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Learn How the Real Estate Industry Is Avoiding Economic Meltdown with the Broker Public Portal
Started by a group of MLS executives and brokers who were tired of handing away their value to third parties who took their listings and sold them back the leads generated from their own inventory, Broker Public Portal with Homesnap is the national consumer home search platform built from within the industry and governed by Fair Display Guidelines, which guarantee "your listing, your lead." Download the NWMLS Case Study NOW to learn more The industry-controlled portal – operating as Homesnap – has become our industry's greatest "overnight" success story. It has generated over one million free leads for REALTORS® across the country and is the number one rated real estate app in App Store.
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Fixing the Agent Search Problem
The vast majority of consumers begin their real estate searches online. They are not only looking for potential homes but also searching for real estate professionals that could help them with the sale or purchase. Googling a real estate agent's name will most often return their social network profiles and industry profiles on the first page of the search results. Agents do a fair job of updating their social profiles. However, they don't even score a passing grade at keeping their industry profiles up to date. Take a moment and do an agent search on your company website. Imagine a consumer doing this same search. Do you like what you see?
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Accolades Continue for Broker Public Portal with Homesnap: 38th Fastest Growing Company in America
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How One Brokerage Gets More Listings and Referrals with Online Branding
Robert Slack, LLC uses branded property portal and retargeted ads to attract clients, recruit agents, and win listing presentations. In this interview, Robert Slack, Founder and CEO, and Dan Walters, Partner and COO, share their secrets to online marketing success.
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Tapping the Zillow Gap: Competing on Consumer Experience
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Thinking Like a Homebuyer Will Get You More Leads
Have you ever considered what goes on in a customer's mind as they search for a home? We know that almost 90% of prospective customers start their home-buying journey online, but understanding the behind-the-scenes of the home-buying process can put you ahead of the competition. When they start their search, most homebuyers already know the type of property they're looking for, as well as the location. They will type in keywords such as "home for sale in [city]", "condos for sale in [city]", "single family homes in [city]", "duplex for sale in [city]," etc. according to their preferences. Do the same thing and you'll notice that it's not always local websites that come up on the first page, but rather well-established real estate portals.
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Broker Public Portal with Homesnap Hits Milestone: 1 Million Agents
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Zillow 3D Home Tour Is Really Property Panorama
Remember years and years ago when Property Panorama launched? Property Panorama is still around, and running strong. They are probably the industry's leading virtual tour company, with over 500,000 customers building tens of thousands of tours every day. Zillow took a page out of Property Panorama's playbook by using visualizations to create a 360-degree tour and stitching them together, which they call Zillow 3D Home, and claim it is a 3D tour. Way to catch a headline, Zillow, but your tours aren't even close to a real Matterport or GeoCV 3D Tour.
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Century 21 Launches ListTrac for Analytics on Portal Marketing
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Zillow Is Already the Google of Real Estate
Zillow continues to make waves in the real estate industry as the company has recently: Acquired a mortgage lender Expanded its Homes division and iBuyer presence Continued its foray into the rental market The company that was once feared as disrupting the entire industry got off to a slower than anticipated start, but is now putting together the pieces to bump up the blood pressure and heart-rates of industry incumbents.
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How Did the Broker Public Portal Start?
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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 home buying 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 for 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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Zillow Is the New Craigslist
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Your Brokerage Needs to Improve Your Consumer Responsiveness
Sometimes Zillow Group does something that aggravates the industry, like displaying agent reviews. Other times Zillow does things that not only aggravate the real estate industry, but they point to profound best practices that are a roadmap to success. When brokers pay attention, they can learn a lot.
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TRIBUS Becomes First Broker Platform to Send Solds to Zillow
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WATCH: How Newly Licensed Agents Get a Fast Start
How does Wemert Group Realty get their new agents out of the gate faster than the competition? By providing them leads from realtor.com® and training them on how to work those leads. Wemert Group incentivizes those leads, as well. Rather than giving rookie agents their best leads, new agents get "cut your teeth leads" that they have to work a little harder on and learn from. From there, they can earn their way to better leads or a higher price point. Want put your new agents on the path to success? Learn how with leads from realtor.com®.    
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WATCH: Wemert Realty Reveals Their Source of Better Buyer Leads
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[Video] How Online Leads Powered Wemert Realty to 20x Growth
Wemert Group Realty is on track to close 800 transactions this year, up from 40-60 in 2008. What's their secret to 20x growth over the past decade? According to broker Jenny Wemert, it's realtor.com®. To learn more, watch the video above. Want to find out how realtor.com® leads can grow your business? Learn more here!    
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A New Battle Cry: I Want My BPP!
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Zillow's Opinion of Upstream and CAR's Forms License Policy Is Obvious
I have been reading articles about Zillow Group's positioning on Upstream and the forms licensing policy of the California Association of REALTORS® with great interest. My take away is that Zillow Group is doing and saying exactly what they should be doing and saying to positively impact Zillow's market opportunities in real estate. Remember, Zillow has industry relations people and government relations people that want to fight tooth and nail for every advantage they can get. It's business. Without Property Listings, Zillow Dies
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Generate Leads Immediately by Signing Up for Realtor.com!
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How this Brokerage's Agents Close $1.2 Million per Month
Broker-owner Luke Monroe sets an ambitious, but achievable, goal for all of his agents: that each should sell a minimum of $1.2 million in gross sales volume per month. Monroe's agents are able to accomplish this thanks to the systems that his firm, Kendrick Realty, have in place. In the video above, the management team at Kendrick Realty shares how the massive volume of leads they receive from realtor.com® each month helps their agents meet their goals. Watch the video now to learn more about the systems that Kendrick Realty uses to sort, qualify, and convert their realtor.com® leads. Want to find out how realtor.com® leads can grow your business? Learn more here!    
