack of connection between the systems and applications that agents and consumers need. Upstream aims to deliver a better data management foundation for the data that brokers are entrusted for safe handling. Upstream starts with the belief that data is the treasury of real estate brokers, properly managed to support the agents that brokers supervise, and the consumers they have pledged to serve. Not just listing data, but also roster data and consumer data. Today, the broker's data is spread across many systems and formatted in data currencies that do not interact or relate to one another across the broker enterprise. It's piecemeal and incongruent. The target for Upstream is to fix this.
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WAV Group Report: Emerging Data Solutions in Real Estate
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Upstream: First Impressions from the Field
As the Upstream team prepares to go live with Broker Direct Feed, we're still working hard on Direct Input and plan to launch in RMLS and MLSListings soon. Recently, we introduced Upstream to pilot testers in RMLS (Portland) where they input, edited and managed listings. The team conducted three separate sessions with agents, brokers and MLS personnel to test usability, ease of training, and overall satisfaction. As always, transparency has been the Upstream way. In our latest chapter of "Pilot Markets Tell All," we got the scoop on likes, dislikes, and opinions regarding the entire process.
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Upstream's Journey to Production
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No Data Exchange? No More Brokerage.
Data is the currency you will need in order to exist in the very, very near future. The real estate industry won't be able to stick their heads in the sand on this one, especially since the majority of industries are already embracing data with open arms. Many are intensely in love with it. Brokerage data is quickly becoming the soul of the brokerage business that keeps its heart beating and its legs moving. Why this is happening
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MLSs Working Hard to Make Broker IDX Feeds Work Harder
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Zillow Protects Broker Data
WAV Group supports brokers and MLSs in constructing data licensing agreements with users of data records that belong to the broker. When a company like Zillow ingests broker data, like all recipients, they must adhere to the data license agreement, which typically requires that you cannot allow the data to be used by a third party. The blog McMansionHell.com is learning the hard way that using data from Zillow without proper authority is a copyright violation that Zillow will pursue. Not only will Zillow pursue the violation, but they are contractually bound to pursue the violation. The media around the case is a bit confused, so let me try to break it down in layman's terms.
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The Best APIs in Real Estate
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5 Technical Benefits to Upstream
I think that a lot of people are confused about Upstream. Some people think that it is a consumer facing site like the Broker Public Portal/Homesnap. Others think that it is some kind of broker owned MLS. It is none of those things. It is a database for brokers to create, store, and distribute data. For the most part, every large firm and franchise organization is doing this today, but as an industry the process is broken. Every broker who is managing their data is doing it in different ways, and their data is not interoperable with applications without custom integration, data conversion, and data migration. Smaller firms have nothing, or they outsource it to a part time vendor. Upstream fixes all of this by delivering a solution for all brokers that's better built, comes with support, provides security, gives brokers complete control over data access, and is less costly. Moreover, it makes their data a lot more valuable because it can be instantly put to work as easily as turning on a light switch. Upstream is the result of compiling the needs of brokers. The broker industry leaders and technologists developed Upstream to streamline and address inefficiencies that plague each and every one of them. Here are five technology benefits that Upstream provides that have nothing to do with listings:
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Upstream Adjusts and Improves
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Upstream Develops Streamlined Method for Integration
Upstream today announced a "two-way" method of integration with the Multiple Listing Service community at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. In addition to Upstream's current method of integration, with brokers entering property information into the Upstream data base for distribution, Upstream, working with their MLS Advisory Group, has developed an expanded "broker input of choice" model. The teams determined integration and adoption would be facilitated if brokers had a choice on entry location and MLSs could send data to Upstream. The result is a "broker feed" method of integration where brokerages have a "single choice of input." If a brokerage so chooses, they can input listings into their MLS(s) allowing Upstream to receive those listings from the MLS. Participants can continue to enhance their listings (add additional high-res photos, etc.) in Upstream and manage distribution deliberately. "Our objective has always been to solve problems thorough partnerships," said Alex Lange, President and CEO of UpstreamRE. "Brokers can continue to leverage their current workflow while gaining all the enhancement and management features of Upstream. The MLS Advisory group has been instrumental in determining easier ways for the MLS community to engage and integrate with us." The National Association of REALTORS® recognized the partnership and importance of this milestone and announced its continued support of Upstream. It will continue to provide resources through 2018 via support from Realtors® Property Resource (RPR) and additional funding.
