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Q4 Concerns? Get in Front of the Real Estate Market and Don't Chase It
Chaotic markets leave many agents stuck in reaction mode, but that's not how Q4 real estate success is achieved. How can you shake that and prepare yourself to seize opportunity in Q4 and future-proof your pipeline? We've honed in on the top four things that win in today's market, and tomorrow's--and $500 million agent, Mary Simmons-Maloney, the Founder/Owner of Hometown Realty, powered by eXp in San Diego, is weighing in with her wise words too. Maximize the Client AND Agent Experience Always deliver with an unparalleled website experience, a branded consumer app to keep prospects searching and interacting with your brand, and make sure your team is equipped with the tools to deliver effortless white-glove service. "When we brought BoomTown into our organization for our agents, it was about having a centralized, easy-to-use system," says Mary. "The consumer interface is so easy for our agents to use. It's not overcomplicated, it's not over-cumbersome. It's super easy to use. And that was very important for us at the time, to be able to have a way for our agents to track their leads, for us to be able to hold them accountable, and then, at the same time, to have a system that allowed us to track and measure our spending." Lean into Your Lead Generation for Q4 Real Estate Success While so many are scaling back on their ad spend and lead generation efforts, now is the time for savvy agents to lean into their lead generation efforts, build that database, and prepare for the market to shift. Because it will shift. Consumers are being discouraged from buying right now since it's the "height of the market," but they will return, and you need to have the tech and the teams in place to make sure you're ready to seize opportunity. "A lot of agents are pulling back on their online buyer acquisition spend, but we doubled ours because we're in this for the long game," says Mary. "We look at the relational side of the business, not just the transactional side. And when you're in it for the long game, the market is going to shift. So, if you're front-loading your database with the client, that will be ahead of the next market shift. When the market does shift, you're going to have amazing business." Cut Through the Noise and Stay Top-of-mind News reports are a constant reminder that the field is crowded and competition is fierce. Smart tech and customizable marketing can cut through the digital noise, differentiate you from the competition, and build trust Arm yourself with customizable tools like: Landing pages to promo new and featured properties, "Coming Soon" properties, home valuation report generators, new-buyer seminars, you-name-it! Automated drip campaigns to send the right message at the right time, and keep you top-of-mind A branded consumer app to keep prospects searching and interacting with your brand An ad-creation portal that makes customized social media advertising a breeze Consumers want to work with a brand that they feel like they know, so make sure you have the tools to make it easy to compete, stay relevant, and grow your business. Prioritize Your Time Everyone has reached a new level of busy, and this will probably continue. You can't add more hours to your day, but you can certainly streamline your workload and make your time management more effective. Mary's no-fail routine centers around BoomTown. Predictive insights, reminders, and to-dos to keep you on top. Automated bulk marketing plus expert teams can offload the heavy-lifting of qualifying new leads and engaging your database. "My favorite feature is the NOW Wall. It allows us to monitor our leads and make sure that we're not missing anyone. If they're showing interest, calculating a mortgage or coming back to the site after being just a 'browsing' type of lead, we know we need to follow up." Make Real Estate Success Easy in Q4 It's time for the system that gives you an edge and the tools to keep you on top. See how BoomTown makes it easy. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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Are Typed Signatures Legally Binding?
Does typing your name on a document count as a legally binding signature? We have the answers you're looking for. Back in the day, there was one way to sign a document: by putting pen to paper. Today, things have changed, and knowing when a document is properly signed can be confusing. One question we see a lot is: are typed signatures considered "legal?" In a word, yes, but there're more to it than that. Read on to learn why. Will typed signatures hold up in court? Most eSignature solutions allow users to draw or create a stylized signature that looks handwritten. Users then add it to the documents they need to sign. Signing this way seems to make all parties feel secure, combining the old (handwritten signatures) with the new (electronic documents and forms). But signatures don't have to look like handwriting to hold up in court. According to the definition provided in the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-Sign Act), the federal law that regulates electronic signatures in nearly all 50 states, an eSignature is an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record. This is a very legal way of saying that an eSignature can take a variety of forms, provided it meets certain criteria. These include: A name typed at the end of an email A name or initials typed into a field on a webpage or electronic form A checkbox or radio button corresponding to a phrase such as "I Agree" or "I Accept" for terms and conditions on an e-commerce site A signature drawn on a screen using a finger or stylus A signature created using an electronic signature solution So, typed signatures are legally binding, as long as the other E-Sign Act requirements, which we covered in a previous blog post, are followed. An eSignature solution for peace of mind That said, why let there be any doubt about the validity of your electronic signatures? With Constellation1 eSign, you can sign and send documents with complete confidence. Our eSignature solution is secure, trustworthy, and lets you apply non-repudiable signatures to your important documents and send documents for signature from anywhere using your smart devices. An electronic signature for any industry Do you have specific questions about whether eSign will stand up to the electronic signature requirements in your industry? Get in touch and our dedicated eSignature team will be happy to tell you about our industry-leading features in greater detail. You can read our previous post on the legality of eSignatures here. Click to download our free security and legal overview for electronic signatures. To view the original article, visit the Constellation1 blog.
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SEO Tips for Images: Real Estate Edition
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The Renovation Generation Needs Help Updating Their Homes Before They Sell, According to Coldwell Banker Survey
Raised on a consistent diet of DIY and designer lifestyle television, paired with endless streams of Instagram-worthy home inspiration, today's Renovation Generation of home sellers and buyers have varying wants and expectations when selling and buying a home, and there is a significant disconnect among them. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC recently commissioned a survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted by The Harris Poll, exploring the difficulties of the home selling and buying process as well as the challenges around home renovations during those processes. The survey found that Americans of all generations understand the power of making upgrades to their homes to get more bang for their buck. In fact, 89% who have sold their homes in the past three years reported that they made upgrades before selling. Challenges come into play around where to come up with the money to renovate and where to focus those dollars. Of Americans that have sold their homes in the past three years and made updates before selling, nearly one-third (each) said the whole process was stressful, they struggled to find the money to make updates to their home before it was put on the market, and they had the money to make updates before listing but struggled to understand the best updates to make to get the most ROI. The RealVitalize program, combined with the expertise of Coldwell Banker affiliated agents, provides a powerful advantage for sellers looking to sell their home faster and for a better price. It also removes the stress of finding funding for projects as money is paid back during closing. The program draws from a pool of expert professionals from Angi, the nation's largest network of pre-screened, homeowner-rated service professionals. Clients are connected with top-rated local pros to ensure the job gets done right. Popular projects that home sellers have been enjoying include: painting, curb appeal enhancements, cleaning, renovations, staging and handyman services. Coldwell Banker agents have seen great success for their clients with this program as homes sell both faster and for a better price. Unsurprisingly, moving into a freshly renovated home is desirable for any aged buyer but one demographic stands apart. Over one-third of Golden Millennial homeowners (aged 35-40) surveyed are more likely to want to move to an upgraded home compared to other generations, particularly Boomers. In true Renovation Generation fashion, 91% of the same homeowners are making updates to their home before selling. While the idea of updating before listing is on track, without the expert guidance of a real estate professional, there is often a miss on where to focus dollars and efforts. Forty percent of Golden Millennials respondents found that after making updates to their homes, additional repairs were still needed after the inspection. Although the hot real estate market poses both incentives and challenges for sellers, it's still a sellers' market with one in five homeowners surveyed (21%) saying that they plan to sell their current home in the next 12 months. Coldwell Banker Agents + RealVitalize Take the "Ugh" Out of Upgrading Finding the Money: Among those who sold a home in the past three years, Gen Zers (aged 18-24) and Millennials (aged 25-40) were more likely to say they struggled to find the money to make updates before putting their home on the market (34% and 31%) compared to Gen Xers and Boomers (14% and 4%). Must-dos according to sellers: Just over one-third (34%) of homeowners say updated interior or exterior paint would be must-dos if they were looking to sell their home. Golden Millennial homeowners are more likely than Young Millennial homeowners (age 25-34) and all other generations of homeowners (Gen Zers, Gen Xers, Boomers) to say kitchen upgrades (46%), carpeting cleaning/installation (40%), landscaping (44%), refinished wood floors (41%), updated lighting fixtures (33%) and updated HVAC/electrical/plumbing (37%) would be a must-do update. But what do buyers really want? Disconnect between sellers' must-dos and the must-haves of potential homebuyers exist. Despite a shared desire for kitchen upgrades (46% of home owners and 45% of potential homebuyers), other features that would be must-haves for Americans if they were looking to buy a home include bathroom upgrades (44%) and updated HVAC, plumbing and electrical (43%). Expert Help: Among home buyers, Gen Zers (32%) and Millennials (28%) are more likely than Gen Xers (18%) and Boomers (12%) to say the home buying process is intimidating. Among Golden Millennials who sold a home in the last three years, nearly half (47%) said having a network of home renovation professionals who they felt confident could help them improve their home value was an important factor in choosing a real estate agent to sell their home. Moving Up and Moving Out About one quarter (24%) of respondents say they will be looking to purchase a home within the next 12 months. Not surprisingly, Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely than Gen Xers and Boomers to say they will be looking to buy a home within the next 12 months (41% and 40% vs. 23% and 9%, respectively). Sellers are using this opportunity to make their dreams a reality: Top reasons for selling among those who sold a home in the past three years or are planning to sell include wanting more space (26%), wanting to upgrade a home (23%) and to be closer to friends or family (20%). Young Luxe: Gen Zers (26%) and Millennials (26%) are more likely than Gen Xers (14%) and Boomers (3%) to say they are selling or planning to sell because they want(ed) amenities (e.g., pool, big back yard, etc.). Older Homes = Not Trendy: Among those who sold a home in the past three years or are planning to sell, Gen Zers are more likely than Gen Xers and Boomers to want a newly constructed home (33% vs. 16% and 9%). What's Holding Them Back… and Pushing Them Forward Priced Out: Nearly a quarter (24%) of people in the market for buying a home do not have money for a down payment. Moving Stress: Beyond making updates, the actual process of moving is stressful too. Among those who sold a home in the last three years, over three in five (61%) say when getting their home ready for sale, it is stressful to move and store items. Partnering with a participating Coldwell Banker affiliated agent is a game changer for managing this unnecessary stress, because moving expenses can be covered with RealVitalize. Real estate agents can help sellers better manage the process. When it comes to choosing an agent, home sellers' needs are diverse. Among those who sold their home in the last three years, some of the important factors for choosing a real estate agent to sell their home included: If their agent could help them decide which renovations to make to help sell at or above listing price (28%) If their agent had a network of home renovation professionals who they felt confident could improve the home value (27%) If their agent could educate them on how to get money to renovate their current home, pre-listing (21%)
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Turn Your Agents into Reps for Your Brand
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How a NextHome Broker Built a $177 Million Business
They say the best CRM is the one you actually use. And for Thomas Shumpert, Broker/Owner of NextHome Specialists, this fact was paramount as he grew his business. As he identified the need for a CRM, he knew he had to find something that not only his agents would use (and love), but also that he could utilize as a central hub to run his entire business. Strategically, he identified some non-negotiables from day one of his search for the right technology partner: Robust platform with a high level of capabilities and features Customer service and support Scalability Is Your CRM Ahead of the Curve? With over 12 years of innovation, BoomTown paves the way for agent-driven real estate technology. And with other tech companies and franchises jumping into the space, there's a lot to choose from. Many agents and brokers, like Thomas, who are part of a franchise, leverage their internal technology in addition to BoomTown. Speaking volumes to how pivotal BoomTown is to their success. "NextHome created a CRM from the ground up, which was a major undertaking -- and they did a phenomenal job," says Thomas. "But when you're building anything, you aspire to be other things, and that other thing is BoomTown, which I consider the best CRM on the market. A lot of the tools that NextHome offers us as brokers and agents are compatible with BoomTown!" Compatibility is key for any successful tech stack, which is why Thomas leverages BoomTown's expansive network of integration partners. "We utilize BombBomb, Spacio. All those things are interactive with BoomTown. And so the technology has grown with us and helped us provide more tools for our agents and then better follow-up with our clients." A question Thomas gets a lot from fellow brokers and agents is, "Is BoomTown worth the cost?" For any small business, it's always a matter of investment and ROI. Which is why it's so important to leverage technology that you will actually use. "The investment is nothing at this point once I realized what BoomTown could do and how it could help me manage a team, and really scale my business," says Thomas. "If you're not going to utilize tools and you're not going to really use them to their capacity, then you definitely want to go with a free CRM. But if you want to take it to the next level and you know how to utilize CRMs, you know drip campaigns, you know the importance of staying in front of your folks, then you definitely want something that's more robust and can handle that growth and help you get there. And BoomTown has all the systems in place, so it makes it really, really easy." Unparalleled Support Real estate is a dynamic, constantly evolving industry. With market shifts left and right, new technology, and changing consumer demands, it's never been more critical to have a technology partner that will empower your business at every turn. Thomas is a forward-thinking entrepreneur. He wants to build a "shockproof" business with a reliable pipeline and sustainable growth. It was important for him to work with a true technology partner, not just a platform. "A non-negotiable is customer service. We pay you guys, definitely, what you're worth, but your customer service is, hands down, probably one of the biggest reasons we've stayed and grown and bought more platforms because we never doubt that we're going to be answered quickly with all the technological support we need. And that kind of customer service is what we try to offer, and it's nice to work with someone like BoomTown who offers it as well." Working with BoomTown, Thomas has a roadmap for success. He has access to nine specialized teams of experts as well as internal communities of peers to strategize and mastermind how to get ahead. Don't Just Grow, Scale Rapid growth comes with its own set of challenges. So creating steady, sustainable growth is what sets apart the long-term winners in real estate. Thomas has leveraged BoomTown to help him scale, starting on a smaller platform that suited his needs and then growing to more robust packages over time. So you only pay for what you need, not what you don't. Thomas runs an expansion team, with five offices in South Carolina, one office in Florida, and 66 agents. That's a lot to manage! With BoomTown, his agents are able to customize their ad spend (helpful for unique markets!) and Thomas has a birds-eye view of how everyone is performing through accountability dashboards within the platform. "I was able to scale an office that's eight hours away from me by giving them a BoomTown platform that I can manage and watch from here [in South Carolina]. We also spend a lot of money with Zillow, and I think the success for us in Zillow has been using BoomTown to work those Zillow leads. We funnel all of our lead sources in there; all of our past clients, really capturing the clients that we have and working in that sphere of influence, and the lead gen we pay for. We would not have been so successful if we hadn't put it through the BoomTown system, in my opinion." Growth doesn't come overnight, thankfully! Slow and steady growth with a trusted success partner is often what separates the good from the great. And Thomas Shumpert, NextHome Specialists is certainly proving to be one of the greats! To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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When It Comes to Brokerage Branding, Consistency Is Key
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Learning Communications from Compass
No doubt that Compass has had a significant impact on how real estate brokerages compete. Compass grew by communicating to agents that they invest in the future of their profession by investing in technology. The point of this article is to demonstrate how a brokerage technology communication strategy is as important as the technology itself. Investing in Technology At conferences, I hear competing brokers complain about Compass technology. They say, "Compass does not have any technology that we do not have." In a sense, those brokers are right—the average agent uses eleven different software platforms just to do their day-to-day job. What Compass offers is a platform, a one-stop-shop that combines all these tools and is designed with agents in mind. National firms or even multi-state regional firms understand the investment that it takes to build and maintain a national brokerage platform, and we all know that Compass has the money to make this investment. It is insanely hard because real estate is operationally different across America. If you compare and contrast any two brokers for their tech stack, you learn that they all have strengths and weaknesses. I stand by my belief that technology does not sell real estate, agents do. And the best technology in real estate is the technology that you use. It is the relationship between the software and the user that makes all of the difference. Excellence is driven by communication and Compass seems to be communicating with its agents while they build out their technology platform. I saw this press release come out on July 1: Compass Launches AI-Powered Video Studio. I do not know if Compass built Video Studio or licensed it; it does not matter. The headline screams "technology innovator" and they wisely add AI for artificial intelligence. Most people do not know what buzzwords like artificial intelligence or machine learning are, but it sounds high tech and supports the mission of Compass to define their brand with advanced technology; it also seems to be working. If you look at Compass's most recent earnings call, it shows that their agents are outpacing this already hot market. Creating automated marketing videos for listings has been around for at least seven years. I recall writing about it when Imprev launched it. MoxiWorks purchased Imprev and the product is now called MoxiImpress. I believe that RE/MAX, Realogy, and plenty of others have had this feature since the launch—probably 35% to 50% of agents have access to AI powered video for marketing listings. MoxiWorks is not alone with this competing technology. Property Panorama has been making property videos forever, so has Back at You Media, and Amarki—in addition to every professional photographer with a virtual tour application, and so many others. It is easy to build the video template and data tag it with RESO standard fields to use machines to build the videos. Here is an examples of a MoxiImpress video: NextHome Joe Skousen of Inside Real Estate recently told me that they have found a step even better than an agent simply just taking a few pics and doing it on their phone. The auto-creation from the pictures and turning it into a branded YouTube with strong, automatic distribution channels and so on, is where the key to success is. It gets the video, but immediately generates numerous views, traffic, and interest. Here are a couple examples: If you are a CoreLogic MLS user, perhaps the most modern solution is from HomeVisit—which is integrated into Matrix and Realist. Not sure if it is available in every market, but I would expect it to be soon. Sure, Compass did a really nice job of building out this technology. They have great brand management and style guides that allow their brand to pop across all media, including video. It looks really nice. What Compass executed better than others is the communication of the technology and the value to their agents. And considering how many agents are joining Compass, it looks like agents are listening. From the press release: Compass agent testimonials from the Listing Presentation in Marketing Center beta test include: "The first time I used Video Studio, I was floored at how quickly and easily it created a custom video. When I'm in a rush, I can create a great listing video in under a minute, but when I have more time I have the ability to edit the video further." — Denise Bongiovanni, Agent, Compass New York "We love that in just a few clicks, we can have a sleek, modern listing video that matches our style and brand." — Brian and Jason Knox, Agents, Compass Florida "Video Studio automatically populates room descriptions, which saves me so much time. And the ability to immediately push the video to my network as a digital ad is a game-changer." — Michael K. Davis, Agent, Compass New York Compass helps agents grow their businesses, serve more clients, save time, and stand out as valued, trusted and professional advisors in their markets. During the first quarter of 2021 Compass had revenue of $1.1 billion, an 80% increase from Q1 2020. While the U.S. residential real estate market grew transactions by 14% in Q1, Compass grew Total Transactions by 67%.1 Compass is home to nearly 21,000 agents operating in over 50 markets in the U.S. In 2020, Compass agents assisted home sellers and buyers to transact approximately $152 billion in residential real estate. With 4% of the U.S. market, Compass is the largest independent real estate brokerage by Gross Transaction Value. Winning with communications! I was at the Gathering of Eagles conference speaking with a brokerage who was concerned about Compass coming into their market. The broker told me about the Compass technology platform and asked what they need to do to compete. Sadly, the broker/owner had a better grasp on Compass technology than the technology that they provide to their own agents. That broker studied Compass technology more than they study their own. Compass is winning the technology battle with communications more than technology. They blow their horns clearly and constantly. That is what makes them a great competitor. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Bad Realtors Are Here Forever
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Lone Wolf Introduces the All-new Authentisign
Lone Wolf Technologies announced on Tuesday the release of the redesigned eSignature solution Authentisign. Authentisign was completely rebuilt and redesigned using cloud-based technology to provide real estate agents with a faster and simpler signing experience. Lone Wolf is releasing the new solution in select areas across the U.S. through Transactions (TransactionDesk Edition), starting in July. With over 750,000 licensed users and 28 million signatures processed in 2020, Authentisign is one of the most used eSignature solutions in real estate today. The solution is built directly into Lone Wolf Transactions (zipForm Edition and TransactionDesk Edition) and CREA WEBForms® powered by TransactionDesk, so agents and brokers can import listing data directly from their MLS, prepare listing agreements or offers, and get them signed in a single, connected, digital solution. In a mission to simplify this process even more, Lone Wolf redesigned Authentisign from the ground up, working together with thousands of agent and administrative users over the past two years for input and validation. The rebuilt Authentisign now includes a new Transaction Workspace tailored to agents; one that allows them to pull in forms, documents, and contacts in one place without having to go back and forth in their workflow. With this new workspace, agents can now send agreements and offers 60% faster in only three steps, an unprecedented ability only available through Authentisign. "This is a great day for agents, brokers, and homebuyers and sellers everywhere," said Jimmy Kelly, CEO and President of Lone Wolf. "With the market the way it is right now, it's critical that agents are able to work fast while staying in lockstep with their clients. The new Authentisign puts the fastest and most innovative eSignature solution in their hands, so they can prepare, send, and sign real estate documents effortlessly." "I participated in Lone Wolf's trial program, and I absolutely love the new Authentisign," said Janice Poetsch, Chief Administrative Officer from Fair Realty. "The new Authentisign was not only easier and faster than the previous version, but it was also easier and faster than any other eSignature solution I've used. The new transaction workspace is a massive time saver for real estate agents, and the signing experience for clients is incredibly intuitive." Authentisign is available to agents as an add-on to Lone Wolf Transactions and provided to over 750,000 agents in the U.S. and Canada as a member benefit via state/local associations, boards, and MLSs, and through many brokerages. Lone Wolf is releasing the all-new Authentisign in a phased rollout to Transactions (TransactionDesk Edition) users starting in July, while the solution will be made available to Transactions (zipForm Edition) users in 2022. "Signings are the moment of truth in real estate, so there's nothing more important to agents than getting this process right," said Dan Fortin, Product Manager at Lone Wolf. "Built into Transactions, the all-new Authentisign gives agents and their clients a simple and professional signing experience without unnecessary steps or explanations. This is a massive upgrade for digital signatures, and for real estate agents in particular; and it's one that can't be found anywhere else."
