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Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity are on the road again!
Each year, thousands of real estate agents and brokers who use Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity have the opportunity to meet some of the folks who make the magic happen for these two Florida Realtors owned products at local conventions and conferences. This year's schedule includes visits as far north and east as Nova Scotia, Canada, as far south as Hollywood, Florida, and as far west as Los Angeles, California. As real estate's number one tech support firm, Tech Helpline serves more than 600,000 real estate professionals in North America. Available through MLSs or local associations, as well as real estate brokerages, connecting with Tech Helpline is typically accomplished via a phone call, online chat or email inquiry. Our annual direct outreach gives agents and brokers, as well as MLS and association executives and staff members, an additional opportunity with face-to-face communications. Opportunities to connect This year, we kicked off our spring and summer schedule for Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity with an appearance at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in mid-May. Tech Helpline was just represented at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) Association Executives Seminar in early June, held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Next up, Form Simplicity will be at "Rock the Market" at the Hard Rock Event Center in Hollywood, FL on June 25. The next two days on June 26 and 27, both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity will be heading to the Florida Realtors Association Executives Education Workshops in Cocoa Beach, FL. August marks two major conventions for Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity. Association leadership from all business disciplines will convene at the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo in Columbus, OH on August 10-13, followed by our own Florida Realtors Convention & Trade Expo (August 21 and 22) and Governance Meetings (August 23-25) in Orlando, FL. Tech Helpline will head to another big convention as the Colorado Association of REALTORS® hosts its "REfresh Expo" in Denver, CO on September 5. The summer tour schedule ends with two back-to-back events. The first one is in North Carolina, the NC REALTORS® 2019 Convention & Expo "Xchange'19" at the Pinehurst Resort during the Expo dates of September 14-16. That's followed by the Arkansas REALTOR® Annual Convention & Tradeshow being held in Memphis, TN at the Guesthouse at Graceland, during the Expo dates of September 16 and 17. More to come As the fall begins, Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline will be back at it, with appearances by Tech Helpline at the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Expo "REImagine!" held in Los Angeles on September 24-26, followed by opportunities to ask your questions about Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline at CMLS2019 in Salt Lake City on October 16-18. The last two conventions for Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline currently are scheduled for both the 2019 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco this year (booth #1234), November 6-11, and finally December 9-12 at the 2019 Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo in Atlantic City, NJ, which brings together members from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania Realtor associations. If you happen to be attending one of these events, please stop by and bring your questions about Form Simplicity and Tech Helpline. We hope to meet you face-to-face! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.  
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NAR Midyear 2019 Recap
The REALTORS Legislative Meetings in Washington D.C. have become a mainstay on our WAV Group travel calendar. I guess that is why we still refer to it as "Midyear." The meetings provide a dual opportunity to gain insight into the important policy issues and the ability to spend some face-to-face time with clients. It's always in the same spot: at Woodley Park across from the National Zoo, housed in both the Omni and Marriott. There also are some meetings a shuttle bus ride away at the Washington Hilton, just north of Dupont Circle. Since I'm a former DC'er – I worked at Fannie Mae – I already have done my share of playing the tourist in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area, so I focused on work and the conference itself. The biggest surprise this year was the appearance of President Trump on the last day of the convention. But as a long-time real estate developer, is it really a surprise that he turned out for a largely red crowd? And that's how this year's NAR Midyear felt compared to past meetings: more predictable and less edgy. MLS meetings Last year, the MLS Executives meeting had a great edge to it with the appearance of Redfin's leader Glenn Kelman. He hit it out of the park and his honest, off-the-cuff style, laced with his self-confessed Jewish angst, made his presentation funny, insightful and highly memorable. This year, the star of the same meeting was a legal review. Every MLS in the room will face hurdles once the final guidelines are issued around California's CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) go into effect January 1, 2020. There was a clear sense of frustration and apprehension in the room, as one might expect. (WAV Group consultants Victor Lund and David Gumpper support MLSs, brokers, and technology vendors with compliance.) Even at CMLS "Brings it to the Table," sans a few observations in a presentation by the always solid Brian Boero of 1000watt, it was a fairly straightforward, predictable day. Brian did a great job of making the case that many of the companies that are getting the most media attention have a great story to tell and do an excellent job of telling it. His "What's your story?" pitch was spot on. That is the first question we ask when developing a communications strategy and many companies do not have a well-articulated story. Boero's comments compelled me to personally congratulate Jennifer Thompson-Kersting of My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS), who was attending. MFRMLS announced the launch of a new company under the name of Stellar MLS just before Midyear. The name goes into effect on June 4th. Merri Jo Cowen and her team have done a stellar job in