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The Secret to a Faster Start for New Agents from Year One
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Broker Public Portal Is the #2 MLS Consumer-Facing Website!
The Broker Public Portal with Homesnap continues to take the industry by storm. The strategy to pool the listings and resources of MLSs across the country is working! In just over a year after the BPP/Homesnap partnership was announced, there are now 145 MLSs representing 875,000 agents on one marketing platform featuring over 90 million properties, generating thousands of FREE leads every day for agents. Broker Public Portal with Homesnap is now the second largest MLS consumer website, according to Hitwise, the nation's leading source for measuring real estate web traffic across the entire industry.
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Zillow May Have Finally Justified Listing Syndication
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How Do the Top 20 Sites Manage Digital Search Advertising?
At WAV Group, we like to look under the hood at what the top property search sites in America are doing to engage consumers and boost performance. In some cases, we work with the site owner and have access to their analytics. In other cases, we use benchmarking tools like Hitwise and ComScore to get a glimpse into what these top performers may be doing. The results are interesting. In the snapshot that we took, the nation's leading portal – Zillow.com – is benchmarked to be the top search site with 36 percent, and also the top investor in paid search. Their paid click share is 35 percent of their search traffic and 36 percent of their search traffic is organic. Overall, Zillow acquires 5 percent of the paid click traffic. Zillow's Click-Through Rate (CTR) on paid traffic is 5.33 percent.
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Is It Possible for a Broker to Achieve 250 Closings Year One?
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You Can Beat the National Portals with This Strategy Today
Imagine a world where every real estate agent, broker and franchise in the nation promoted their real estate mobile app to consumers. The app is white-label branded to the agent, broker, and franchise, offering direct access to every MLS listing without any competitive ads. That is the way it would need to work. Guess what? We have it. You have it. Our industry has it. Today.
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Zillow Group Continues Tradition of Showing Consumers FSBO, Other Non-MLS Listings
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Broker Public Portal Update: Q1 2018
Call to action: Please support the BPP by emailing this update to agents and brokers in your market to drive awareness and adoption of Homesnap. For the industry to realize its vision of a national portal alternative to existing advertising sites, we need to communicate the strategic value of supporting Homesnap. Success is in your hands. Following the phenomenal growth experienced in 2017, Broker Public Portal with Homesnap is anticipating even greater levels of success in 2018. Adoption by MLSs and brokerages is accelerating faster than many thought possible. And thanks to a comprehensive communications campaign, the word is getting out – the industry is delivering across America a better search experience.
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Broker Public Portal Adds Four New Members to Board
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Get Off My Transaction! What Zillow's Latest House-flipping Announcement Means for Brokers
Zillow Group, Inc. announced they're expanding Zillow Instant Offers to compete directly with OpenDoor and other Instant Offers companies – and that for the first time, Zillow itself will be buying homes from consumers and reselling them. So, what does this mean for brokers? Two ways to look at it: So much for "We sell ads, not houses," as Spencer Rascoff has repeated ad nauseum over the years. That's right up there with, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Zillow, of course, has every right to direct their business as they choose, but this is proof that they couldn't care less about their relationship with brokerages. Look at the revolving door nature of the staff working with brokers as further evidence (remember Chris Crocker and Nick Bailey as the most recent examples?). Wake up call. I attended the Swanepoel T3 Summit in Miami last week and the theme was resoundingly that if you don't make change happen, then change happens to you. I'd rather be the one making it happen, and I think that the brokers that continue to thrive will be the ones that disrupt themselves, not wait around to get disrupted.
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Broker Public Portal Gets Financial Boost as Homesnap Lands $14M Funding
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Build Your Own Real Estate Portal
This video demo features industry experts in marketing, APIs, and website development to give you everything you need to know to build your own real estate portal. Some of the key parts of a real estate portal include Automated Valuation Models or AVMs, Neighborhood Pages, Property Landing Pages and Market Overviews. This demo will walk you through how to build and implement each of these features.
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Instant Offers and What to Do About Them
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Did Zillow Open the Door to Their Own Demise?
One of the greatest philosophers of all time was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). For brevity, let's call him Hegel and be thankful to the University of Berlin where he lectured. I will suspend with the deep philosophy I learned in college and summarize Hegel as the author of a triad of historical development referred to thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In our observation, the MLS is the thesis, Zillow is the antithesis, and what happens next will be the synthesis. Moreover, I will argue that Zillow may have opened the door to their demise with the Instant Offers test.
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Zillow Protects Broker Data
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Zillow Is a Broker – So What?
"Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, NRT, Redfin – all brokers. Do brokers drop out of IDX because they are selling homes in their market? Brokers share their listings with these large firms every day. If Zillow joins the list, what's the diff?" This is the conversation starter that an investment banker had with me today. I appreciate having conversations with people in the capital markets. Bankers see the world differently. They believe that markets shape themselves and that great companies lead markets. Perhaps Zillow Group has its heart in its current service offerings today. The company protests against becoming a brokerage, but everyone got very upset recently when they launched a pilot for Instant Offers that seemed broker-like. It's a program where Zillow helps investors buy property by submitting offer letters directly to homeowners. Brokers don't like it. Some agents really like it.
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Broker Public Portal Announces Seven New Board Members
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5 Ways to Eliminate 'Headless Agents' on Your Listings
When was the last time you got a friend request on Facebook from someone who hadn't bothered to upload a profile photo and was still using the grayed-out floating head instead? I'm hoping it was a while ago, but maybe you can remember how you felt when a faceless person reached out to you. When I get one of those, I simply delete the request and move on. If someone doesn't care about enough about their friends and colleagues to even upload a picture, I'm not really interested in connecting with them. Do you see how consumers may feel the same way when they encounter a faceless "secret agent" on a portal or third-party website?