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How One Chattanooga Brokerage Tripled Their Business in 2 Years
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10 Ways to Post About Your Brokerage Without Posting About Your Brokerage
As a brokerage, building your company's online presence is critical. Millennials and digital natives are entering their prime home buying years, and they aren't reading newspapers, listening to the radio, or even watching broadcast television: they're on social media. Having social media pages that boost your business and generate leads is more important than ever for continued success. According to John White, quoted in Inc.com, millennials make up 66% of first-time home buyers and 34% of home buyers overall. The majority of them are searching for homes online. Without a quality social media presence, you won't reach the people you need to be reaching. But being on social media doesn't just mean you only post about your listings. Social isn't all business all the time: it's about generating and sharing quality content your leads and customers want. There are so many ways to engage your readers and get more leads, you just have to get creative! Here are our top 10 favorite ideas for what your brokerage can post on your social media pages other than your listings. 1. Pictures of your community If you're not showing off your community, you're missing an incredible opportunity. Buyers and sellers want to do business with brokerages and agents who really know their market, and sharing community content is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and showcase other local businesses that might do the same for you in return. 2. Hot home trends Posting about what's trendy in homes right now might not seem intuitive for a brokerage, but it's a surefire way to engage your leads. These types of posts spark conversations to drive people to your website, improving your organic traffic and getting your listings in front of consumers. 3. Tips for first-time homeowners First-time homeowners are those most in need of a real estate professional. Sharing tips, tricks, and advice on buying homes and what type of homes they should look for is a smart way to demonstrate the care and attention your brokerage gives to first-time buyers, which means they'll be likelier to give you a call. 4. Answers to common (local) questions Buyers and sellers have lots of questions. Do I need to be prequalified? When is the best time to list? How do I valuate my home? What kind of property can I afford? By answering top questions, especially hyper local questions about your specific market, you build trust with customers—both old and new. If you're there to answer questions for them online, they'll trust that you can answer them offline, too. 5. Home staging ideas What do all sellers have in common? Wanting to get top dollar for their home. According to NAR, 23% of buyers' agents said that home staging raised the dollar value offered between 1% and 5%, compared to similar homes on the market that hadn't been staged. By sharing top staging ideas, you're helping your leads sell at the highest price possible and making your agents' jobs easier, too. 6. Seasonal content An easy way to keep your feeds current and fresh is to share seasonal content. Live in the north? Post about fall home improvement and winterizing tips in October and spring cleaning guides in March. You can also share holiday content that reflects the community you serve. Seasonal posts are a simple, easy way to drive traffic to your site. 7. Dream homes We can all dream, right? Even if luxury dream homes might be out of reach for most of us, they're still fun to look at and can help you create discussion about how your readers can find their (realistic) dream home. 8. Décor ideas This is the perfect low-hanging social media fruit. Everyone decorates their home, especially after buying a new one. Drive the conversation and generate interest by posting about trends in home décor, beautiful homes your brokerage has listed recently, and DIY tips for beautifying your home on a budget. 9. Daily real estate tips If you post a tip a day about buying or selling a home, potential customers will notice. They'll be able to use that information for their current or future home search, too. They'll credit you for the help and will hopefully call you when they're ready to make a move. Can't post daily? Make it a weekly tip instead! Consistency is key, and quality information trumps quantity. 10. Video testimonials Words and pictures are great, but have you thought of using video? A quick 30-60 second testimonial from a customer about how you helped them is one of the very best advertising tools you can have. Posting videos on YouTube is an amazing way to boost your SEO and make your brand even more visible. Most satisfied customers will be happy to oblige, especially if they're walking through the doors of their brand-new home for the first time after closing. Keep these tips in mind to make sure your social media content is fresh and engaging to drive clicks, generate leads, win listings, and satisfy your customers. Automate your brokerage social media What if your brokerage had a tool to help you post about all these topics and more, without even having to think about it? It's possible with Reach Social, our social media management solution. Our library of more than 40,000 (and growing) unique content pieces are branded for your brokerage and posted automatically on your schedule, keeping you and your agents top of mind. To view the original article, visit the Constellation1 blog.
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Redfin Launches Career Accelerator Program to Bring New, Diverse Talent into the Real Estate Industry
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The Biggest Trend in Small Brokerages in 2021
Is there anything that makes your small brokerage different from other small brokerages in your area? Like any other space, in the real estate industry differentiating your brokerage from competitor brokerages is key. There isn't exactly a handbook that outlines what you should be doing or what you need to be doing to become the best, so it can be difficult at times. The good thing is you don't need to re-invent the wheel here. Learning from other brokerages your size, and "fast following" what is working for others, is an easy way to get started on becoming more competitive. Biggest area of opportunity for most small brokerages: technology. Technology has always been the great equalizer that levels the playing field for brokerages big and small. Looking at brokerages of today, the area of focus to move the proverbial needle is anything to do with marketing or marketing automation. Offering a marketing platform for your agents may sound like a daunting task, but today there are options for as little as $10/month. The benefits of introducing new technology like this has some obvious benefits. Namely, agents that market themselves and their properties more, get more traction which means more business for everyone. But there are other benefits too. When a small brokerage starts to offer tools and benefits typically found in a larger national brokerage, you can start recruiting better talent—which again increases business for everyone. When you do start looking for a marketing or marketing automation tool, make sure it covers all the bases of how top agents are marketing themselves today. Make sure it includes features like: Social media campaigns Email marketing campaigns Text message campaigns Google search and Google display ads Digital flyers Ability to schedule deployment of campaigns Templates for agents to use As a final thought, making your small brokerage more competitive does not require a major overhaul of your business. There is some low hanging fruit to be picked. Tools to help get your current agents more active and attract new top talent are out there and very affordable. Most solutions built for small brokerages typically come with full support as well, so you won't be burdened with supporting your staff either. Overall, it's an easy move to get things headed in the right direction. About Amarki: Amarki was built by real estate experts for brokerages and agents based on years of industry experience and firsthand feedback. We developed a marketing tool accessible to anyone, no matter the experience or marketing budget. By providing an intuitive tool that works "for" the agent, Amarki is able to remove the complexity of marketing tasks making agents more active. Check us out by clicking here.
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Ryan Wilson: Closing Nearly $100M in Sales
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BHHS Towne Realty: Savvy Social Media Marketing
In today's digital age, brokerages that aren't harnessing the power of social media are getting left behind. Learn how BHHS Towne Realty partnered with Constellation1 to upgrade their online presence and create a social media marketing team 400 agents strong. Making social pay dividends for brokerages Real estate marketing has undergone a monumental shift from paper to digital. Today, the majority of homebuyers begin their property searches online and are active social media users. If your listings aren't being heavily marketed online, the gap in your strategy is likely costing you leads and affecting your bottom line. Typically, 65% of an agent's new business comes from their sphere of influence, but only one in ten agents is marketing to that sphere effectively. The solution? Social media marketing. A cohesive social media strategy is a must for brokerages, but creating one from scratch or optimizing an underperforming one can seem daunting (especially for those who aren't great with computers). With the right tools, social media marketing can actually be effortless. In our newest customer story, BHHS Towne Realty talks about how they automated their social media marketing with Paradym by Constellation1. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty is the leading local real estate brokerage in resale and luxury sales in Southeastern Virginia, with 17 offices and 400 agents. They have been offering premier real estate services to Virginians for more than 35 years. "It worked so well we decided to make it available to the entire brokerage, about 400 agents," says Rolston S. Audain Jr., Marketing & Luxury Collection Director, BHHS Towne Realty. After testing Paradym by Constellation1, a fully automated, multi-pronged, and multi-network digital marketing suite, with their 50 top luxury agents, the team was hooked. "It worked so well we decided to make it available to the entire brokerage, about 400 agents," said Rolston S. Audain Jr., Marketing & Luxury Collection Director at BHHS Towne Realty. "Paradym's social media marketing solution lets us post consistently every single day, and all the posts are solid," he went on. "My philosophy is to give our agents the best tools, then get out of their way. Treating our agents like internal customers is the driving mission behind what we do," says Barbara Wolcott, Chairman and CEO of BHHS Towne Realty. A powerful agent retention tool Management decided to make the full suite a brokerage-paid benefit for all agents. "My philosophy is to give our agents the best tools, then get out of their way," said Barbara Wolcott, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty. "Treating our agents like internal customers is the driving mission behind what we do." With automated social media marketing, BHHS Towne Realty's team of agents can drive leads to their listings, market effectively to their entire sphere of influence, and give homebuyers what they want: a seamless online marketing experience. By taking digital marketing off agents' plates, BHHS Towne Realty found an easy, cost-effective way to support the entire team. Read more about how BHHS Towne Realty has harnessed Paradym by Constellation1 to level up their social game and turn 400 agents into a coordinated posting team. To view the original article, visit the Constellation1 blog.
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Our Top 10 Most-Read Articles of June
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Meet the New Authentisign
Lone Wolf is thrilled to share with you that one of the most exciting things we've been working on the last two years is nearly ready! Our mission is to simplify the work that agents and brokers do every day, and empower them to amaze their clients with modern, digital experiences, and with the launch of a new Authentisign on the horizon, we're doing just that. Why a new Authentisign? In the wake of the pandemic, the slow-rolling digitization of manual and paper-based processes has accelerated. At the heart of this change is eSignatures, and it's about time. eSignatures provide tremendous benefits for real estate professionals and their clients: improved customer experience, faster turnaround times, enhanced security, and more. When we first launched Authentisign, documents were exchanged between agents, clients and lawyers by hand, courier, or fax. This made negotiations particularly challenging before all parties involved in a transaction were satisfied and signed a final, executed agreement. We created Authentisign to significantly boost the efficiency of this process while providing a trackable record of revisions. And in the 12 years since we launched, we've made significant progress. Today, leading real estate teams across North America use Authentisign to get the necessary signatures for purchase agreements, contracts, and other required documents. In fact, in the last year, over 2,570,000 real estate professionals used Authentisign to complete over 28M signings. But technology never stops evolving. And believe it or not, there's more opportunity to make the signing process even easier for you and your clients. So, after countless customer conversations and user experience studies, we launched a Beta version of the new Authentisign. The first adopters loved it, and after 36,000 signings, the app received an amazing user rating of 4.4/5. So, what's new? Authentisign was always built to simplify an agent's workflow, but many users found that the old signing wizard added too many unnecessary steps, leaving a negative impact on their experience. To fix this workflow challenge, the product needed a major redesign. This is why we rebuilt the entire platform from the ground up. A simple, clear interface Now when you access Authentisign, it's incredibly simple—and just as powerful. All the tools you need are in one place, and the new intuitive interface allows you to easily drag, drop, delete and rotate pages. The upgraded signing details page and Participant View allows you to act quickly. Plus, the crisp documents and signatures makes it easier than ever for your clients. Complete signings in four quick steps Signings are now easier than ever and can be completed in just four steps—agree to terms of service, click to sign, set their signature, sign and that's it! Faster than ever The new framework, combined with a more efficient workflow, also brought about dramatic increases in overall performance. Now you can complete signings in less than half the time! We've removed the signing wizard and added templates so you can save default annotation properties and create automatic signature blocks. Plus, with an active sync with Transactions (TransactionDesk Edition) you only have to enter contact information once. New insights and signer feedback Now you can quickly correct rejected signatures and have access into insights, so you know why a signature was not accepted. Plus, signers now have an option to provide feedback after they are completed so you'll always be in-the-know. The new Authentisign, in a nutshell: The new Authentisign is the quickest and easiest way to sign or get signatures. The new Authentisign is simple yet sophisticated. It gives your clients a modern experience and a smile once their contracts are finalized. It gives you a smooth experience from start to finish, so you can get great results. And you can't get it anywhere else. Starting July 6th, we will be rolling out the new Authentisign in a phased approach. Keep an eye out for in-product messages for more information on when it will be available in your market. To view the original article, visit the Lone Wolf blog.
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Getting to the Top with Smart Leadership and Powerful Tech
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5 Secrets for Futureproofing Your Brokerage in 2021
The real estate market is hotter than ever, which has caused some unique challenges for both brokerages and agents from coast to coast. Historically low inventory and record-high demand mean a dozen offers are the norm and some houses are selling for way over asking. This is stressful for everyone, especially buyers, their agents, and the brokerages that support them. As part of a recent RISMedia panel moderated by real estate coach Cleve Gaddis, panelists Shawna Alt, President of First Weber, Inc. a brokerage with 70 offices and 1,400 agents in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Will Grewal, Founder and CEO of HomeStack, a white-label real estate app developer based in Los Angeles, and Kim Koraca, Vice President of Marketing at Constellation1, talked about current market trends in a post-pandemic landscape and five of their top tips for succeeding in this challenging market and beyond. Read on to learn what these thought leaders from the brokerage, tech, and vendor spaces say is driving success this year and how brokerages and their teams can seize the opportunities that are right in front of them. 1. Focus on the customer experience Global consulting firm Accenture recently called customer experience one of the top trends to watch. As it rightly points out, "to remain relevant and compete in today's ever-changing world, customer experience strategies need to be top of mind for every stakeholder in your business." What does that mean for brokerages? "Our customers are our agents," said Shawna. "They have the needs we have to meet." When First Weber made this their core focus, they solidified their business and the rest of the pieces fell into place. Cleve observed that when brokerages take care of agents' needs and provide impeccable support, they actually have time to add value for consumers, their end customers. This chain of high-value support is what will keep agents engaged and leads flowing—even when times are tough. 2. Create the right culture As Shawna pointed out during the panel, "culture is everything," and she wasn't referring to ping-pong tables and espresso machines. The building blocks of any corporate culture, the what, why, and how of what you do, must be the roadmap for every business decision. First Weber's culture centers around helping their agents build their business. If something they're doing isn't helping their agents, they think about what they need to change so that it does. Instilling the right culture has a huge impact on business, and First Weber attributes its remarkably high retention rate in large part to the way it supports its agents in everything they do. Will added that an empowering culture is ultimately what gets team members to walk through the door in the morning and win the day. Culture can't be seen, but it can be felt, and it boils down to creating an environment in which team members can thrive and, ultimately, provide the best service to customers, be they internal or external. 3. Hone in on lifestyle If pandemic was the buzzword that defined 2020, the buzzword defining the real estate sector today is lifestyle for both agents and consumers. Why? The pandemic has forced many people to put their lives into perspective, and the (possibly permanent) transition to remote work has opened up a world of possibilities. As Kim pointed out, consumers used to be guided by their needs ("I need a 4-bedroom house for my growing family in this neighborhood with this school and a doable commute to work"). Now, they can be guided by their wants and buy in markets with the amenities they want or where they can get more bang for their buck. This has created a shift towards lifestyle brokerages, or brokerages that put their clients' lifestyles first. And it isn't just buyer lifestyles that have taken the front seat. For a brokerage like First Weber, their agent-centric model means operating from a position of understanding their agents' lifestyles, too, and helping them find their unique definition of success. The result is an individualized roadmap for reaching their goals and tailored support along the way, resulting in higher satisfaction, better retention, and better performance. 4. Use the right tools If it seems like there's a new tool for everything these days, you're right! Brokerages and agents alike need to create the perfect suite of tools to take low-value tasks off their plates, from digital marketing and lead gen to sales enablement and streamlining the transaction process from start to finish. Consumer expectations are also changing at the speed of light. The rise of mobile means that buyers and sellers expect near-instant reactivity and answers from their agents, and agents need the support to make that possible. Trends like customized mobile push notifications, real-time listing syncs and chat features, and virtual open houses are all gaining a firmer foothold in the industry. Will observed that some agents are still sending their leads to third-party sites or apps to search for properties because they might not even know that these platforms are pulling out all the stops to steal those leads away, while brokerages are unaware that there are alternatives like customized apps that can help them improve the customer experience and their brokerage marketing at the same time. Tech tools are an investment, but one that generates a massive return. The companies that make the investment soonest will see the biggest returns, while those that wait until the last minute will be playing catchup for years. 5. Find the right partners Will put it perfectly during the panel, citing an expression his dad used to say: "You can go quick by yourself, or you can go far with others." Today, partnerships mean everything, and when there's mutual alignment, you can go farther faster. The partnership paradigm works at every level of the organization. Brokerages and agents should see each other as mutual partners who, by helping each other, help consumers buy and sell homes. In the same vein, brokerages should seek out meaningful and productive partnerships with their vendors, for example, a company like HomeStack. In turn, real estate tech vendors need partners on their team to make their products the best they can be, like robust data services from the data experts at Constellation1. The result is an entire partnership ecosystem with mutually beneficial relationships driving value every step of the way. "Constellation1 has been an excellent partner," Shawna said. "They customize their services to First Weber the same way we customize our services to our agents." Futureproof your brokerage No one knows what the future holds, but brokerages must prepare by working towards resilient business models that keep them at the top of their markets. Following these five tips will help brokerages and agents create their own markets as time goes on so they can weather even the most challenging periods. Many thanks to RISMedia for hosting this engaging panel and to Cleve Gaddis for moderating. If you're interested in learning more about these trends and how Constellation1 can help, get in touch with us today. Watch the session here. To view the original article, visit the Constellation1 blog.