creating a compelling story (yes, I was being punny). For the rest of the day at CMLS, the MLS focus was solidly on best practices. Not a lot of new ideas or trends were covered that had not already been exposed to those attending a RESO conference. But CMLS needs to be commended on the organization's efforts to source and share programs of excellence that make MLSs great. Another highlight was Chris Haran of MRED and his "Computer Vision" presentation on using artificial intelligence for photos via vendor Restb.ai. It appeared to have the most attendees engaged: taking notes, photos of his slides and asking a lot of follow up questions. RESO members and conference attendees remember the first restb.ai presentation and its cutting-edge technology well. It was particularly exciting to see one of the largest MLSs in the world adopt and deploy this new tech so quickly. Kudos to Haran and MRED. With Restb.ai, MRED is extracting attributes of photos submitted to the MLS using deep learning artificial intelligence. This adds a breakthrough value for subscribers in the data stored in the MLS. The biggest at the CMLS event was that it ended an hour earlier than originally scheduled to give folks a chance to make a key late afternoon session NAR was offering. Overall, the CMLS sessions were rich with practical takeaways. That's why it remains a "can't miss" event at NAR Midyear for everyone affiliated with the MLS industry. Next up for most MLS folks is the trifecta: Inman Connect in Vegas, July 22-26; RESO in St. Louis, Sept. 9-12, 2019; and CMLS annual meeting, Oct. 16-18, 2019 in Salt Lake City. Midyear trade show takeaways If you're of the baby-boomer generation (others can Google it), you may recall a famous advertising phase attributable to remarkable and well-earned success: "You've come a long way, baby." Ignoring the fact that this was a cigarette ad campaign, that was my reaction when I saw Homesnap's new exhibit at NAR near the entrance of the convention hall. Homesnap is the technology that powers the Broker Public Portal (BPP). The BPP is one of real estate's most successful industry initiatives in recent years. Just before NAR Midyear, Homesnap announced it had hit the one million real estate agents mark. Its growth rate has been stunning and their booth stood as a testament to its pervasiveness. Never before have MLSs and brokerage firms collaborated on reimagining a fundamental building block of our industry. The collaboration and unification of our industry around a central idea is powerful, and the execution has been better than anyone imagined. A picture is worth a thousand words. Last year, Homesnap operated out of a regular booth: this year they had a much larger and well-designed presence that shouted success. The NAR REach class had their stations set up at the end of the big NAR Pavilion area and these innovative startups stayed very busy with questions from curious prospects. Over a random 10-minute period I observed, Kleard, the newest real estate agent security technology, draw the most attendees and captured strong engagement. I also stopped by the Florida Realtors' exhibit, got a peek at their new, much more user-friendly and intuitive version of Form Simplicity. But I stopped by Florida Realtors' exhibit because they offer an on-site tech support person from Tech Helpline to troubleshoot and answer any tech questions agents, brokers, MLS execs or others might have. It reminded me to ask the industry this question: Why was NAR so quick to give every agent access to a CRM, but not have Tech Helpline provide universal tech support? In our age where an agent cannot do their job without technology working well, it seems to me NAR put the cart before the horse! Every real estate agent and broker should have easy access to tech support and Tech Helpline already does that better than anyone. Best of all, it is industry born, industry operated, and industry owned. And Tech Helpline serves about half of all REALTORS already – 600,000 in North America. Note to NAR: your members deserve universal tech support and they need it. Tech Helpline for all is a no-brainer solution. Super Sessions Two meeting highlights worth mentioning because they were rich in broker takeaways both happened Tuesday morning. The first session of the day, the Economic Forecast, featured Lawrence Yun and his next predictions and included a presentation from Dr. Johannes Stroebel, associate professor of finance at New York University, who dove into social connections on Facebook. Stroebel's heat mapsl showed how different places in the US are connected using Facebook data. Who knew that Kern County (Bakersfield area) and North Dakota were strongly connected? That indicator promoted him to dig further, and both are huge oil-producing areas. He surmised that people from California transferred to North Dakota and thus the heavy saturation of social connectedness. I guess that brokers in North Dakota should start advertising in Bakersfield, and agents should start talking to their counterparts in Bakersfield for relocation collaboration. Most importantly, social connection research shows how we feel about real estate – whether it is a good time to buy or not. There is a direct relationship between Facebook connections and attitudes about the real estate market. I expect we will hear much more about this research from Facebook and a wide number of applications this data could provide in building more effective and targeted real estate marketing campaigns. WAV Group consultant Victor Lund says, "When you think about Big Data, imagine the role that Facebook can play in predicting future real estate market conditions using deep machine learning and artificial intelligence. Facebook could drop advertising revenue and simply harvest consumer data to predict the stock market." Later Wednesday morning, the RISMedia Power Broker Newsmakers Forum had a terrific lineup of top talent. Lennox Scott, leader of John L. Scott, noted that lead generation companies (like Zillow) are shifting to lead capture companies. They are shifting from advertising firms to referral companies. Fellow panelist Michael Saunders, who runs the well-renowned Florida-based brokerage which bears her name, offered a truism. She said, "I don't think it's (real estate) rocket science, even though the tech companies make it feel that way. We are in a relationship business." "Our biggest competitors today is ourselves," said Mike Huff from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. Broker-owner Todd Hetherington of Century 21 New