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Mar 3 21

RIP Ken Jenny

by Greg Robertson

Kenneth Jenny, respected real estate industry vet, dies at 66

His real estate career began at Coldwell Banker in 1984, according to Jenny’s LinkedIn profile. At Coldwell Banker, he climbed the ranks over the course of about seven years to become COO, with all operations across North America under his purview. From there, Jenny moved on to become senior vice president and CMO of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates where he spent about three-and-a-half years, after which he became CEO and co-owner of real estate media company RealEstate.com, where he worked nearly six years.

At the end of his career, Jenny focused his attentions on his real estate tech and brokerage services consultancy, tranCen, which he ran for over 25 years. Over the course of his consultancy career, Jenny worked with notable clients like Zillow Group, Opcity, MoxiWorks and Realogy, among others.

Am I the only one that gasped when I read he was 66? Oh man.

Ken wasn’t exactly a fan of the MLS industry, but I respected his opinion. He didn’t shy away from tough topics and I appreciated that he spoke his mind in an unfiltered type of way. Some great tributes on Facebook.

The last time I saw Ken was in Newport Beach, pre-pandemic. I had a lunch meeting with someone at the Pelican Grill. As I was walking out I spotted Ken at another table with a group of people.

He had a big smile as I approached the table (who doesn’t like to be recognized when out?) with a “Hiya doing Greg.”, he stood up, introduced me to the people around the table, in a flattering way. We briefly chatted and I left.

I’m sure he was meeting the people at that table to help them with something or connecting them to other people that could help them. Helping. Connecting. That was his way.

RIP Ken.

Mar 1 21

Constellation acquires Top Producer

by Greg Robertson

Constellation Real Estate Group Acquires Industry Pioneer Top Producer, Solidifying Position as the Real Estate Industry’s Largest Provider of Technology Solutions

“Top Producer® has been a part of Move’s portfolio for more than 20 years, and we believe the best opportunity for it to continue to add value to brokers and agents is under its new owner,” said David Doctorow, CEO of Move, Inc. “As we look forward, we’re prioritizing the things that will help us deliver the best possible experience for consumers and our industry partners. This sale will help us redouble our efforts to reimagine realtor.com® as we create an open marketplace that helps connect buyers and sellers with the right professionals and empowers people with choices that get them from search to closing and beyond. That includes prioritizing both our success-based concierge offerings as well as traditional lead-gen and marketing solutions.”

Sadly, another puppy dies.

I’ve been around long enough to remember when Top Producer was the premier 3rd party software vendor in real estate. They always had the biggest booth (purple!) at NAR, back page ads in REALTOR Magazine, and remember the Superstar Computing training tour? This was back when you sold software in a box and were encouraged to buy the 12 pack of VHS training tapes on how to use it.

Founded in Canada by Chris and Randy Purcell. Canadians have and continue to have a large presence in real estate software in North America.

Also, this move seems counterintuitive to larger companies investing in agent tools (See Zillow acquiring ShowingTime or CoStar acquiring Homesnap), which makes me wonder about News Corp’s overall strategy.

Feb 26 21

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

Lone Wolf Technologies


Senior Ruby on Rails Developer

We’re looking for a Ruby Developer to help keep our systems in tip top shape. This means taking ownership of the performance and maintainability of multiple systems.

We’re a distributed team, so day-to-day work requires active participation on Microsoft Teams, and the ability to seek help when you’re stuck and provide ongoing feedback to your teammates.

Front End Software Engineer

Lone Wolf is seeking a Software Engineer with advanced JavaScript skills to play a key role in a growing, agile product development team. This person will work with our team of programmers, designers, product owners, and management on new and existing web apps for the real estate industry.

To find out about these jobs, and others or to post a position you are looking to fill please visit the Vendor Alley Job Board.

Feb 25 21

Industry Relations Episode 61: Diagnosing Zillow Angst – with Errol Samuelson, Chief Industry Development Officer at Zillow Group

by Greg Robertson

Zillow has been consumer-centric since its inception in 2006. And in the early days, the tech company didn’t pay much attention to agents. Now Zillow realizes that reducing friction for consumers means helping agents respond to online leads and schedule showings, for example. But is it too late to earn the industry’s trust?

Errol Samuelson is the Chief Industry Development Officer at Zillow Group. With 25 years of experience in proptech, he served in leadership roles at Realtor.com, Top Producer Systems, and Move, Inc. before joining Zillow in 2014. On this episode of Industry Relations, Errol sits down with Rob and Greg to explain why Zillow is acquiring ShowingTime and explore what’s behind the industry’s volatile reaction to the announcement.

Errol discusses the real estate industry’s distrust of Zillow, acknowledging the frustration the tech company has caused over the years and assuring us that his team will not misuse ShowingTime data. Listen in to understand how Errol thinks about CoStar as a competitor and learn why he believes an industry without cooperation and compensation is not good for agents, brokers or consumers.