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How One Brokerage Cured their Weak Conversion Rate (and Brought Their ROI Back to Life)
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CFPB Investigating Zillow – Brokers Consider RESPA
Inman News journalist Andrea Brambila broke the story on Thursday that Zillow is under investigation by the CFPB. Apparently this has been happening for two years. According to Brambila, "The program, launched in June 2013, allows 'Premier Agents' who pay for advertising on Zillow Group's apps and websites to invite lenders to share marketing costs by paying Zillow Group to appear as 'Premier Lenders' in advertising alongside the agent." What Should You Do? Brokers should take immediate action. Agent activities are supposed to be supervised by the broker. We do not know who is going to become the target of the CFPB. That is the funny thing about regulators. Perhaps they find Zillow complicit, but I would expect that there is a possibility that they pursue the mortgage company and the real estate community who are also knowingly involved in the practice. Brokers need to establish a defensible position, especially if you are a large firm. Here are a few ideas. Be sure to document your efforts in the even that you need to defend yourself against the wrath of the CFPB. 1. Send notice to your agents alerting them to the concern 2. Have office meetings to educate agents about the concern to educate agents on RESPA
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Pull the plug or double down? Why one brokerage invested in new tech to get more value from their low-conversion paid leads
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Changing Buyer Behavior to Convert More Web Leads: A Q&A with San Diego broker Jesse Zagorsky
A dynamic leader who started his career in 2003, San Diego real estate broker Jesse Zagorsky is a self-proclaimed, unabashed geek when it comes to digital marketing and lead generation. In this brief interview, he shared how he has churned through various lead sources to find the one that works best for him, and how his team works to change web lead behavior starting on the very first call. If you were to go back and look at customers you have met online – when did it first come onto your radar? Were you an early adopter of online marketing? I was an early adopter – I was focusing on online marketing since I got into my real estate career in 2003. That was pretty much the beginning of online marketing. I have worked with every provider in the real estate space. Some were referral models and others were pay for lead programs. At this point, I must have tried every provider of online leads. You were an early adopter, but I imagine you have a lot of competition now! According to NAR's 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 51 percent of last year's home buyers found their future property online and brought it to the attention of a real estate professional. Does this seem possible to you? Absolutely. I actually think 51 percent may be low. Even though we have instant access to properties as agents, so do our clients, and the reality is that buyers are looking at houses often before a REALTOR® has had a chance to look that day. I actually think this is a good thing. The value proposition has changed; our role as an agent is not just to find the house, as it is in executing all of the other elements of the process.
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The Top 19 Real Estate Listing and Agency Sites
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Will Zillow Win the MLS Data Aggregation Wars?
A new war over data management has broken out among America's largest technology firms, and no clear winner is in sight. To begin, it may be best to level set around what data aggregation is. For brokerage firms or technology companies that leverage MLS data in software, they are pulling MLS data feeds. When you are pulling more than one feed, you are aggregating MLS data. Brokerage firms and software companies that have hired WAV Group to streamline their data aggregation systems know that we have always focused on the three leading firms that have been aggregating MLS data for years: Homes.com, Real Estate Digital, and WolfNet. From time to time, we do send our RFPs to other firms, but we have never been able to find any vendor who has the breadth of market coverage or the quality of data management systems that compete with those firms. The thesis for outsourcing data aggregation if you are a broker or a software vendor is simple. Homes.com, Real Estate Digital, and WolfNet already have the data on their servers. Each of them curate more than 98% of the MLS data from more than 600 of the nation's MLSs every day, and in some markets they are updating as much as 96 times per day (about every 15 minutes in large markets). There are easily 4 million updates per day to the data. Rather than duplicating the effort with your data, administrators, brokers, franchises, and software vendors are outsourcing. The price is lower than doing it yourself and, in our experience, these three firms are expert at the job and provide delightful customer service.
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Understanding Push Reporting
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Zillow Improves Broker Programs
Zillow Group, which includes the websites of Zillow and Trulia, have landed on a broker strategy for marketing that works. Featured listings are dead and have been replaced with a product to advertise in ways that drive the largest margin opportunity for a brokerage firm – leads to eTeams and relocation. I call this "shared display," where the brokerage and agent are clearly displayed and may be contacted – easily understood as "your listing, same leads." This functionality works equally well for any brokerage or large team. Display Rules Primer There are three general types of display rules: Fair Display, Shared Display, and IDX Display. Fair Display is pretty simple to understand. If it's your listing, then only your identity is displayed on the listing. Many people like this display because it's "your listing, your lead." It works like the new car dealer. You call BMW to buy BMW. The second type of display is a Shared Display. This is where Zillow has innovated. Under the ad portal strategy, the listing agent and broker are always displayed on their listing and can receive leads. But the display is a shared display, so three other advertisers may be displayed on the listing if they pay. Let's understand that this is "your listing, same leads." Our research shows that brokers get the same volume of leads on their listings with shared display as they did with fair display (read on). The third display is IDX Display. In this display that is popularized on broker and agent websites, the site owner gets all the leads and the listing broker and agent have a byline. This is understood as "your listing, no leads." This model is akin to a used car dealership where the company will sell all brands of cars.
