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Nov 1 18

Listing Bits Episode 36: AI Image Recognition for Real Estate with Dominik Pogorzelski of Restb.ai

by Greg Robertson

 

Let’s say you have your heart set on a kitchen with hardwood flooring, natural light and an island. Imagine having the ability to search images on the MLS for those specific features. With advancements in artificial intelligence, it is possible to have software read the images, identify the room type and even recognize the objects in it! There are an infinite number of use cases for the real estate industry and Restb.ai is quickly becoming a leader in the space.

Dominik Pogorzelski is the Vice President of Product and Operations for Restb.ai, a machine learning computer vision company specializing in visual recognition for real estate. The company’s plug-and-play solutions employ AI to automatically tag and classify property photos with industry-specific information. Dominik earned his MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona.

Today, Dominik discusses the societal shift to consume information in a digital way, explaining Restb.ai’s ability to filter images by room, features and amenities. He offers insight around the potential use cases for AI in real estate and the technology’s ability to unlock the data available in images and create value in a number of ways. Dominik describes how the pain points in the online ecosystem differ between Europe and the US, and he addresses the decision to apply Restb.ai’s technology to historical data or active listings. Listen in for insight on how an MLS might establish a partnership with Restb.ai and learn why AI is the next big thing in real estate technology.

What’s Discussed:

Restb.ai’s niche as an AI company playing in the real estate space

Dominik’s path to Barcelona and his role as VP at Restb.ai

Restb.ai’s client base in Europe, Canada and the United States

How Restb.ai’s AI filters images by room, features and amenities

The societal shift to consume digital information in a visual way

The potential applications of AI tech for real estate professionals

AI’s ability to unlock the data available in images and create value

How Restb.ai could automate the compliance review process

The moral obligation AI companies have to the industries they serve

The horizontal players in the space vs. the specialists like Restb.ai

How the online ecosystem in Europe differs from that of the US

-No central source in Europe like US MLS

-Duplicate listings, competitor watermarks

The technical aspects of establishing a partnership with Restb.ai

The decision to apply Restb.ai to active listings vs. historical data

 

Resources:

 

RESO Conference

MLSOK

TLCengine

 

Connect with Dominik Pogorzelski:

Restb.ai

Email: dominik@restb.ai

 

 

Oct 31 18

Happy Halloween!

by Greg Robertson

I came dressed up as a meme for our company’s annual Halloween Costume Contest.

Heading out to Boston tomorrow. See you then!

Oct 30 18

“Cloud CMA’s iBuyer Connect has legs.”

by Greg Robertson

I couldn’t come up with a better headline than Inman News in their post today about Cloud CMA’s new feature “iBuyer Connect” so I just stole it. : )

Cloud CMA’s iBuyer feature has legs
New feature from W&R Studios is patent-pending, now open to investors nationwi
de

“In August, W&R Studios began testing iBuyer Connect, originally called Cloud Investor Connect, in Southern California. It gives an agent the option to request cash offers from iBuyers after creating a CMA for a property, provided that the property meets the requirements of an iBuyer.

Should any iBuyers that are part of the iBuyer Connect network choose to submit an offer, the agent can then go to a listing presentation armed with one or more cash offers to present to a prospective seller, along with a CMA.

If the seller accepts the investor offer, the agent will represent the investor as a buyer’s agent. The agent might also win the listing, in which case the agent could also serve as a dual agent. The feature doesn’t comes with any additional cost, and the compensation agents receive from an iBuyer varies by company and market.

Our current test is with a Southern California company who is focused on flipping homes. Venture backed iBuyers like “Opendoor” are typically making offers closer to market value. Cloud CMA can work with both models.

We recently celebrated the results of agents who used iBuyer Connect for the first time to make transactions. The response from these agents has been great.

We are also surveying all agents using iBuyer Connect and are very encouraged by the results (we sent the survey out to a pool of 250 participants and got 35 results back).

When asked, “How likely would you use this feature on future listing presentations?” Over 85% said they were “Very Likely”, “Likely” or neutral.

Here are some other quotes from the survey.

“The services works as advertised, the communication from the investor was great. “

“It could work for certain properties. We would use it again in the future.”

“I think this is a great new tool and look forward to using it again. “

“The offer was extraordinarily low… but still useful for selling an investor network to clients.”

“I really appreciate the service. I believe that it is great to have that service available when listing homes, especially when the home needs work and you dont need to wait for an offer.”

I reached out to one of the agents, Briar Warren of Murrieta, who successfully sold a home using iBuyer Connect, you can read her comments on our press release here.

As we continue to test this feature we are learning how to provide even more value to Cloud CMA subscribers. We think agents can provide a great experience to their clients by enabling them to participate in this growing iBuyer marketplace.

Oct 30 18

Did Zillow just “raise the bar” in real estate?

by Greg Robertson

Our long national nightmare is over. After all the debates, The D.A.N.G.E.R. