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Tapping the Zillow Gap: Competing on Consumer Experience
Ah, Zillow. The real estate portal we all know and love? It's no secret that many homebuyers leverage the "Z word" to begin their initial stages of the homebuying process. Due to the popularity of Zillow with homebuyers, many brokerages and agents alike feel they must be committing a dedicated monthly budget to the platform out of a perceived fear of missing out on a potentially limitless stream of leads. Many real estate professionals also feel there is an unspoken expectation they need to be present on the search portal to truly compete with those who are also on Zillow.
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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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WATCH: Broker Public Portal with Homesnap - Take Charge of Your Listings
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Century 21 Launches ListTrac for Analytics on Portal Marketing
In an email blast to Century 21 brokers and agents last week, Century 21 released the Golden Ruler powered by ListTrac, a reporting tool that allows sellers, agents, and brokers to see the engagement that a property is getting across the Internet. Portals like Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, and Homes.com are shown side by side with Century 21's family of sites and partner sites along with MLS systems, consumer sites and HomeSnap. In fact, any real estate website can easily have ListTrac monitoring configured.
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Zillow Is Already the Google of Real Estate
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How Did the Broker Public Portal Start?
The First Meeting In mid-2014, there was a pivotal meeting at a boutique hotel in Washington, D.C. Robert Moline, then chairman of The Realty Alliance, and I met with a group of brokers who served on various MLS boards, along with some MLS staff members. Their pitch: MLSs and brokers could work together to help lessen broker frustration with websites that advertised properties for sale by creating a consumer-friendly option. Hearing that MLSs wanted to work with brokers was a real draw, and brokers wanted a breakthrough on their portal frustrations.
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Tapping the Zillow Gap: Competing on Consumer Experience
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Zillow Is the New Craigslist
We recently wrote a piece that looked at the lifecycle of marketplace startups, specifically as it relates to real estate technology. A key theme is that the incumbents, most notably Craigslist, spawned a slew of companies that focused on a single vertical and benefitted by going deeper to provide a better consumer experience. Today, there exists a similar emergence when looking at Zillow—successful companies and applications are being developed by focusing on certain features within its platform. The question is, are companies that offer more singular value, but perhaps do those few things better, better off than a platform like Zillow that can offer more components of the transaction in a single place?
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Your Brokerage Needs to Improve Your Consumer Responsiveness
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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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WATCH: Join the Broker Public Portal Movement -- Find Out What the Buzz Is All About
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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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[Video] Are Competitors Eating Your Lunch?
Are competing brokerages getting leads off your listings? You may want to look at your systems and processes. But if you run an otherwise tight ship, it's probably time to think about what's happening with your listings online. The online listing landscape is shifting rapidly, though. With the looming termination of ListHub's relationship with Zillow and Trulia, brokers and MLSs are looking at alternatives to syndication to get their listings to portals. One of those methods is direct data feeds. On Wednesday, we hosted a panel discussion of four industry experts to explore the ins and outs of direct-to-portal listing feeds. If you weren't able to attend the event, you catch what you missed via the recording below:
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Audit Third Party Portals Today
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National Broker Portal Launches Website
The national broker portal project continues to gain momentum as brokers and MLSs agree to participate in the formation of the company to explore the launch of a national MLS consumer facing website with broker governance. Although only a month into the funding period, the group is well on its way to raising the $250,000. After the holiday, the Council of MLSs hosted two online webinars on the topic. The Realty Alliance and The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World also hosted two webinars. This activity was followed by the delivery of information at the CEO Summit as part of the Real Estate Connect conference. Leading franchise organizations including Home Services of America, Realogy Franchise Group, RE/MAX and Keller Williams have also had executive briefings on the project. Save the Dates The initial fund raising process is expected to be finished by March 18, 2015 – the first scheduled phone meeting of the initial supporters. The first meeting of the initial supporters is scheduled for April 22. The April 22nd meeting will establish a leadership group to shepherd the project through the formation process where the governance of the corporation will be filed. A parallel initiative will seek the construction of a Request for Proposal that can be used as a scope document for the initial minimum viable "go to market" product.