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Broker Public Portal Inks Deal to Become Homesnap
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Time for Brokers to Clean Up Online Profiles
Online real estate agent and brokerage profiles are a mess. Specifically, agent and broker profiles on broker websites, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Homes.com are naturally in disarray at this time of year. With transaction volume low during December, it is a very good time to clean everything up. Most brokerages audited by WAV Group consulting average 10 percent inaccuracy, which reduces lead generation and undermines a firm's online reputation. Start With Data Collection It is a relatively easy task to collect the data necessary to update profiles. Start with your offices. "Offices have identities," says Marilyn Wilson, partner with WAV Group. "When we audit brokerage firms, we find that companies who have moved offices rarely put forth the effort to remove the old offices from association databases, MLS databases, brokerage websites, and syndication websites." There are services that can do this for you. WAV Group has resources that can automate the process on major search sites like Yelp, Google, and others. But the syndication sites require more effort, typically requiring the broker to log into the publisher site to make corrections. Agent profiles are the heavy lifting. It is vital that you collect the profile image of all of your agents, detail their contact information, and help them curate a reasonable bio of at least 250 words. Here is a quick guide for 5 Best Tips to Create a Powerful Bio (Sherry McCormick).
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New Data Services for Brokers to Improve Consumer Experience (10/11)
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What's the Real Value of Portal Marketing?
A recent survey of over 120 broker-owners and senior leaders at some of the top real estate firms in the U.S. and Canada revealed an apparent disconnect between revenue goals and business strategies. According to the survey, 85 percent of brokerages focus their marketing investments on lead generation activities--despite the fact that nearly two-thirds of sales are the result of repeat clients and past client referrals. Clearly, agents and brokers are spending too much time and money marketing on portals when long-view strategies produce a better return on investment. While lead generation is an undeniably important tactic for targeting specific market segments, cultivating and fostering person-to-person relationships still offers the best value proposition for both brokerages and agents. Online lead generation can be influential for reaching first-time homebuyers, who are typically technology natives born after 1980. In fact, 95 percent of Millennials use the internet during their home search, according to a recent report from the National Association of REALTORS. From a broker or agent perspective, capturing this pool of potentials via online advertising and outreach seems like low-hanging fruit. However, while online marketing casts a wide net for connecting with younger first-time buyers, this strategy yields only 15 percent of closed sales transactions. That's simply not enough to grow a real estate business year-over-year—unless, perhaps, relationships with this class of consumers are cultivated over the long term.
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3 Tips for Managing Your Realtor.com and Zillow Leads
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Backed by Google, Zillow Set to Become Online Brokerage
Real estate is not just an online thing. It's a global thing. People buy houses all around the globe and, in many nations, the notion of online real estate is hot. In the small nation of England, companies valued at £312m or £40m, like Housesimple along with easyProperty and eMoov, are all trying to make a go of it with significant venture backing. Online real estate is ripe for the taking. Zillow Group will not need to go out for additional funding to pivot to online real estate. The company is valued at over $5B and is operating at a run rate of $703M. Their balance sheet shows $570 million in cash and cash equivalents. Moreover, as the Sydney Morning Herald reports, Google has registered as a licensed mortgage broker in the US and is already working with Zillow to sell home loans. Google has $90 billion languishing in cash. Situating that cash in home mortgages is a way to put that money to work. Zillow Knows the Consumer Better than Most Brokers Want to know who owns what house? Zillow knows. Zillow launched an effort to acquire public records data years ago. But Zillow's customer record goes beyond the public record. Zillow knows the home buyer and seller's email address and phone number from a decade of consumers passing through their portal. They even know who the agent was that worked with them on their last transaction!
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6 Steps to Driving Real Estate Success with Tools and Systems
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Further Evidence of Trulia's Last Gasp
The image above is the weekly report for a brokerage with 291 listings on Trulia. They got two leads out of 12,636 detailed property views and 29 visits to their website. The same brokerage got about 12 or 13 leads per week back in 2014 on 167 listings from 6,737 property views and 167 visits to the broker website:
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Portal Lead Generation Evaluated for Top Brokers
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Do You Know What Your Real Estate Consumers are Reading?
A recent edition of this column focused on a number of industry current trends and forces that, taken together, strongly support the idea that, moving forward, brokerages are going to have to take a much more activist position regarding the activities of their agents—most especially with respect to the quality and nature of the services and consumer experiences they are delivering. The industry disruptors driving this issue were identified as highly motivated consumers, national portal premium agent programs, the high probability of definitive “independent contractors” litigation, potential CFPB regulatory initiatives, and the increasingly dissatisfied “counselor” agent sector. Taken together, they deliver a clear message that is best represented by the CFPB motto, Flight into Quality. Given the potential seriousness of this situation, it has become critically important that brokers, executives and managers began the process of understanding where the objectives of these disruptors come together in the marketplace and what sources are impacting the opinions and impressions of today’s consumer. Consumer Reports is a publication that has been published and distributed monthly by the Consumer Reports organization since 1936. The organization currently has over 7.3 million subscribers and a $21 million annual testing and evaluation budget. The organization and its publication are considered to be one of the leading consumer influences in the country. The March edition of Consumer Reports featured an in-depth piece on the real estate marketplace entitled, "The Real Estate of Real Estate." The subtitle spoke to its contents: "New population patterns, lending practices and housing preferences are changing the rules, whether you are buying, selling, renting or remodeling."
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Realtor.com Seeks to Win the Super Bowl
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Digital Disruption Prepares to Strike Again
No less than five issues of this column in 2015 raised concerns and awareness regarding the continuing march of digital disruption across the industry's landscape. With that in mind, it is with mixed emotions that we start out 2016 with yet another example of how digital disruption has already—or will, over the short-term future—change virtually every aspect of the traditional real estate and transaction. The would-be target of this report is a tradition that, while it has long been controversial within organized real estate and the overall marketplace, has over the past three years reached a state of almost open warfare within the agent ranks. The object of all this attention is the longstanding, unwritten rule of the REALTOR® culture that an individual who has applied for membership, paid their dues and sworn to uphold the Code of Ethics is entitled to full faith and credit with respect to the real estate industry and marketplace. It then followed that no other REALTOR®, regardless of background, training or credentials would be discussed within the circle in terms that would suggest that they had any higher status or ranking than the newest recruit. This tradition continues to play out in the industry's representation of itself to both consumers and the marketplace. Over the past few years, research conducted by such industry notables as Steve Murray of the Real Trends organization have established what everyone, including consumers, already knew—that being that only about 20 percent of REALTORS® (AKA, the counselors) ever reach levels of unquestionable expertise and skill while the remaining 80 percent live out their REALTOR® experience as facilitators.
