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Aug 15 18

Industry Relations Episode 27: Building the Quintessential Technology Platform for Real Estate

by Greg Robertson

Perhaps the most compelling piece of theatre in recent real estate history, Gary Keller’s interview at the Inman Connect Conference laid out his argument around the future of the industry. Keller’s approach is to own his own data and develop a software platform unique to Keller Williams, and a number of other franchises are buying up technology companies in order to build their own exclusive data platforms. But is this obsession with technology and controlling the data distracting brokerages and franchisors from what really matters?

Rob and Greg are on the line to discuss real estate technology and data ownership. Greg explains W+R’s focus on creating a kickass experience for agents and consumers alike and describes the company’s approach to aggregating data rather than trying to build a proprietary platform.

Rob and Greg cover the growing competition in real estate software and address who is responsible for providing agents with a technology suite. They debate the merits of designing an exclusive platform versus integrating franchise data with a particular software package to create a custom data solution. Listen in for insight around the US vs. THEM mindset around building technology and learn why Rob and Greg are calling for a renewed focus on agents—and giving them the tools to shine!

What’s Discussed:

The overarching theme of the 2018 Inman Connect conference

Gary Keller’s aim to create his own ‘platform for innovation’

How W+R seeks to democratize the iBuyer experience

The role of AI and machine learning in a technology platform

W+R’s approach to making data useful for the end user

Greg’s take on the notion of data ownership

How Zillow has evolved to generate its own data 

W+R’s focus on improving an agent’s listing presentation

Cloud Investor Connect’s value prop for investors

– High intent, high volume

Who is responsible for providing agents with a tech platform

The consistent improvement of real estate software

The opportunity to integrate software with franchise data

The MLSs role as a tech platform vs. data provider

The definition of a technology platform as an end-to-end solution

Rob’s insight around focusing on the agent rather than technology


Cloud Agent Suite

The Red Dot


Inman Connect—San Francisco 2018

Rob’s Gary Keller Blog Post

Gary Keller at Inman Connect

Cloud Investor Connect


RE/MAX Q2 Earnings Call

Tom Ferry Show





Brad Inman’s Tech Platform Opinion Piece

The Red Dot

Cloud Agent Suite

W+R Studios

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website 

Aug 13 18

Boost-The MLS Staff Summit -Few tickets left

by Greg Robertson

We’ve only got a few tickets left for our first annual MLS Staff Summit.

More details can be found here.

Boost – The MLS Staff Summit

Aug 11 18

Whistleblower claims RPR’s code is “very fragile” and “garbage”

by Greg Robertson

Andrea Brambila writing for Inman News

Former contractor launches crowdfund campaign to sue RPR

“He worked on RPR’s core platform — the property database — not Upstream, but chuckled upon hearing that one reason RPR was chosen as the vendor for Upstream was because the company planned to build on its existing technology to create Upstream.

“They had to start from scratch because they couldn’t use a lot of the code from RPR because it was so bad,” Komar said, noting that that was likely a reason for Upstream’s delayed launch.

RPR’s technology is “very fragile” due to its “poorly architected system” and “poorly written” and “non-optimized” code, according to Komar.

In his opinion, RPR would have no chance of selling the platform. “Anyone who did their due diligence would give them a failing grade,” he said.”

I tell you who’s not “chuckling”, NAR members. Over 230 million dollars later, RPR and Upstream have both crossed over and have become Greek Tragedies at this point. Somebody should write a book.

Aug 10 18

Industry Relations Episode 26: Reframing the iBuyer Phenomenon

by Greg Robertson

Today’s consumer is used to pushing a button and having magic happen. (Thank you for the insight Jeremy Waxman.) And more often than not, we are willing to pay an extra fee for things like convenience and certainty. For this reason alone, the iBuyer phenomenon is here to stay, and the real estate industry would do well to consider how traditional agents might participate in the changing market.

Rob and Greg are back to offer a different perspective on the iBuyer movement, discussing how the industry is misunderstanding the phenomenon. Greg explains how organized real estate might address the consumer experience by partnering with a large financial institution to ‘be the bank’ and Rob shares his take on FSBOs and iBuyers as opposite ends of a spectrum—with the traditional REALTOR experience in the middle.  

