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NAR Releases Statement on Innovation and Competition in Real Estate Brokerage
Later this year, a 10-year old settlement and consent decree between the National Association of Realtors® and the U.S. Department of Justice mandating how listings are displayed by online brokerages will expire. Prior to that, on June 5, 2018, NAR will have the opportunity to demonstrate the breadth and depth of competition in the real estate and brokerage industry at a public workshop held by the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission. To help show how the hundreds of MLSs promote competition between real estate brokers, to the ultimate benefit of consumers, NAR asked independent, expert economist Frederik Flyer to explain how an MLS works in a new report published today, Procompetitive Benefits of Policies Limiting Access to Local Multiple Listing Service Data.
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Generating Leads with VOW
Generating leads is, to be honest, the bane of many real estate agents. That’s because when you generate the leads, you need to sift through the noise to find the leads that are the most qualified – those that are the most ready to buy or sell. Effective lead generation online is part art and part science, but there are some tried and true tactics that you can leverage. One of these is utilizing VOW data to identify more qualified prospects. So what, exactly, is included with VOW data? VOW, or Virtual Office Website, is a way for clients to find out crucial information about properties they might be interested in. Information can include vital pieces of data such as original listing price, price change history and days on the market. VOW also tends to include sold listings. All of this information can be extremely useful for your prospects as they are researching properties.
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Getting Started with Listingbook (10/24)
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Listingbook Basics (9/6)
Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT In this session you will learn: What Listingbook is and what it's for Basic System Navigation General Overview of Your Clients' Experience The Differences Between Listingbook Basic and Listingbook Pro Register now!
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Leading Firm with an IDX-VOW Combo Website
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Rate My Favorite Learning for Non Pro Agents (7/27)
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT Benefit to the Agent Pro Agents are able to give their clients a branded website that allows friends/family to rate their favorite properties As a Pro Agent you have access to all ratings and comments from your clients unique influencers Gain exposure to potential leads that invite their friends and family to rate their favorites. Client Benefits Provide clients a tool to easily communicate with their friends/family during their home buying process Perfect tool to provide those Millennial buyers who are looking for instant feedback while they search for their favorite property Register now!
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Getting Started with Listingbook (7/18)
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Getting Started with Listingbook (7/12)
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT In this session you will learn: What Listingbook is and what it's for Basic System Navigation General Overview of Your Clients' Experience The Differences Between Listingbook Basic and Listingbook Pro Register now!
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Getting Started with Listingbook (6/27)
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Seller Servicing and Marketing Your Listings (6/2)
Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT Listingbook automates servicing sellers, keeping them happy while educating them about their market. This allows agents to be more efficient and profitable.In this session you'll learn: How to give sellers accounts How to ensure they're logging in How to create and send a CyberCMA How to explain reports (both Basic and Pro) How and when to promote your listings Register now!
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Getting Started with Listingbook (5/31)
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What to Expect from WolfNet's Upgraded IDX Platform
Agents and mid-sized brokers looking to compete with larger firms need look no further that WolfNet's upgraded IDX solution. Dubbed WolfNet Responsive IDX, the update marries high-end design to an IDX property search (with optional VOW data!) that would easily be at home on expensive enterprise-level websites. As any modern web solution should, the updated platform displays beautifully on screens and devices of all sizes (see the image below). But beyond the aesthetic improvements, WolfNet has designed Responsive IDX to boost your website's engagement levels and lead capture rates. Let's take a closer look to learn how. Zeroing in on the Front-End Responsive IDX plugs into your existing website and is easy to integrate into your site's design, thanks to easy wrapper creation tools available in the solution's admin panel. The solution also adapts to your website's CSS stylesheet, letting you control font and photos sizes to further refine how it displays. Let's take a look at the results page, for an example. Consumers have the option to view results either on a map, in gallery view, or in list view. In the gallery view pictured on the next page, users can hover over a property's thumbnail to scroll through more listing photos without having to click into the property details page.