Millennium had added that as an industry, we need to learn from our competition, and to do that we need to get granular and know our numbers. Diane Ramirez, Chair and Chief Executive of Halstead Properties, jointly moderated the panel with John Featherston, RISMedia leader of 39 years. Ramirez was a strong addition and had a couple of comments that were candidates for the Quote of the Day. After discussing the rebranding efforts her firm has undertaken over the years, and the one they most recently completed, she offered, "Rebranding is the most nerve-racking thing you can do as a leader." Ramirez addressed the 800-pound gorilla on everyone's minds in the room, Compass, chiding that the difference between the "C" brokerage and established brokerages is the size of the dollars being used to recruit. "I have to hit profitability," she notes. The best takeaway goes to Featherston, who recommended that brokerages need to "chart the stats of those who have left your group to show others that the grass isn't always greener." Products like BrokerMetrics from Terradatum allow you to visualize the impact of a broker change. Nearly 100% of the time, an agent's production goes down when they change brokerages. Use this data in your agent retention meetings. Finally, a shout out to Peter Schravemade of BoxBrownie, who gave a funny and informative lesson during an MLS session on the ethics in virtual staging photography. The company has been on fire since it was part of the NAR REach class last year. Based on the buzz I am hearing, its technology is likely to be one of the fastest growing in recent memory. But you need to be careful. Virtual staging of a property could become a misrepresentation. CoreLogic's Matt Cohen wrote a great article about this issue. Parties + Dinners On the Midyear party scene, kudos has to go to our sister company, RE Technology. It held its annual Midyear event and it was packed to the brim, again. The music was RE Technology Partyfantastic, again, under the perennial leadership of the extraordinary talent of John Heithaus and his band members who rocked the Columbia Heights location. The best description of the event's success came from W+R Studios (Cloud CMA, etc.) leader and Vendor Alley blogger Greg Robertson. If you know Greg, you know he was dancing the night away. The next day, I bumped into Greg at MRED's super reception on a rooftop looking out to the Washington Monument. He said with a huge smile, "I had so much fun my cheeks hurt." Homesnap's reception was another standing room only event. For the last few years, the Homesnap party has offered the most convenient offsite location: across the street from both hotels. The best part was to see all the Homesnappers in attendance: Homesnap is local and many of their employees turned out to celebrate hitting their one million-agent mark. The staff's positive energy was as intoxicating as the bar's margaritas. The best story about the dinner scene in DC came from Michael Saunders. During the RISMedia Power Broker Newsmakers Forum, she told a story about getting into a hot new restaurant in DC whose distinction is providing an all "locally sourced" dining experience. Saunders nearly brought the crowd to tears of laughter as she described her conversation with her server. For every item she asked about – and I mean item after item – she was told it wasn't on the menu because "everything is locally sourced." That limited the choices to the point that someone in the crowd added, "They'll go out of business." With a look of disbelief, Saunders responded, "But it was packed!" Finally, the real star of NAR The star of NAR this year was the weather. Hands-down, mid-May may be one of the most fickle windows for weather. It typically is either sweltering with humidity north of 90 percent or pouring rain for three days like last year. This year? 70s and sunny. "California weather," one attendee told me. Even when I had the opportunity to visit my home state's Senator – Patty Murray – for a meeting as part of the Washington Delegation, the last thing she said to us was, "Go outside and enjoy the weather. It's beautiful out there today!" Spoken like a true Seattleite. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Realtors Discuss Benefits, Advancements in New Real Estate Technology
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Are Hybrid Appraisals Becoming the New Normal In Real Estate Transactions?
Appraisals, a critical part of real estate transactions, have customarily been done in-person by an experienced appraiser. However, with advancements in technology and the rise of big data, alternatives to the traditional appraisal field are beginning to become more prevalent in the U.S.
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NAR Midyear Trade Show: Top Tech to Check Out
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Can't Miss Spring and Summer REALTOR Conferences and Expos for 2019
The best way to further your education and develop new real estate knowledge and skills is by attending local and national conferences. Ranging from $10 to few hundred dollars, chances are a real estate convention is happening near you in 2019. Here is a list of favorite events happening this spring and summer.
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2019 Real Estate Events and Conferences
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NAR Boston 2018: Home Runs and Strikeouts in Beantown
My dad grew up, pre-Depression, on Beacon Hill in Boston. As a kid, we took a lot of road trips. Because my dad worked for Westin Hotels, we stayed at a lot of nice places in big towns for free. My favorite road trip when we lived in Chicago was visiting Boston and the New England area. I had been back a couple of times for business and always loved visiting this city. After this last week at NAR, I absolutely want to go back – but next time for a vacation.
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What Not to Miss and Put on Your List for Boston NAR
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Top 7 Things to Do and See at National REALTORS Conference 2018 in Boston
NAR's Conference in Boston is shaping up to be one of the best events yet. That doesn't mean you should spend all day couped up in the conference center. We've pulled together a list of seven things you should do while at the convention and while you're in Boston. If you can spare them, consider spending an extra day or two in the area before or after the conference to take full advantage of the city and its surroundings.