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Broker Best Practices for Avoiding Listing Delay and Inaccurate Data
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CMLS to Host 2 Webinars on National Broker Portal Project this Week
Dear CMLS members, The National Broker Portal Project is an initiative that aims to develop a new corporation that will create and manage a national consumer-facing MLS property search website. Because this initiative has the potential to significantly impact the MLS industry, we have scheduled two CMLS-hosted webinars to discuss the purpose, objectives, status, and outlook of the project with our members. If you are interested in hearing more about this topic, please register for one of the two webinars listed below. 1st session: Tuesday, January 20 at 1:00 PM EST / 10:00 AM PST Click Here to Register 2nd session: Thursday, January 22 at 11:00 AM EST / 8:00 AM PST Click Here to Register
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Spending Over $60K Per Month on Zillow
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3 Ways Portals Help Brokers Build Brand Awareness
Over the past few months, we've been publishing a series of articles that evaluates the features and benefits of the top portals. So far, we've explored how property search portals protect your brand and help you build your brand with agents. Today, we're going to look at the final piece of the puzzle - how portals support you in building your brand with consumers. When beginning their home buying journey, portals are often the first place a consumer goes. This means they're crucial in building initial awareness of your brand. As in our previous articles, we're going to evaluate how portals accomplish this. Here's the criteria we'll be using today: Broker attribution on search results Link to broker source Photos and property descriptions Please note that two items we've previously discussed in this series are also crucial components in building your brand: The placement of broker attribution on the property details page and listings accuracy. Though we covered it in our first article of this series, the importance of listings accuracy cannot be overstated. It's tied to how consumers view your brand—inaccurate listings that result in potential buyers calling on properties that have been sold or pending leads to distrust in your company. Make it a point in 2015 to understand when and where your listings appear online, how publishers handle your data, and how frequently your data is refreshed. 1. Broker attribution on search results In our last article, we discussed attribution of the listing agent/broker on the property details page. Repetition is key to building your brand, so there's another place that broker attribution needs to be in order to increase awareness of your company in the consumer's mind. The search results page is the first place a prospect will encounter your brand's name. Simply scrolling through the list of properties on this page will reveal which brokerages have the most listings in the area and price range that the consumer is searching for. If the consumer is not yet working with a brokerage, repeated exposure to your company's name on multiple listings may influence them to reach out to you. Each of the three major portals offer broker attribution on search results. However, Zillow only lists the broker on premium listings, while realtor.com and Trulia give the broker credit on all active listings. However, only Trulia provides attribution on sold properties, which also helps build your brand and credibility, especially with sellers looking to partner with a reputable and successful real estate professional. Trulia - Yes, for all, including sold listings Zillow - For premium listings only realtor.com® - Yes, for all active, but not sold listings
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Real Estate Firms and MLSs Team Up to Launch New Consumer Website
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3 Ways Portals Help You Hire (and Retain) Top Agents
Recruiting top agents is a competitive venture, and any worthwhile prospects will pepper you with questions before deciding if your brokerage is right for them. Besides queries about commission splits, franchise fees, and training, expect to be asked how your company helps agents market their listings. To help you in that conversation, today we're going to break down how each of the three major property search portals helps you grow your brand with agents. It's a continuation of an ongoing series that evaluates the features and benefits of the top portals (see part one and part two). Here's the criteria we'll be using today: Placement of listing agent attribution on the property details page Listing agent identification and contact information on the lead form Sold listings on agent profiles 1. Placement of Listing Agent Attribution How prominent is the listing agent's information on the property details page? Ideally, this data should be "above the fold," which means that it's visible without having to scroll down. This placement puts the agent and their brand (as well as yours) front-and-center. When it comes to placement, however, each of the three portals takes a different approach. Trulia is the only one that offers above-the-fold placement. They place attribution right below the property description so that it's easy for consumers to spot. They also link the brokerage's name to the listing syndication source (broker website, ListHub, Diverse Solutions, etc.), but offer no phone number. Realtor.com displays attribution in the middle of the page, but features the brokerage phone number and a direct link to the agent's Realtor.com profile. Zillow places attribution at the bottom of the page with a phone number for featured listings and a link to the syndication source. Trulia - Immediately beneath property description Zillow - Bottom of the page realtor.com® - Halfway down the page
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3 Keys to Evaluating How Portals Protect Your Brand
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Broker Non-Compete with Portals
The great real estate portals of America are trusted partners to brokers. As trusted partners, they are able to collect a lot of information that brokers have held close. For example, portals have access to a broker's agent roster. They know which agents respond to consumer inquiries the fastest and the best. They even know which agents sell the most number of homes and which ones have the best consumer reviews. Beyond the information portals have about listings and agents, they have collected a massive amount of consumer information, including the identify of the consumer. Moreover, with direct consumer email marketing, portals have built a trust relationship with consumers. There is nothing harmful about any of this. Indeed, it makes portals great partners to brokers as long as they stay on their side of the fence. Executives with portals have been consistent in their remarks claiming that they do not intend to get into the brokerage business. That is a good thing, because if a leading portal became a brokerage, they would be a powerhouse right out of the gate. Could it happen? It is not going to happen, but it could. Many leading portals have brokerage licenses in every state in America. I do not know why, but they do. Many portals also provide products to agents and brokers that leverage IDX data – the same data that is used by agents and brokers to power solutions from other vendor partners, and the same data that brokers use to power their own website. Every day, the number of full IDX feeds to portals expands.