Rob and Greg address fiduciary duty, describing the conflict of interest that occurs when agents have the capacity to make on offer on a prospect’s home. They cover the difference between iBuyers and traditional house flippers, describing the considerable capital behind companies like Offerpad and Opendoor and the significance of Zillow’s recent acquisition of a mortgage lender. Listen in for insight around iBuyers moving into high-dollar markets and learn how agents fit into a future world where iBuyers are the default.

What’s Discussed:

How the industry is misunderstanding the iBuyer phenomenon

-Intention to change process of buying/selling home

-Company to figure out user experience wins

How MLS and association execs might consider the agent experience

Greg’s proposal around NAR partnering with a financial institution

Rob’s prediction that the iBuyer movement is here to stay

The conflict of interest agents face in offering to buy a client’s home

Rob’s take on FSBOs and iBuyers as opposite ends of a spectrum

-Working with REALTOR = middle ground 

The potential ‘buyification’ of the brokerage business

Why iBuyers are not as vulnerable as traditional house flippers

The significance of Zillow’s acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America 

The tipping point when iBuyers become the default for consumers

The significance of iBuyers moving into high-dollar markets

The value in agents learning to pitch investor offers to sellers


Cloud Agent Suite

The Red Dot


Rob’s iBuyer Blog Post

Denee Evans on Listing Bits

Zillow’s Q2 Webcast

Cloud Investor Connect

Inman News: Agents can show sellers iBuyer offers with new Cloud CMA feature

Brad Inman: In real estate’s tech platform race, I’m betting on an underdog

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website 

Aug 8 18

Tom Ferry partners with Contactually for the “Tom Ferry CRM”

by Greg Robertson

Via Inman News

Real estate coach Tom Ferry launches ‘The Hub,’ a CRM and tech suite

“Ferry’s new set of products is called The Hub. The suite includes the new CRM, a referral network informed by an algorithm, video role plays to practice different situations in real estate and tools for business planning and activity tracking.

The main innovation of Ferry’s CRM — appropriate for his role as chief real estate coach — is that it allows real estate coaches to log on and see a version of the CRM with personal client information stripped away to track how their real estate agent clients are doing.

That anonymized view allows coaches to directly see what their agents are doing instead of relying on what agents tell them.

Besides that, the Tom Ferry CRM shares most of its features with Contactually’s other CRMs.

“We’ve been providing the system, the tech part of it. Now what this does is marry that with the coaching side of things,” Contactually CEO Zvi Band told Inman.”

Really, really smart. By blending what Tom Ferry does so well with what Contactually does so well they have created a truly unique experience/product.

The issue that companies like RE/MAX and Keller Williams are going to face is that real estate software is getting better. And franchisors are going to have to compete with solutions like this. With adoption of franchisor provided technology hovering between 8%-10%, and 3rd party software getting better, I don’t care if you call yourself a “technology company” or not, adoption is going to be tough battle.

Congrats to Tom Ferry and big congrats to Zvi and the amazing team at Contactually. Love the innovative thinking behind this effort.

Aug 7 18

BOOST – The MLS Staff Summit

by Greg Robertson

W+R Studios is hosting the “BOOST-MLS Staff Summit“. Join the crew at W+R Studios for 2 days of intensive Cloud Agent Suite learning, networking, and training on how to Boost your MLS career. We’ll take care of room and board so get your ticket and yourself to Huntington Beach and we’ll handle the rest!

This event isn’t for CEO or leadership, but for those in the trenches working with agents in the training and support departments of the MLS providers.

Boost is hosted by W+R Studios, the creative team behind Cloud CMA and we believe in working hard and having fun. 😃

All that’s required is to buy a ticket. Room and board are on us! Plus we promise to keep you entertained.