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7 Ways to Get the Most out of Networking Events
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Midyear Commercial Wrap-up: Data Integration Top of Minds
RPR Commercial staff were all hands on deck at this year's NAR Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo. Booth traffic was steady with members taking time to engage with staff, particularly over RPR's Trade Area Reports and Valuate (the platform's investment analysis tool). On-market commercial listings have increased to nearly 360,000––a 20 percent increase since Q1 2018, which prompted other value-added conversations among booth visitors.
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NAR Midyear: Looking for the Tech Enablers
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Hits and Misses from NAR Chicago
Chicago is a baseball town. Even with the Cubs disappointingly not returning to the World Series this year, you can't escape seeing someone wearing a Cubs or White Sox hat or shirt every day in Chicago, even in November. McCormick Place, home to this year's Realtor Convention and Expo, sits just two-and-a-half miles north of Comiskey Park, where the Sox play – the South Side team. So you get an idea of how far away this convention center is from the heart of downtown. And the proximity to a pro baseball park also gives me the perfect excuse to use baseball terminology to review some of the hits and misses I found this year's conference in the City of Big Shoulders. Host city Grand slam for hotels choices, restaurants, entertainment, and bars. But it's a strikeout as a convention city when half your meetings are located 30-45 minutes away at hotels on Michigan Avenue. Even with the fantastic busway, an express lane that takes only convention busses from downtown hotels directly to McCormick Place, it took door-to-door, between the average shuttle wait time, at least 30 minutes because traffic clogs the arteries to the hotels. For me, that's just too much wasted time spent on a bus, even with all the technology we have in the palms of our hands today. Oh, and the weather sucks in November. 2018 Woman NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a Realtor from Columbia, Missouri was a refreshing sight as she stepped up to the plate at the annual new NAR President press conference to field reporter's questions. First, it's been way too long since NAR has had a woman president. Second, she's at least a generation younger than most of her predecessors. She came across as energetic, smart and politically savvy. She gave props to CAR's WomanUp, a powerful new Women's Initiative, and she laid out NAR's agenda for 2018. She adeptly fielded questions from reporters. She was hitting the questions reporters were throwing at her solidly. That was until Inman News' Bernice Ross threw a curveball at her. Bernice is spearheading a woman's initiative of her own. So she asked Mendenhall – since it's been so long since we've had an NAR female President – if she had specific plans to support women Realtors during her tenure at NAR. Elizabeth just stood there, and let that beautiful slow pitch Bernice threw at her sail over the middle of the plate and didn't swing. She just kind of froze and didn't have much of an immediate answer. She did rebound later, with one of my favorite quotes of the conference. She said, "Better decisions are made when diversity is at the table." That's so true. It's hard not to root for Elizabeth, as she has charisma, just like her dad, 2001 NAR President Richard Mendenhall. Economic Forecast Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, every year, hosts a press conference at NAR to give his forecast. This year he brought along Ken Rosen, chairman of Rosen Consulting Group and UC Berkeley's Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. They just issued a joint white paper, "Rebuilding the American Dream: Strategies to Sustainably Increase Homeownership." No surprises in what he shared: inventory is bad, the tax bill is bad, Millennials are missing out on opportunities to own a home and build wealth and that's bad, income isn't increasing as fast as home prices and that's bad, affordability is getting worse and that's bad, the homeownership rate is being depressed as a result and that's bad, home builders need to build more middle class homes yet they make more money building higher end homes and because we're not getting inventory where we really need it that's bad, home prices are going to increase by 5.5 percent next year and because home prices are outpacing income that's bad, and he predicts mortgage rates climbing to 4.5 percent, which, if you ask first-time buyers, is also bad. If you were counting all the "bad" things he said as strikes, the bottom of the inning is over. Expo Explosion When I first become a young PR Turk for a bank (I really was pretty radical in the kind of things I created for them), I heard the saying, "When times are good, Realtors drive Mercedes, and when times are bad, they drive Toyotas – it's a feast or famine business." When I looked inside the entrance to the McCormick Place West Hall, the proof we are in a time of great feasting was evident and my jaw dropped. Good times, indeed. Massive exhibits by all the biggest brands and the newcomers who want to be a big brand. Rewind not too long ago and it looked, well, about as popular as a White Sox game midweek during a day game in mid-April. It's been years since an NAR Convention not only looked this good, but delivered business to companies exhibiting. Talking to exhibitors, such as the Denver-area based predictive lead analytics firm Revaluate (full disclosure: they invited our client, Lane Hornung, CEO of zavvie, to speak on HyperLocal marketing) as well as Tricia Stamper, who oversees Florida Realtors Tech Helpline, the traffic may have been a little light on Sunday morning, but before that, they told me what others also did: It was packed with some of the best booth traffic that exhibitors have seen in years as agents were eager to engage. Best OBP (On Base Percentage) goes to Homes.com. Their exhibit was pure marketing genius, as they found ways to attract, engage, reward, create stickiness, get return traffic—you name the Expo strategy, and they nailed it. A shoutout to my fellow NAREE member