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Realtor.com to Port in Reviews from 3 Agent Ratings Services
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Zillow Offers Better Branding and More Leads to RE/MAX's 59,000 Agents in New Agreement
RE/MAX and Zillow Group have expanded their existing agreement, the two brands announced today. The franchise's 59,000 agents are now able to port leads from Zillow and Trulia directly into LeadStreet®, RE/MAX's customer relationship management program. In addition, agents can feature their client reviews from Zillow directly on their personal agent websites. The newly expanded agreement features a first-of-its-kind integration of two of the Zillow® Tech Connect programs, Leads and Reviews. "This is truly a landmark agreement," said Errol Samuelson, Zillow Group chief industry development officer. "We are focused on delivering greater value to RE/MAX and its brokerages and agents who use the services of Zillow Group. This agreement will help RE/MAX agents work more effectively and receive even more value from Zillow and Trulia." RE/MAX agents will also have extended branding with attribution on all listings across Zillow and Trulia®. Agents will be clearly labeled as the listing agents on the buyers' agent list on their listings. In addition, the new agreement allows RE/MAX listings to feature unique brokerage branding, including a logo and link back to the brokerage website. Zillow Group will also offer specially designed training and education regarding these new resources to RE/MAX agents.
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Trulia Gives Lesson in Agent Ratings
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Try The House Out Before You Buy? It May be Coming Thanks to AirBnB
As one of life's biggest investments, buying a new home involves many unknowns. Sure, someone may like a prospective home's kitchen, floor plan or humongous backyard, but buyers are also buying into the neighborhood as well. Are there noise issues? How are the neighbors? What about area amenities? It's hard to truly kick the tires of a home with so many area unknowns. So what's a buyer to do? Turns out, Realtor.com and home-rental company AirBnB have a plan... A real estate "test drive" To ease the doubts associated with relocating, the Realtor.com and AirBnB partnership is offering a "try before you buy" feature for prospective homebuyers. The concept is simple. Find a home, then locate it on Realtor.com. Scroll down to the spot just above the map feature. There you'll find area AirBnB locations near the neighborhood of the home for sale. Nearby AirBnB locations are available on each home's listing page, allowing potential buyers the opportunity to select a property in the neighborhood they're looking to buy in and spend a few nights.
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Broker Portal Announces Progress on Branding, Vendor Selection, and MLS Agreement
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How to Harness the Power of Zillow
There's a force you must deal with as you start 2016 planning. That force is Zillow. There's no getting around it. And Zillow can significantly boost revenue and exposure for your brand in some unexpected ways. As you start thinking about 2016, here's how you can utilize Zillow to benefit your bottom line. Organic Search Results 69% of home shoppers who take action online begin by typing a local term into a search engine, according to Placester. They don't go to your website, they go to Google. That means you need to rise to the top in search engines. Zillow realizes this. They've developed 125 million property landing pages, 30,000 city pages, 36,000 zip code pages and 20,000 neighborhood pages. They load these pages up with search terms and unique content so when Google trolls the web for pages around real estate, theirs rise to the top. Zillow uses this strategy. Why can't you? If SEO is important to you, these types of pages are the most effective way to boost your ratings in organic search. They are less expensive than paid search and, ultimately, more effective at driving people to your site. With the Property Search Engine, you now have the power to compete with Zillow in search.
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Thoughts on Zillow's DotLoop Strategy
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What's Next for DotLoop?
Several weeks ago, we announced our intent to acquire DotLoop, a technology company that helps real estate professionals and their clients communicate and collaborate more quickly and easily to close the deal. We're very excited about this addition to Zillow Group. Helping real estate professionals make better use of the Internet and technology is part of our mission, and we've spent close to a decade building the best possible advertising experiences to help brokers and agents grow their business. Now with DotLoop's digital transaction management, we're helping them streamline their business, enabling them to focus on peoplework rather than paperwork. DotLoop may now have a parent company, but it remains the same great service with the same client commitments. We respect the rights of brokers, agents and consumers. As has always been the case with DotLoop, data will only be used in ways that are permitted by the license in place with agents and brokers. DotLoop will continue using the data for DotLoop services. Nothing has changed. While it's still early days, we're looking forward to helping expand DotLoop's innovative offering within Zillow Group, providing additional value to current customers and making it available to our more than 10,000 broker partners and the agents they represent, as well as to our approximately 100,000 agents who advertise on Zillow and Trulia.
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Is Zillow a Great Broker?
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Trulia in the Zillow Era
As an analyst for many brokerages, franchises, and MLSs, WAV Group looks carefully at reports from publishers to understand dynamics that can be leveraged to enhance performance. Sometimes, we encourage firms to keep their strategy the same. At other times we encourage trying something new or redeploying investment. I like Trulia's reporting. It is something that other publishers (including their parent company) could benefit from. Below I will provide a discussion about each. Leads – In their purest form, leads count. Even bad leads. If you are a broker and you are not producing leads for your agents, you may have another problem. Good leads are better. Have the office managers look at the leads every week. Lets face it. There are not that many to call it a huge job. Look at the ratio of leads to listings. Is that number going up or down. Generally speaking, most brokers see the most volume of leads per listing from Trulia and the highest quality of leads from MLS consumer sites or Realtor.com. Visits – The whole idea of having a link to the broker website is to drive consumer traffic to your broker website. Hopefully your website will delight them and the consumer learns that they can get great service on top of great listing content there. Look at your lead conversion ratio by publisher. How many leads do you convert from traffic that comes from Trulia or other publishers? What is your bounce rate? If you do not know how to track this stuff, WAV Group can help.