What’s Discussed:  

Why the real estate industry went apeshit over Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime

Zillow’s assurance that ShowingTime will remain an open platform with a strict privacy policy

What problem Zillow is trying to solve by acquiring ShowingTime

Errol’s insight on the rumor that Zillow bought ShowingTime to keep it out of CoStar’s hands

How Errol thinks about the fact that people assume Zillow is lying

Errol’s acknowledgement of the frustrations Zillow has caused agents over the years and how the company’s behavior may have amplified the industry’s distrust

The possibility that social class and age are a factor in the industry’s mistrust of Zillow

The focus of Zillow’s Q4 earnings call (Zillow Offers vs. streamlining the consumer experience overall)

Why innovation in the lending space is limited by federal regulations

The unique opportunity Zillow has to innovate around ownership models

Errol’s thoughts on CoStar as a competitor and why CoStar’s success hinges on the government putting an end to cooperation and compensation

Connect with Errol:

Errol at Zillow

Errol on LinkedIn

Errol on Twitter

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Resources:

Rob’s Post on Zillow, ShowingTime & Paranoid Realtors

Zillow’s Press Release on Acquiring ShowingTime

ShowingTime

Steve Murray at REAL Trends

CoStar News

Greg on Twitter

Zillow’s Q4 2020 Earnings Call

Zillow Offers

Nick Bailey at RE/MAX

Gary Keller’s 2021 Family Reunion Vision Speech Recap

Trulia

Dotloop

Jay Thompson on Inman

Susan Daimler at Zillow

Rob’s 2020 List of the Seven Most Interesting People in Real Estate

Zillow Home Loans

Divvy

Federal Regulations on Mortgage Finance

REA Group

Andrew Florance at CoStar

Rob’s CoStar Red Dot Report

CoStar’s Q4 2020 Earnings Call

Rob’s Interview with Joe Rand

Our Sponsors: 

Cloud Agent Suite

Notorious VIP

Feb 25 21

MetroList Services increases footprint in Northern California

by Greg Robertson

Largest MLS in Northern California acquires smaller neighbor

Bill Miller, MetroList CEO

“Sacramento, California-based MetroList Services, which has about 21,500 subscribers, acquired the Sutter Yuba Association of Realtors MLS at the end of 2020, adding four counties to its footprint. The deal is part of a multi-year trend of consolidation among MLSs looking to provide better services and achieve economies of scale for their agent, broker and appraiser members.”

All I really wanted to do with this post is wish Bill Miller a Happy Birthday! Bill has been a great friend and supporter over many years, and I can’t wait to see him and the rest of the MetroList gang again soon.

Feb 24 21

Buyside brings in the heavies

by Greg Robertson

Buyside Announces New Client Event, “Buyside THRIVE”

“Ashley Terrell, EVP of Partnerships at Buyside, and her growing team have pulled together this last-minute event as a new method of communicating with clients, including top industry leaders to contribute content on how Buyside’s evolution is in line with their own company’s growth.”

Love seeing new ways vendors are engaging their clients in this new normal. Looks like they put together quite a list of brokers for the event.

“-Paul Boomsma, President & CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies

Emmanuel Fonte, Vice President of Ultimate Client Relationship & Digital Strategies of John L. Scott Real Estate

Rajeev Sajja, SVP of Innovation at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach

Peter F. Hunt, Chairman and CEO of Hunt Real Estate

Dan Forsman, President and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties

Kevin Patai, Director of Digital Marketing of Howard Hanna

Kelly Gesick, Director of Digital Innovation and Marketing Services at Chase International

-Jeni Pardo de Zela, Chief Marketing Officer at Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty

Paula Renaldo, Chief Marketing Officer at The Keyes Company 

Erik Kaukonen, Division Director of Career Development at Florida Properties Group

Wendi Iglesias, CIO of The Keyes Company

Ann King, Vice President Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty

Kathryn Redican, Chief Operating Officer, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, Westchester Properties, and New York Properties

Feb 24 21

Industry Relations Episode 60: Unpacking the Panic Around Zillow’s Acquisition of ShowingTime – with Nick Bailey, Chief Customer Officer at RE/MAX

by Greg Robertson
Nick Bailey

As the real estate industry has evolved, we’ve been trained to focus on who owns the data. And Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime has many concerned about sharing their data with the proptech giant. But what if hoarding your data is not the only way to compete with a company like Zillow? What if it’s not really about access to the data but what you do with it? 

Nick Bailey is the Chief Customer Officer at RE/MAX. With nearly 25 years of industry experience, Nick served as an agent, broker and proptech vendor before becoming the head of a major real estate franchise. On this episode of Industry Relations, Nick joins Rob and Greg to share his take on Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime and what’s behind the industry’s emotionally-charged reaction.

Nick offers insight on how the data Zillow acquired was already publicly available, explaining why that information doesn’t necessarily give the tech company a competitive advantage and reminding us that it’s not unusual for companies at scale to offer various products and services to the industry at large. Listen in for Nick’s perspective on what we can do to improve the process of buying or selling a home for consumers and find out why you shouldn’t panic about Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime.