and marketing superstar Patty McNease at Homes.com for her role in this. My take is that over the last few years, Homes.com has really hit it out of the park. All you had to do was look around the corner at a completely empty Quicken Loans booth (except for their staff) and you could see the contrast. Reporters are back A funny thing happened on the way out of the Great Recession—travel budgets for reporters came back, and now they are able to make important away games like this. The NAR media reception, followed by the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) dinner on Friday night had a terrific turnout, with familiar and fresh faces attending the annual installation of new officers. It was quite the bullpen: professional writers from Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Atlanta Journal Constitution and a gaggle of folks from the host-city paper Chicago Tribune and Tribune Syndicate, including alumni Mary Umberger and Illyce (Think) Glink! And no rain delay for this game. Biggest Goose Egg of the Convention Uber and Lyft in Chicago should be sent back to the minor leagues to fix their problems. Is it the tall buildings that screw up the GPS? Probably, but not completely. The Lyft app has my hotel's address three blocks from where it actually is. I also watched as my Uber app moved my dot, the thing that's supposed to represent me, all over the map as I stood completely still on the street. It had my dot moving around 3 to 5 blocks in every direction nonstop. Also, apparently my drivers didn't look at the address I input. Not a single Uber or Lyft driver was able to pick me up and drop me off at the correct place. Either the pick up or the drop off was botched. It was if they were intentionally trying to strikeout. I took more than 10 trips in Chicago and I've used Lyft and Uber in more than a dozen cities. Chicago has the worst record in the league for rideshare. I asked many other people at NAR and they had the same experiences. I even started asking drivers and they admitted it's messed up. A big double zero on the scoreboard for Uber and Lyft in Chi-town. Cracker Jack event I am sure every NAR party was spectacular because Chicago excels at bars and restaurants, as long as you pick the right venues. MRED and CAR co-hosted a great opening bash, with the who's-who of the hyper-connected in attendance. They had all the bases covered with the spread they provided in a terrific place inside the Tribune building. But when I walked into the CoreLogic party a couple of nights later, it was off the hook. People were having way too much fun. Then again, for Realtors, there probably is no such thing as too much fun. Because when you work as hard as these folks do, they deserve to let their hair down and party hard in the dugout. After all, this is a winning year (financially) for the folks attending. We forget how many weekends, nights, birthday parties, sporting events and school plays are missed by agents working, trying to close a deal to make a better life for their families. I get that, so when I see the joy and celebratory atmosphere that I saw at the Hard Rock, I understand why the CoreLogic folks were grinning ear to ear. It felt like a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th against your archrival. Bottom line My kind of town, Chicago is (it's actually my hometown). But Frankie, it's just not major league caliber for what a national Realtor Convention needs, unless everyone is forced to hold every meeting at McCormick. Oh, and in November, the weather sucks. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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What's on your NAR Chicago Checklist? A Pre-NAR must read
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10 Things to Do in Chicago During NAR Expo 2017
This week, 20,000 real estate professionals will travel to Chicago to check out the latest industry updates, build their networks, and discover tools and technologies to grow their businesses. After that, why not see the sights? Continue reading to hear about the top 10 things to do in Chicago during this year's NAR Convention!
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Imprev Hosts Stellar Learning Labs at Inman Connect SF
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Bigger Conferences Are Not Better
The real estate industry is going strong. It's healthy and vibrant, full of bloom and exciting change. As agents, brokers, MLSs, franchises, and tech firms explore a deeper understanding of the industry's best practices, they look to conferences to gain insights and meet the people that are powering new ideas. Conferences are good, and we attend a lot of them. Our annual conference tour includes two NAR conventions, two Inman Connects, CMLS, two RESO conferences, T3, RISMedia, and a variety of franchise, state AOR, LeadingRE, The Realty Alliance, 1000Watt, Clareity, and large AOR or MLS events. Yup – that is a lot of travel. If you add up the flight costs, hotel costs, convention fees, etc., it's expensive, especially when you have multiple people attending. I remember a conversation with the event manager at Trulia a few years ago before the Zillow deal. They were attending over 450 events a year at the time. Yikes! It's old school business development – belly to belly, burnin' shoe leather. With the economic rebound, these conferences have become overwhelming. When you have thousands attending a conference, it gets out of control. Hotels are sold out, restaurants are impossible, service everywhere is stressed out. But most importantly, you can go to conferences without seeing or meeting many of the people that you want to see. It's a struggle, not fun. I remember a few years ago when conference guru Brad Inman expanded ConnectSF to New York, London, and Miami. New York stuck, Miami and London did not. I think that Inman must feel the same as I do regarding conferences. His conferences have always had tracks, but he is building micro events at his Connect conferences now. This year, he is launching the Indie Broker Summit – a meeting for independent brokerage firms that will examine how they can pursue success and excellence in the wake of franchise domination. Also, Inman is returning to his roots for CEO Summit by returning to the site in Sonoma where it all started.