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Keeping Your Team on Track and Ready for the Next Challenge
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Mission, Vision and Values: More than Fancy Posters, a Business Solution
There is that moment in an executive's leadership life when they look around the office and think; what in the world are we doing? The symptoms leading up to that moment are usually: inconsistent operations, office silos, and a general feeling that while much is being done, not much is actually being accomplished. The cliché for this situation is the rudderless ship that lacks a clear direction. I also liken it to a beginning swimmer who kicks up tons of water but barely moves two feet forward. Understandably, organizations with their heavy workloads and varying needs get swept up into day-to-day activity and find it difficult to take time to plan. Time is at a premium. Mission, Vision, and Values to the Rescue There is a rapid fix to getting back on track. It is the creation of three pillars that are often misunderstood: Mission, Vision, and Values. These concepts build the basis for the company road map, and they shine a guiding light on the pathway to goals-oriented success. In short, these three pillars are the foundation for clear direction. According to HR professionals of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the definitions of Mission, Vision, and Values can be defined as: A mission statement is the "what" of a company – its reason for being. "A mission statement is a concise explanation of the organization's reason for existence. It describes the organization's purpose and its overall intention. The mission statement supports the vision and serves to communicate purpose and direction to employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders." Here are examples of two highly regarded mission statements: Facebook: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Starbucks: Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. When well written, the mission statement can settle disagreements about priorities. The vision statement is the "why" of a company – its defined purpose. "A vision statement looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve. It is inspirational and aspirational and should challenge employees." Among those vision statements called incredible are these two examples: Amazon: Our vision is to be Earth's most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online. LinkedIn: Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. When well written, a vision statement reminds management and staff where the company is going and what problems they are trying to solve. A statement of values speaks to your organization's culture and standards. "A values statement lists the core principles that guide and direct the organization and its culture. In a values-led organization, the values create a moral compass for the organization and its employees. It guides decision-making and establishes a standard against which actions can be assessed. These core values are an internalized framework that is shared and acted on by leadership." Here are the lists of values for two well-known companies. Adobe: Genuine Exceptional Innovative Involved American Express: Customer Commitment Quality Integrity Teamwork Respect for People Good Citizenship A Will to Win Personal Accountability When effectively constructed, company values answer questions of conduct, operations and the unique values of the organization. "What's going on in the inside shows on the outside." – Earl Nightingale In addition to the internal benefits of the establishing mission, vision and values are the brand benefits. Essentially, what happens inside of a company is reflected on the outside. Whatever internally is happening manifests to customers, stakeholders, and the public, impacting the brand and all operations associated with the brand. MVV Is Your Company MVP Statements and commitments of Mission, Vision, and Values affect each aspect of business operations and are why these pillars are taken seriously in the business world. There is a method to establishing your Mission, Vision, and Values to best serve your organization. If we can help guide your process and add that proverbial rudder to your ship, contact us. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Getting Time Back, with Tech
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Don't Let MLS Challenges Get You Down
On April 6, Constellation1 President Andrew Binkley sat down with Jeff Kennedy, Vice President of Sales and Partnerships at Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, for a quick Facebook Live chat about the current real estate data landscape and how a data expert can help. We know MLS data challenges because we've been in your shoes At Constellation1, our data expertise is actually rooted in data experience. Over the past 20 years as we've learned, grown, and acquired the partners that make up our family of companies—we developed a data skill set that is unlike any other aggregator out there. As Andrew points out, by gradually combining and integrating the separate data aggregation systems of each of our departments and acquisitions, we've created a single center of data excellence comprising a single API for more than 500 MLSs. We understand your data challenges intimately, because they are challenges we've had to solve ourselves. With Constellation1 Data Services, we take the value we've created internally and make it available to our customers. Benefits of better data for brokerages In contrast to many real estate tech vendors, most franchises and brokerages aren't currently managing their own data. Instead, they access it through their vendors, who themselves may be managing it with varying degrees of success. But franchises and brokerages can reap enormous benefits from managing their own data and have access to much more data than they realize. And as MLS participants, they can do a lot more with that data than their vendors can: Agent recruitment and retention: MLS data can provide a wealth of knowledge about agent performance. In the increasingly competitive real estate landscape, knowing what agents to bring on your team can be the difference between a hit year and a total flop. Lead capture: Knowing where to focus your energies to find sellers that are likeliest to list means better lead opportunities and more commission income for your team. Maximizing marketing spend: Spend the same amount on your marketing, but get a 2–3x better ROI by using data to drive your marketing and decision making. New data models, new challenges To reap these benefits, an increasing number of brokerages and franchises are getting the appropriate licenses from MLSs and negotiating usage rights to access all sorts of data directly. However, not only does managing the data itself take an enormous amount of time and resources, so does negotiating MLS agreements and usage rights and managing MLS relationships and compliance. For many, doing it in-house simply isn't sustainable. Working with an experienced partner who thoroughly understands data use cases and has 500+ established MLS partnerships means saved time, saved money, and less stress for everyone involved. One company, many solutions Andrew and Jeff wrapped up their conversation emphasizing that Constellation1 isn't eight different companies under a new umbrella, but truly one unified company with many different solutions that provides top-tier, white-glove service. If you have a need for your franchise, brokerage, or real estate company, contact us today. We will put you in touch with the right person or put on our thinking caps to find a solution. To view the original article, visit the Constellation1 blog.
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What You Should Know About Website Accessibility
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5 More Problems that Form Simplicity Helps Brokers Resolve
The pandemic put a spotlight on the crucial role digital transaction management solutions play in keeping America's real estate engine running. Agents and brokers can no longer rely on paper-based transactions. Cloud-based transaction management programs, like Form Simplicity, offer brokers an array of tools to manage better and monitor their agents – and their deals. Recently, we looked at five of the most common problems that Form Simplicity helps brokers solve. Here are five more common problems that Form Simplicity can help brokers tackle: 1. How can a transaction management solution help a broker grow their business? Two of the top goals of all brokerages are recruiting new agents and retaining current ones. When brokers focus on agent attraction and retention, Form Simplicity Ultimate Edition can be one of the sharpest arrows in a broker's quiver. You can remove hurdles agents face and reduce out-of-pocket expenses as: Smart forms help agents reduce time spent inputting property listing information, and built-in calculators to reduce math errors. Exceptional tech support provided by Tech Helpline, the No. 1 real estate tech support service, gives agents the assistance they need, helping to answer all their questions. By providing unlimited eSign, brokers give agents a safe digital signature solution and avoid the expense of securing an e-signing solution. Offering your agents the best edition of Form Simplicity can become a cornerstone of your recruitment and retention efforts. You can learn more about the Ultimate Edition and broker benefits here. 2. Do you use automation to ensure compliance and reduce risk? Do you fear an audit? Brokers who want to mitigate risk focus their efforts on compliance, which can be remarkably time-consuming. Form Simplicity helps you close transactions properly by automatically tracking everything related to a specific transaction and keeping it all in one place for easy access. By making transactions transparent and keeping communication open, Form Simplicity helps brokers and their agents remain compliant. With Form Simplicity, everyone who needs to have access to contracts, files, and communications of a transaction can retrieve the information quickly. Form Simplicity's backbone was built for compliance. Brokers can set up a review process. Brokers have easy access to a digital folder, which keeps all the information about each transaction in one place. Digital timestamps and centralization of all documents and communications are automatic. If an audit is required, the process for the broker will be much smoother. Brokers, agents, and clients can rest easy with the safety protocols for eSign, which features bank-grade security. By automating the tracking of your transactions with Form Simplicity, brokers can reduce the amount of time they spend on compliance-related issues and reduce the fear of an audit. You can learn more about Form Simplicity and compliance here. 3. Do you need to keep better track of your agents' workflow? For brokers who hate missing approval deadlines, Form Simplicity keeps you on time and track by showing you the status of your agents' transactions with great detail. With Form Simplicity, you can set up task lists for your agents' transactions. You also can create templated checklists for agents to use when submitting their documentation for broker review. Agent and broker workflow is improved as brokers can easily approve the submissions or, if needed, communicate with their agents about what is needed next for each transaction. Form Simplicity allows: Brokers to set up pre-set task lists and document review processes. Accessible communication with agents during every stage of the transaction. Everyone to benefit from safe online storage. You can learn more about how Form Simplicity can help you improve agent workflow here. 4. Do you want to improve office organization? Are you still buried in paperwork – using actual paper? For brokers who want to make sure their transactions are centralized, digitized, and safe, Form Simplicity can help. You can provide your brokerage with an instantly better-organized system based in the cloud. You and your agents will have fast and easy access to all the information related to their transactions by keeping it all in a single digital place. Nothing will be lost, misfiled, misplaced, or accidentally tossed, as it can happen with a paper-based brokerage. Form Simplicity can help your brokerage accelerate quick adoption, eliminate user confusion and the business delays a poor implementation can cause. With Form Simplicity, your brokerage will get: A designated and experienced technician to help you set up your firm. Access to live webinars. Unmatched tech support via Tech Helpline at launch and beyond. Learn more about Form Simplicity advantages for brokers here. 5. How safe are your transaction files? If there was a fire, flood, theft, or other disasters, would all of your files be protected? For brokers who want to make sure all of their transaction documents are safe from unforeseen consequences created by a fire, flood, theft, or other disasters, Form Simplicity stores all documents digitally and securely. For additional protection, files are also stored in redundant locations to prevent digital loss. Think about what happens in your brokerage every day. Do your agents lock all their file drawers every night? Do you have time to check and make sure? The chances for loss, theft, or fraud with a paper-based transaction management system versus a digital one are clearly much higher. With bank-grade security, Form Simplicity protects every file that is created or shared online. Only those with permission can access information that is in Form Simplicity. Think of Form Simplicity as your office transaction vault. Form Simplicity gives brokers: Unlimited online document storage with the Ultimate Edition. Brokers, agents, and clients can rest easy with the bank-grade security of eSign. Redundant cloud solution centers safeguard data as a backup of everything that is a built-in security feature. Data centers were purpose-built to deliver maximum performance, which means you get greater reliability and assured connectivity. Data centers feature 2N UPS power redundancy and N+1 cooling redundancy – a higher level of protection for your data. Your technical folks will especially appreciate it. Here are more ways Form Simplicity helps brokers. Remember, we packed Form Simplicity with broker management tools and features to help you every step of the way. From its very beginning, Form Simplicity was designed with brokers in mind and the challenges you face every day. Every time we update and improve Form Simplicity, we focus on how new features can help you do your job better. You can learn more about Form Simplicity Broker tools at formsimplicity.com/brokers. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Real Estate SEO: How Do I Get Shown in Google's Featured Snippets?
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6 Top Reasons Brokerages Should Stop Managing Their Own MLS Feeds
MLS data management is a tricky business, and it isn't just big franchises and national listing sites that are navigating the difficult waters. Increasingly, medium- to large-sized brokerages are growing beyond their city limits and carving out unique niches, requiring them to have access to higher-quality listing data across multiple MLSs. To do this, many are tempted to manage MLS feeds in-house. For some, in-house management can pay off, for others, it's a decision they may regret. Here are six of the top reasons your company should rely on an expert data partner instead. You've outgrown the benefits For brokerages operating in one or two distinct markets with a handful of MLS feeds, managing data in-house, or via the integration you may have from your website or back-office software, makes sense. If you choose to DIY, you get to manage relationships and information that align with your strategy and enjoy increased control. But what happens when you want to grow? As you add new regions, the challenges with accessing, displaying, and managing multiple MLS relationships and data use cases increase exponentially, and the benefits you once enjoyed start to slip away. You're taxing your resources It's hard to manage MLS data at scale. The more feeds you need, the harder it becomes. Most in-house teams lack the time and expertise required to fully leverage MLS data due to the sheer number of variables and potential issues. The patchwork of nearly 600 MLSs across the US, each with its own unique rules and way of doing things, means 600+ ways for your team to stumble. The management of the listing data will consume resources and deprioritize other key projects in the brokerage. You're providing a third-rate user experience Home search trends are shifting. Homebuyers are searching wider areas with stricter parameters and don't want to visit multiple sites. Data quality, completeness, and reliability are key. Without the right expertise on your side, this is easier said than done. If a feed goes down, your already-taxed team might be left troubleshooting issues they have never encountered before and have no idea how to solve, and your leads—potential homebuyers—miss out. An exceptional customer experience begins with an exceptional website backed by exceptional data. You're relying on an unreliable partner If you aren't managing your MLS data, you might be relying on your website provider to do it for you. However, like your in-house team, your provider might be trying to manage data feeds themselves, or worse, getting data from an unreliable third party that doesn't have the required data expertise, providing a poor product, and putting you at risk for MLS compliance issues. Have you ever questioned if you have the best listing and MLS data experts supporting your company's data needs? You're pulling your hair out More cons than pros, more challenges than solutions, more frustration than benefits. You might be at the end of your rope, unsure of what to do next. But your analysis paralysis means you're stuck, and without a path forward, it's easier to stay where you are. There's a better way: work with an expert data aggregator An expert data aggregator like Constellation1, which has more than 20 years of experience putting MLS data to work, takes the hassle of managing multiple MLS feeds off your plate. Data aggregators manage all MLS relationships, contracts, compliance, and data feed issues, providing a constant stream of the most up-to-date and complete data available and access to new MLS feeds at the drop of a hat. Outsourcing data management means you can benefit from economies of scale, leverage industry expertise, and trust a dedicated team of more than two dozen people to handle everything behind the scenes, so you can focus on what you do best. Have questions about what it would mean to entrust your data management to an expert? Get in touch with Constellation1 today. To view the original article, visit the Constellation1 blog.
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Broker Resource Network Launches Powerfully with Attractive Opportunity for Firm Owners
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LeadingRE Names Michael Pappas Chairman of the Board
Congratulations to Mike Pappas, the newly elected President of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. Through his leadership, his organization is, by far, one of the most progressive and successful brokerages in America. With his leadership, I am confident that LeadingRE will continue to provide valuable strategic support, training and networking, coupled with the profitability generated from one of the most powerful referral networks in America today. Read the full release below: Leading Real Estate Companies of the World Names Michael Pappas Chairman of the Board CHICAGO (June 7, 2021) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) announced today that Michael Pappas of The Keyes Family of Companies has been elected to a two-year term as chairman of the board of directors. The board provides strategic guidance for LeadingRE®, a global network of 550 market-leading real estate firms in 70 countries. Mr. Pappas is the President & CEO of The Keyes Family of Companies, a South Florida based real estate company with multiple real estate brands, over 50 branches, 3,500 plus Associates and affiliates that include Capital Partners Mortgage, Home Partners Title, Keyes Insurance, and Keyes Property Management. With sales and services in excess of $8.3 billion annually, the company is one of the largest independent brokerage firms in the United States. Mr. Pappas graduated Cum Laude from Wake Forest University, where he majored in Business and Spanish. He joined Keyes as a Sales Associate in 1980 and held a variety of positions, including General Sales Manager, until taking over as President in 1992. Mr. Pappas has been the recipient of numerous awards and designations, including the YPO Legacy Award and "Real Estate Up and Comer of the Year" by Price Waterhouse and "Best Real Estate Deal of the Year" by South Florida Magazine. The past three years, he was named in the National Top 200 Most Powerful People in Real Estate by Swanepoel Power 200. "I am honored to serve such a powerful network of caring, progressive leaders, whose organizations are fully engaged in their 550 communities around the globe," Mr. Pappas said. LeadingRE President/CEO Paul Boomsma comments, "Mike is incredibly respected in the industry, in our network and in the communities served by his companies. He brings a visionary outlook and a true passion for excellence in real estate. We are very fortunate to have him serve in this capacity, and I look forward to working with him to support the continued success of our members and our network." For more information about The Keyes Company, please visit keyes.com. For more information about LeadingRE, please visit leadingre.com. About The Keyes Family of Companies Independently-owned and operated since 1926, The Keyes Company is a leader in the real estate industry. Keyes completed a merger with Illustrated Properties in July 2016. Following the merger, The Keyes Family of Companies has over 50 offices, more than 3,500 Associates and $8.3 billion in annual real estate sales and services. Keyes' offices are distributed throughout six counties – Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Volusia. Keyes expands our Associates' reach globally as a Founding Member and Shareholder of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. The Keyes Company offers a suite of resources to cover whatever needs arise while buying or selling a home. Mortgage, title, insurance and property management needs can all be managed in-house, allowing Keyes to close deals with speed and efficiency while giving clients valuable access to the professionals responsible for the specific service lines. About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a selective global community of the highest quality independent residential real estate companies, with 550 companies and 150,000 sales associates in 70 countries. Network members generate over 1.3 million transactions annually. LeadingRE exists to make its members better by connecting them to opportunities and people around the globe, supporting them with an international referral network, professional development programs, unique events and connections to people and opportunities worldwide.
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RPR Offers Specific Benefits to Commercial Members
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10 Keys to Look for in Buying Broker Products
The following is an excerpt from RE Technology's Success Guide to Broker Technology: If you are like most brokers in America, you probably did not get a degree in systems engineering. That's okay. Most business leaders outside of the technology industry do not. That is why software-as-a-service (SaaS) has become so popular. Here are a few suggestions that you may want to consider when you interview a technology company about a product you like. When was the product built and how long has it been in production? New products tend to have more software bugs than older products, but being new may be the reason you are attracted to them. Be sure to get references from a number of customers that are on the platform and ask about the quality of the product. If the company has an integration with your MLS, ask if they are members of the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) and if they are certified. RESO is the non-profit community that manages data standards which allows software to be quickly integrated with MLS data without a lot of custom programming. What is the company's capital structure? Are they a venture-funded startup? Maybe you want to invest, or maybe you are concerned that you may not like who they sell the company to. Be sure that you have the ability to cancel the contract in the event of a change in control. All of the technologies in your company need to work on mobile. Be sure that your test agents spend some time using the product on a mobile device. Agents don't spend hours in front of a computer screen, they use iOS or Android most of the time. Do they support Single Sign-On (SSO)? This will allow your agents to access the software without remembering 10,000 usernames and passwords. Does it work on both Mac and PC? What are the terms of use? Are they getting access to the ability to repurpose or reuse the data that is contributed into the application or do you own your data? Privacy is becoming a major issue with the passing of more restrictive regulations on how companies can use consumer data. How does the company handle privacy? Indemnity is also a key consideration. Make sure that you are indemnified from any litigation involving their product or your use of the product. Customer support is clearly half of the equation in SaaS. If they do not have a good service department, you will need to make sure that you have the staff resources to provide that. Even better, request a few dedicated service staff. It's always better when you or your agents are talking to the same representative when they have a problem. It makes support familiar and can go a long way toward driving agent satisfaction. Download Success Guide: Broker Technology to learn more about broker technology trends, how to evaluate broker technology, and more.