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VOW Provider Quantum Leads Grows Up
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A Shortcut for Generating Repeat Business with Your Website
There are plenty of ways to keep in touch with clients after the sale, but today we're going to focus on a behavioral "hack" that changes consumer preference from search portals to your website. First, we need to determine why a consumer who's no longer searching for a home would want to visit your website. We'll use that as the "hook" to lure them back to your site. The answer is as simple as plain human curiosity. Nearly every homeowner wants to know what's happening with other properties in their neighborhood--what's just been listed, price changes, when homes have sold and for how much. Furthermore, buying a home represents one of the most significant financial and emotional investments that people make in their lifetimes. As with any investment, people want to know that its value is growing and that it compares favorably to others. We're going to tap into this need to know by automatically sending this information to former clients via your brokerage's website. To pull off this hack, you're going to need a virtual office website because it provides access to a wider set of data (active, pending, expired, sold). If you have an IDX website, you can execute a limited version of this hack, but a VOW like Quantum Leads is ideal because offers listing data beyond what is currently on the market. It's a simple two-step process: Using your VOW, identify a subject home that you've represented. Set up the homeowner, your client, with email alerts for new listings, sold, expireds, price changes, etc.
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Leveraging Virtual Office Websites as a Recruitment Tool
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VOW as Broker Strategy for Competing with Portals
Where is the first place consumers go when looking to learn more about their local housing market? Brokers would like to say that curious searchers visit their firm's website, but that is not often the case. Instead, prospects end up on third party portals, time and again. Why? There are many reasons, ranging from SEO considerations to the power of portals' brand recognition. A bigger reason, however, may be the lackluster data offered by agent and broker IDX sites. "I've worked with three third-party IDX products," says Florida broker Richard Eimers. "They were all working fine, but I always felt there was something missing because, really, the only question they were addressing was what's for sale. I found that the needs and the desires of the buyers as we spoke to them after they came into the office is that they wanted more information." Even though listing data on portals is often inaccurate, consumers flock to them because they provide a more complete picture than IDX sites do. If brokerages want to compete with portals, they need to up the ante on the property information they offer. One way to do this is by implementing Virtual Office Websites (VOW). VOWs allow the consumers to create an account in order access comprehensive listing data from the MLS. This includes information on active, pending, sold, and even expired listings. For any property, a VOW can provide complete data, including when the seller came on the market, at what price, how many times they have listed, and more.
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How to Identify Warm Leads Using Tools You Already Have
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Virtual Office Websites 101
A Virtual Office Website (VOW) is a broker website that allows the public to register in order to view every bit of data that is in the MLS (with the exception of confidential information, such as showing instructions). It is the registration requirement and the more complete information that sets a VOW apart from an IDX website. However, like IDX, it allows brokers to share data from the MLS with consumers. VOW data fields may include days on market, original list price and changes over time, sold data, and other fields that are not allowed to be displayed through IDX, and that are not included in a data feed for syndication. To help you learn more about Virtual Office Websites, we recommend reading the following articles. They're a good place to get started: IDX vs. VOW Using VOW to Generate Leads How Virtual Office Website data makes a difference to consumers Choosing the Right Solution If you're in the market for a document for a VOW, there are questions you can ask to evaluate which option is right for you, like: Does my MLS allow VOW access to this vendor? How challenging will it be to add VOW to my website? Does this vendor support my own branding? What does the VOW data look like on a mobile device? Will the VOW link out to another site, or stay on my existing domain? How often is the data updated by the vendor? (Goal is every 15 minutes to one hour)
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I Spy
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Broker AVMs (Part 5): Suggestions for NAR