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Independent Brokers Find Their Secret Sauce
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2016 NAR Annual Moments and Musings
Like many Americans, I was glued to the television on election night, and seeing the Javits Center instantly reminded me of my first NAR Annual Convention. It was in 1986 when the brand new Javits Center opened in Manhattan. I was a young PR Turk fresh into my first full year at Great Western Bank (then Great Western Savings). I went there to plot our long-term trade show strategy. It was also my first NAREE – National Association of Real Estate Editors – meeting, a dinner at a classic NYC steakhouse. That's especially hard to forget because it's where the legendary real estate columnist, the late great Bob Bruss, instantly greeted me. It was also my first personal encounter with David Jeffers, then of Fannie Mae fame, who gave the most politically incorrect slideshow presentation. Both encounters convinced me that this was my kind of organization. Fast-forward 30 years to last week's NAR Annual Convention in Orlando, and most of the traditions remain the same. Here is my attempt at recapping my highlights and offering three takeaways: Journalist are back at NAR I walked into the Press Room at the Orlando Convention Center and was delighted to see so many reporters working away in the press room. While the numbers don't compare to what was common a couple of decades ago, there were more reporters attending then in the last three NAR Annuals combined. In addition to perennials attendees, such as Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News and the godfather of real estate columnists, Lew Sichelman, there were many fresh faces, including those from the new breed of media that can't be categorized as journalists, but who create a plethora of real estate content.
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Deducting Travel to Conferences and Seminars
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NAR Annual: Looking for 2017 Trends, Tech and Tactics
This week, Orlando is more than home to Disney World and tens of thousands of happy tourists across the globe: it also will house nearly 20,000 enthusiastic REALTORS®, other industry organizations (RESO Booth #609), MLSs executives and staff, lenders, title firms, closing agents, technology providers of every shape and size and, of course, the Scarf King. Navigating through the maze of more than 400 exhibitors is challenging, but kudos for the NAR for making it highly accessible. The Trade Expo kicks off on Friday afternoon with its Grand Opening at 3:00 pm, running to 6:00 pm. The official hours: Expo Hours Friday, Nov. 4, 3:00pm–6:00pm (Grand Opening) Saturday, Nov. 5, 9:00am–4:00pm Sunday, Nov. 6, 10:00am–5:00pm Monday, Nov. 7, 9:00am–1:00pm If you are not planning to access the terrific sessions, seminars, workshops and NAR meetings, and you just want to spend your time checking out the latest and greatest at the Expo, the NAR has made it VERY affordable: Admission for all four days is just $50.
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Your Last Minute Guide to NAR Annual
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Top 10 Orlando Destinations to Visit During NAR Expo 2016
Home to over a dozen theme parks, it's little wonder that Orlando is one of the greatest tourist cities in the world. But there's more to this great city than roller coasters and mouse ears! Check out these 10 things to do while you're in town for this year's NAR Convention. Check out the "Top 10 Things to Do in Orlando" interactive Google Map 1. Baldwin Park First Friday Festival in Orlando The first Friday of each month, artisans, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations gather at Baldwin Park to share news and wares with park guests. Stop by Friday from 5:30-9:30 to pick up some unique souvenirs and enjoy the park's beautiful atmosphere. When: November 4, 2016, 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM Where: 4915 New Broad Street, Orlando, Florida 2. Fall Fiesta in the Park Stop by Lake Eola Park on November 5th or 6th for the 46th annual Fiesta in the Park. Browse through the beautiful ceramics, jewelry, photography, glassware, wood, and clothing presented by more than 600 juried artisans while enjoying live entertainment! Can't make it during the event? Stop by Lake Eola any day to enjoy the swan paddleboats and the fountain's choreographed music and light show. When: November 5th & 6th, 2016, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Where: 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
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Learn About RPR at the 2016 REALTORS Conference & Expo
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Inman Connect: Envisioning Tomorrow – Not Your Same Old Future
Inman Connect in San Francisco is the industry's biggest and splashiest showcase for the latest and greatest in real estate technologies and practices, and it just keeps getting better. Over the past two decades, an amazingly long list of the game-changing real estate technologies, management practices and productivity products, which are currently impacting the American real estate experience at all levels, can trace their first public exposure to various Inman Connect programs. The driving force behind the Inman Connect program is, of course, award winning Inman News publisher Brad Inman. For a few weeks each summer for the past 20 years, he has transitioned from media executive to center stage impresario. His efforts have created an attendee experience that floats somewhere between a Woodstock festival for technology groupies, an Academy Awards show for the serious industry guru, and a mental Olympics for attendees who just can't get enough of their favorite drug called innovation. Inman Connect has also become the place for over 2000 of the industry's challengers, aspirants, survivors and elite to meet, greet and evolve their professional relationships. During each event, significant personal interactions take place and important enterprise and developmental relationships are created. For would-be technical stars, Inman Connect is clearly the place to be discovered.
