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Oct 16 17

Lone Wolf buys Instanet Solutions

by Greg Robertson

Man, Victor has the scoop with this one…

Lone Wolf acquires Instanet Solutions

“Today, Lone Wolf, one of the leading providers of broker accounting and management solutions, announced its acquisition of fellow Canadian company, Instanet Solutions. This is the second transaction management software acquisition in the past two weeks. Fidelity National Financial, Inc. recently acquired a majority interest in Skyslope, another highly regarded transaction management solution.”

The Private Equity firm, Vista, owns Lone Wolf. They made a minority investment in Lone Wolf in 2015, then took control with another investment in 2016.

In 2016 Vista inserted a new CEO and Executive chairman (and fired about 40 Lone Wolf employees.) Nobody is talking about price but this has huge implications for associations and MLS providers.

Oct 13 17

Pro Tip: How not to be a Harvey

by Greg Robertson

The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment

“Are you a man confused on how to treat the women you work with? Do you feel like if you can’t say or do *anything* you don’t know what to say or do at all? Well stress no more! This life hack will have you treating women like people in no time.

You’re welcome.

Oct 13 17

‘If we are going to do this, we don’t stop till we are done’…

by Greg Robertson

Loved this article from Dionna Hall, CEO of REALTORS of the Palm Beaches (now REALTORS of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale). In an article written for MLS Roundtable she goes in to detail the backstory of how they put together the latest merger.

Consolidation is a Powerful Word

At the beginning of the year RAPB President, John Slivon and I discussed the possibility of a merger. We decided that being comfortable was likely short term (at best temporary); we knew the industry was changing. We wanted to address our brokers and agents pain points and felt that merging was a step toward accomplishing that goal. Fortunately, GFLR President Ron Lennen was of the same mindset. Both Presidents approached conversations with tremendous focus and intensity, a commitment of ‘If we are going to do this, we don’t stop till we are done’…and that is what we did.

Just a few years ago the MLS situation in South Florida was a mess. Great to see when you put the right people in place, with the right mindset, things can get done.

Oct 13 17

See you at RESO next week

by Greg Robertson

Looking forward to joining everyone in San Diego next week. Katie and I will be there along with…wait for it…Dan Woolley!

I’ll be hosting a panel on Wednesday morning (10/18/2017 10:05AM), named “RESO in the REAL World – Advantages and Benefits Being Realized”

I’ll be joined by

Colette Stevenson, CEO, MLS of Hilton Head Island, Inc.
Troy McCasland, CEO of AgentSquared
Tom Weiss-Lehman, Product Manager, Redfin Corporation
Chris Freeman, CTO, WolfNet

Should be fun. See you there!

Oct 3 17

VHT Studios Unveils Virtual Twilight and Decluttering

by Greg Robertson

VHT Studios Unveils Virtual Twilight for Real Estate Professionals to Further Captivate Buyers and Boost a Listing’s Appeal

“Virtual Twilight is another convenient alternative to VHT’s traditional twilight photography sessions. VHT uses our professional photographers’ daylight exterior photographs and our image specialists digitally transform them into twilight photographs. It saves time for the seller and real estate professional, since it requires no additional or extended late-day photography sessions.

I would qualify this as a AR (Augmented Reality) type of feature, although it’s not done on the fly. But, their slide demo is pretty impressive, make sure you look at all the photos, the decluttering and staging examples are just as impressive as the twilight photos. I wish I could use the decluttering feature in real life for my boy’s rooms.

Oct 3 17

RESO DataComp

by Greg Robertson

Calling all innovative thinkers that want to change the course of real estate history!

“RESO will be hosting a data competition, with the chance to win up to 25k in cash!
We are connecting the best entrepreneurial developers with RESO compliant APIs. Software technologies change very rapidly and RESO is challenging the developer community to push the innovation envelope. Unlike traditional developer “hackathons” that only last hours, this event is comprised of a month-long development process.
DataComp participant registration is separate from the 2017 conference registration and is open to anyone who believes the use of RESO compliant APIs can benefit the industry. It doesn’t matter if you are the home hacker or the corporate coder, if you have been incubating the next “big idea” be sure to be seen at this event. This competition is certain to be one of the best reasons for real estate technologists to join us in San Diego.

I’ve got a killer idea for this, I just wish Dan wasn’t so damn busy. $25K would buy a lot of Tanqueray.

Oct 2 17

Hook and Loop

by Greg Robertson

Bob Goldberg and Katie Johnson need to start filming tomorrow.

Sep 28 17

RIP Hugh, I’m going to miss your parties

by Greg Robertson


I’ve been to two Playboy parties in my life, both in Las Vegas. I was an AV guy working for a company called Systems 2000. We had a gig working at a convention in Las Vegas at a booth for Newline Cinema. We were next door to the Playboy Home Video booth. This was back in the days before the internet, the time where every corner had a video rental store or a Blockbusters. This was the convention that all the studios would entertain store owners with elaborate parties. But Playboy’s parties were the invites to get.

I got to know the guys working the Playboy booth, and after some horse trading (usually company swag and t-shirts) we secured an invite to the “Playboy Pajama Party” and the “Playboy Wet n’ Wild”party at a local waterpark.

While I can’t publish any of the photos I have from the “Wet n’ Wild” party I do have this photo from the Pajama Party.

I thought I had hit it off with the current Playmate of the Year, Stacy Sanches, she said I was funny. So after the party I asked her out (she declined, said she was “busy”.) But, look at this photo, she’s in to me, right?!

RIP Hugh. Hope you went out with a smile!