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Examining Mergers and Acquisitions in the Real Estate Industry
The last several years have seen massive changes in the overall landscape of both the real estate industry, as well as the real estate technology sector. It got me thinking; looking back over those same last couple of years, what led to all of these different mergers and acquisitions, and ultimately was it the right move for their business? The general theme of a recent issue of Real Estate Marketing & Technology is "growth." That being said, some acquisitions aren't always a good thing. Let's first take a look at some different technology acquisitions and the impact that brokerages in the real estate industry felt. In March 2018, an announcement was made that booj/The Enterprise Network had been acquired by RE/MAX. At the time, booj was powering some of the largest brokerages in the nation, almost exclusively independent companies who were members of The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World network. Overnight, nearly 30,000-plus agents were displaced, and 40 real estate brokerages needed to begin looking for a replacement solution immediately. After all, most firms wouldn't want to be using the same technology stack as one of the largest franchises in the country with franchise brokerages in nearly every major market in the United States. In RE/MAX's 2019 Q3 earnings report, they noted that booj had 40 clients account for nearly $7,000,000 in annual revenue. By November 1, 2019, however, they reported that only around $3,000,000 was left in the billing of legacy booj clients. By 2020, that number dropped even more significantly. This shows that within just 20 months of the RE/MAX acquisition, more than half of the clients adversely affected had already left and found new providers. As of my writing this article, I believe only nine brokerages remain on the platform that are not affiliated with RE/MAX. To date, Delta Media Group has worked with nearly a dozen clients to migrate from booj to the DeltaNET™ all-in-one platform. This gave us an intimate look into how these brokerages were burned by a technology vendor who decided to make an exit, rather than continue to service their customers. Let's take a look at another technology example. In February of 2019, another major tech shakeup rocked the industry. Contactually, largely considered one of the best up-and-coming CRMs for real estate, was acquired by "technology" real estate agency, Compass. For years Compass had touted that they were a technology company first, a real estate agency second. Despite these claims, they could not develop a solid in-house solution for their CRM needs, so they used some of their raised capital (more than $1.5 billion thus far) to acquire Contactually. Contactually's acquisition caused many brokerages to re-evaluate their options. They had just seen what happened with booj and RE/MAX only one year prior, and they didn't want to get stuck on a platform with weak support. Again, many brokerages had to disrupt their normal business cycle to conduct a lengthy search for a new technology provider. These searches can be costly, both in time and in investment. One last "technology" acquisition that I have to mention — Zillow acquiring ShowingTime in February of 2021. This is absolutely major news in the industry. We are still in the early stages of this move's ramifications, but brokerages and MLS boards are already scrambling to find replacements for the service. Something so pivotal in an agent's business — scheduling showings of a property — was instantly disrupted by the biggest name in real estate. I believe this is only the first of many technology acquisitions Zillow will make this year as they continue to drive farther and farther into the lane of becoming a traditional brokerage themselves. These three significant events showed me, and the rest of the team at Delta Media Group®, that there was a major need for true independent technology companies in the real estate sector who could help take care of traditional brokerages. Big money in technology is disruptive to traditional real estate firms, and we wanted to be different than the rest of our competition in this space. That's why our CEO Michael Minard has repeatedly denied raising millions in venture capital dollars, so we could continue to operate as a true partner for our clients. After all, the majority of our growth comes when our clients share our story, and their experiences using our product, with the rest of the real estate industry. Those stories don't get told unless we deliver excellent service. There is one tell-tale sign that a merger or acquisition is on the horizon for technology firms: Raising large amounts of dollars through VC funding rounds. The investors will always expect to see three to five times their money, typically within three to five years of making their initial investment. For many tech companies, the goal after raising money is to grow at all costs so that you can conduct a successful exit for your investors. This cycle has been repeated again, and again, and again. That's why it is so critical to know who exactly it is you are trusting a significant part of your business to. Let's shift gears away from the technology side. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are widespread on the real estate side as well. I wanted to share a few snippets of acquisitions that some of our clients have made over the last couple of years. It is always a pleasure to see our clients expand and grow, and I've had a front-row seat to witness the hundreds of different moving pieces that come with a major acquisition. Luckily, thanks to our automations and experience dealing with these mergers on what feels like a weekly basis, we can alleviate the technology challenges that generally come with a migration of hundreds of agents to a new technology platform. In December 2020, one of our partners, Latter & Blum, Inc., made the blockbuster acquisition of Gardner Realtors. Latter & Blum and Gardner Realtors were No. 1 and No. 2 for market share in New Orleans. With more than 700 agents from the Gardner team, this acquisition transformed Latter & Blum into one of the largest brokerages in the country. Following acquisitions of CJ Brown Realtors, Van Eaton & Romero, and Realty Associates, Latter & Blum now boasts more than 3,700 agents and is the second-largest female-led brokerage in the country. Another one of our partners, Coldwell Banker Bain, is also no stranger to acquisitions. They added to their impressive catalog of offices throughout the Pacific Northwest by acquiring Coldwell Banker Morris (100 brokers in Bend, Oregon) at the tail end of 2019. That acquisition marked their fourth office location in Oregon, giving them 300 brokers in that region. Coldwell Banker Bain also has more than 1,200 agents servicing the state of Washington and is the top-ranked Coldwell Banker brokerage in the nation by sales volume (more than $6.28 billion). Finally, a long-time partner of ours, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty, completed multiple mergers in 2020. Homesale has more than 1,400 real estate agents across the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland. They are the No. 29 ranked brokerage in the United States for transaction sides—with 14,523 transactions in 2019. Homesale first acquired Preferred Properties Real Estate, Inc. out of York County, Pennsylvania. Later, in September 2020, the team at Homesale finalized a deal to acquire RE/MAX Sails out of Baltimore, Maryland. These acquisitions marked the thirtieth and thirty-first offices opened by BHHS Homesale. These are just three examples out of nearly 40 acquisitions completed by our customers over the last 18 months. One thing is certain—there will be no slowing down. If you are a smaller brokerage thinking of retiring or making an exit out of the business, I don't think there has ever been a better time to start that conversation inside of your business. Large enterprise brokerages are looking to acquire smaller firms and do whatever possible to gain enough size to pose a threat to Zillow and prevent disruption in their business. In my experience, one of the primary reasons why a real estate agency would move forward with acquiring another firm is typically to gain market share or to move into a new market altogether. One of the major benefits of growing your companies into new markets and expanding your company's overall footprint is that "size matters" when it relates to SEO. The more IDX data you have on your site and the more communities and neighborhoods you highlight can directly translate to an increase in your site's overall SEO value. All three companies I mentioned as growing through acquisitions have also seen massive growth online with their lead generation strategies powered mostly by Delta Media Group's internal marketing team. Latter & Blum has seen an increase of more than 79% traffic to their site from organic (search engine) traffic. The Latter & Blum website had more than 3.5 million visitors over the course of 2020, and this increase in visibility accounted for an increase of 20% in their overall lead generation through their site. In 2020, Latter & Blum generated more than 22,000 leads on their website. Coldwell Banker Bain saw even greater increases in visibility and lead generation. Year over year, comparing 2019 to 2020, Coldwell Banker Bain saw a 98% increase in leads generated through their website and more than a 143% increase in search engine generated traffic to their site. Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty also saw continued growth online, with a 21% increase in organic traffic to their site and a 12% increase in lead generation. Homesales' website saw just shy of 4,000,000 visitors to the site throughout 2020 and had more than 48,000 leads generated for the year. To conclude, mergers, acquisitions, and companies' overall growth in the real estate industry will not slow down. I fully expect to see a massive INCREASE in acquisitions both in the technology sector and real estate throughout 2021. If you are a small to mid-sized brokerage, there has never been a better time to talk about potentially merging with other firms in your market. However, if you are evaluating potential technology partners for your business, I would recommend doing additional due diligence and research on who your prospective tech partner's true owners really are. Try Delta Media Group's DeltaNET 6 FREE for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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Former HomeSeekers CEO John Giaimo Launches New Venture
In the early 90s, John Giaimo founded HomeSeekers and took the company public. Since then, Giaimo has been an active real estate entrepreneur launching Realty Times, Realty Times TV, cable and satellite TV shows, and numerous other ventures. I was able to catch up with John to learn a bit more about his new venture, BringitHomeCommunities.com. Bring It Home Communities has launched two products – Before They List and Before You List. The third product, Virtual Office of the Future, will be launching late summer or this fall. Before They List is a product designed for brokers. The solution allows agents to get feedback from other agents in their office on a listing before the listing agreement is signed by the seller. Giaimo states, "We have learned that consumers and their agents would like to crowdsource opinions about the marketability of a home before they decide to list it." The product has an interface for the agent to upload a photo and a description of the property along with some seller remarks. The pre-listing gets sent out to the agents in the company like a survey or a poll. This allows the listing agent to share that feedback along with any buyer's demand towards the seller to assist in their decision to list. "Because there is no listing agreement yet, this application is fully compliant with Clear Cooperation policy," says Giaimo. Before You List is the consumer facing lead generation application that is marketed on Facebook and other sites to engage consumers in a conversation before they list. The first six sites prepared for launch will be Bringithomecoloradosprings.com, Bringithomechicago.casa, and sister branded sites for New Jersey, Pleasanton, Las Vegas, and Orange County. In total, Giaimo intends to launch 260 local sites. Each site will be powered by IDX listings from IDX Broker and there will be a broker sponsor for each site. The Pleasanton site is live: bringithomepleasanton.com The Virtual Office of the Future product launch is the company's idea for a broker back office solution that focuses on hybrid learning (in office and remote) featuring security, conference room, whiteboard, voting, 360 cameras, digital signage, and a really interesting new product that brings back the talking house, which allows a broadcast about a property from the house to the curb. Giaimo is also considering the launch of a TV show: "America's Funniest Realtors" (which unless NAR gave its blessing, would need to be renamed "America's Funniest Real Estate Agents"). One thing about John, which is true about most entrepreneurs: they are passionate about everything they undertake. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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How Strong Leaders Can Make All the Difference
The most successful real estate agents are always looking for ways to evolve, improve their craft, help their fellow team members, and advance their own careers. Those qualities make some top-performing agents ideal candidates for leadership roles, and placing the right agents in the right positions is crucial for overall agent retention. Leaders will feel more valued and fulfilled when working in roles that allow them to grow their careers, while promising new agents are more likely to stick around when they have trusted mentors on the team. Prioritizing agent leadership and retention are two of the biggest components in any real estate team's long-term success. Growing Agent Leadership and Retention Why Agent Retention Should Always Be a Top Priority - According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the average tenure for agents at their current firm is four years. Naturally, you want your best agents to work with you for much longer than that, not only because their skills benefit your team but because the cost of replacing an agent is incredibly steep. The financial cost of training, onboarding, and equipping a new agent is significant, with no guarantee that the fresh hire will be a perfect fit for your brand or culture. Team morale can be negatively impacted by the departure of experienced agents as well, and new leaders will have to fill the void. Retaining your best agents has so many benefits, starting with avoiding the challenges that come with trying to replace them. How to Identify Agents with Leadership Potential - The best leaders are always looking for the next challenge. They want to learn, grow, adapt, improve, advance, and use their own experiences to help other agents who are following in their footsteps. These agents are often team players who will unofficially take on leadership roles before receiving any type of official recognition. They will help new agents learn the business and deal with the unique emotional challenges that can come with launching a real estate career. Their door will always be open when someone needs to talk, and other team members will often turn to them for advice. An agent who is a patient, knowledgeable, and personable team player will usually have the tools necessary to take on a leadership role. Not Every Top Performer Will Be a Leadership Fit - Let's be honest—being a top performer, on its own, doesn't necessarily qualify an agent to be a leader. Someone who's great at selling homes won't always be similarly skilled at leading other team members, and not every top performer will be interested in taking on the added responsibilities that come with being a leader. And that's okay! Those agents can still be valuable team members as long as they get along with the rest of the team while setting a positive example through their performance. Even if they don't take active leadership positions, there are plenty of ways for them to positively affect the day-to-day business. The most important thing is finding the right role for everyone and allowing them to thrive in it. Leadership Roles and Retaining Your Best Agents - The best leaders are often the agents looking to get more out of their careers than just a healthy paycheck. These individuals succeed in real estate because their skills as an agent are topnotch, and they're confident that those skills will help them excel no matter what market they're working in. They seek a level of professional fulfillment that goes beyond dollars and cents, which is why a leadership role can be a perfect way to retain them for the long haul. Leading other agents helps to provide that fulfillment while opening up unique paths for career advancement. How the Right Leaders Can Help Retain and Grow New Agents - Starting fresh and becoming a successful real estate agent is not easy, but it's also a path that many individuals have already walked. Use that experience to your benefit and to help everyone on your team. Whether it's a new agent trying to learn the ropes or a more experienced agent who has hit a rough patch, having a trusted, team-focused mentor is crucial to finding success. A leader does more than help other agents sell homes. They also help with all of the complexities that come with pursuing a real estate career. Their knowledge allows them to put challenges in perspective while providing real, proven solutions to help team members succeed. Add it all up, and it's no surprise that the most successful, cohesive real estate teams rely on great leaders. Why Leadership, Team Building and Agent Retention Go Hand-in-Hand Think about a time in your own career when you may have felt a little lost, were unsure of what to do next, or simply needed some encouragement from a trusted source. It's often in those small, personal moments that the best leaders genuinely shine. Leadership can be as simple as providing some encouraging words to someone who's going through a challenging time or an open ear to help someone vent their frustrations. It can also be as complicated as assisting a team member in identifying an underlying issue that's impacting their performance and helping them create a detailed plan for how to overcome it. At some point in their career, every agent will face challenges that are difficult to deal with alone. In some cases, those challenges will be make-or-break moments where the agent is thinking about possibly moving on to a new firm or even pursuing a new career altogether. A skilled leader has the wherewithal to deal with those obstacles and knows how to approach other agents in a way that gets through to each unique personality. They are the glue that holds any successful team together, and playing that role gives them the fulfillment they need to be satisfied with their own career. In other words, leadership is ultimately a symbiotic relationship, which helps with agent retention in multiple ways. Of course, new or less experienced agents benefit by having a leader they can rely upon, but the leader also benefits by having team members who count on them for help. As newer agents grow their skills and accumulate experience, they can look forward to taking on their own leadership roles. When the whole team is working toward the same goals, the workplace environment is positive, leading to a strong team and making it that much easier to retain every member of the team. How Will Your Leaders Shape Your Real Estate Team? Finding leaders isn't always easy, but it's more than worth the effort. Every agent is unique, just like every team is unique. Leaders help to set the standard for the culture of your team and can elevate those around them. Some leaders are naturally skilled at the role, while others grow into it over the course of their careers. By identifying the right people and encouraging them to take on more active leadership roles, you're ultimately shaping the future of your real estate team. And with the right people in place, that future will be looking bright for years to come. Help your real estate team or brokerage lead the way with powerful technology. Try DeltaNET 6 FREE for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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The Role of Real Estate Agents in an iBuyer, Bridge Buyer World
Last week, zavvie, the creators of the first marketplace for real estate agents to help homeowners see all their selling choices, announced securing a $1.75 million inside round. In the VC world of funding, an inside round means all the funding came from the folks who already invested in zavvie. That includes NAR's Second Century Ventures, which selected zavvie as part of its Reach Class in 2019. It is an indication of a burgeoning confidence in the business model zavvie has created as well as its scalability. zavvie strategically has carved out a way for agents to remain at the center of every real estate sales transaction. Brokerages using a zavvie-powered platform – one that is often white labeled to the brokerage's brand – can help homeowners sort through all of their choices. Most importantly, homeowners employ the guidance of a trusted professional: their real estate agent. That means because of zavvie, an agent will earn their commission no matter what path a homeowner chooses when they decide to sell. The value of a real estate agent as a trusted advisor has never been higher. For more than a decade, new real estate tech players have come onto the scene, predicting the internet would "disintermediate" agents. More recently, the term disintermediate has by replace by the word "disruption." But the predictions by many of these new real estate tech startups remain the same: that tech disruption will replace agents. Apparently, all these firms forgot to ask consumers what they want. NAR has been tracking what consumers want over many years. Eighty-nine percent of sellers and 88% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001. The fact that more consumers want and are willing to pay for the help of a professional real estate agent should not be a surprise. A home sale remains the largest transaction most of us will ever make in our lifetime. Would you entrust a crucial surgery to an amateur? Selling a home is actually more complicated with all the new selling choices. Homeowners want to see all their choice, they want to compare and someone with industry knowledge and skill to have their back. Every selling option available today has its own unique pros and cons. Homeowners can take many different paths: They can decide to accept an all-cash instant offer from an iBuyer like Zillow or Open Door. They can choose to pursue the "buy before you sell" offering of a Bridge Buyer, swapping a home with a firm like Knock or Homeward. They can engage a Concierge service to fix up their home without any cash outlay as improvements are deducted from the sale proceeds. Or they can opt for the traditional Open Market listing of their home, which is the most popular choice, as it often results in the highest sales price and greatest net proceeds. At one of the last in-person Inman Connects, one of the presenters on the last day of the conference showed venture capital was flowing away from companies that were positioned as real estate disruptors to firms, like zavvie, that are working with the industry and not against it. Having worked with the folks at zavvie over the last few years, we have watched their transformation into what a brokerage needs today to take advantage of what iBuyers and Bridge Buyers are doing. Unlike others, zavvie doesn't see iBuyers and Bridge Buyers as the enemy – just the opposite. These players are another partner in the process for agents and their clients when the solution fits. zavvie helps brokerages and their agents coop this business as they have deliberately placed themselves in the middle of this new marketplace. Here's the news release with more details about zavvie and its business momentum. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Sotheby's International Realty Triumphs in the 25th Annual Webby Awards
Sotheby's International Realty announced today that sothebysrealty.com has been named the Best Real Estate Website in the People's Choice Category in the 25th Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the "Internet's highest honor" by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the internet. "The new sothebysrealty.com has delivered record performance, with visits increasing by 37% this past quarter alone," said Bradley Nelson, chief marketing officer of Sotheby's International Realty. "As with everything we do, Sotheby's International Realty delivers a best-in-class experience and global exposure. Our website is no exception and we're proud to improve the buying and selling process while connecting clients to the best in the industry, no matter where they are in the world." Created in collaboration with global experience design agency Huge, sothebysrealty.com delivers an editorial-style approach that complements the brand's international presence in 74 countries and territories. The website was relaunched in 2020 to feature translations in 14 languages and nearly 60 currency conversions and designed with a mobile-first approach to emphasize the method in which today's clients are buying and selling homes. The platform also mirrors consumers' desire for engaging content and reinforces the brand's continued dedication to high-quality video and photography. "The appeal of sothebysrealty.com is its ability to remain an enduring brand and a seasoned expert in a space increasingly dominated by algorithms," said Jon Judah, group vice president, strategy of Huge. "That's what really drove our collaboration on the redesign of sothebysrealty.com. The idea of having a great real estate experience isn't limited to slick new technology, but instead revealing the magic of working with true professionals in the industry." "Sotheby's International Realty has set the standard for innovation and creativity on the internet," added Claire Graves, executive director of The Webby Awards. "This award is a tribute to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators." IADAS, which nominates and selects The Webby Award Winners, is comprised of internet industry experts including Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker; MOMA Senior Curator Paola Antonelli; Host of NPR's Code Switch Shereen Marisol Meraji; R/GA Global Chief Creative Officer Tiffany Rolfe; Co-Inventor of the Internet Vint Cerf; DJ and Founder, Club Quarantine D-Nice; Co-host Desus & Mero on Showtime Desus Nice; SVP of Content at Twitch Michael Aragon; Twitter Senior Director, Product Design Richard Ting; and Founders of VERZUZ Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. To view the award-winning website, visit sothebysrealty.com.
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Meet RESO Volunteer, Board Advisor, Homesnap Exec and Real Estate Dynamo Liz Tewksbury
Liz Tewksbury is a dynamo in the real estate industry. As MLS Operations Director at Homesnap, she has an abundance of energy, passion and commitment to everything she undertakes while remaining unflustered by change. She's not only an active Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) volunteer and Board of Directors Advisor, she's also a self-described "exercise junkie" and a mother of five. Tewksbury has adeptly navigated a dynamic career over the last decade, first as an MLS executive and now helping manage technology services provided to MLSs. Chasing after two sons, triplet daughters and a rapidly evolving real estate technology landscape has a way of improving one's stamina. With the acquisition of Homesnap by real estate industry giant CoStar, a firm at the vertex of industry change which also recently purchased Homes.com, Tewksbury remains singularly focused on the MLS industry as an avid, veteran supporter of real estate standards. RESO's Impact on Tewksbury's Career "I have learned over the years that 90 percent of real estate technology is listening, learning and asking as many questions as you need to, so you fully understand the product and issues at hand," said Tewksbury in a recent interview with RESO. That was one of the reasons Tewksbury was initially attracted to working with RESO's vast network of member organizations. "The first time that I attended a RESO conference, I was just scratching the surface of understanding the importance of adopting RESO standards," recalled Tewksbury. "I remember going to that conference looking for my 'why.' I knew that RESO creates the standards that drive innovation in our industry. But what I learned at that first conference was that adopting RESO standards results in faster software development and more accurate, robust and informative data for agents, brokers and consumers." Today, making RESO efforts a priority is a given for Tewksbury, whether attending the next conference or adopting and deploying a new standard. "Data standards help MLS/vendor partnerships. When an MLS is RESO-compliant, plugging their data into an existing platform is seamless for the vendor," said Tewksbury. "Adoption of data standards will lead to a better experience on all real estate technology platforms for both consumers and agents. Isn't that a common goal for all of us?" RESO's Impact on Homesnap "When we first launched Homesnap, we had six simple search filters," Tewksbury noted. She understood the frustration consumers experienced when they didn't get the highly tailored results they expected when searching on Homesnap.com. "When the data isn't available in RESO standard fields, our developers have to adjust their filters to use additional custom fields," Tewksbury said. "And that only works if we can even locate where that data may be in a custom, non-standard system." "With hundreds of MLS data feeds coming in, you can imagine the manual process that this entails," she continued. "This can be a source of frustration for brokers, agents and their clients, along with any buyer or seller that may be attempting to search for property in a market that is not using RESO standards." The difference for Homesnap was using RESO data standards when they expanded the platform's search capabilities. "I'm happy to report that with our new upgrade, we now have 23 search filters all using RESO standard fields," said Tewksbury. RESO also plays a vital role when a firm operates in multiple real estate markets. With more data feeds, challenges are magnified. Homesnap works with more than 240 MLSs covering 90 percent of all listed properties in the U.S. "When we started developing the new search functionality, we quickly realized that using RESO standards would greatly simplify the process and shorten development time," Tewksbury explained. Showings Homesnap has applied that same standards-first thinking to the development of a new feature called Homesnap Showings. Users will be allowed to schedule property showings with their agents directly in the Homesnap app. "We have a large team of developers dedicated to this project," said Tewksbury. "Not only are they ensuring that the fields used are from the RESO Data Dictionary, they're also ensuring that the data can be transported via a RESO-compliant API and offers interoperability with others in the showing service space." Standardized data starts with listings but extends to many other facets of the real estate professional's guidance of a consumer through the transaction process. The showing experience for agents and consumers becomes much more efficient across brokerages and MLSs with data standards. Commercial and Residential While CoStar has a leadership position in the commercial real estate space, Tewksbury emphasized that Homesnap is expected to remain focused on residential properties. Homesnap does have commercial listings available as well though. Always Active, Forever Learning Tewksbury is an active runner, Peloton rider and gym attendee living in New England. She has completed a "Climb to the Top" of the 62-story 200 Clarendon Street (formerly John Hancock Tower) in Boston, the tallest building in New England, an event that supports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This summer, she's looking forward to "everything and anything Lake Winnipesaukee," her favorite place to retreat for recreation and relaxation. But she also can't wait to help create technical solutions with real estate industry folks in person. "I happen to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry and a group of all-around go-getters," said Tewksbury. "Having positive people in your day-to-day life is always great motivation." Tewksbury encourages you to join RESO if you are not a member. You can learn more at reso.org or register to attend the next in-person (with a virtual option) RESO conference, RESO REtreat, October 18–21, 2021, Kiawah Island, SC, with details at reso.org/reso-retreat.