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The 6 Things to Look for When Sourcing Quality Data
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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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Upstream Is Already an Awesome Tool for Brokerage Firms
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The RESO Revolution: Brokers Win Big with Data-compliant Vendors
The real estate industry is on the verge of revolutionary technological innovation—and achieving optimal benefits rests largely on the motivation of brokers and agents. By now, about 90 percent of all MLSs are compliant with the data standards set out by the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO), which, in the words of WAV Group Founding Partner and RESO consulting member Victor Lund, is "one of the most collaborative industry-wide efforts we have ever seen" to reduce redundancy and replication of real estate information sharing. The resulting increase in efficiency will benefit brokers and agents directly through their technology vendors. Indeed, brokers and agents need their vendors need to be compatible with RESO data standards in order to be competitive now and in the future. For an industry driven by information, the continued adoption of RESO data standards will deliver brokers and agents more up-to-date and secure content from their MLS. In a nutshell, the standardization of fields for information that is transferred from the MLS to the applications that industry professionals use every day will mean that all the technology tools 'speak' the same language, without errors, redundancy, and complications caused by breaks in old-school data mapping. For broker and agents, access to the best information available can be at your fingertips—but only if your vendors get on board with the technological tide. By engaging vendors that are RESO certified, brokers and agents will also be positioned to reduce costs associated with their technology solutions. The most popular RESO-compliant way of data transport to vendors is the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS), or "mirrors" of data based on a common dictionary of terms. In effect, it enables synchronized data for easy digital transfer to vendor products used by real estate professionals.
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The Drive Toward Data Standards Organization
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Upstream Nominated for Real Estate Innovation Award
UpstreamRE™, a collaborative venture between real estate brokerages, has been nominated for the coveted Inman Innovator Award. The Inman News Innovator Awards are given each year to recognize and celebrate industry innovation and accomplishments. Over the past year, Upstream has been forging forward and capturing Inman News headlines with the nomination of their Board of Managers, selecting Realtors Property Resource® as their vendor, and hiring industry veteran Alex Lange as president and CEO, and announcing the Alpha launch of the application in their first five MLS markets: MLS Listings of San Jose and Northern California, NorthstarMLS in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, RMLS of Portland metropolitan area, West Penn MLS of Pittsburg covering northern Pennsylvania, and North Texas Regional Information Systems of Dallas and central Texas. Upstream is a data management solution jointly owned by real estate brokerages that operate like a cooperative.  Robert Moline, Upstream Chairman of the Board, recently address the real estate industry leadership at the National Association of REALTORS® midyear meetings where he explained, "Essentially, Upstream is a database of all kinds of real estate related data that goes far beyond a listing data set. Upstream allows single entry into one place and enables brokers full control of distribution of all the expanded data." Inman News cites Upstream as an example of the real estate industry finally disrupting itself instead of being disrupted by outsiders. As brokers succeed in better managing their data as an asset, it opens the doors wide to future opportunities to best serve the real estate home buyer and seller.
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RESO Fielding Survey to Learn How to Make MLS Data Work Better for Brokers
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Upstream: Our Own Manhattan Project
In 1939, American intelligence already knew that Nazi Germany had learned the secrets of splitting the atom. By early 1940, still a year before America entered the war, and despite the impact of negative voices, concerns relative to the potential dangers of this research had reached the highest levels of the American government. Despite what we now understand was common sense, it took advocates an amazing level of energy, time and effort to find someone in the government who was willing to listen to and believe the potential dangers represented by what became known as the "Atomic Threat." By late 1941, driven by President Roosevelt's passion, America had launched a full effort to understand, design and build the World's first atomic weapon. At the beginning of 1942, these diverse efforts were combined into what became known as the Manhattan Project, one of the greatest administrative innovations in American history. Because it represented something new and innovative there were, from the very beginning, endless delays and challenges until the Manhattan Project was formally adopted. As is still the case today, projects that represent a step in a new direction are bound to run into interference commensurate with the level of anticipated disruption it is likely to cause. By the time the Manhattan project was completed, over 130,000 workers had been employed and over $260 million 2016 dollars had been expended. But numbers alone do not constitute guarantees.
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[Video] It's Your Business, It's Your Data!