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LeadingRE, Miami Beach and Marketing Automation
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At NAR, focus is on real estate customers and technology
Last week, my colleagues and I were lucky enough to attend the REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego. The conference hosts 20,000 Realtors and guests in just four days and is considered the largest real estate industry trade show all year. Real estate professionals from all over the US traveled to California to experience the latest trends, ideas, and technology in real estate. Here were some of the big take-aways: Getting Closer to the Customer Certainly in the agenda, everything from Decoding the Customer Mind to Buyer Preferences were on the minds of those in attendance. It seems that with the latest trends in buyer habits, more agents and brokers are working toward staying relevant to today's consumer. Providing outstanding customer service isn't only a good way to stand out from other real estate professionals, it's a great way to win loyalty among your customer base. Some interesting trends include a focus on a greener home, proximity to parks, and environmentally friendly features becoming more important to home-buyers today. The group seemed to feel that understanding what matters to customers and having the ability to educate them on properties based on their preferences was important in today's sales process. Staying with customers through their entire buying process was also important and was discussed more in the technologies coming out of the conference (below).
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5 Hot Trends in 2016 to Look for at NAR
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Unintended Consequences That Cause Spectacular Results
I just returned, as some 3,000 other folks have, from attending Inman's Real Estate Connect in San Francisco. For many of the industry leaders whom I spoke with, it was one of the most successful Connects that they have attended and certainly the busiest. I found myself squarely in the same camp. I discovered something incredibly special about what I think makes Inman Connect unique: It fosters the creation of what I call "unintended consequences that cause spectacular results." I have a few great examples from this most recent Connect to illustrate what I mean. Origins of Real Estate Connect In the spring of 1997 I left Fannie Mae, most recently as Director of Housing Impact for its highly successful Seattle Partnership office that I had opened, and forged out on my own. When Brad Inman heard the news, he asked me to meet with him. I had worked with Brad since the mid-1980s. He was a friend and I was a fan of his business acumen. I immediately said yes, as I wanted to talk to him about my new company. So I brought my "team," which at the time consisted of my wife, Kyanne, who handled the financial side of the business, and my father-in-law, Keith Willis, a skilled businessman and savvy investor, to a restaurant near the Hyatt in Bellevue, WA where we met with Brad.
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Following #ICSF: Day 3 at Inman Connect SF
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Following #ICSF: Day 2 at Inman Connect SF
Day Two of Inman Connect San Francisco launched with a full schedule that included sessions like "Taking Advantage of the Portal Wars" and "Franchise vs. Indie." The Broker Public Portal project was also a subject of debate ("Visionary or Stupid Idea?"). A session featuring our co-founder, Marilyn Wilson, and consultant Rob Hahn put the viability of the project on the hot seat. For the second day (see our coverage of day one here), we followed the conference's Twitter hashtag, #ICSF, for the best tweets of the day. Here's our round-up of the most insightful comments from the conference floor. *** Cindy - If you are using your Iphone to take photo's of your listings, you deserve to lose those listings. #icsf realtor.com® pro - Super Sonic Agents Tip: Even if someone is new (to the industry), they will have something that you don't. Don't silo. #ICSF @ChrisHellerKW - Marilyn Wilson on Broker Public Portal: "Core focus is to help brokers win w/o games being played with their listings." @marilynwilson #ICSF
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5 Ways Towards a More Perfect Panel
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NAR Conference Takeaways: Upstream, Danger and More
This month, I attended the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. One of the main topics of conversation was, of all things, data. Last weekend, NAR's board of directors approved the funding of a partnership between Project Upstream and Realtors Property Resource (RPR) to the tune of $12 million. Project Upstream has been in existence for two years. It's an effort for brokers to take back control of listings management, creation, and distribution by moving the point of origination from the MLS to brokers – thereby moving it "upstream." Talk of Upstream has bubbled up periodically the last couple years, but never has it had so much momentum. Now, with funding secured and smart people behind it, it's poised to make an impact. Brad Inman wrote a good article on its implications this week and asked readers to weigh in on the likelihood of using Upstream if it turns into the listings distribution platform its founders envision. Seventy-six percent of respondents so far say they would use the system. So there's need, there's interest, and now there's capital. We'll keep an eye on where this goes. Also last week, NAR put out its D.A.N.G.E.R. Report which lists the top 50 dangers agents, brokers, NAR, associations and Multiple Listings Services could face. The whole report had some interesting insights on the current state of the industry, with one item in particular lining up with the Upstream objectives, and then take it just a little farther.