What’s Discussed:  

Nick’s background as an agent, broker, tech vendor and head of a major real estate franchise

Why Nick sees Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime as one tech company acquiring another to make the process of buying and selling homes easier for consumers

How ShowingTime’s market share influenced the industry’s emotionally-charged reaction to its acquisition 

Nick’s argument that the data Zillow has acquired was already publicly available

How Nick addresses the objection that the ShowingTime acquisition forces agents and brokers to provide Zillow with a competitive advantage

How it’s not unusual for companies at scale to offer various products and services (e.g.: RE/MAX’s acquisition of Motto Mortgage)

What Nick is doing to educate agents around the spirit of cooperation in the industry

How Nick thinks about whether Zillow is a RE/MAX competitor 

What the real estate industry can do to improve the fragmented process of buying or selling a home

Nick’s insight on what differentiates RE/MAX in competitive industry that includes a growing number of iBuyers

The trend toward a greater concentration of power among fewer agents and how that might contribute to the panic around Zillow

Nick’s advice for MLS, franchisor and large brokerage CEOs on using data to identify trends and create contingency plans accordingly

Connect with Nick:

Nick at RE/MAX

Nick on LinkedIn

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Resources:

ShowingTime’s Press Release on Its Acquisition by Zillow

Nick’s Video on Zillow’s Acquisition of ShowingTime

Market Leader

Rob’s Post on Zillow, ShowingTime & Paranoid Realtors

First App

Steve Murray at REAL Trends

Motto Mortgage

NAR Code of Ethics

We Are RE/MAX on Facebook

Brad Inman’s Piece on Zillow & ShowingTime

Gary Keller’s 2021 Family Reunion Vision Speech Recap

The Art of the CMA: Win Hearts, Minds, and Loyalty by Mastering Real Estate’s Most Versatile Tool by Greg Robertson with Charles Warnock

Dave Liniger at RE/MAX

Our Sponsors: 

Cloud Agent Suite

Notorious VIP

Feb 24 21

MIBOR adds new Chief Innovation Officer

by Greg Robertson

MIBOR REALTOR® Association Announces Tamara Flores As New Chief Innovation Officer

Tamara Flores

“As the Chief Innovation Officer, Flores will oversee the operations of the Broker Listing Cooperative (BLC) and focus on creating solutions that improve the delivery of services to our members. 

Flores has been an executive director for 7 years and an administrator for over 15 years. In her current role as the Executive Support Manager at Anthem, she is responsible for project and vendor management, process improvement and daily operations of IT Management for Anthem’s top 150 executives.”

Nice to see some new blood enter the industry. Welcome, Tamara and congrats!

Feb 22 21

Industry Relations Episode 59: Forecasting a Hot Housing Market in 2021 – with Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist at Zillow

by Greg Robertson

Zillow’s Economic Research Team just released its forecast for 2021, and they expect it to be the best year for home sales since 2005. In fact, Zillow’s number crunchers believe that a whopping 6.8M existing homes will close next year, marking the biggest one-year gain in sales (nearly 22%!) since the early 1980’s.

Jeff Tucker is a Senior Economist at Zillow Research where he studies the causes and consequences of changing supply in the housing market. On this episode of Industry Relations, Jeff joins Rob and Greg to discuss the inputs his team used to make its predictions for 2021 and describe how current growth differs from what we saw at the height of the bubble in 2005.

Jeff offers insight around the demographics of who’s buying and selling homes right now, sharing his take on why the low millennial marriage rate may not impact the housing market as much as we think and how feasible it is for young, working-class Americans to afford home ownership. Listen in to understand how COVID facilitated the single-family home inventory crash and get an economist’s perspective on why the housing market will stay hot through 2021.

What’s Discussed:  

The inputs Jeff’s team used to predict that 6.8M existing homes will close in 2021

How current growth differs from what we saw at the height of the bubble in 2005

The decrease in share of income spent on mortgages since 2018

Why the iBuyer’s mission to create a frictionless experience is so important moving forward

Jeff’s insight around the demographics of who’s buying and selling homes

The distinction between family and household formation 

Why the low millennial marriage rate may or may not impact the housing market

How COVID facilitated a single-family home inventory crash

Why Jeff sees appreciation slowing down by the end of 2021

Jeff’s take on the feasibility of home ownership for working-class millennials

How the skyrocketing US money supply might impact the real estate market

Connect with Jeff:

Zillow Research

Jeff at Zillow

Jeff on Twitter

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Resources:

Lone Wolf Technologies

Zillow’s Forecast for 2021

NAR Data on Single Women Home Buyers

Pew Research on Millennials & Marriage

Our Sponsors: 

Cloud Agent Suite

Notorious VIP

Feb 22 21

What everyone (including me) is missing about Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime

by Greg Robertson

I was talking with a tall and smart MLS exec (he made me write that) about the negative response from agents and brokers about Zillow buying ShowingTime, and why it’s not going away anytime soon.  He said, that the underlining issue is not about the privacy of data, but more related to Zillow now being a broker in nearly every MLS market in the country.

“Greg, what agents and brokers are really pissed off about is their money contributing to the bottom line of a competitor.  Their MLS, which they pay dues to, is now pro-actively funding another broker’s business.”

Now, you could argue if Zillow is really competing with the average agent, but when you shift to “Zillow is now a broker”, it cuts both ways.