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2 Ways Portals Support Broker Success
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Zillow is Taking Your Traffic. How to Get it Back
More than half of all people searching for real estate online end up at Zillow. The exact number, according to Inman, is 53.6 percent. Zillow is crushing online search, and likely taking part of your market share in the process. Today 92 percent of home shoppers conduct online searches. Your future customers are online and today, Zillow is winning. Good news. If you have 10 minutes, you can learn how to get some of that traffic back. Zillow's outstanding SEO strategy includes thousands of localized landing pages designed to boost their ranking in organic search. So when people Google "Phoenix Real Estate" guess who rises to the top? Up until now, there wasn't an easy and cost effective way for regional or national brokerages to compete. Now there is. Intrigued? Watch the video on the next page to learn more.
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Realtor.com's Open Letter to Their Broker Partners
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A Look at News Corp's New Luxury Real Estate Portal
Luxury real estate enthusiasts, rejoice! There's a slick, new website in town where you can indulge your tastes for high-end property listings. Dow Jones, Move Inc.'s fellow News Corp subsidiary, launched a luxury property portal on Friday called Mansion Global. The site pairs high-end property listings from around the world with comprehensive news and data, a combination meant to aid buyers in making smart purchase decisions and engage luxury real estate fans. Mansion Global will feature content from News Corp publications like The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, realtor.com, and more. The site will offer original editorial features as well, like: Indicator Insights - Market data relevant to global buyers Mansion Essentials - A look at high-end amenities that raise property values Mansions New to the Market - Zeroing in on the "most intriguing listings" Markets on the Verge - Advising property investors on up-and-coming markets News Corp. also plans to offer enhanced listings data, video, interactive maps, personalization and more on Mansion Global in the coming weeks.
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Broker Public Portal Elects First Board of Managers
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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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The Role Sold Data Plays in Building Your Brand
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Audit Third Party Portals Today
Brokerages publish listings to third party portals as a method of advertising homes for sale. As we mentioned in our paper, MLS Syndication Rat's Nest, every portal displays listings differently. Moreover, portals apply different rules on the same listing if it comes from a different data source. Confused? You are not alone. Portals are constantly battling on multiple fronts. They are innovating constantly to return better value to consumers and advertisers. On any given day, they segment their consumer traffic to test innovation strategies. Sometimes your listings are folded into the mix in ways that you did not intend. If you are not monitoring your listings, your inactions may undermine the effectiveness of your online advertising. Don't Syndicate Without an Agreement Publishers may only display your listings in line with the license agreement you have in place with them. If you are a franchise broker, the data sent from the franchise to the publisher is governed by the agreement between the franchise and the portal (e.g., Coldwell Banker and Zillow). Your MLS may have an agreement with ListHub who has agreements with their publishers. Some MLSs send data directly to publishers under a direct agreement. Some MLSs may syndicate one way in your local MLS area but data share with another MLS that syndicates the same data without your consent. Publishers have no alternative but to install a trumping order that may oppose or violate the agreement you have in place. It's tricky and confusing.
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National Broker Portal Launches Website
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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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CMLS to Host 2 Webinars on National Broker Portal Project this Week
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Spending Over $60K Per Month on Zillow
It is not very hard to find out who Zillow's top customers are. Just visit the website and look at the Agent Reviews section. One of those top customers is Samer Kuraishi Group from the Washington, D.C. area. Samer is a second generation real estate agent. The brokerage, A-K Real Estate, Inc. ("A-K") is a boutique 40 agent firm, located about two blocks from the White House, that was founded by his father. Together, they have grown the company significantly, supporting consumers in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Much of the company's growth has happened over the past few years and was driven by advertising on Zillow. Samer indicated that the company did about $49M in 2012 when they first started buying advertising on Zillow. This year, Samer is expecting to do $27M+ personally and he expects to hit $150 million total in 2014 which is up about 50% from 2013 $101M in sales. Samer is purchasing Zip Code marketing on Zillow at a rate of about $60k+ per month. That is more than most brokerage firms. For that, Samer is guaranteed around 700,000 consumer impressions per month on Zillow. In truth, Zillow typically over-delivers on the contracted minimum impressions, so his actual impressions are over 1.2 million per month. That is a lot of online advertising. Most of his leads come from his group profile page. When Zillow markets its advertising impressions, it does so by creating a market value of those impressions by zip code. Some zip codes may be as low as $25 per thousand impressions. On the high side, the cost per 1000 impressions (CPM) can be over $100. Many markets seem to average about $50 CPM, and lots of markets around the nation are sold-out and have a waiting list. Samer even owns zip codes where he does not typically provide services, just to build his portfolio. Today, Samer owns 110 to 115 zip codes on the Zillow site, but he refers some of the generated business to local agents, whom he trusts.
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3 Ways Portals Help Brokers Build Brand Awareness
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Real Estate Firms and MLSs Team Up to Launch New Consumer Website
Today, real estate brokerage firms representing more than 300,000 Realtors® and 25 leading Multiple Listings Service (MLS) firms with 350,000 agent and broker subscribers announced the formation of a new company that will develop and manage a new consumer website. The name of the new company has yet to be determined. This announcement is the first time that the 50 industry leaders participating in early formation discussions have released information to the public. "It's time to reach out to our industry for support," says Cameron Paine, CEO of the Connecticut MLS. Paine, with the urging of his brokers and directors, has been spearheading the effort to engage real estate brokerage firms and MLSs to collaborate and deliver to consumers a better national property search. "We want to do it right if we expect to deliver a compelling solution to the online consumer," says Richard Haase, CEO of Latter and Blum Realtors® in Louisiana." The group has gathered their interests around the core principles of listing data that is accurate, timely, and comprehensive; and the Fair Display Guidelines (FDG) recently published by The Realty Alliance. Gregg Larson, founder and CEO of Clareity said, "We've been watching brokers battle for a fair exchange of value with publishers since the late 90s. There's been broad acceptance from the brokers and portals around the new, proposed FDG terms that were recently released for public comment. Clareity hopes the FDG drives fair attribution and links back to the broker site. If not, we ask our clients, why send your listings there at all?"