Tickets are very limited. To order tickets or find out more information please click the link below:


Aug 7 18


by Greg Robertson

My thanks to ShowingTime for sponsoring Vendor Alley. ShowingTime is the Showing Management and MarketStats technology provider for 900,000 real estate agents in more than 250 MLSs.

MLSs, listing offices and agents that use ShowingTime make it easy for agent to schedule showings. Their MarketStats product hailed as “The best in the country in showing statistics”, by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS(R).

Recently they added a new sales executive, Maria Burud. Maria joined the company as their Senior Vice President of Sales. Previously Maria worked at ADP, Infinium Software and Placeware. You can read more about Maria here. Welcome to the industry Maria!

Thanks again to Michael and Scott for your sponsorship.

Aug 7 18

Zillow gets a broker license and buys a mortgage company

by Greg Robertson

From Inman News

Zillow gets broker’s license in Arizona, but has ‘no plans’ to represent homebuyers and sellers

Zillow is getting a broker’s license in Arizona, but it has no plans to begin hiring real estate agents anytime soon, and it will continue to rely on other brokerages to represent it as it wades further into homebuying and selling transactions, according to Errol Samuelson, the chief industry development officer at Zillow Group.

Samuelson made the comments in an interview with Inman on Monday, regarding Zillow’s just-announced acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America, a mortgage lender that will help Zillow expand beyond its initial informational and home search purposes and provide home searchers with more services to convert them into homebuyers, directly on Zillow’s popular namesake website.

I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a massive freakout over this piece of news or not. You never know with Zillow. But so far it looks like a nothing sandwich.

From the two articles on Inman News I only see a total of 7 comments, one of them from the above article and 6 on another article focusing on the mortgage company acquisition.

Maybe they didn’t need to replace Jay Thompson?

Aug 6 18


by Greg Robertson

High praise from Mr. Brad Inman on our new Cloud Investor Connect feature in Cloud CMA.

In real estate’s tech platform race, I’m betting on an underdog as brokerages square off against Zillow and Redfin, small startup W+R Studios’ Cloud CMA could be the viral hit like this summer’s Shiggy dance

But I got my eye on a third potential and fledgling platform coming out of nowhere by two likeable entrepreneurs who have been building real estate software for 25 years. Greg Robertson and Dan Woolley dub their company W+R Studios. Its signature product is Cloud CMA, which does comparative market analysis for agents to deliver to home sellers.

It’s software does 260,000 CMAs a month.

Here is the hook that could propel their company. The southern California firm added a new instant offer feature to their product last month, so when presenting the CMA the agent can also point the home seller to an instant offer alternative from investors and iBuyers.

It is being tested in Los Angeles with signs that it might be a breakaway product — maybe even a platform.

You can imagine most agents in the country using the software someday with all of the big Wall Street iBuyers and local investors participating on the Cloud CMA platform. It sports an easy to deploy API for investors and a friendlier-than-Mr. Rogers user experience.

Nice way to start a week. Dan and I want to thank Brad for his kind words (no pressure!). And also Art Carter and CRMLS for serving as our first “sandbox” of sorts. Plus our other MLS partners that have helped Cloud CMA to grow in to one of real estate’s most popular products.

So far our tests in Southern California for the past two weeks have gone better than expected. Agents love the experience, and are giving us great feedback. I’m happy to share some of our results, just contact me directly.

Aug 3 18

Kevin Hughes joins BoxMLS as new CEO

by Greg Robertson

BoxMLS Press Release

“Today, BoxMLS, a real estate technology company providing search and collaboration tools, announced the appointment of Kevin Hughes as Chief Executive Officer. He will assume responsibilities immediately and will succeed Brad Davis, who will continue as Chief Technology Officer.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this team of talented professionals,” said Hughes. “BoxMLS is truly taking the industry in a positive direction.” Chief Operating Officer and board chairman Jason Fayollat described Hughes as “a bold, battle-tested industry expert who will lead our charge into the national real estate technology landscape.”

It should also be noted that Kevin’s brother, Eric Hoglund, had previously joined BoxMLS back in December of last year. Can you say PRESTIGE WORLDWIDE!?

Congrats to Kevin and BoxMLS.