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The RESO 2015 Fall Conference: Green Data, Broker Standards Adoption, and more
Over 300 Tweets and 836,914 impressions--those are the social media stats for the RESO 2015 Fall Conference. Though just a handful of people were behind those Tweets, the #RESO15 hashtag offered an incredibly informative look into the conference activities. We followed the hashtag for the entire three days that the conference took place. Day 1 saw the U.S. Department of Energy talking about how to incorporate energy data in listing information. Day 2 offered a flurry of activity, including talk of how to brokers to adopt Data Dictionary standards. Our co-founder, Marilyn Wilson, even hosted a broker panel discussion entitled, "How RESO Standards enables innovation for the new brokerage models." To keep you in the loop on conference activities, we followed the hashtag on Twitter and curated the event's best Tweets. Follow along with the conference in the 140-character posts below. * * * Day 1 RESO - DoE has 5 Accelerator Pilots @RMLSweb, @IRESLLC, @MREDLLC , @MRIS_REal_News and the NE energy efficiency partnership #BigData #RESO15 RESO - DoE mentions the feeds coming from @HomesDotCom as part of the #realestate industry's energy accelerator initiative #RESO15 #BigData RESO - DoE focused on RESO Data Dictionary to help define a new kind of Green fields - Green Verification Fields #greeneconomy #BigData #RESO15 RESO - During DoE workshops: Will Energy Score adoption be resisted by #realestate agents as some listings will have low scores? #BigData #RESO15 RESO - @kmalyala suggestion at DoE meeting re: low score homes: Give buyers a game plan to improve now, up future value later #RESO15 #BigData
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Upstream Agent Record
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Turn Big Data Into Big Dollars
There are so many tools for collecting data available to real estate brokers today, that it can be difficult to choose the right ones and then get them to all work together. Here are some products and resources for brokers interested in new ways of capturing data, analyzing it, and making decisions on how it will be most effectively used to increase profitability. Gathering Data Most of the data we're looking for as brokers must focus on potential customers. Whether they're new leads or past clients, we look for ways to predict who is the most likely person to buy or sell a home. We can buy this data or build it. Many brokers just use a list of every home in their local neighborhood, zip code, or area. They send mailers and postcards to everyone, without much strategy. It may have a slight return on investment, but it's certainly not optimal. Rebogateway and Smartzip are two companies that can enhance that ROI. Instead of mailing materials to everyone in your city, these companies allow you to view different tracts within the area and find which areas are turning over faster. For example, if West Seattle is your market, but zip code 98136 turns over every five years and zip code 98126 turns over every 12 years, then it's time to point more of your marketing at 98136. After identifying those tracts, the broker can make more strategic decisions about which part of town to focus advertising dollars.
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Listing Integration: The Possibilities Are Endless
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Stand By For Position RPR Verification
Last month, we reviewed the down to earth business intelligence and guidance provided to the brokerage community by a recent series of industry conferences renown for the depth of their research and the accuracy of their presentations. In preparation for this month's information, you are requested to immediately climb to 55,000 feet for a more extended view of the circumstances that will be impacting, if not controlling, your businesses and marketplace moving forward. The events of Saturday, May 16th will, in all likelihood, impact the operation of your business more than any other single day in recent history. This is, of course, a reference to the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors meeting held in Washington, D.C. and the positive vote taken in support of NAR's partnership with Project Upstream as well as the funding of both Project Upstream and AMP (Advanced Multi-List Platform). The following comments benefit generously from comments made by Dale Ross, the uber gifted RPR CEO. The partnership between NAR and UpstreamRE, LLC will leverage the RPR technology platform to develop a new data management service for brokers known as Project Upstream. The events of May 16th culminated several months of extensive discussions between the leaders of many of the nation's largest brokerages, franchise networks and NAR. They created a significant opportunity for the industry to leverage and take advantage of RPR's five-year investment in data and technology. In light of the importance of these events, additional clarification may be necessary. It is common knowledge within the industry that NAR, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Realtors Property Resource®, has, over the past five years, invested millions of dollars into what may be the finest real estate database ever created. It is also widely known in the industry that RPR's first attempt, in 2010, to bring the benefits of this database to its REALTOR® constituents was something less than successful. Even today, five years later, our ever-present industry observers--many of whom have no claim to creativity or innovation--continue to rave on about this early shortfall.
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What Are APIs and Why Do They Matter?