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Inside Real Estate Launches Another Winner with CORE Present
Inside Real Estate continues to expand the functionality of kvCORE by introducing CORE Present, which is revolutionizing the CMA and presentation experience. The company acquired the award-winning dashCMA in 2020. Their launch of CORE Present, which was built upon the popular pricing and data visualization features of dashCMA, leverages one of the key strengths of Inside Real Estate, which is their MLS connectors that allow agents to build an interactive presentation from data refreshed every 15 minutes or less from the multiple listing service. This keeps the data constantly fresh and eliminates the need for agents to search listings for their CMA in the MLS then import them to a CMA tool. As you would expect, agents can add or remove comparable listings from CORE Present to hone in on the right homes to inform consumers of active, pending, and recently sold properties that influence home prices. But then it gets interesting. CORE Present is fully interactive on the spot, letting you address questions from clients and show them answers in real-time. When clients ask how much more they'll get for their home because it has a pool, you can instantly highlight the average price of homes, both active and sold, with and without pools. Adjusting real-time during your presentation is going to set you apart. CORE Present also comes with customization and "presets" that make it incredibly easy to adjust the presentation based on seller personas. For example, if your client is committed to selling but "shopping" for the right agent, the presentation will adjust content to focus on why you're the right agent for the job, versus a seller who's more focused on top market dollar—which will lead with pricing analysis. There are also design themes which display a more luxury aesthetic, traditional, modern, etc. You can adjust the style to fit the unique circumstances of the client. Inside Real Estate threw in one more of its well-known techy features by providing behavioral insights that help the agent know how to follow up by seeing when they opened the presentation, which comps they spent the most time viewing, or other areas they spent time viewing. This not only tells agents when to follow up, but gives them a script based on what's most important to their client. You can find more information about CORE Present on the Inside Real Estate website where you can request a demo. You will be particularly interested in the interactive dashboard. This product is available to users of kvCORE, who may access it along with the many other tools that complement that suite of professional systems that include agent and team websites, CRM, lead gen, marketing studio, and so much more. Adding a pricing and presentation builder to the product lineup at Inside Real Estate will allow the firm to stack additional value into their offering. The native integration for kvCORE users that puts the CMA into the workflow for agents and teams is likely to be a compelling experience for customers.
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How to Keep Your Brokerage Top of Mind Through Low Inventory Periods
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Victor Lund Interviews Lone Wolf Executives Matt Keenan and Jimmy Kelly
In this video interview, Victor Lund of WAV Group meets with Lone Wolf CEO, Jimmy Kelly (top photo), and Chief Revenue Officer, Matt Keenan (bottom photo), about their recent announcement to acquire LionDesk and HomeSpotter. You will gain insights into the backgrounds of both Keenan and Kelly – relatively new real estate industry executives, but very seasoned executives. What follows is a discussion about the role of their private equity owner, Stone Point Capital. The interview digs into many important strategic trends in the real estate industry, including point solutions vs. platforms, and Lone Wolf's people, process, data philosophy. This strategy influences Lone Wolf acquisitions and is the guiding principle of the Lone Wolf Marketplace and workflow integrations. Lund had planned to ask about their experience working with our colorful, longtime colleague and friend, Greg Robertson—but we ran out of time. More on that in a future interview. We hope you enjoy the video of the interview! To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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eXp Gets Creative with Quarterly Results Announcement
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TRIBUS Joins Zillow, Redfin, and Compass with Collaborative Search
If there is an emerging trend in broker websites today, it is collaborative search. Property search should always have been built as a co-buyer application. Zillow and Redfin, who are predominantly direct to consumer brokerages, have figured it out. I am not sure when Compass launched collaborative search. TRIBUS had the functionality a decade ago, but really improved the product with a release announced this week called Households Collaborative Search. Why Websites Should All Have Collaborative Search A single person purchasing a home without any other friends, influencers or decision makers is a fallacy. It either does not happen at all or is so incredibly rare that it is insignificant. So why are most real estate websites constructed with the paradigm of My Saved Search, or My Saved Favorites? Netflix has already figured this out with family accounts. How did real estate miss the boat? As consumers search in pairs or groups, they want to share their saved favorites. With TRIBUS, not only can I favorite a listing, but I can give it a ranking of one to five stars to show the listings that I like more than others. With collaborative search, when the collaborators unanimously pick a five-star property, they get the "It's a match" notification. It is a lot like a dating app. Imagine if co-buyers—like husband and wife, parents, and even kids—were all searching together on the same platform; the collaboration would be excellent for everyone and the agent would see how different collaborators react and discuss different properties. Brilliant. Many home purchases today involve parents helping with the down payment or the mortgage. Multigenerational housing has become more popular, too. Collaborative search not only brings this all together, but it also allows the agent to recognize a "household" rather than an individual. (I cannot tell you how many Realtors send multiple postcards and flyers to our house because they have both my wife and I in their CRM as individuals and not connected to the same household). Strangely enough, my wife and I both have saved searches on Zillow and Redfin—mostly to watch real estate activity around our properties. Redfin connected us; I do not remember how, but they did. Zillow has not connected us. We have not tried Compass or a TRIBUS site yet—but I think that the use of machine learning, big data, and AI would be able to make that magic happen to connect people who already registered. This would be a vast improvement over sharing a listing via email or text—or waving your phone at your wife (which I do). Collaborative search is a fresh new wave of innovation that should have been a feature of websites all along. I will not be surprised if this is a standard feature on all broker and agent websites within a year. But there is more... Collaborative search is the beginning of home ownership portals—one spot for everything that includes all members of the household. Several companies are working on this. I am anxious to see how they come to market. One company working on a home portal solution is Inside Real Estate. They are developing a Home Ownership Platform – code-named HOP. We have not seen it yet, but their plan is to bring together context around home value, property searches, listings of interest and even transactions. Another product that is ready for market today is Milestones.ai. It is impressive and quite possibly the leader in the clubhouse for home ownership portals. Congrats to all for having a vision that builds customers for life. WAV Group has published dozens of articles on this topic – it is great to see it all come together. Here is a link if you would like to read more up on customer for life strategies.
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Online Conferences Suck; Let's Meet at LeadingRE in Vegas
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Lone Wolf Acquires LionDesk and HomeSpotter
Lone Wolf Technologies today announced the acquisitions of two leading real estate technology companies, LionDesk and HomeSpotter. With these acquisitions, Lone Wolf's end-to-end technology suite now encompasses digital marketing, lead generation, customer relationship management (CRM), showings, comparative market analysis (CMA), digital forms and signatures, transaction management, back office and accounting, business insights, and recruiting. "We're thrilled to welcome LionDesk and HomeSpotter into the fold today," said Jimmy Kelly, CEO of Lone Wolf. "These acquisitions embody our mission to simplify real estate. We're bringing the best technology together to dramatically simplify the work that agents and brokers do every day. But this is more than just connecting the dots. From lead to close to commission, we're helping agents and brokers get a leading edge in a competitive marketplace and elevate the real estate experience they provide to buyers and sellers today." LionDesk is used by over 165,000 real estate professionals in the U.S. The company's intelligent CRM software makes it easier for agents to engage with clients by consolidating several communication channels, including video, email, text, calls, and AI-enabled lead follow-up, into one intelligent system. Lone Wolf will integrate LionDesk into its Agent Cloud, Broker Cloud, and MLS/Association Cloud to provide a critical CRM component. "We're incredibly excited to join Lone Wolf today," said David Anderson, CEO and founder of LionDesk. "Like Lone Wolf, LionDesk is committed to creating an ecosystem of the best technology to convert leads into lifelong clients. Combined with Lone Wolf's leading tools for CMA and transactions, our CRM will allow agents, teams, and brokers across the continent to serve their buyers and sellers with an unmatched client experience." HomeSpotter integrates with over 300 MLSs and reaches over 500,000 real estate agents across North America. The company offers three solutions, Connect, Boost and Spacio, to provide agents with automated digital marketing for listings and open houses, a modern MLS front-end mobile app, and an online client collaboration platform. HomeSpotter adds essential digital marketing, lead generation, and relationship nurturing components to Lone Wolf's technology suite, as well as the opportunity to begin applying predictive ROI analysis by connecting to Back Office and leveraging Lone Wolf's data science capabilities. Lone Wolf will connect both LionDesk and HomeSpotter, and also invest in HomeSpotter's open house and showings solution, Spacio, to expand and enhance its functionality. "This a great moment for real estate agents, brokerages, and MLSs," said Aaron Kardell, CEO and founder of HomeSpotter. "Digital technology is more important than ever, and HomeSpotter's mobile tools allow agents and consumers to collaborate in a way that feels natural and effortless. Together with Lone Wolf, our solutions will prove to be a game changer for agents and MLSs everywhere, helping agents and brokerages generate more leads and increase productivity on the go to ensure they remain the central source for real estate listings." These acquisitions follow several recent moves from Lone Wolf, as the company seeks to lead the evolution of real estate technology to incorporate consumer tools, connected experiences, and smart technologies like AI and machine learning. In February, Lone Wolf released Digital Title Orders in Lone Wolf Transactions in collaboration with several leading title insurance companies in the U.S. In April, Lone Wolf released the new broker edition of Cloud CMA, featuring visually stunning CMAs and a two-way integration with Lone Wolf Transactions (zipForm Edition and TransactionDesk Edition). In early May, the company also released real estate's first AI-powered recruiting solution, Recruit, helping brokers find the best agents—who are also the best fit for their brokerage—through its data-driven "fit score." Each of these innovations puts modern, connected, and consumer-friendly tools in the hands of real estate professionals at a time when they're needed the most. "Consumer expectations are rapidly evolving," said Matt Keenan, CRO of Lone Wolf. "With these acquisitions and innovations, we're helping real estate respond. Our goal is to provide the real estate world with the kind of intelligent and modern tech it needs to not only meet these new expectations but surpass them. So real estate professionals everywhere can amaze their buyers and sellers and stay at the center of the transaction in a digital era."
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Marilyn Wilson Joins Board of Trustees for National Small Business Association
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RPR's Commercial Partners: a Rock-Solid Foundation of Data
RPR houses a treasure trove of data for just about every type of property in the country. We put it all together, and present it for REALTORS to access and leverage. And we make it as painless as possible, with an intuitive, user-friendly interface and industry-leading deliverables. In this article, we're going to take a closer look at all of our commercial data partners that help power the tools and reports you find inside of RPR. Property data that's second to none RPR focuses on two main data sets: property level and community level. With so much of our data tied around properties, let's take a look at the property level data set to start off. Like any real world structure, a real estate database needs to have a solid foundation. For RPR, this foundation is built on public records which are brought to users by Black Knight. Black Knight's data provides RPR users with quick access to public records including tax details, zoning, ownership information down to the corporate level, and much more. The best part is that you have nationwide access to every property, which allows you to look for sold comps or create mailing labels. Our public record data comes in two datasets: Assessment and Recorder. The Assessment data is updated annually and includes building and land descriptions such as square footage, zoning and building quality. The Recorder data includes information around transactions such as last sold price, date, as well as including deed and mortgage records. This data is updated as often as weekly for larger counties, or up to every 120 days for smaller ones. The list keeps getting longer... With this foundation in place, we add on in the form of listing data from our partners across the country. Many REALTORS® belong to a local CIE (Commercial Information Exchange) or Multiple Listing Service, most of which have partnerships with RPR. This way, when you log in to RPR, you're able to see your local listing data merged with the public records, which helps fill in the details. We also have partnerships with many of the leading national commercial listing platforms. This serves two main functions: first, it supplements the local MLS or CIE feeds with any non-REALTOR® listings in the market that they have collected. Second, it allows REALTORS® to use RPR to search for available space nationwide. Currently, our national partners are Brevitas, CREXi, TotalCommercial, Land Broker MLS, BiProxi and Officespace.com. Listing data is updated differently per partner, but none less than daily. These data partnerships give commercial practitioners who use RPR instant access to one million active listings, plus the ability to search 56 million off-market properties. Community data that can help your clients make informed decisions Another part of the property puzzle is understanding the current tenants. To help users with this question, RPR works with SMR Research. They have put together a proprietary database of over 25 million U.S. companies, schools, and other institutions from more than 425 public records sources, all available nationwide for RPR users and found on the Property Details page. This data is updated quarterly. And if that isn't enough information to help you help a client make a decision, we have our community level data that will help set your listing apart in the market. It can also ensure that the drivers of your clients' business or investment exist in the area they're looking to buy. The backbone of RPR's community data is Esri. They've been consolidating this type of information since 1969 and provide RPR users with economic, demographic and spending data, as well as the tapestry segment profiles seen throughout the platform. With this data, you can run trade area reports in order to help market a space, or perform a Site Selection Analysis to ensure that you're looking for properties in an area that will support the intended use. Some of the Esri data has also been converted into heat map layers which give users the ability to visualize key attributes on a map and share those insights with clients. Our final data partner to discuss is Kalibrate. They power the traffic counts also found on the maps throughout the commercial side of RPR. Kalibrate uses multiple sources to provide accurate traffic counts including governments, transportation departments, and Kalibrate's own field verifications. Users of RPR can see these counts across the country and they're included on all property reports. Kalibrate provides RPR with a quarterly data refresh. Commercial data partners you can rely on With all of this data, it's easy to see how RPR can help you set your properties apart and provide the tools you need to help your clients reach data-backed decisions. The insight you gain from RPR Commercial isn't just a hunch; it's tried, true, hard data that can help you deliver recommendations that get results and ROI. Visit narrpr.com today to learn more. Also, be sure to subscribe to the RPR YouTube Channel. It's an easy way to learn more about RPR features and tools, and stay current on updates and improvements. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Latest Trends in Brokerage Tech: The End of the End-to-End Solution
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WATCH: Creating an M&A Brokerage Strategy
WAV Group held a well-attended webinar last week on how to acquire real estate firms and creating a successful mergers and acquisition strategy. The panelists included: Larry Rideout, Chairman of Gibson Sotheby's International Realty Victor Lund, Founding Partner, WAV Group George Slusser, Partner, WAV Group M&A Advisory Division We shared ideas and helpful tips on all areas of the acquisition process. We focused on the four Cs critical to any potential acquisition: Culture, Competency, Cost and Commitment. Victor stressed the importance of evaluating the platform of the candidate as well as your own. He offered a few of the pitfalls to avoid, along with advice on reviewing agreements and choosing best in class services. Larry was a wealth of practical knowledge, offering his insights based on his firm's significant growth through M&A. He explained his strategy, his process and some areas to both concentrate on and avoid. The importance of cultural compatibility was stressed throughout the session. If you are at all interested in M&A, or improving your success rate, please view this recorded webinar, Grow in 2021 with Successful Acquisitions: If we can assist on any M&A Advisory needs including a valuation, selling your company, or buy side advice please reach out to us at [email protected] To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Delta Media Tops Real Estate Technology Integration Study
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Lone Wolf Launches Recruit, Real Estate's First AI-powered Recruiting Solution
Lone Wolf Technologies today launched Recruit, real estate's first AI and machine-learning powered recruiting solution that helps brokers find the best talent and who represent the best fit for their brokerage. The new solution joins Lone Wolf's end-to-end technology suite, Broker Cloud, and is available for purchase today in most markets across North America. Recruit leverages AI, machine-learning and data science to identify agents who are a best fit for a brokerage. With Recruit, brokers can create custom search profiles based on the traits of their best agents. Custom search profiles Recruit's AI technology then crunches over 30 industry-specific metrics to calculate a "Fit Score" for each agent. With this Fit Score, brokers can easily and more accurately identify and recruit the best agents—who are also a best fit—and are most likely to contribute to the brokerage's bottom-line. Fit Score "We're thrilled to launch Recruit today," said Jimmy Kelly, CEO and President of Lone Wolf. "This year, we're on a mission to provide more cutting-edge technology to the real estate industry than ever before. Recruit is a unique and incredibly innovative solution that will provide brokers in the U.S. with a simple and intuitive way of finding and recruiting the best talent and fit for their brokerage." Recruit solves the age-old problem that brokers face—finding and recruiting the right talent. When it comes to running a successful brokerage, there is a direct line between crafting the right team of agents and profitability. Recruit simplifies this process and gives brokers insight into agent performance and other key performance indicators, so they can recruit and retain agents who will positively impact their bottom line. Recruit's use of AI and machine learning makes it a first of its kind solution in real estate. "Recruit is the real estate industry's first-ever AI and machine learning tool for better recruiting," said Chris Egan, Chief Strategy Officer at Lone Wolf. "Our unique algorithm analyzes key agent performance metrics to help brokers define who they should recruit to their brokerage. Recruit delivers a total experience for brokers and agents in that it ultimately brings together the right team so brokers can dramatically increase sales and profitability." "Recruit is the long overdue answer to the recruiting challenge that real estate faces," said Matt Keenan, CRO at Lone Wolf. "Real estate is evolving at a faster pace than we have ever seen, and Recruit helps brokers not only keep up but stay ahead of the game, all while remaining efficient, informed, and profitable."