You will no doubt be pleased to hear that this post is the last of a five-part series on the question of whether and how brokers participating in MLS may use listing data of other brokers to power AVMs sold into the real estate vertical. See Part 1 for an intro and Part 2 for advice that NAR gave MLSs in 2013. I examined a letter from The Realty Alliance (TRA) on this subject in Part 3. The 4th post discussed the NAR policy proposal, at least as it stood as of May 7, 2014. In this post, I'll briefly discuss a report from Clareity Consulting, which came out on May 8. Then I'll make some clarifying suggestions to the policy proposal going before NAR's Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee this week. The Clareity Consulting report On May 8, Clareity Consulting released a report titled "Broker AVM: Exploring the Controversy." I encourage folks to read it, but it leaves some of the issues I've expressed the greatest concern about mostly unaddressed. I think the Clareity report makes an impassioned argument for why NAR should comply with TRA's request. While I don't necessarily agree that all those arguments are persuasive, that has not been my angle; instead, I'm interested in how the decision is made and how this works out in practice. My main concern is that the Clareity report appears to assume that any broker AVM will be run as responsibly as I expect TRA's Collateral Analytics partners will run things. For example, the report says: "To be clear, the financial institution never receives raw MLS data." (p. 3) "Unlike the 'paper brokers,' or others who have misused the data, TRA wants to ensure brokers have a legitimate means of doing business, facilitated by the MLSs." (p. 4)
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Broker AVMs (Part 4): NAR’s Proposed Policy
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Why You Should Consider Exclusive Licensing
Have you ever received the same marketing message from multiple companies? We have. Our CEO, Victor Lund, was recently telling me how three different brokerages sent him the exact same "Spring Forward" postcard. Though each "customized" the message with their logo, they also distributed it via Facebook, Twitter, and email. That's 12 exposures to the same boring message! As an industry, we can do better. How phony do you look when you're doing the exact same thing as the competitor across the street? What's more, how do you differentiate yourself when all you're doing is exactly what everyone else is doing? We recently talked about exclusivity in email marketing. The buck doesn't stop there, though. If you want your brokerage to remain competitive, consider purchasing an exclusive license for your company website and back office solutions. The What and the Why of Exclusive Licensing So what is an exclusive license? In short, it's a way to guarantee that the product you've purchased cannot be used by any other broker in your area. While more expensive than a non-exclusive license, exclusive licensing pays off in other ways.
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Broker AVMs (Part 3): The Realty Alliance's Position
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Broker AVMs (Part 2): Previous NAR Policy Guidance
This is the second part of an x-part series on the question of MLS participants using listing data from MLS to produce AVMs. See the intro post for background. The text below is from a summary our firm prepared for lawyers attending the Council of MLS's legal seminar in Boise, Idaho last fall. Note that it does not reflect a position by CMLS on the matters discussed in it. Rather, it was our effort on CMLS's behalf to understand the views of NAR policy staff on the matters discussed in it. Note, too, that NAR staff's position may have evolved since last fall. I still think it's a helpful overview of the issue and current policy, against which we can contrast current proposals. We are sharing it with CMLS's permission. It's long-ish... sorry about that. Preliminary dialog with NAR staff: Brokers building "analytic tools" with MLS data Prepared by Larson/Sobotka PLLC on behalf of CMLS September 26, 2013 In August 2013, CMLS legal counsel presented written questions/comments to NAR intended to clarify NAR policy on a matter of interest to MLSs in the U.S. and therefore of interest to the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS). The results are offered here in the form of a dialog, with CMLS's legal counsel's comments, questions, etc., in black serif type on the left margin, and NAR policy staff's responses of August 28, 2013, in blue sans-serif font, indented from the left margin. CMLS recognizes that any response from NAR is limited in scope to the situations described below and might be different if the assertions characterized below as facts prove to be false.
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Can MLS Brokers Build AVMs Using Data of Other Brokers?
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IDX vs. VOW
As our readership grows exponentially (thanks for being a part of that, by the way), there are quite a few topics we've covered in years past that need to be dusted-off and revisited. These are important issues, folks! We don't want you to miss out if you were late to the party. For instance, take the issue of IDX vs. VOW. I'm going to take a few moments to preach on this since our last article on the subject was ages ago. Definitions IDX (Internet Data Exchange): Also referred to as "broker reciprocity," IDX is a system whereby brokers and agents can display other participating brokers' listings on their websites – only if they reciprocate and let those other brokers display their listings, too. Participating brokers pull a data feed from the MLS that contains all the active listings for all participating brokers. There are very specific, strict rules about the fields included in the IDX data feed. VOW (Virtual Office Website): A VOW is a broker website that allows the public to create an account and view every bit of data (except confidential data like showing instructions) in the MLS. What's the Same? Both IDX and VOW are tools used by brokers to share property information with the public. What's Different? The central difference between IDX and VOW is the registration requirement. With VOW, consumers must create an account and sign in to view data. With IDX, there's anonymity (or as much anonymity as possible on the Internet, but that's a topic for another day).