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Are You Maximizing Your Listing Data?
It's long been the practice of brokerages to use technology that pulls MLS listing information and then use that data in their applications. For example, you may have a vendor that downloads MLS data for IDX websites, transaction management, virtual tours, syndication to third parties, and even for generating property flyers. All of this downloading can create a data management nightmare. The problem with using so many different data-driven solutions is that each application is being updated by different vendors at different times. This adds a layer of unwelcome complexity to your business productivity. Your agents and your staff are manipulating your listing information in multiple applications, each containing a different version of data. When the data is not the same in every tool, agents distrust the application and fail to adopt it. However, companies are beginning to rethink their approach to data management by consolidating MLS data integration through a single source. There are a few back office solutions that have taken this approach that are used by brokerages across North America today. Real Estate Digital, AgentAchieve from CoreLogic and, notably, Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies' Complete Enterprise Solution are all examples of solutions that have taken this single MLS integration philosophy to heart. For an overview of Lone Wolf's approach, see the video below:
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Major Changes In Real Estate
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How Do Your Brokerage's Listings Perform on Zillow?
Any type of advertising or promotional effort that brokers undertake should provide some measure of return on investment (ROI). Depending on the type of promotion, the way you measure ROI will vary. In the case of sending listings to portals, there are two primary returns you receive on your investment. The first and most important is that you're delivering on a promise you have made to a seller who expects their listing to be marketed to the widest possible audience, leveraging sites like Zillow and Trulia. The second return is the reach or engagement your listing is getting on those websites. The truth is that brokers don't really care that Zillow gets 86 million visitors per month1. Instead, the relevant metric is how many people engage with your brokerage's listings. To provide brokers insight into this key area Zillow Group, operator of the two leading real estate sites according to comScore2, unveiled a dashboard in January to brokers who send a direct data feed to Zillow Group sites, either through their MLS or directly from their brokerage or franchise. As a broker, the Zillow Group Data Dashboard lets you measure the performance of your listings on Zillow, including the total number of times their listings appear in search results, the number of times listings were viewed, and the number leads delivered to your brokerage from your listings.
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ListHub/Zillow Divorce Stimulates Discussion
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Broker Best Practices for Avoiding Listing Delay and Inaccurate Data
There are countless methods for distributing listing data, and some are more prone to error and lead loss than others. Today, we're going to look at what some of those channels are and explore ways brokers can ensure that their data is accurate and up-to-date to best serve their customers and represent the quality of their brand online. Choose a Single Source of Distribution One of the best practices for brokers is to define a single syndication method so that listing information goes to publishers from only one location. This is important because when a publisher gets the same listing data from multiple sources, they have to use "trumping rules" to determine which information to display. This slows the frequency of listing updates. Furthermore, all of these competing "voices" may not be sharing the same information, even on the same listing, thus poorly representing the quality of your brokerage to consumers. Once you define your method, it is important to ensure agents are providing listing data through these controlled channels. There are multiple ways that listings are distributed. The most common method is via the MLS, as most MLSs syndicate listings to Realtor.com and distribute listings to a large number of IDX vendors. Many MLSs have outsourced listing syndication to services like ListHub and reDataVault. But, only the MLS can provide data directly to publisher websites, like Trulia and Zillow, via a RETS server, which can update listing changes every few minutes. If a broker is part of a franchise or network, the franchise may also syndicate directly to publishers. RE/MAX, Realogy and Keller Williams all do this since they have the technical resources, but the quality of their listing flow varies depending on their technology. Additionally, virtual tour and single property website providers and companies like Postlets also provide listing syndication services.
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The Right and Wrong of Broker Data
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Broker AVMs (Part 3): The Realty Alliance's Position
This is part three in an x-part series (I promised four parts, but who knows?) on the question of whether and how brokers participating in MLS may use listing data of other brokers to power AVMs sold into the real estate vertical. See Part 1 for an intro and Part 2 for advice that NAR gave MLSs in 2013. In a letter dated January 27, 2014, Craig Cheatham, CEO of The Realty Alliance (TRA), made a recommendation to the National Association of REALTORS®: NAR's MLS Policy [should] be amended to clarify that an MLS must provide Participants, upon request, with a data feed, or permit Participants to download the MLS data from the MLS' database compilation, for use by the Participants to create and deliver AVMs to customers and clients through automated means, such as the Clearinghouse... (page 9; all page numbers in this post refer to TRA's letter). The Clearinghouse is a project supported by TRA and described in the letter (see page 2) that permits participating brokers to work with TRA and its technology partner (which we understand to be a company called Collateral Analytics) to use MLS data to deliver automated valuations to third parties for a fee. An automated valuation model or "AVM" is "a service that can provide real estate property valuations using mathematical modeling combined with a database" (according to Wikipedia as of April 18, 2014). In this case, the database is the MLS database, including not just the listings of the broker developing and delivering the AVM, but the listings of all MLS participants.