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Why Frequent Listing Updates are Better for Your Brokerage
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Hyperlocal and the Real World: 5 Strategies to Dominate the National Portals
Last week, we ended our blog on hyperlocal marketing with a shout out to our client who positions himself as a marketer of real estate instead of a broker. Let's take this idea a step further. PCMS often looks to other industries' innovations to get real estate professionals thinking about how certain concepts can be applied to their own business. Starbucks is a particular favorite to glean ideas from. Starbucks did not invent the coffee shop, but they built an experience around their coffee: They want you to feel like their store is your second living room Do you ever say, "I want a small coffee?"... No, you say, "I want a Tall, Grande, or Venti." Isn't great that you can go relax, listen to music, use their Wifi, have meetings? It's a consistent, pleasing experience marketed around a $2 or $3 product. What are you doing create a consistent, pleasing experience that proves you are the company/agent to do business with? First of all, what is a marketer? A marketer is "A person whose duties include the identification of the goods and services desired by a set of consumers, as well as the marketing of those goods and services on behalf of a company."
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The Real Benefit to the Zillow and Trulia Merger
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MOVE, Inc: An Open Letter to the Real Estate Industry
Early today, the announcement of a definitive agreement for Move, Inc. to be acquired by the global media and information services company News Corp was made in New York. This is a historic moment for our company, which began its public life in 1999 as Homestore.com, Inc. and today accounts for more than 3.7 million homes listed for sale on our websites and apps and attracts nearly 35 million unique monthly visitors. We have been in discussions with News Corp for some time now about the unique value and potential of realtor.com® and our leading brand assets, including ListHub™, TopProducer®, TigerLead® and FiveStreet, as well as our leading online destinations in the moving and rentals spaces. News Corp sees the same potential we do - and we could not be more pleased to consummate today's agreement, which carries the full support of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The significance of this acquisition for the industry is embodied in the specific and tangible benefits to Move and its constituents, in the shared values between Move and News Corp, and in the continuation of the mission that has led to our success thus far and will continue to drive us in the months and years ahead. Substantial benefits Combining the assets of Move and News Corp will result in broad and substantial benefits for home buyers and home sellers, agents and brokers, and organized real estate in general. Specifically, the combination will deliver: Broadened reach for Move through News Corp's robust media platform, including the WSJ Digital Network (which accounts for approximately 500 million average monthly page views) and News America Marketing (which reaches nearly 74 million U.S. households) Increased sales and marketing support to drive higher brand awareness and traffic Cross-platform promotional opportunities Improved product innovation that leverages News Corp's real estate and digital expertise Increased traffic and time on site with high quality News Corp content In 2013, News Corporation separated into two distinct, publicly traded companies - News Corp and 21st Century Fox (which is home to Twentieth Century Fox Film, Fox Television, Fox News Channel and other broadcasting and entertainment businesses).
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VOW as Broker Strategy for Competing with Portals
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The End of War Between Zillow and Trulia
There is a major war going on in the taxi industry today. Uber and Lyft are duking it out. Both companies have deep cash pockets and they are deploying it in marketing and undercutting each other. It is pretty hard to know which service is better as they work hard to drive market share. As Zillow marches toward the stock swap to join forces with Trulia, perhaps a new wisdom of that transaction will reveal itself. They just avoided a very expensive war where the two of them may have killed each other off to reign supreme. It is pretty clear that the company that spends the most to attract the consumer is the company that gets the most traffic. Sure, the site itself is important in terms of usability or in terms of features like AVM, mortgage information, agent ratings, rentals and the like. But the real reason why these companies have the traffic they have is that they take every dollar they bring in from agents and brokers and buy more traffic. Many industry analysts have long-term concerns about the voice of real estate not being a broker or an agent or part of the REALTOR® family. Those are reasonable concerns that any incumbent would have in the face of new competition. But look at the facts. These companies are marketing the entire real estate industry on the back of investor dollars more than ad revenue from agents and brokers. Even if you want them to go away, first be sure to thank them for the advertising. They built the multi-billions in value in their business. As an aside, Uber and Lyft have grown their value to $18.2 billion. I guess the taxi booking business is big business.