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Our Top 10 Most-Read Articles of April
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Blame California for Rapid Home Price Increases Nationally
A long time ago, circa 1999, two young executives pulled up stakes and headed west to California. Mattel had purchased Fisher-Price in 1993, and Marilyn was fully vested but growing a bit weary of her role as head of Global Strategic Planning. I had recently sold my second start-up and was intoxicated by the incredible economic growth oozing out of California's technology companies. Businesses were going from seed stage to public in six months with no product and no revenue. As we scouted for opportunities, one that looked very attractive was Tellme Networks, founded in San Jose by Mike McCue, a pioneer in speech recognition. Mike wanted Marilyn to run marketing, but she turned it down. It later sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $800 million. I remember home shopping with our Alain Pinel agent. We were walking into million-dollar homes that looked like small, poorly-renovated guest shacks. We saw nothing that we wanted to live in – especially at four times the price we paid for our home in Orchard Park, NY. Every time we walked out of a house, the agent would stop us at the curb and say, "If we get in the car and leave, this house will sell before we come back." We ultimately nestled down in San Luis Obispo County, where Marilyn became CEO of Surveyor Corporation, and I joined the venture capital firm that was the lead investor. It was the hottest startup in the webcam space, founded by Howard Gordon, the engineer who created MP3 compression to enable streaming on the internet. At his first company, Xing, Howard wrote the speedy JPEG and MPEG compression schema. Howard and Marilyn were a great team, but when the bubble broke, the dreams of Surveyor were over. But our dreams of living in California were not over. We were here to stay, started WAV Group, yadda, yadda. Fast forward to today... Kevin Hawkins, head of our PR division, asked me a question this morning for a client about new home building in Texas. As you may know, homebuilders are out of inventory and are now resorting to auctioning off homes that are not even built, with no guarantee that you will get the house you buy for that price if building materials go up. Kevin asked, "How long will homebuilders be out of inventory?" A long time, I replied. "Why do you think that?" he asked. I shared my answer and Kevin suggested that I share it in a post—so here you go. Blame California for rapid home price increases nationally. People are leaving California and its long list of problems, which include: Californians pay the highest tax rate in America at 13.3%, followed by Hawaii at 11%, New Jersey at 10.75%, Oregon, Minnesota, DC, New York and Vermont at about 9%. Seven states have no income tax rate: Wyoming, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, Nevada, Florida and Alaska. Only Hawaii edged out California for the worst state for public transportation. California public schools are among the worst in America. California has the highest murder rate in America and is 14th highest in crime. Dysfunctional sanctuary cities and immigration system. With a median home price in California of over $700,00, California is the least affordable state to live in America. California has the highest average gas price in America at $3.68 per gallon ahead of Hawaii and Washington at around $3 per gallon. California has now passed Hawaii as the highest energy price in America at .48 per KWH (and to make it worse, they are taking the last nuclear power plant offline in 2025 that will create a bigger problem of power blackouts). California is in another drought—there is simply not enough water. California has the highest homeless population—accounting for one in five of all homeless people in America. California reportedly paid out $11 billion in fraudulent EDD claims during the pandemic. The San Francisco Bay area has 27 different transit agencies. California went after Uber and Lyft drivers with AB5 to make the gig economy something other than what it is—a side job to afford living here. White households in California have a median household net worth of $355,000 vs. black households at $4000. California has the worst forest fires and earthquakes in America. And to top off the list—California has the second-highest building costs and most difficult process for getting a permit to build or remodel a home. (Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, costs a little bit more). Add it all up... California leads the nation in people leaving the state. According to Evan White of the UC Berkeley Policy Lab, 267,000 people left California in Q4 of 2020. They took their home equity and traded it for homes in Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and other western states that offer housing at one-fourth of the price.   In conclusion, if you want to understand what is happening with housing in America, I would say that California's mass exodus might be a leading cause. California leads at everything else: why not give them the victory here too? And as a side note, I would be willing to wager that the dollars Californians save when swapping their $750k home for larger homes in Texas for $250k is heading straight into the stock market. Like the housing market, I would say that the stock market is overvalued too—but I will save that for another post. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Broker Trend for 2021 Is All About Playbooks
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How to Search for Properties and Get Results with RPR Commercial
Getting started in RPR (after creating and setting up your account, of course) usually begins with a property search. Any property, including commercial properties, is available for search from one search bar area right on the RPR homepage. Simply toggle from "Residential" to "Commercial" and all the search settings change accordingly. This gives commercial professionals instant access to more than 900,000 active listings from partnered sites such as Biproxi/OfficeSpace.com, Brevitas, CREXi, Catylist, and TotalCommercial.com. Plus, the ability to search 56 million off-market properties, which makes RPR an indispensable asset in your research and recommendations to clients. This article will explain exactly how to execute a commercial property search, and how to review the results, in RPR. The basics of commercial search First, set the toggle to Commercial and begin your property search by entering a specific address, APN, or listing ID in the location field to go directly to the property. If you're looking for a piece of land without an address, but you have the APN or Tax ID, you can search for that directly from the search bar. If you're searching by multiple APNs or Listing IDs at one time, use a semicolon to separate each. In this case, you'll be taken to search results displaying each property. You may also find that using the Commercial Map Insights found by selecting Research from the main navigation is a good way to look for land. (Note: Also access Site Selection from the top navigation Research menu.) Searching areas vs addresses You can also search for properties in a general area. To do that, you'll need to make sure that you have the correct "Filters" set. RPR will remember your last filter setting, but it's a good idea to make sure they're still set properly before beginning your search. You can also quickly remove previously set Filters by selecting the Filters icon (that's the little funnel icon in the upper right navigation menu) and then the Reset button. Next, enter a neighborhood, ZIP code, city or other defined geography into the location field. As you type, RPR will auto suggest results, based on the location nearest to you. If you select the name of the auto suggest, your search will automatically be executed. Filter down your commercial search If you started your search without any filters, or have too many results, you can now narrow down your results by selecting the type / status for your search. For example, drill down by selecting properties that are For Sale or For Lease or Active Under Contract. You can even choose Off Market Public Records. Each status has a corresponding calendar that can be used to set the date parameters that will restrict your search to that exact time period. One helpful tip as you are learning how agents in your market prefer to list properties, is to keep the "Commercial" property checked as this is a catch-all property type and can house a mixture of properties that you may be interested in. Select your Price or Lease Price and enter the building or leasable square footage parameters and/or enter the lot size. Note that RPR features a mobile responsive design. This means that the layout will adjust based on screen size. For smaller screens, some search options are moved to the "Filters" area. Select the filters icon (the funnel) to expand the advanced search. You'll immediately see the count of properties matching your criteria. This is a helpful reference that will allow you to better pinpoint the specific properties you're looking for. PRO TIP: RPR has a max number of properties that you can search. Once your search area exceeds 5000 properties, RPR will show a message requesting that you adjust your search filters to narrow down your results. Advanced search filters include distressed actions, land use, and miscellaneous fields such as occupancy type, owner name, year built, time owned, and keyword search. Search results: List View Now that we've gone over the basics of searching, let's move on to property search results. Choose List View to arrive at your search results (the first set of icons in the upper right). To continue narrowing down your results, select the Filters icon and adjust the parameters of your search. You can also sort your results by clicking the Sort By dropdown or one of the column headers. From the List View, you can also save properties by clicking the heart icon (all the way to the right of the column). The property is automatically named after the street address, but you can type a new name if desired. Then select Save and the property will be added to your saved properties. Your Saved properties are listed on the homepage, or you can access them from the top navigation by choosing My Work and My Saved Properties. Printable View If you're looking for a printable view of the search results, select the properties you want by using the corresponding checkboxes and then selecting Print. A window will open allowing you to print Only Selected Properties or All Results. Note: selecting All Results will print the properties currently showing on your screen. If you have a large number of properties to print, make sure to scroll to the bottom of the screen to view all your results. From this results list, you can also create mailing labels or similar data to export into a CSV file, which is great for importing building and owner details into your customer relationship management system. Do that by selecting Mailing Labels from your search results and then walking through the onscreen prompts. You can also go straight to creating a report, by selecting Create Report. Photo and Map View There are also other options for viewing your property search results. You can change to a Photo Grid View or to the Map view by selecting those icons (in the upper right). The Photo Grid View gives you a way to view larger photos of the property. And the Map View allows you to further define your own search areas by drawing them on the map, or by displaying the outlines of geographies such as neighborhoods, ZIP codes, Opportunity Zones and more. And finally, once you've found a property that you want to review further, select it to view the full property details. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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RE Technology Launches 2021 Broker Technology Success Guide
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Hire Right Every Time with These 9 Recruiting Steps
When scaling your real estate team, resist taking shortcuts and use this nine-step process as your guide to recruiting right the first time. In this crazy market, many real estate teams are in the process of growing. It may not seem like it, but having the right process in place for recruiting is critical to the success of your business. Handling recruitment in the wrong way risks costing you time, money and, worst of all, the cultural integrity of your team. Take it from real estate coach, investor and entrepreneur, Erik Hatch. In a recent interview with Ylopo, Hatch explains how hiring people in the wrong way actually cost him his entire business in the early days of his real estate career. As a result, he was forced to cut his losses, scrap his original team and start over. Having learned from his previous hiring mistakes, Hatch invented a rigorous nine-step recruiting process that he continues to use today to grow his now very successful 52 person real estate team. In addition to the nine-step process, Hatch uses a numerical breakdown as a guide to select the right candidates. Let's dig in and learn each step individually. Step 1: Publish a Well-written Job Advertisement This step may seem like an obvious one, but it's important, and there are a few not-so-obvious tweaks Erik Hatch adds to this step. Be sure to discuss your company's culture, values, and goals in the job listing and mention what sort of personality traits the individual you're seeking should have. As always, be sure not to discriminate against individuals for things like age, race, sex religion, etc. You should be asking for personality traits such as: "someone who is disciplined and able to hold themselves accountable" or "someone who knows that weekends, holidays, and nights are often prime-time hours for this position and are willing to work on these occasions regularly." When crafting your job ad, try to shift your mindset away from "I need to attract candidates to work for me" to "candidates need to attract me to their application." So, instead of writing a job post that glamorizes how awesome it is to work on your real estate team, mention how much work it is going to take and what type of person will thrive in the production-based role you're hiring for. This way, the candidates you attract to apply for your job opening will likely be a better fit for your team and go into the next recruiting steps with appropriate expectations of how much work they will need to put forth in order to be a successful member of your team. Don't have a job advertisement up exclusively during the time when you are actively hiring. Instead, always be actively recruiting. This way, you'll be consistently growing your team so when the perfect candidate comes along, you can react. Otherwise, you put yourself in a position of having to pick from the limited group of people who applied for your job opening in the little window of time when you had your listing posted. Step 2: Review Resumes and Social Media Profiles This is another seemingly obvious recruiting step, but one that is actually the first critical step in preserving the cultural integrity of your team. While reviewing resumes, don't fall into the trap of exclusively looking for people who have previous real estate experience. Not only could this cause you to miss out on some ideal cultural fits, but when you hire seasoned agents, they may already have bad habits developed from their previous experiences that you'll then need to break. What you should be looking for is an individual who is a great culture fit, has tenacity, grit, and is overall designed for a sales-type role. "We have 52 people on our team right now and only three of us have had previous real estate experience. By hiring people who are culture fits and have the right kind of grit and tenacity, we've been able to build something pretty special." - Erik Hatch Once you've reviewed resumes and selected some individuals you think are a possible fit, don't skip the step of reviewing their social media profiles. This can give you a better insight into who the person is outside of what they included on their resume and can often help you determine if the person is truly the right cultural fit for your team. Pro tip! Make sure you're looking at the right social media account. Step 3: Create Barriers to Entry (Pro Tip) In this step, you're really beginning to test the tenacity of your candidates and giving them the opportunity to show that they're interested, that they have what it takes to work in the real estate business and, more specifically, that they have the grit to work effectively on your unique real estate team. One of the ways Erik Hatch creates barriers to entry is through what he calls "career night." Career night is an event that Hatch sponsors for all the candidates to attend in person. The purpose of career night is to educate the candidates on what the role is, who the Hatch team is and how they work. Here are just a few reasons career night is a great addition to your recruiting process: You can quickly filter out all the candidates who choose not to show up to your career night, effectively thinning the pool of applicants you consider moving forward with. "The moment you get 30 people in the room you can pick out your favorite three—no problem," says Hatch. Career night is the first extra step that is put into place that gives a candidate the opportunity to go above and beyond the status quo. It is a fantastic time saver. Instead of doing dozens of one-on-one conversations, you can deliver your message one time at scale. You can discuss in person about the time commitment needed, work required, and general demands of the job and gauge their reactions live. You can have multiple stakeholders on your team involved to interact with the candidates in person. Different people will see and hear different things and provide different perspectives of an individual, allowing you to make a more informed decision. Step 4: Have Candidates Complete a Job Questionnaire Once you have filtered down your pool of applicants through your career night, layer in an additional barrier to entry. Hatch sends the remaining candidates an essay-type questionnaire to complete that gives him a more in-depth view into their answers. Hatch's questions often vary between cultural questions, scenario-type questions and technical competency related questions. Like career night, anyone who does not complete and return the job questionnaire is eliminated as a candidate moving forward in the recruiting process. further filtering down the list of eligible candidates. Step 5: Hold the First Interview (30 Minutes) and Run Background Checks Finally, you should conduct your initial interview. This is a great time to talk a lot about their resume, basic technical skills, and understanding of the job. Keep this interview restricted to job-related competencies only and judge the candidate based on the content of their answers, the delivery of their answers (eloquence), and their demeanor. Take special notice of how confident or nervous they seem. Next, run a standard background check on each candidate you're pushing through to the next step in the process. Step 6: Conduct Deep Reference Checks (Pro Tip) This is where things get more complex. It's time to roll up your sleeves and attempt to be Sherlock Holmes! Erik Hatch practices what he calls "deep reference checks." Hatch argues that your regular run-of-the-mill reference checks don't provide an accurate depiction of the candidate. Here's why: if you ask the candidate for references, there is a 100% chance that the candidate will only provide you references who will paint them in a positive light. Why would they do otherwise? This is why it's important to dig deeper to get a more accurate review of the person you're looking to hire. Step 7: Hold the Second Interview (3 Hours) Okay, I know what you're thinking. A three-hour interview sounds like overkill, but this interview is split into two parts. Part one is a two-hour, in-depth discussion about the person's background and is meant to be a time where you really get to know the person well. Part two is a one-hour, in-depth discussion about the person's job competencies and on gauging their level of coachability. In part one of this interview, you'll want to try and dig out their highest of highs and lowest of lows and understand how each of those experiences impacted them. Your goal during this interview is to stop them from giving you any repeated or rehearsed answers and dig through those rehearsed answers when you do receive them. Dig through by continuing to ask more questions and get into their "why." Finally, try to discover why they make the decisions that lead them to the next place on their life journey. If this all seems too intrusive, think of it this way: you may be spending more time with this person than you do with your own personal family and you're trusting them with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars of responsibility. Do not breeze over this step because it is too uncomfortable to dig that deep; just be very well-versed on what you're allowed to ask and what you're not allowed to ask in an interview. Moving on to part two will feel more like a standard interview. This is where you get into the real technicalities of the job and into their level of proficiency and experience. You will also want to try to get an understanding of how coachable the person is. Look out for people who consider themselves "self made." You always want to try to hire an individual who is willing to improve themselves and help others improve as well. Step 8: Have the "Final Validation" Interview You've made it to step eight, which means you're almost there! This is the last "review" step in the nine-step process, and it's the final validation interview. The final validation interview is the interview they will have with either the people they will be working most with intimately on a daily basis or the person or people risking their money and business directly. So this interview would be with the highest stakeholders at your company (think broker/owner) or the members of the direct team they will be joining. This step is important as those involved in this final validation interview are the ones who give the ultimate thumbs up or thumbs down to moving forward with the candidate. Pro tip: Hold this interview in a less professional environment like a bar or a coffee shop. Taking the candidate to a more informal setting may expose more of their personality and give the interviewers a more genuine perspective of the candidate's character. Step 9: Extend the Job Offer Finally, you made it to the point where you have one fully vetted candidate. They made it through the interviews, the reference checks, the cultural review, and lastly the validation from the most senior stakeholder or their direct team members. Now there's nothing left to do but extend the job offer. At this stage, you should have 100% confidence that you're hiring the right person for your team, that you are comfortable trusting the success of your business to them, and that they will be sticking around for a good long while. It's a great and well-deserved feeling. Congratulations! Closing Thoughts We won't pretend that implementing these nine recruiting steps won't be time consuming and require a certain level of commitment from you, but when practiced, they will help you to always hire right the first time around and ultimately save you time and money—keeping your turnover low and your risk at a minimum. For more helpful tips on hiring, including how to hire an ISA, you can view the entire interview session with Erik Hatch and Robbie T. here. Learn more about the interviewer at www.ylopo.com.
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Finally, dotloop Integrates with Goople Apps
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Carpenter Realtors: The Advantages of Automated Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing: an underutilized asset Social media marketing is the most powerful tool your team probably isn't harnessing to its fullest potential. How do we know? Because according to the National Association of Realtors, 65% of agents' new business comes from within their spheres of influence, i.e., the people in their personal and professional networks. Where do agents interact with their spheres the most? On social media. But the NAR also found that only 10% of agents market to their spheres effectively. Why is that? In truth, agents are busy, and adding yet another responsibility to their already full plates means that many of them simply won't find the time. The result is fewer leads, fewer listings, and lost revenue for your brokerage. The solution? Automation. Advantages of social media automation David Caveness, President of Carpenter Realtors, identified this dilemma years ago. A Paradym by Constellation1 customer for well over a decade, Carpenter Realtors is a top LeadingRE-affiliated brokerage in Indiana that opened its doors more than 50 years ago. Today, it has 33 offices and more than 600 agents statewide and is the go-to team in central and southern Indiana for buying and selling homes. David realized early on that unless agents could simply set everything up and forget about it, it wasn't going to happen. It was the case for virtual tours, the first Paradym solution Carpenter integrated 15 years ago, and David knew it would be the case for social media marketing, too. As David said, "The set-and-forget aspect of Paradym was really important to us, because without it, the vast majority of our agents wouldn't use it." When Carpenter started looking into social publishing tools for real estate, they wound up going with Reach Social, Paradym's fully automated social media marketing tool that helps agents stay active on social networks without adding any new tasks to their already long to-do lists. Some individual Carpenter agents can now sell more than $20 million per year, on their own, in a market where the average listing price is $200,000. That means they're closing sales on average every two business days (the national average is one per month). David attributes this success directly to Paradym by Constellation1. "Without tools like Reach Social, there's no way that'd be possible," he said. A partnership for lasting success Carpenter likes change, just not changing vendors. Carpenter's relationship with Paradym by Constellation1 is a true partnership grounded in dedication and customer service that allows them to better serve their own internal customers: their agents. Now that agents' day-to-day online marketing tasks are completely automated, they can spend more time doing what they do best: winning leads and closing sales. The result: less stress, more productivity, and higher agent retention—all of which are great for Carpenter's bottom line. Learn more about how Carpenter Realtors automated their social media marketing and presented a consistent brand across 15 different counties in Indiana. To view the original article, visit the Constellation1 blog.
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Matterport's Narrow Moat and the Future of Virtual Tours
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Looking for an effective and affordable way to increase your site traffic by as much as 20%?
Helping your website to be competitive with the ever-increasing amount of huge, well-funded players entering the space is getting more and more difficult. Most brokerages or MLSs do not have millions dedicated to promoting traffic to their site. I just saw a demo of something that is affordable but has been proven to drive up site traffic by as much as 20%. And it does not require any site redesign or major overhaul! The solution is offered by a smart, young AI company called Restb.ai. They are a "computer vision" company that has deep expertise in using artificial intelligence to increase traffic and engagement for your website. Restb.ai has built a computer vision solution that "reads" all the elements in property images. Based on the contents of each photo, their AI provides a full sentence or caption featuring one of 40+ room types and a description of the key features (e.g., kitchen island, vaulted ceiling, etc.) in each photo. These descriptions are then automatically assigned to the "alt-text" of each image on your site, which has an instant impact on your traffic. Today, the images on the listings on your site are being used by hundreds if not thousands of IDX sites in your market and on national portals. Without differentiating your images with a description, Google thinks the images on your site are the same as the hundreds of others and does not give you any credit for providing valuable and unique content. By adding unique descriptions to each image's alt-text, Google and other search engines will favor your site over others and move you up in each search engine's rankings. While nobody will ever SEE the descriptions when they view your site, the alt-text allows Google to treat each of your photos as "new content" which makes your site more popular. From what we have seen, no major real estate website in the U.S. has gone all the way to adding full image descriptions like the type that the Restb.ai solution can provide. Many of the websites we looked at do not have any description at all for each image's alt-text. Then, even when descriptions are present, sites are often just adding the MLS ID or street address. By adding a full description with relevant keywords, each image has more context and much stronger indexing on Google. Makes Your Site More ADA-Compliant More importantly, adding a full description of each image also makes your site more ADA-compliant and more helpful for those with visual impairments. Users of screen readers will hear the descriptions read aloud as they browse your site, and they will get a more thorough and informative description of the properties they are viewing. Here is an example of the type of photo descriptions that the computer reads and automatically adds to each image: Adding rich and descriptive captions in your alt-text may be a quiet, but powerful way to get a leg up on your competition and the large third-party sites by generating more traffic with the added benefit of helping you be ADA-compliant. Talk to your website vendor about this and see if they can help you gain a competitive advantage with Restb.ai's computer vision. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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CMA to Listing Agreement to MLS to Commission Check
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MoxiWorks to Complement Zap?