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Broker AVMs
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Broker AVMs (Part 2): Previous NAR Policy Guidance
This is the second part of an x-part series on the question of MLS participants using listing data from MLS to produce AVMs. See the intro post for background. The text below is from a summary our firm prepared for lawyers attending the Council of MLS's legal seminar in Boise, Idaho last fall. Note that it does not reflect a position by CMLS on the matters discussed in it. Rather, it was our effort on CMLS's behalf to understand the views of NAR policy staff on the matters discussed in it. Note, too, that NAR staff's position may have evolved since last fall. I still think it's a helpful overview of the issue and current policy, against which we can contrast current proposals. We are sharing it with CMLS's permission. It's long-ish... sorry about that. Preliminary dialog with NAR staff: Brokers building "analytic tools" with MLS data Prepared by Larson/Sobotka PLLC on behalf of CMLS September 26, 2013 In August 2013, CMLS legal counsel presented written questions/comments to NAR intended to clarify NAR policy on a matter of interest to MLSs in the U.S. and therefore of interest to the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS). The results are offered here in the form of a dialog, with CMLS's legal counsel's comments, questions, etc., in black serif type on the left margin, and NAR policy staff's responses of August 28, 2013, in blue sans-serif font, indented from the left margin. CMLS recognizes that any response from NAR is limited in scope to the situations described below and might be different if the assertions characterized below as facts prove to be false.
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Can MLS Brokers Build AVMs Using Data of Other Brokers?
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How Data Killed the REALTOR®
If you look at the demise of Encyclopedia Britannica, you see a clear roadmap of how history will repeat itself to cause the demise of the real estate agent. Up until 1994, the Britannica sales associates sold about 120,000 hard copies. Sales people consumed the most amounts of profits from the transaction. The sales people at Encyclopedia Britannica protected their data. The three or four thousand pages of the books were protected by copyright. Then came the Internet, and more importantly, Wikipedia. The Britannica sales person was disrupted by a price point of free. The cost of data was disrupted by user-generated content. Adapt the pattern to real estate. Like Britannica, sales people or REALTORS® consume the most amount of profits from the transaction. REALTOR® sales people are protected by data copyright and forms copyrights today. The MLS protects REALTORS®. The National Association of REALTORS® protects REALTORS®. Disruption is coming. Today, 1 in 4 buyers find the home they ultimately purchase using the Internet. Like Wikipedia, the cost of consumers to access listings on the Internet is free. Even posting a listing on FSBO (user generated content) is free. Heck, in less than an hour, I can publish more information about my home than any REALTOR® would ever be able to produce. I can do it for free. This is exactly like Britannica – free and user generated content.
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Use Consumer Data as a Marketing Tool
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Privacy and The Real Estate Process
"People who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient's [e-mail provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, 'a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.' "- Google lawyers in a June 2013 court filing Privacy: "the right to be let alone" Louis Brandeis, citing Judge Thomas Cooley, described in an 1890 paper (cowritten with Samuel D. Warren). The real estate process includes numerous privacy oriented policies, from MLS and Association agreements to disclosure documents, franchise fees, rebates and agent compensation practices. Consider three examples that illuminate the growing concerns in and around personal and professional privacy. 1. MLS agreements that assert control and require brokers to cede ownership over broker created listing data. Certain multiple listing service agreements assert ownership over broker created listing data. This means the data brokers enter into an MLS system may be "owned" by the MLS. Conflicts have arisen when the MLS transmits broker created data (sometimes with and without compensation) to third parties that may offer conflicting services with the originating broker, such as national aggregators. What you can do: Brokers should be pro-active in formulating MLS terms and conditions that support their business model(s).