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Do You Need to Worry About the Zillow-Trulia Merger?
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What Does the Trulia Acquisition Mean to Your Business?
Beginning last week, the rumors were flying that Zillow was acquiring Trulia. Some dismissed the news, some embraced it, others didn't really know or care if it was true. On Monday, July 28, 2014 it was official. Zillow had announced the acquisition of Trulia for $3.5 billion in stock. I'll spare all the readers my analysis of the price, the acquisition, and even the short road-map of both companies because all that has been done already in the first 24 hours of the announcement. I will share, though, that I appreciate the open honesty that some have shown this week! What I do want is to ask you a series of questions. I would like to start with: What does the acquisition mean for your business? I really want you to pause what you're doing and answer the question with 100% personal honesty. You see, I believe that your focus should be on your business. More specifically I think that your focus should be your marketing, your customers, their needs, and your desire to meet their needs. So here are my questions to you: What does your marketing plan look like for the remainder of 2014 and 2015? Don't confuse a Marketing Budget with a Marketing Plan. A Marketing Plan has specific goals and metrics and contain marketing activity. While budgets generally don't change over a twelve month period Marketing Plans often do. Marketing Plans evolve when you results are analyzed against goals. So has your Marketing Plan changed at all in 2014? Have you reviewed your Marketing Results at all in 2014? In not, maybe you should take a look at it.
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Why Consumers Love Zillow
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Zillow Announces Trulia Acquisition
Two of America's third party real estate portals have entered into a definitive agreement for Zillow (Z) to purchase Trulia (TRLA) for $3.5 billion in stock-for-stock trade. The Board of Directors of both companies have agreed to the transaction which represents a 25 percent premium to Trulia Stockholders, based on Trulia's closing price on Friday, July 25, 2014. The transaction will now face regulatory approval. Goldman, Sachs & Co. brokered the transaction. Trulia CEO Pete Flint will retain that title, join the Zillow Board of Directors along with one other designee, and will remain the leader of the Trulia.com business unit. He will report directly to Zillow CEO, Spencer Rascoff. The two companies will carry on doing business as usual. The strategy for the merger outlined five key benefits for the companies: Faster Innovation – Combining development resources will allow the companies to accelerate innovation for consumers and professionals. Greater Access to Free Real Estate Market Data – Companies expect they will combine their data management, trend analysis, and forecasts. Broader Distribution – Home sellers and their agents, brokerages, and participating MLSs will benefit from seamless free distribution of listings across even more platforms to reach an even larger audience of consumers. Enhanced Value and ROI for Advertisers – The companies expect to offer shared services, marketing platforms for advertisers, enhance agent productivity and marketing, and deliver greater return on their investment. Corporate Cost Savings – By operating independent consumer brands though one corporation, the companies expect to realize synergies to improve operational efficiency over the long-term. By 2016, management expects to achieve at least $100 million in annualized cost savings.
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Howard Hanna Promotes 5,700 REALTORS® on Realtor.com
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Realtor.com and Top Producer Back Online After Two Day Internet Battle
Move, Inc. reports that it is continuing to combat the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which has interrupted its websites' operations since it began mid-day June 17. Move's technical team is working around-the-clock with the Prolexic division of Akamai Technologies, Inc., a leading DDoS mitigation service provider; other Internet security experts; and its network service providers to mitigate the attack and quickly restore operations. In connection with the attack, Move received a ransom demand, which it did not respond to. DDoS attacks on Internet-based businesses and associated ransom demands are unfortunately becoming more common. Move is consulting with appropriate federal law enforcement officials and other technology companies that have been targets of DDoS attacks in recent months to review best practices for responding. Law enforcement is working to determine the attack's origin. DDoS attacks are sent by people or botnets, which are Internet-connected programs that work on tasks. Move operates realtor.com®, the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®. The DDoS attack is driving massive amounts of traffic from external sources to Move's data center, making realtor.com®, Top Producer® services, and Move's other Internet services available intermittently. The attacks also have targeted and impacted the redundant aspects of the company's systems.
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'Coming Soon' Listings on Zillow
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Trulia Testing for Seller Lead Generation
Trulia may be switching teams or, rather, they may be using a tried and true solution to spawn and incubate seller leads. Their "How much is your home worth?" feature is pretty much like the form you see on most broker websites. Just type in your address, then enter your contact information to "Get a report instantly." Here's how the Trulia tool's results stack up to the competition: Trulia - $1,287,516 Zillow - $1,520,000 RPR - $1,037,140 CoreLogic - $1,043,000
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