Sep 27 17

Listing Bits: Making Real Estate Mobile with HomeSpotter CEO Aaron Kardell

by Greg Robertson

By 2009, mobile users could do a lot with smartphone apps—get directions, listen to music, take pictures, play games, even film a video. Aaron Kardell thought that you ought to be able to add ‘look for a house’ to the growing list of applications, and he founded HomeSpotter with the intention of doing just that.

Aaron grew up in rural Nebraska in a family of entrepreneurs. He started writing software programs in high school, and went on to earn a BS in computer science at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He originated several businesses, including Altona Ed, an ed tech student information system that was acquired by Pearson School Systems in 2004.
Aaron’s first experience with location-based iPhone applications came along in 2009 when he created iGarageSale. Very shortly thereafter, a broker contacted Aaron about building an app to complement the firm’s successful lead generating website. Aaron retained intellectual property rights, and Mobile Realty Apps was born. The company rebranded as HomeSpotter in 2015, and today they have offerings for MLSs, brokers and agents. On this episode, Aaron joins Greg live from CMLS in Austin to discuss HomeSpotter’s business model, the latest capabilities around mobile listing input, and HomeSpotter’s recent launch of Boost, an automated digital marketing system with trackable ROI.

What’s Discussed: 

Aaron’s entrepreneurial family
How Aaron developed an interest in writing software programs

The genesis of HomeSpotter
– Created iGarageSale app
– Realtor asked to build app as consultant
– Retained intellectual property rights

The tactical mistakes HomeSpotter made early on
Why Aaron chose to take the native mobile route

How Aaron built a business in the 99¢ app store world
– Relied on SaaS model
– White label broker offering

HomeSpotter’s service offerings
– White label platform for brokers
– MLS member access on-the-go
– Boost (automated digital marketing with trackable ROI)

How high agent adoption in MLS markets led to the introduction of additional products
The new capabilities around mobile listing input

– Ability to edit listings (corrections, status changes)
– Update photo support capabilities

How Aaron funded HomeSpotter
– Personal capital sustained first three years
– Angel investors in Minneapolis/St. Paul

The particulars of HomeSpotter’s newest offering, Boost
– Automated system
– For agents, teams, brokers
– Creates Facebook/Instagram ads for each new listing
– Targets prospective buyers and seller
– Helps average agent be more effective with marketing

Greg’s hesitance to get into the ‘advertising business’
Why agents are willing to spend more for advertising than tools
The scalability of an app like Boost

How HomeSpotter is upselling current subscribers to try Boost

– Partnering with brokers, franchises, MLSs
– Email agent when listing added
– Brokers pay for initial week in some cases

How Aaron’s team generates ideas for new products

Cloud CMA’s deal with Tom Ferry
The pros and cons of a pay-per-listing pricing model
The difference between HomeSpotter’s free and premium versions for MLS

Resources:

Cloud CMA’s Listing Presentation Kit by Tom Ferry
Zillow’s Report on Trends in Residential Relocation

Connect with Aaron Kardell:

HomeSpotter
Aaron on LinkedIn

Sep 27 17

Industry Relations 14: ‘MLS of Choice,’ Sam DeBord and Jeff Young of RPR

by Greg Robertson

Hang around the hotel bar at CMLS2017 long enough (we’re looking at you, Greg), and you will overhear conspiracy theories about ‘MLS of Choice’ somehow leading to a national MLS. The MLS community has long feared that NAR is looking to get into the MLS business, and the rhetoric ‘of choice’ raises alarm bells in the industry. What is NAR’s intent in changing MLS Policy Statements 7.42 and 7.43? Could RPR eventually evolve into a national MLS?

Today Rob and Greg dig into the ‘MLS of Choice’ debate with Sam DeBord and Jeff Young. Sam is a member of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board that revised 7.42 and 7.43, and he will serve as the Vice-Chairman of MLS Policy for NAR next year. He also serves as the managing broker for Seattle Homes Group and VP of Strategic Growth for Coldwell Banker Danforth. Sam writes for a number of real estate news outlets, and he was named to SP200’s Top 20 Social Influencers and Inman’s Top 101 in Real Estate.

Jeff Young is the Chief of Operations for Realtors Property Resource (RPR), an NAR resource providing comprehensive data, powerful analytics and client-friendly reports for each of NAR’s constituencies. Jeff has been a REALTOR since 1996, serving in various NAR leadership positions including President of the Michigan Association of Realtors in 2008. (In this live recording Jeff happen to walk by as the podcast was being recorded and coaxed in to participate.)

On this episode of Industry Relations, Greg, Rob, Sam and Jeff walk through the details of ‘MLS of Choice,’ discussing how the policy change will offer greater flexibility for brokers and agents in the MLS marketplace. They explore the MLS community’s skepticism around NAR’s intent, and whether there is any merit to the theory that this new policy might eventually lead to RPR becoming a national MLS. Listen in to understand the arguments for and against ‘MLS of Choice’–tin foil hat optional.

What’s Discussed: 

The broker pain points that led to changes in MLS Policy Statements 7.42 and 7.43
The role of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board
The current jurisdictional rules around MLS dues
How ‘MLS of Choice’ provides greater flexibility for brokers/agents in MLS marketplaces
Why the previous policy was endorsed
The arguments for and against ‘MLS of Choice’
Sam’s response to industry fear of NAR establishing a national MLS
The rumors that RPR could become the national MLS
Jeff’s rebuttal concerning the rumors around RPR
– RPR contracts with MLSs prevent national MLS
– RPR depends on relationships with 661 of 694 current MLSs
The confusion around ‘MLS of Choice’ as a naming convention
The concept of which MLS not if MLS
How the policy change will adversely affect MLSs that don’t provide value
CMLS’s response to the ‘MLS of Choice’ policy change

Resources:

Sam at Coldwell Banker Danforth
Realtors Property Resource
‘MLS of Choice’ Article in Inman News

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website
Greg’s Website