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3 Ways Portals Help You Hire (and Retain) Top Agents
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3 Keys to Evaluating How Portals Protect Your Brand
Love them or hate them, property search portals are a major component of the consumer search experience. That's why from now through the end of the year, we're taking a side-by-side look at what each portal offers so that brokers can make a more informed decision about which sites to partner with. In our last article, we explored the importance of frequent listing updates and looked at how often each of the three major portals updates their data. Today, we're shifting our focus to how each portal protects the data and integrity of your brand in three key areas: Use of AVMs Re-syndication or sub-licensing of data Inclusion of FSBO listings 1. Use of Automated Valuation Model (AVMs) An AVM is a mathematical property valuation that requires no human input. Property search portals often display them next to listings to give consumers a ballpark idea of what a home is worth. Zillow's Zestimate is perhaps the most well-known - and controversial - AVM on the market today. What makes portal AVMs a point of contention among real estate professionals is their accuracy, or lack thereof. As our own Victor Lund recently stated, AVMs offer "fuzzy truths" that can be either very close to a property's correct value or wildly off-base. Thanks to portal AVMs, agents and brokers are no strangers to conversations with sellers who think their home is worth far more than it actually is, e.g. "But Zillow says my home is worth..." Similar conversations happen with buyers who think the property they're interested in is overvalued simply because a portal's AVM told them so.
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Broker Non-Compete with Portals
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Why Frequent Listing Updates are Better for Your Brokerage
Your brokerage's listings exist online from the time they're listed to the time when their status changes to pending. During that period, you're generating brand impressions each and every time someone views a listing online. How is your brand presenting itself? A substantial part of your brand's impression depends on the accuracy of the listings with which you're associated. This is particularly true in high-demand locales like San Francisco, where days-on-market may be as low as nine. If a potential buyer is relying on, for example, public search portals to find new listings, a significant delay in how quickly those listings are updated may mean that by the time that buyer is notified of a new property, it may already be too late for him or her to take action. Imagine that buyer's frustration upon calling your office and discovering that the listing is already off the market--and so is the next one they inquire about, and the next. The consumer will feel like they've been lead on or even deceived. This is not the kind of impression your firm wants to make. This is why it's important to be in control of when and where your listings appear online. Too many brokers are comfortable with simply sending their listings to every available publisher channel in the syndication tool they use without understanding how the publisher handles their data or how frequently they update it.
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Hyperlocal and the Real World: 5 Strategies to Dominate the National Portals
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The Real Benefit to the Zillow and Trulia Merger
Big advertisers need big media sites. Zillow is big and Trulia is big, but they are not huge. "Huge" would be Facebook. Think of the Madison Avenue crowd. Both companies have sales staff pitching pretty much the same value proposition. That sales team now turns into one. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff pretty much said exactly this in an interview with Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money. "Rascoff noted that when it comes to the Internet, user experience rules. Once you have an audience the advertisers will follow, he said, which is why the Trulia acquisition makes sense. Zillow will operate both brands when the acquisition closes, allowing users to pick the brand that fits them best or advertise on both platforms" WAV Group has seen this before, but not at this scale. For example, when a large phone carrier wants to target real estate agents, they come with a budget of $1 million or more to spend. There are not enough B2B impressions to fill that order. I presume, by extension, that Zillow and Trulia will combine to go after the huge online advertisers – Fortune 100 types. Furthermore, they have put a moat around the business with Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo Real Estate, MSN Real Estate, AOL Real Estate, Scripts, 360 Newspapers. Aside from the MOVE network, it is pretty hard to access homebuyer and sellers at scale without going through the Zillow network. Better yet, Zillow and Trulia will not undercut each other's prices. The fact remains that the home buyer and seller impression value is far above the current rates because of the amount of money they spend in the home transaction process. Thousands of dollars are up for grabs.
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MOVE, Inc: An Open Letter to the Real Estate Industry
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VOW as Broker Strategy for Competing with Portals
Where is the first place consumers go when looking to learn more about their local housing market? Brokers would like to say that curious searchers visit their firm's website, but that is not often the case. Instead, prospects end up on third party portals, time and again. Why? There are many reasons, ranging from SEO considerations to the power of portals' brand recognition. A bigger reason, however, may be the lackluster data offered by agent and broker IDX sites. "I've worked with three third-party IDX products," says Florida broker Richard Eimers. "They were all working fine, but I always felt there was something missing because, really, the only question they were addressing was what's for sale. I found that the needs and the desires of the buyers as we spoke to them after they came into the office is that they wanted more information." Even though listing data on portals is often inaccurate, consumers flock to them because they provide a more complete picture than IDX sites do. If brokerages want to compete with portals, they need to up the ante on the property information they offer. One way to do this is by implementing Virtual Office Websites (VOW). VOWs allow the consumers to create an account in order access comprehensive listing data from the MLS. This includes information on active, pending, sold, and even expired listings. For any property, a VOW can provide complete data, including when the seller came on the market, at what price, how many times they have listed, and more.
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The End of War Between Zillow and Trulia
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Do You Need to Worry About the Zillow-Trulia Merger?