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Brokers Should Audit Their MLS
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Using VOW to Generate Leads
If you're a real estate professional, no matter how successful you may be, you're always looking for ways to generate leads. Finding new tools to do so isn't always easy. Here's one thing you can try: VOW. As we'll explain, VOW offers a unique lead generation opportunity, as well as myriad benefits to your existing clients. IDX vs. VOW Internet Data Exchange (IDX) allows brokers to display other participating brokers' listings on their website; of course, they must reciprocate and allow those other brokers to display their listings. Participating brokers receive a data feed from the MLS containing the active listings for all participating brokers; they can then use this information on their own website. IDX rules are very specific, and do not permit the use of the data by anyone who is not a member of the MLS. A Virtual Office Website (VOW), on the other hand, is a broker website that allows the public to register in order to view all non-confidential MLS data. VOW is different from IDX in two ways: The registration requirement; The more complete data (such as days on market, original list price, price changes over time, and sold data).
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First Look: Quantum Leads' Virtual Office Websites
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Make Your Business Explode with a Powerful Lead Generation Program
Where is the first place consumers go when looking to learn more about their local housing market? Agents and brokers would like to say that curious searchers visit their websites, but that is not often the case. Instead, prospects end up on third party portals like Zillow and Trulia, time and again. Why? Because even though the data on these websites can be inaccurate, they provide a more complete picture than IDX-based agent and broker sites do. IDX websites only tell consumers about active MLS listings, but portals offer information on all properties in an area--both for sale and not. So how can real estate professionals compete with third party portals? By giving consumers what they want--more data! RE Technology has teamed up with Quantum Leads to offer our readers a FREE, educational webinar on how to do just that. Attendees will learn how to: Attract potential new clients directly to your website Stop paying for promotion on third party portals Become your local go-to listing information portal Attain qualified leads that will help your business explode this fall! Join us Tuesday, October 8 at 1pm EDT/10am PDT to learn more!
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Choosing an IDX/VOW
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How Virtual Office Website data makes a difference to consumers
With the evolution of Internet Data Exchange (IDX) and literally millions of real estate websites, the consumer has had access to a significant number of sources of property information. VOWs (Virtual Office Websites) will allow brokers to once again place themselves at the center of the consumer's property search experience. A broker's VOW will offer consumers the most comprehensive, accurate and timely real estate information available. Because of the quality of information offered to consumers through VOWs, customers will be less likely to spend much time on non-broker websites offering less listing information. In mature VOW markets, more than 50% of all transactions were to registered VOW consumers. Both buyers and sellers value the depth of information available to watch market trends and find the right home.
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In Search of a Perfect Broker VOW
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Real Estate Technology: Master of Your Domain
In this economy, the remote, part-time worker is a little like online dating. No longer shunned as an anomaly, it is now becoming thought of as perfectly acceptable and a way for employers to find talent anywhere. This is also true in real estate as brokers bring on part-time agents in virtual offices. These self-directed agents supplement other work or look to make selling real estate a full time mission. Uniting these virtual workers into a holistic sales team is a challenge for the digitally committed. MLS systems work just fine – but often don't offer the collaboration features or legal compliance fortifications that a single real estate technology umbrella will. This is what I appreciate about the design of Agent Achieve from CoreLogic. It conforms around you – not an MLS. If you have multi-MLS sales regions, agents needing collaboration and training, need for dissemination of best practices, and that overall structure of brand "sameness" that stretches across your domain – then a "right for me" technology like Agent Achieve may be an important step up from relying on multiple MLS systems.
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Does a Physical Office Matter to Real Estate Agents or Consumers?
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