Three things happened in the last week that caught my eye. First, MoxiWorks and Century 21 Canada made an announcement that MoxiWorks is replacing Real Estate Webmasters to provide MoxiCloud and the MoxiWorks products. Then, I received an email from a large Century 21 and a large ERA broker that was forwarded from Realogy announcing that Moxi will be running alongside the Zap platform. Not sure what the Moxiworks-Zap strategy is entirely, but it is pretty clear that Moxi has some powerful traction. What is being done in Canada is not likely to have much bearing on what is done here in America, but it is a signal. The announcement by Century 21 USA is another signal. And the question from a large non-Century 21 broker is another signal. To me, the signal is that Realogy is pivoting from the Zap platform.
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RPR's Commercial Property Details: Facts, Stats and Records
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How Top Teams Set Themselves Free!
For the longest time, real estate agents and brokers alike have sought something of a holy grail: the perfect "all in one" software platform that can literally do it all, from generating leads to providing both customer relationship management (CRM) and transaction management. But the reality is that the perfect, "best at all things" platform simply does NOT exist. And when you really think about it, how can any one company be the best at absolutely everything? In a growing trend, the highest performing teams now choose to work with the top specialized providers in each category and make sure that there is a seamless integration with these "top gun" solutions. Grant Johnson, founder of the Grant Group, said, "I used to have one Hyundai and now I have both a Ferrari and a Porsche!' Johnson further explained that his company formerly worked with an all-in-one platform that had a decent CRM but digital marketing services that were sub-par. Today, they work with a purely focused CRM and a separate, best-in-class digital marketing platform and the absolute key is their seamless integration. As Howard Tager, Ylopo CEO and co-founder, explains it, "CRMs should be CRMs, and digital marketing companies should be digital marketing companies. It's absurd to think that one company can be the best at everything." As a founder of Tigerlead Solutions, he was on the front part of the all-in-one wave. But now in 2021, that model is antiquated at best. That's why at Ylopo, "we don't try to be all things to all people. As a pure-play, digital marketing solution for real estate, we can maniacally just focus on being the best at lead gen, dynamic remarketing, AI texting, video marketing, and custom-branded IDX websites. And we make sure that we have amazing two-way integrations with the best CRMs in the real estate industry." "In 2021, being an all-around software development company doesn't cut it anymore," says Dan Corkill, CEO of real estate CRM Follow Up Boss. "Technology companies now need to have deep domain expertise and be uniquely specialized in order to effectively build and manage the latest and greatest advancements in tech. We live and breathe all things real estate CRM—this is our pure focus!" Corkill further explains that this is where the all-in-one platforms run into trouble. "By still trying to do absolutely everything, rather than focusing on integrating with other, more advanced tools, they're living in the past, with outdated technology and as a result providing merely average tech to their customers." Unfortunately, the old-school all-in-ones have what is called a closed application programming interface (API). When a company maintains a closed API, that essentially means they refuse to integrate well with other needed technology tools. Why does this matter? Companies with a closed API can easily create a situation called "customer lock-in" where they hold their customers and their data hostage by preventing them from switching to other products and by forcing the customer to put forth massive effort, incur significant switching costs, or suffer substantial data loss if they tried to leave. But the good news is that making the break and moving off of an all-in-one platform, while it might cause some short term pain, will ultimately provide greater freedom and control over an agent or team's business and put them in a better position for long-term success. Furthermore, with this approach, agents, teams and brokers will have the ultimate freedom to switch out any of their individual providers at any time that they like without affecting the other solutions at all. There was a time when we believed an "all-in-one" platform was the best way to support agents," said Mike McGowan of Chime. "Through our strategic partner program, we learned that by maximizing the potential of each best of breed partner and tightly integrating with our powerful CRM, we can deliver a more powerful technology stack to our clients. As one of our valued partners, we are incredibly proud to work with Ylopo and offer our customers unmatched lead generation and digital marketing tools for long term success." "Agents should be able to adapt and change as fast as tech changes and must partner with technology companies who can do the same," says Tristan Ahumada, top team leader and CEO and Co-Founder of Lab Coat Agents. "Better products come out for agents when companies focus on what they do well. Companies like Ylopo who have an open API and singularly specialize in the services they provide allow for agents to freely build their businesses how they see fit." The key then, according to Ahumada, is to make sure that your best of breed tech solutions all talk to each other and are integrated in a seamless two-way manner. "Great integration is critical!" Learn more about how Ylopo and our strategic partner program can work for you.
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Fathom Holdings Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Technology Platform LiveBy
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5 Keys to Rock Your Recruitment and Retention [FREE GUIDE]
What's the secret to long-term, sustainable growth? Every broker/owner must ask themselves this fundamental question, hopefully earlier in their investment versus later. When our team is consulting with brokerages regarding their growth strategies, we look at five key components of the business model: Financial Analysis Staff Brand and Marketing Systems and Processes Recruitment and Retention You know the saying, "You're only as strong as your weakest link"? That's 100% true here. All five of these key elements need to work in harmony in order for a brokerage to build and maintain long-term, sustainable growth. Many of the brokers with whom we meet are naturally strong in some area, and weak in others. If left unaddressed, this causes an imbalance that will seep into other areas of the business model, resulting in a larger systemic problem that makes determining and addressing the root of the issue both difficult and frustrating. In this FREE DOWNLOAD – "Rock Your Recruitment" – we dig into each of these five key components of your business model and how each directly contributes to a strong, successful recruitment and retention initiative. The guide also includes tips, tricks and insights from top real estate minds and recruiters, including Tami Bonnell (CEO, EXIT Realty), Brenda Thompson (broker/owner, HomeSmart Stars), Kevin Johnson (broker/owner, Century 21 OneBlue) and more. [ DOWNLOAD GUIDE NOW ] As you explore this guide, ask yourself the following questions: Do I have a strong grasp of each of the five key facets of my business? Where am I strong? Where am I weak? Do I have the right administrative staff around me to balance my strengths and weaknesses? Am I properly leveraging technology to accomplish my brokerage's goals? What value proposition am I offering prospective agents—and is it competitively attractive? What is my brokerage's overall reputation in my market—and is that accurate? Happy recruiting—and, as always, if you'd like to explore 3sixtyfive.agency's recruitment services, you can schedule a one-on-one consultation with a member of our business development team. We're here to help you, your brokerage and your agents be successful.
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Howard Hanna Holds Onto Top Spot, Named No. 1 Privately-Owned Real Estate Company in the Nation
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Using RPR Commercial Maps Insights to Your Advantage
If you're a commercial practitioner or a resimercial specialist, there's a lot of data for you to explore and leverage in RPR Commercial Maps. This article will cover how to use them to visually search for properties and uncover market trends. We'll also go over how to use the RPR map to help better understand and target a Trade Area using Points of Interest, Traffic Counts and Data layers, as well as how to search for properties and create trade area reports by using any of the drawing tools. Let's get to business...
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Lamacchia Realty: Our pivot from portal leads to PPC and $1 billion in sales in 2020
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Our Top 10 Most-Read Articles of March
Real estate professionals received good news in March: they're eligible to apply for and receive federal loan funding. Not surprisingly, an article announcing that hit our top 10 list of the most-read articles of the month (#3). A chance at federal funding was not the only thing RE Technology readers got last month. They also could download a free piece of marketing (#2), and learn a plethora of advanced lead generation strategies (see articles #7 and #8 below). To find out what else agents and brokers were reading in March, check out the list below. 1. The Big Lie: 'The House Is Not in a Flood Zone'When flood insurance is so $#@!&^% confusing, why would you spend more time on it than you have to? Yet, when your clients are committing much of their life savings to a 30-year investment, they want to feel confident they're doing everything they can to protect that investment. Following these three steps to simplify flood insurance places you in a position to confidently lead the conversation. 2. Friday Freebie: Get the 'Rent vs. Own Report' to Move Renters Off the Fence‍If you're looking to build a base of lifelong clients, there's no better niche than first-time home buyers. But persuading high-income renters to become homeowners can be tricky--until you put the cold, hard numbers in front of them. In this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a free Rent vs. Own report that will help you do just that. 3. Real Estate Agents Eligible for PPP Loans Until March 31‍The second wave of federal loan funding includes $250 billion earmarked to small businesses. As of right now, about $128 billion of that money is still available. Last week, the federal government extended the benefit to independent contractors, including real estate agents. 4. Top 8 Things to Make You the Realtor of Choice for Sellers and BuyersWith over 5 million homes selling annually, what is it that makes you the Realtor of choice? The real reason is that you are the one who can provide the most benefit to both the seller and the buyer on their real estate journey. Here are the top eight things that make you stand out. Do you have all these qualities? 5. 7 Ways to Get More Seller Leads in a Tight MarketResearch, reports, and expert opinion claim that the housing market will continue to see a strong buyer presence in 2021, thus creating a tighter market. To leverage this increased demand in a tight market, real estate agent marketing can work wonders. How can real estate agent marketing work for you? Here are seven ways to get more seller leads in a tight market. 6. 3 Apps Guaranteed to Save You TimeYou can increase your efficiency while still building future business if you get a little help. The good news is there is technology available today that you can use to help you speed up or simplify some time-consuming tasks. Here are three apps that can help you save time, make you more efficient, and help you build future business. 7. Get More Listings: Pursue Absentee OwnersHave you vegged out enough on Netflix over the past few months or are you ready for the new world of real estate? We've found a couple of niches that we think will be especially worth your time and effort to pursue in a post-lockdown real estate market. One of these is landlords, a.k.a. "absentee owners." 8. Top 5 Real Estate Lead MagnetsMany real estate agents are unsure of the best way to capture leads. The secret actually isn't much of a secret. Across industries, marketing professionals use what's called a lead magnet to entice consumers to willingly provide their contact information. We'll explain what this tactic is and share the best real estate lead magnets that will help you grow your business. 9. The Golden Rule for Your Real Estate Social Media StrategyAs you're building your brand following on your website, social media, and business pages, remember the following – content is king, but consistency is key. When you're building and executing your social strategy, remember to be consistent in these three specific ways. 10. 4 Ways You Can Digitally 'Hand-hold' Clients and Why You ShouldWe all know that staying connected to your clients may be more important now than ever. And we know that understanding the importance and the value of the digital tools you are using can help you use them better to strengthen your relationships with your sphere of influence. Here are four ways you can digitally "hand-hold" clients and the benefits of doing so.
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Crye-Leike Launches zavvie-Powered iBuyer and Buy-Before-You-Sell Program
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Top Social Media Tips for Real Estate Professionals
Social media isn't just full of cat pictures and memes. It's an awesome forum for sharing helpful information and clever content to market yourself and your brokerage. But are you and your agents leveraging social media effectively? Chances are the answer is no. According to the National Association of Realtors, 67% of agents' new business comes from within their sphere of influence, i.e., the people in their personal and professional networks over whom their opinion holds some sway. This is well over half of new business! Now here's the problem: the National Association of Realtors also found that only one in 10 agents is effectively marketing to their sphere. The ineffective marketing efforts of those nine remaining agents represents a huge opportunity cost for both agents and brokerages. What's keeping agents from marketing better to their spheres? Often, they don't know what they should post or where to find content. Others report being too busy, feeling unfamiliar with the platforms, feeling uncomfortable with putting themselves out there, or that they simply "don't do social media." As a result, they aren't top of mind when someone in their sphere needs to buy or sell property, and the lead goes somewhere else. Whether you're a digital native or not, it pays to have a quick social media refresher. Here are 13 do's and don'ts for social media to help make your content marketing a success. Use social media to drive traffic and leads. Social media can be a fun place where you can share what you're up to. It can also be a great way to generate leads and website traffic. So think of social media as a marketing tool, not just a way to have fun in your spare time. Prepare a social media strategy and schedule. A destination is easier to get to with a map. So, figure out your social media destination and make a plan to get there. What do you want to focus on? The possibilities are endless, if not a little overwhelming. You could commit to posting about your favorite local businesses on #smallbusinesssaturday, feature new listings at regular intervals during the week, do Facebook Live open houses for all new listings, and more. Having a plan will make it easier. Post regularly and consistently. The key to growing a social media following is regular, high-quality content, even if you're only posting once or twice a week. Once you've made an outline, try your best to stick to it. Be authentic. Social media users will quickly cut through pitchy, salesy, and unnecessarily flowery posts. You don't need to be quoting Socrates or Rumi to get your point across, nor do you have to pretend to be someone you're not. Write in your own genuine voice and your followers will see and appreciate it. Engage often with other accounts or colleagues you look up to. The key to social media is engagement, and nearly everyone is eager to engage and share. You can learn a lot—and potentially extend your reach—by following and engaging with accounts you find interesting, motivating, and inspiring. If you share their content, they're likelier to share yours, too. Be helpful. Social media shouldn't be all sales all the time. The key to content marketing is first providing useful information without an agenda that your followers and prospects can use, then explaining what you have to offer. Use a tool like Brand Builder. Social media tools like Brand Builder help brokers create branded content they can push and post to agents' connected social media accounts as though agents had written the post themselves. This means brokerages are marketing to all their agents' spheres without relying on each agent to post the right content at the right time, and agents don't have to think as much about social media marketing. Post questionable, inappropriate, offensive, or illegal content. It's easy to forget that your comments and posts will live forever online, so make sure you put out content you're proud of. You do not want your posts to alienate others, or worse yet, break the law. If you wouldn't share your post with your grandma, reconsider posting it. Share too much or too often. No one likes a spammy over-sharer. To be effective on social media, you don't need to post hourly, nor do you need to report on what you have for breakfast every day. Post a variety of relevant content as often as you like, but don't overshare. Promise more than you can deliver. First, don't commit to posting 10 times a day, 365 days a year if this isn't feasible for you. Social media marketing shouldn't be a burden, and thankfully there are incredible tools for making it easier. Secondly, don't promise your followers the impossible. It's easy to exaggerate on social media, but it's better to keep things real and down to earth. Be negative or a complainer. Your mom probably taught you, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." This goes for social media, too. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms are not the appropriate venue for airing your grievances, naming names, shaming others, or engaging in negative online behavior. No one likes a whiner, either. Be a beacon of positivity whenever you can. If you can't, take a break. Post without proofreading. Social media is fast-paced and time-sensitive, but spelling and grammar still matter. A typo or misplaced autocorrect every once in a while is no big deal, but don't make a habit of posting error-filled messages. Remember, your posts are still a reflection of you, your company, and your brand. If you aren't taking the time to proofread your own social media posts, will your clients feel assured that you'll proofread their offer before you submit it? Use too many hashtags. #Hashtags are a great way to extend your reach and share content with people who want to see it. Too many or irrelevant hashtags not only make your post more difficult to read, they can put it at a disadvantage. Research the best real estate hashtags in your area and use them wisely (and sparingly). There you have it! Thirteen do's and don'ts for effective social media posts. To view the original article, visit the Constellation1 blog.
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RPR's Commercial Trade Area: Discover the Data and Details
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[Infographic] Digital Brand Advertising ROI
What can brand advertising do for your marketing dollars? Digital brand advertising drives greater ROI from your traditional marketing efforts. Check out this infographic to learn more:
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New Realogy Survey Uncovers Our Nation's Military, Veterans Families' Biggest Relocation Needs
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Brokers Need to Revisit VOW Websites
From 2009 to 2013, WAV Group spent a significant portion of our brokerage consulting on explaining what a Virtual Office Website (VOW) is and how it is different from an Internet Data Exchange (IDX) website. Now VOW websites are being discussed again in brokerage meetings and for good reason. Digital paper only brokers have been able to build spectacularly successful businesses that leverage IDX to develop referrals that take a 30% bite out of agent commissions. Brokers who care about the income of their agents should review this carefully. Our recent analysis of brokerage P&L reports from 2020 demonstrates a remarkable increase in the referral commissions paid out to digital paper only brokers – some growing by more than 2000%. WAV Group is forecasting that agent commissions will dip over 10% in 2021 as a result of payouts on referrals by digital paper only brokers. If brokers do not react to this sea change, we believe that agents could see a 17% dip in commissions by 2023.
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How to Perform a Proper Commercial Site Selection in RPR
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Real Estate Leads: More Leads, More Listings
Lead generation is a coordinated symphony. Homebuyers and sellers don't just pop out of thin air, and they don't usually come from a single source. Some brokerages make the mistake of putting all their eggs into one lead gen basket, only to find it doesn't produce enough leads to sustain their business. Brokerages need a well-rounded, holistic approach to lead generation. Our foolproof, two-pronged approach includes two major lead categories: leads from listings and leads from agents. Read on to learn how new tools can help you leverage these categories in different but complementary ways, bringing in leads while you sleep.