If Zillow does manage to close its acquisition of Trulia, the combined entity will be spending millions to compete with you for consumer mind-share. The two real estate websites share a common goal – using your listing and real estate articles to gather consumer leads and then selling those leads back to you. If you don't want to buy back your own leads, you have to beat Zillia at its own game. Agents and brokers already have the tools to win the game. You likely have a sizable sphere of influence because you worked hard to build a customer network. You have clients' contact information. And you know more about the local real estate market than Zillia's entire editorial staff. The acquisition should be a wake-up call for agents and brokers who aren't leveraging the contact information they collect -- other than storing it on their smartphones and in their email, social media and MLS accounts. You have to defend your customers by moving that contact information into one spot and then nurturing those relationships. We know a lot of folks who have trouble with this task. Many of our clients have us do this for them instead of doing it themselves (although, a cynic would argue that they let us do it because we don't charge for that service). Real estate is a relationship business. It always has been and we don't think that axiom is going anywhere. The brokers and agents we work with agree that 95 percent of everyone they know will not be on their websites this year. Why? So few are engaged in a real estate transaction. Homeownership? Yes. Buying or selling a home, not so much or so often.
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What Does the Trulia Acquisition Mean to Your Business?
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Why Consumers Love Zillow
When I meet people out in the real world and explain what a consultant does in the real estate industry, conversations naturally lead to the discussion about home values and real estate portals like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com or others. For all of us in the real estate industry, we believe that the reason why consumers like Zillow so much is for the Zestimate. Not necessarily. Last night, I had a casual encounter with a friend who is a helicopter pilot. He ferries executives back and forth to the oil rigs off of the central coast of California. Aside from that rather exciting day job, he loves to find fixer-up properties to buy and sell. He uses Zillow, but not for the Zestimate. "I use Zillow to look at the last transaction on the house. I need to understand the perspective of the owner which is centered around what they paid for the house and how long they have lived in it." Like most of you, I thought that he would tell me that the Zestimate was the primary reason that he loved that website. I was wrong. "The Zestimate is a pretty relative thing. I know that the value of a property is based upon what a seller is willing to accept as an offer from a buyer and little more." He did go on to talk about the role that banks play in offering financing on the home, but he typically puts 40% down when he buys, so that is an incidental consideration for him. What Brokers Can Learn From This Brokers need to support consumers with information on their website differently today than they did in the past. If you are in a non-disclosure state, you can stop reading this article now because there is little you can do beyond what you offer today. If you are in an open disclosure state, you should be trying to provide consumers with public record information on every property in the area you serve.
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Zillow Announces Trulia Acquisition
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Howard Hanna Promotes 5,700 REALTORS® on Realtor.com
Today's real estate broker faces some difficult decisions when it comes to online advertising. The choices are often predicated upon what your competition is doing, what sellers demand, traffic and leads generated by your website or franchise website, website owner terms of use, who gets the lead, and who pays – agent or broker. It is really quite a mess. It is so bad, that many large firms have walked away from it entirely and leave it up to the agent. Other firms have taken the proverbial bull by the horn and worked hard to market listings online is a very controlled and purposeful fashion. Howard Hanna is one of those brokers. About Howard Hanna Howard Hanna is among the most dominant online marketing brokers in America. In their core cities of Pittsburgh and Cleveland, traffic to their broker website is greater than the national sites like realtor.com®, Zillow, Trulia, and Homes.com (Hitwise). But Howard Hanna stretches well beyond those two metropolitan areas. The firm covers most of Pennsylvania, most of Ohio, and parts of Virginia, Michigan, upstate New York, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland (169 offices in total). They are the fourth largest firm in North America, trading 52,827 homes and $9.7 billion in closed sales in 2013. Howard Hanna is also a full service firm offering consumers services in Mortgage, Title, and Insurance. An important component of the Realtor.com arrangement is not only that broker competition is not displayed on a Howard Hanna listing, but neither is any other competition from home services companies. Howard Hanna listings are generating leads for all of the affiliated companies they have. The effort also extends to the Realtor.com mobile application, too.
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Realtor.com and Top Producer Back Online After Two Day Internet Battle
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'Coming Soon' Listings on Zillow
The cat is out of the bag. Zillow has gone where no MLS has gone before. They have embraced the broker and agent demand for pre-marketing listings. They are entering a place where Zillow will have listing content before listings become available. Consumers are going to love it, brokers and agents are going to love it, and MLSs are going to hate it. The program is called Coming Soon, and allows brokers and agents to market listings on Zillow up to 30 days before publishing it in the MLS. Clean lines and business rules are the cornerstones of the MLS foundation on offers of cooperation and compensation. Agents must post a listing into the MLS within 24-48 hours of completing the listing agreement. Uniformity is the practice of publishing a listing into the marketplace at a time when everyone can show the property. It is like the start of a race and every agent and customer is on the line at the same time. Well, that is sort of true most of the time, but not really. REALTOR® Associations have long held the tradition of hosting meetings (with an intermediary in the room) where agents talk about upcoming listings and buyer needs before the weekly new listing broker open home tour. It is a condoned behavior that also stretches into the broker office meetings (no intermediary) and into Mastermind and Top Producer Clubs (typically no intermediary). There are even Coming Soon yard sign riders. I bring up the issue of intermediary because Zillow is an intermediary, and an intermediary is important. If you don't think so, ask a few MLS executives about The Sherman Act that prohibits price fixing, collusion to control the marketplace, and/or collusion to carve up the marketplace. Meetings of competitors are normally where violations occur. Think about the risk of pocket listings and listing clubs that have plagued our industry in hot markets. By my reading, placing a Coming Soon listing on Zillow would pass muster by compliance with The Sherman Act. There are plenty of brokers who publish Coming Soon listings in their back office that may not be as compliant without this Zillow feature – especially those firms that incentivize agents with premium compensation or benefits when selling company listings.
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