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Following #LeadingRE 2015
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#ICNY Day 2: Rupert Murdoch, Big Data, and Beyond
The second full day of Inman Connect NY began with Rupert Murdoch's highly anticipated keynote speech. Murdoch offered a glimpse of what realtor.com may become under News Corp's guidance, including how he intends to grow the portal by promoting via News Corp's other media properties like the Wall Street Journal. Day two also saw other real estate luminaries like Trulia's Pete Flint and RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger take the stage. We continued to follow the action today by keeping up with the conference's attendees via Twitter (see our coverage of day one here). See below for our compilation of the best tweets of the day. ### Rosemary Buerger - Why Realtor.com? It has the most up to date data and attracts transaction ready consumers via Rupert Murdoch #ICNY Ben Kinney - Rupert Murdoch to leverage media assets ie papers, tv, etc to grow realtor.com #ICNY @rupertmurdoch humble well spoken gentleman Chris Nichols - Is REALTOR.com the right name? "I think so, what the hell does Zillow mean? - @rupertmurdoch #ICNY .LUXURY - "Be ambitious, take risks, and don't be afraid of failure." - Rupert Murdoch #ICNY #wisewords Robert Gil - Rupert Murdoch on Move acquisition: "We don't want to replace agents; you are crucial" #ICNY" Ethan Beute - "We want the shortest distance between the American dream & a family's reality to be through @realtordotcom" - Rupert Murdoch #ICNY
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Are You Ready to Become a Predictive Farmer?
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3 Surprising Revelations at the REALTOR® Party Convention
I'm a bit floored. There are all kinds of obscure laws — or would-be laws — pertaining to real estate that can throw practitioners for a loop. But three points of discussion came up during Wednesday's sessions at the REALTOR® Party Convention and Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., that made my draw drop. 1. Your Website Discriminates Against People With Disabilities You could make every physical accommodation for people with disabilities: ramps and elevators in your office, barrier-free entrances to homes you have listed, etc. And yet, despite all of that, you could still run into a legal problem — because your website isn't optimized for use by people with hearing or visual impairments. More and more businesses are getting mired in lawsuits because their online videos don't have closed captioning for the deaf, or their websites don't use software that can turn text into audio for the blind. Though there are no specific regulations on this, said Glen D. Kimball and Martin J. McAndrew, partners at law firm O'Connor Kimball LLP, they expect that the law will reflect the need for these online components in the near future. "Laws governing accommodation for the disabled are always expanding," McAndrew said. "Now we're going beyond talking about opening physical doors for people with disabilities — it's about providing access to information. The courts are still grappling with this physical versus non-physical issue."
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The Keystone Cops Needed the Work
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Rise to New Heights at NAR 2013
Excitement is buzzing in the industry as we quickly approach the 2013 REALTOR® Conference and Expo, in San Francisco, CA, November 8th to 11th. The theme of this year's Conference, 'Rise to New Heights', presents a question for us all. Are we striving to achieve our greatest accomplishments? To reach new heights when it comes to our goals? Whether professional or personal, our goals are a plenty. We all want to make more money, have a bigger house, and spend more time with our family and friends. But what are we doing to reach those goals? As a real estate professional, your days are filled with appointments, meetings, paperwork and so on. You don't have much free time to focus on building new leads and fostering relationships with your current clients. So what can you do about this? In an effort to achieve greater success and reach the goals you once thought unattainable, what about implementing tools to help you do the 'dirty' work? Tools that can ease your daily tasks, the stuff you dread – paperwork, data entry, etc., help you increase profitability opportunities or even help you manage your time more effectively.
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Midyear Wrap-up: Portal War?
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Following #NARMidyear - Day 2
We're back with coverage of the second and final day of NAR's Trade Expo. It's the fourth full day for the Midyear Legislative Meetings, however, and we took to social media to follow all the sessions, meetings, and events. Below is a selection of our favorite tweets from hashtag #NARMidyear. We looked for the most informative tweets, which is why you'll see links in many of the entries. Several of these link to posts on NAR's Midyear Live Blog--click to see more in-depth coverage of the event each tweet is referencing. NAR Midyear REALTORS Insurance Marketplace gives members a roster of health insurance plans http://live.blogs.realtor.org/2013/05/16/nar-presents-the-realtors …®-insurance-marketplace/ #narmidyear Todd Carpenter How NAR and Google can partner to build a member centric real estate “portal”: http://bit.ly/104NUDz #narmidyear #rethink @gahlord REALTORS® You asked, we have it! From the Midyear Live blog: NAR 360: The complete footage http://ow.ly/l5wId #narmidyear
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Three Tips For Making the Most of Real Estate Trade Shows
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Gear Up for Conference Season with the 2011 Buyer's Guide
Every year thousands of real estate professionals and the "who's who" of the real estate industry flock to attend national industry conferences from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. With top notch seminars, engaging networking events, and world-class trade shows, real estate conferences can help re-energize and direct your business. For thousands of professionals, the value far outweighs the cost. For an industry of extroverts, conference season is a juggling act for managing meetings, seminars, and social events. It's easy to overbook and get overwhelmed when faced with so many options.
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Re-Connect with Inman
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Closing.com Interview with Victor Lund
While at Inman Connect 2010, Julie Han with Closing.com interviewed Victor Lund, CEO of RE Technology, Inc. and founding partner of WAV Group. She asked Victor about Inman Connect and what the highlights of the show are, to explain RETechnology.com, and she asked his opinion on the following topics: 1.) What new tools are emerging for agents? 2.) How does social media help agents? 3.) What technology trends do you foresee in the future? Click play below to see a recording of the interview.
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