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A Podcast Classic: Joe Rand Rants and Raves about Relevant Content and Digital Marketing
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Four of the Industry's Top Leaders Join Broker Public Portal Board
WAV Group has had the privilege of working with the Broker Public Portal since it was a concept developed by a few MLS executives and a handful of brokers from The Realty Alliance. They shared a vision for delivering a consumer search experience provided by businesses that support the consumer with buying and selling homes, not advertising. Today that vision will be carried on by four new board members, Dana Strandmo of BHHS (nationwide), Lacey Conway of Latter and Blum (Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi), OB Jacobi of Windermere (10 states), and Shelley Specchio of MIBOR (Indiana). From those early days, brokers and MLS sought ways to give the consumer an alternative that followed the Fair Display Guidelines out of respect for the listing firm and agent. They also aimed to deliver the best buyer agent tool for collaborating with clients. Within a year of setting these goals, the Broker Public Portal developed a joint venture co-ownership structure with the top mobile app developer in real estate, Homesnap. The work by the founding sponsors of the Broker Public Portal and the first Board of Managers established guardrails for the industry that allowed it to achieve its goals while supporting the growth of our partner in Homesnap. That relationship has grown stronger with the success of the Broker Public Portal adoption. Today, hundreds of MLSs deliver the service to more than one million real estate agents. All of this has been achieved without ever losing focus on the spirit of the Broker Portal. It's the No. 1 source of leads to real estate agents and brokers in the nation, all for $1 per agent per month. For $12 a year, every agent benefits from the Broker Public Portal with Homesnap. It's a service that agents rank as a top benefit with the highest satisfaction from their MLS. We are not done. There are still hundreds of MLSs in America that still need to join the Broker Public Portal. Under the guidance of Joe Rand and with the brokers' support, we will continue our mission until we have united the nation under one home search roof. Please enjoy the opportunity to learn a little about these new volunteer leaders who are dedicating their time and passion to this vital industry initiative. I join Alon Chaver, Chairman of the Board, and Pat Shea, the Nominating Committee Chair, in welcoming you to the team. We will be electing four more executives to replace board members whose term expires at the end of the year. If you are interested, please contact me or Pat Shea. News release below: Broker Public Portal Names New Board Officers Arroyo Grande, CA – March 18, 2021 – The Board of Managers of the Broker Public Portal (BPP) today announced four new Board members. The Broker Public Portal, owned and managed by real estate brokerages and MLSs, operates a joint venture with Homesnap, the BPP's public-facing brand and real estate's top-rated mobile app. Through Homesnap, the BPP connects consumer home searchers to over one million real estate professionals in America today through agreements with nearly 250 million MLSs. Fueling tens of millions of consumer engagements with local real estate agents, Homesnap is the only national home search platform providing consumers with the same comprehensive, real-time MLS data used by real estate professionals. Only Homesnap adheres to Fair Display Guidelines among national home search providers, which protects consumers and agents. The four real estate industry leaders joining the Broker Public Portal Board of Managers include Lacey Merrick Conway, CEO of Latter and Blum; OB Jacobi, Co-President of Windermere Real Estate; Dana Strandmo, SVP/CAO of HomeServices of America; and Shelley Specchio, CEO of MIBOR REALTOR® Association. These four new board members fill existing board vacancies. "BPP continues to attract real estate industry's most trusted, thoughtful, and enterprising leaders," said Alon Chaver, Chairman of the Broker Public Portal, a real estate and technology investor who served as Chief Information Officer at Home Services of America. "Today's real estate industry is at an apex of change, and these new leaders will help BPP continue its work in eliminating barriers between consumers and their real estate brokers and agents," Chaver added. The nationwide footprint of Homesnap connects nearly 40 million consumers to local real estate agents, making the BPP with Homesnap the number one real estate engagement platform. Homesnap continues to generate millions of free leads to agents. The Broker Public Portal Board of Managers includes, as it notes in its Charter, a "fair and balanced group of executives who represent the interests of large brokers, medium brokers, small brokers, independent managers, and multiple listing service organizations." The agent count of participating firms establishes the size of brokerages eligible. 2021 New Board members: Lacey Merrick Conway, CEO, Latter and Blum OB Jacobi, Co-President, Windermere Real Estate Dana Strandmo, SVP/CAO, HomeServices of America Shelley Specchio, CEO of MIBOR REALTOR® Association 2021 Board of Managers also includes: Alon Chaver, Investor and former CIO, HomeServices of America (Chairman) Craig McClelland, COO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers (Secretary) Chad Gilbert, President and Owner, RE/MAX Suburban (Treasurer) Bill Miller, CEO, MetroList Services, Inc. Christina Pappas, Vice President, The Keyes Company Craig Cheatham, President and CEO, The Realty Alliance Donna Kreps, President, FC Tucker Company, Inc. Gurtej Sodhi, Chief Information and Operations Officer, Crye-Leike Daniel J. Riley, Esq., EVP, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Pat Shea, President and CEO, Lyon Real Estate Rebecca Jensen, CEO Midwest Real Estate Data Stan Martin, COO, Austin Board of REALTORS® and ACTRIS Tom Hosack, CEO & President, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty Each officer term is three years, with about one-third of the directors rotating off each year. About the New Board Members Lacey Merrick Conway: Lacey is the President of Latter & Blum Inc., the largest independently owned real estate brokerage in the Gulf South with 25 offices located throughout Louisiana, Texas, and Southern Mississippi. She has been active in residential real estate sales and broker management for more than fifteen years and oversees all company operations, strategic planning, and general management. Lacey holds an undergraduate degree from Boston University, an MBA from the University of New Orleans, and is a CCIM. She serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Latter & Blum, Inc. and serves on the board of United Way Southeast Louisiana and Greater New Orleans, Inc. OB Jacobi: OB brings a second generation of leadership to Windermere Real Estate which was founded by his father, John Jacobi, in Seattle in 1972. As president, OB has helped facilitate Windermere's growth into the largest regional real estate company in the Western United States with more than 6,500 agents and 300 offices in 10 states and Mexico. In addition to guiding business strategies for the Windermere network, OB oversees operations for six family-owned Windermere offices. He also serves on the board of the Windermere Foundation, which has provided over $43 million in funding to non-profit organizations that support low-income and homeless children and their families. Dana Strandmo: Dana is senior vice president and chief administrative officer for HomeServices of America. He has been employed with HomeServices from its beginning in 1998 and served as general counsel before being promoted to his current position in 2015. Previously, Strandmo was corporate counsel for Edina Realty Home Services. In addition to his voluntary service with the National Association of Realtors, the Minnesota Association of Realtors, RESPRO, and the The Realty Alliance in various positions. Strandmo has been an instructor with Minnesota State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education and an adjunct instructor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Shelley Specchio: As CEO of MIBOR REALTOR® Association and the Broker Listing Cooperative®, in 2017, Shelley brought her desire to build and foster strong relationships and her dedication to a culture of excellence to complement MIBOR's strong tradition of community involvement. MIBOR, the professional association representing central Indiana's REALTORS, was founded in 1912 and today serves the needs of more than 8,500 members. Shelley was the 2015 President of the Council of Multiple Listing Services and began her career in the real estate industry in 1994 with the Reno/Sparks Association of REALTORS®. She went on to lead the Northern Nevada Regional MLS as CEO from 2008 to 2017. Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Shelley earned her degree from the University of Nevada. About Broker Public Portal Broker Public Portal, LLC is a collaborative effort owned and operated by real estate brokerages and MLSs to deliver a better home search experience defined by simplicity, integrity, and common sense. Homesnap is BPP in action and provides the same comprehensive, real-time data directly from the MLS used by real professionals, the people who sell homes, not ads. Broker Public Portal with Homesnap follows industry-defined Fair Display Guidelines: there are no display ads from other agents or brokers on one's listings, and all inquiries are sent to the listing agent or broker for free. Discover more at www.brokerpublicportal.com. About Homesnap With easy-to-use mobile technology fueled by unmatched, real-time data intelligence, Homesnap is changing the way real estate agents connect with consumers and serve their clients. Homesnap combines people, property and data with enterprise-grade software for real estate professionals to run and grow their business at every stage of the real estate transaction. The industry-endorsed Homesnap platform leverages AI, machine learning and big data from over 500 data sources and over 240 MLSs to provide more than one million U.S. agents with access to powerful mobile software that automates workflow and optimizes the search and sell experience for their clients. With the Homesnap mobile app, the highest rated consumer home search application; Homesnap Pro, the industry-standard mobile business platform for agents; and the Homesnap national home search portal, a joint venture with the industry-backed Broker Public Portal, the integrated Homesnap platform is transforming the real estate business. More information can be found at www.homesnap.com. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Google and Real Estate, Part 2: Search Engine Optimization
In the second part of Google and Real Estate (read part one here), learn about SEO and how we can optimize our efforts online to improve organic lead generation. What Is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it has been the buzzword in online marketing since the beginning of search engines. It is a broad term with various interpretations, but the best way to describe it is a set of strategies and action plans to improve rankings of a business in search engines, especially Google. It is not only limited to Google. On YouTube, Facebook and other social media where visibility and ranking defines the fate of business, SEO is applicable. The strategies might include: Optimizing the content of a website or page Optimize key terms and phrases which are the subject of searches Optimize technical aspects of web development like tags and organic data And there is a lot more. In simple terms, every action that Google or other search engines consider valuable for the user is SEO. This is why most experts believe that the best approach to SEO is meeting the demands of your target audience. Google uses a mindset that is often referred to as Turing Machine Theory. It is based on the idea that a successful algorithm is the one that makes a machine as close to human beings as possible. Imagine there is a computer and a person behind a wall. Now, a user approaches this wall and tries to interact with the computer and the human behind the wall. Turing theory succeeds when this person cannot understand whether she is interacting with a person or a machine. The aim of Google is to achieve this with its search engines. SEO for Real Estate Business? IDX websites can also benefit from higher ranking on Google. Organic MLS integration is one of the key features of a successful SEO campaign for real estate websites. This list of activities can help you improve your status on search results: Use Organic Feed An organic MLS feed can help Google index your pages and display them for respective keywords. Using iFrames will deprive you of this chance since Google won't recognize them as valid pages. Optimize Tags Using the right set of tags can help you rank better on Google. Make sure you use the organic and valuable tags and not generic ones. Overuse of tags, especially those that are not related to the content may get penalized by Google. Learn more about tags by visiting our blog Tags in Real Estate Online Marketing. Create Content This is, as we all know, the most important element in Google recognition of your business. If you provide regular and on-demand content for users, you are most likely to enjoy a truly deserved ranking. Content can be blogs, pictures, images, infographics, etc. Keywords and Phrases The whole content of your website should be relevant to your niche, so it can get ranked more accurately. Research keywords and phrases that are closer to you and your area, and avoid generic and difficult keywords. Learn more about real estate top keywords by visiting our article Best Real Estate SEO Keywords. Internal /External Linking Proper linking inside and outside your website will help search engine crawlers understand your content and website better. This will also lead to more accurate results and eventually more qualified leads. Maintain a balance of internal links to different pages, and make sure you have some external links to reputable websites in the niche. Optimize Your Loading Speed Nobody likes a slow website. Google gives a lot of credit to this. Use Google's page speed tools to analyze this. Optimize for Mobile Clients spend more time on their phones than their PCs, so you need to make sure your IDX website is optimized for mobile responsiveness. Referrals and Traffic Use social media and other outlets at your disposal to attract more people (traffic) to your website. However, be aware that it can sabotage your ranking as much it can improve it. In other words, if you draw traffic from spammy activities and generic sources, Google will penalize you and your ranking will suffer. Use Quality Hosting Services Hosting services are of utmost value to real estate websites. An IDX website holds a lot of listings data that might be hosted locally or on the fly. This can not only affect your loading speed but also the organic nature of your content. SEO Checklist (printable) Here is a printable SEO checklist for your real estate website. Feel free to print it and share it with your colleagues: SEO Checklist What's Next? Having a SEO friendly platform and making further optimizations of SEO through organic techniques will definitely help maintain a solid performance by your website. Nonetheless, the market is highly competitive and you need to try more than that to stand out from the crowd. Needless to say, advertising is your next viable option, and that is why we are going to discuss Google Ads and its implications for real estate websites in the next part of our Google series: Google and Real Estate, Part 3: Google Ads. To view the original article, visit the Realtyna blog.
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Lone Wolf Launches Digital Title Orders
Lone Wolf has extended the functionality of their marketplace to include the functionality of ordering title within the forms application. This saves a step for real estate professionals and makes the home purchase process more streamlined for the consumer. Like all Lone Wolf Marketplace programs, if your brokerage has a title company, you can probably include your title company as a replacement for the title companies who have partnered with Lone Wolf directly. Not sure how this works in the eight or so attorney closing states. Question: How does it work in an attorney closing state like New York? Response: There may be some fringe cases we cannot address, such as those areas that are attorney closing states, i.e., Chicago, northern New Jersey, and parts of New York. If those attorneys use the title production systems that are common in the title industry, then we can accommodate them the same way. If they use a different, legal management software, then we would not be able to today. Question: Can a broker turn the feature off if they don't want it to display? Response: It cannot be turned off. The goal is to work with brokerages to support the use of their preferred companies. To do this, we have established brokerage level settings that cascade down to the agents to establish the "default" provider. The program is around inclusivity, and the projects we have completed and planned are meant to enable agents and brokers to modernize this critical process that is prone to data, security, and communication challenges. The core purpose of this program is not about doing business with new providers, but digitizing and improving the process with those you already do business with. Question: Did all the MLSs/associations sign off on this? Response: They were notified and attended demo webinars. Read the full press release below: Lone Wolf launches Digital Title Orders for 1.4 million real estate agents in the U.S. Through unprecedented industry-wide collaboration, Lone Wolf brings digital title insurance orders into national transaction management member benefit, Lone Wolf Transactions CAMBRIDGE, ON – March 15, 2021 – Lone Wolf Technologies ("Lone Wolf") has a clear vision for the future of real estate: simpler, faster, and better transactions led by real estate professionals and brokerages. In pursuit of this vision, Lone Wolf is excited to announce a groundbreaking new feature that will simplify and speed up transactions for every real estate agent in the U.S.: Digital Title Orders. The new feature is launching on March 15 in Lone Wolf Transactions (zipForm Edition and TransactionDesk Edition), and access is completely free for users of either solution. With Digital Title Orders in Transactions (zipForm Edition and TransactionDesk Edition), real estate agents can select their preferred title provider and submit orders directly within a transaction using the information that's already there, saving significant time and effort in the process of ordering title insurance. Agents also can directly communicate with their title agent within the transaction, keeping everything in one secure place. "We're thrilled to launch Digital Title Orders today," said Jimmy Kelly, CEO and President of Lone Wolf. "Nothing can or should replace the role of the real estate agent and their brokerage in a transaction. This new feature—and the amount of industry-wide collaboration it took to create—is a huge step forward for real estate transactions in a digital-first environment. Thanks to the collaboration and shared visions between industry leaders, we're thrilled to deliver Digital Title Orders and make a real difference in the lives of our users and their buyers and sellers." "Technology is constantly enhancing our ability to provide custom solutions and a superior experience for our customers, and our integration with Lone Wolf is a prime example of the forward-looking technology that will shape the future of our industry," said Jim Dulle, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at First American Title. "We are excited to launch with Lone Wolf on March 15 and look forward continuing the pursuit of digitizing and simplifying the closing process for all." The new feature was made possible through an unprecedented collaborative effort between Lone Wolf and leading title providers, including First American Title Company and WFG National Title, and leading title software providers, including SoftPro and RamQuest, with many more on the way and planned for 2021. Through these individual partnerships, Lone Wolf has created real estate's first direct integration between real estate agents and title agents and made it available to every real estate agent and brokerage in the U.S. through the member benefit, Lone Wolf Transactions. The national launch of Digital Title Orders kicks off today with First American Title, while those using the RamQuest title production system are also able to get their title companies onboarded within Transactions to connect to their customers. By the end of 2021, Lone Wolf plans to onboard 80% of title companies. "We're excited to be able to partner with Lone Wolf for this integration," said Ben Cork, CSO at RamQuest. "Now more than ever, real estate professionals need to be able to conduct business in a digital environment. Through this collaboration with Lone Wolf, we're bringing together our technologies to deliver that digital environment and make digital title a possibility for everyone in the industry." "Like Lone Wolf, we are dedicated to making the real estate transaction easier, faster, and more cost effective for real estate agents and their clients," said Marty Frame, President of WEST, the technology affiliate of WFG National Title. "As a national provider operating through direct, agency, and enterprise operations, WFG knows that this deep integration with Lone Wolf is the step forward in the transaction process that the industry has been looking for." This initiative is part of Lone Wolf's larger mission to digitize real estate transactions and empower agents and brokerages in their competition for the business of buyers and sellers. To do so, Lone Wolf is connecting real estate's most used digital tools and services to the transaction solution used in over 75% of all real estate transactions in North America. This gives real estate agents, brokerages, and buyers and sellers a complete digital experience, all in one place. "We're here to elevate the real estate transaction experience, and at the heart of that is industry collaboration," said Jason Cheverton, Vice President of Strategic Channels at Lone Wolf. "Digital Title Orders is a major steppingstone for two reasons: One, it gives real estate agents simple access to a crucial part of a transaction within their existing workflow; and two, it gives them the flexibility to choose the provider they want to work with, now and as we continue to expand the selection of providers available in the months ahead." About Lone Wolf Technologies Lone Wolf Technologies is the North American leader in residential real estate software, serving over 1.5 million real estate professionals across Canada and the U.S. With cloud solutions for agents, brokers, franchises, MLSs and associations alike, the company provides the entire real estate industry with the tools they need to amaze clients, build their business, and improve profits—from transactions to back office, insights, and more, all in one place. Lone Wolf's head offices are located in Cambridge, ON, Dallas, TX, and Huntington Beach, CA. To view the original article, visit the Lone Wolf blog.
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Google and Real Estate, Part 1: Search Console and Analytics
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RPR's Commercial Mobile App: Tackle Commercial Tasks on the Go
When you're in the field or away from the office, there's an easy way to stay super productive. In this article, we'll show you how the RPR app can help you access commercial property information, market conditions, and reports. If you haven't already downloaded the RPR app, do so now by visiting the App store or Play store on your smartphone or tablet.
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If Real Estate Is a Story, Who Is the Hero?
We start our story at the end. Our hero faces a villain, powerful beyond belief. Though our hero is strong, the odds seem insurmountable. A battle occurs, the dust settles, and a victor emerges. If this story were real estate, who would the hero be? Who is the villain? What are they fighting over and how does it end?
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Building Blocks: Building a Brokerage
In our third and final installment of the "Back to Basics" series, we wanted to offer some content specifically for those looking to build a brokerage. During a previous webinar with our friends at LabCoat Agents, Jay Steinback and Amanda Alejandro of Realty Shop joined us to offer their thoughts and strategies on building and running a successful brokerage. And these two should know! After starting Realty Shop in 2018, they have achieved a lot of success selling four times the industry standard. Read on to learn about their top two tips—and for more details, check out the video for the full conversation. Here are two major tips from Jay and Amanda to build a better brokerage: 1. Set your foundation This includes investing in the tools and infrastructure needed to run the business. Realty Shop and their team of agents use Chime as their IDX and CRM foundation. Chime records all their calls, texts and correspondence so anyone on the team can help move the lead forward. If the initial agent isn't available, someone else can review the notes and pick up right where it was left off. This process makes it seamless for the client and accelerates the closing process. 2. Treat your team like your clients Team culture is the cornerstone of a successful brokerage. Jay and Amanda have worked hard to create a culture that values the efforts of employees and agents alike. They strive to be the type of company where everyone knows they are on your side and have your back! To be of value to their agents, Jay and Amanda run their company with the mindset of catering to two different sets of clients—those buying the houses and the agents selling the properties. For more tips, check out the webinar. To view the original article, visit the Chime Technologies blog.
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Don't Turn Away Clients with Bad User Experience
User experience (UX) is at the heart of how clients and prospects interact with your real estate brand. It includes analog, old-fashioned interactions, but the primary focus is on the digital realm. A seamless, high-quality user experience is a crucial factor in lead generation and keeps clients satisfied after choosing your business. Of course, that also means that a bad user experience will have the opposite effect. So let's take a closer look at what the UX is exactly, how to avoid turning clients away with a bad UX, and some tips for overcoming common UX challenges for your real estate brand. What Is the User Experience, and Why Is It so Important? The UX Encompasses Nearly Every Aspect of How Clients Interact with Your Brand Talking about the user experience can feel a bit overwhelming at first because it's such a broad topic that covers... well, pretty much everything when it comes client interactions. The good news is that it's also fairly simple to boil the UX down to a few key concepts, and we're going to focus primarily on the digital side. Want to Better Understand UX? Start with a Few Important Questions When a client engages through your website, how easy is it for them to find the information they need? Are there barriers in place that prevent them from taking next steps? Does your content go beyond the basics to speak to the needs of each client? Can they easily access your content and services on the device of their choice? A high-quality UX makes life easier for clients, which ultimately makes it easier for you to earn their business. The User Experience Is More Important than Ever in the COVID-19 Era COVID-19 has changed how people buy and sell homes and the way they interact with real estate brands. Clients rely much more on digital tools to conduct real estate business, while in-person interactions have taken a backseat. Now more than ever, real estate firms need a digital UX that clients will love. Common UX Problems and How to Avoid Them Forced Registration and Asking for Too Much Up Front One of the easiest ways to discourage clients with your UX is to ask for too much right away. If you force clients to register for your website before they can do anything or request extensive permissions, they may simply move on to the next option. There's a time and place to ask for more information or permissions — and it comes after you've demonstrated the value of your brand to clients. The Fewer Hoops to Jump Through, the Better Building on our first problem to avoid, it's crucial to avoid burying important features behind items that are less important to clients. Most clients will be engaging with your UX to shop for homes in specific neighborhoods, or to find out how much their current home would be worth on the market. When you place the features that clients want most front and center, they'll be more likely to stick around long enough to explore the rest of what you have to offer. Failing to Understand That Clients Are Making More Than Just a Financial Transaction Buying or selling a home is a personal, often emotional process. If you don't integrate content that shows an understanding of the why, then it's hard to build a connection with the client. The content on your website should go beyond the financial basics while speaking to your target audience's needs. It should highlight the communities where you do business while showing clients how specific homes and neighborhoods can answer their needs. Mobile-Friendly Is a Must for a Quality User Experience Clients want to connect with your business in the way that works best for their needs, so a website that's not mobile-friendly or a buggy, hard-to-use mobile app will be a major red flag. It's critical to make sure that your UX's quality remains reliable no matter which device the client is using to access it. The Right Team Makes All the Difference in Building a Great User Experience Building an outstanding, streamlined user experience starts with understanding what users want and how to provide that to them. Delta Media Group works to build your real estate business a stable, high performance UX that makes it easy for clients to find homes, fall in love with neighborhoods, learn about local real estate markets, and conveniently connect with your business on any device. Experience it for yourself—try DeltaNET 6 FREE for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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