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Aggregators, Realtor.com® Hot Topics at Broker Conference
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Questions to ponder
It was a great time on the Internet yesterday. Obviously hard at work, I read this on Facebook: So, I went and read the rest of Bob's blog post. I don't know Bob well, but I have a friend that held a similar position and found the same difficulties. A guy who worked for another large publisher. His task was to build relationships with MLSs in order to gain the all-important direct data feed. Like Bob, he also hit a point where he felt it best to go do something else.
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Is Data Scraping Taking Money from Brokers’ Pockets? Realtor.com’s Curt Beardsley Says, ‘Yes’
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Stemming the Tide of Data Misappropriation
Gone are the days when REALTORS® would do the legwork and provide a stack of listings to buyers. Would-be buyers can view listing data any number of places online, though they tend to go in droves to the big online real estate portals (think realtor.com®, Homes.com, Trulia, Zillow). Yet, issues surrounding who owns the listing data, and how it is being disseminated across the Web—at worst, illegally and, at best, contrary to the intentions of its owners—continue to raise the ire of real estate brokers and online listings organizations. "Giving your data to a third party, who then wants you to pay them for business generated by that listing—either directly or indirectly—is analogous to lending someone your watch and then paying them later to tell you what time it is." –Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group A growing number are asking how they can protect their data, their brands and their business from a rising tide of data misappropriation. What follows are some important considerations for protecting those hard-won assets—your listings. Understanding the Issues There are three areas are of primary concern: 1) data scraping; 2) data leakage; and 3) advertising practices of real estate portals. MLSs and brokers with effective websites tend to be most concerned about data scraping, which is the illicit copying or indexing of data by computer programs from a website. The second type of widespread misuse is data leakage, in which once-licensed data is repurposed or passed on for unauthorized uses.
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Cloud Storage and Sharing Work in the Digital Age
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Point2 encourages publishers to play nice
Yardi subsidiary Point2 is changing its data distribution policies to align with what it believes to be the interests of MLSs, associations, brokers and agents in the US, similar to what it has introduced in Canada with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Since Yardi purchased Point2, they have renewed determination to protect the data rights of agents, brokers, and their partner associations of REALTORS® and MLSs. In the past, the default distribution setting for Point2 has been broker-opt out rather than broker opt-in. WAV Group has never been in favor of broker opt-out programs. Broker opt-out means that unless notified by the listing broker, Point2 distributed the listing data to all of its publisher recipients. The big problem with this policy is that the broker was subject to the publisher's terms of use for the data, which might be contrary to the best interest of the broker. For many brokers, the portal's terms of use are fair – but for others, they are not. Point2 is now in the process of notifying publishers that they must conform to a set of fair use terms if they want the convenience of broker opt-out data. If they do not conform to the new terms, the data to that publisher will be switched to opt-in. As of January 1, 2013, any publisher not conforming to the new agreement will see somewhere between 200,000 and 1.2 million listings taken out of their Point2 feed.
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Contagion is a New Word for Brokers
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MOVE Launches the Real Estate Network for Franchises
Franchise Networks have taken the first step to declare their independence from the MLS rules and regulations, and third party listing websites. Today MOVE, operators of REALTOR.com and the Listhub listing syndication network, announced that they have created a data sharing solution called the Real Estate Network. Participants in the network include the two largest REALOGY networks of Century 21 and Coldwell Banker along with Realty Executives and RE/MAX. Under the terms of the agreement, the four participating Franchise Organizations will reciprocate in a listing data share of property listings for public display on each other’s franchise websites. New Century 21 CEO, Rick Davidson sent an email to all Century 21 brokerages yesterday ushering in what he calls “the next step in the evolution of our listings distribution strategy.” The press release from MOVE indicates that the Franchise Organizations have come to mutual terms on a standard display of listings. Details about the standard have been released on the Listhub website (http://www.listhub.net/networkrules.html). MOVE indicated that the rules were “to ensure that brokers’ interests will be preserved and facilitate a level playing field by the participants.”
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The Realities of Working with MLS Data
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A Closer Look at reDataVault by LPS
We understand that one of the top challenges for MLSs and brokers today are the decisions they must make about their data. One product providing a solution for MLSs to manage their data is reDataVault offered by LPS. Now, that product is also available for brokers. We sat down with Ira Luntz, VP of Data Products at LPS, to learn more.
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Product Review: Immobel’s Multi-Language Website IDX and REAL-Buzz
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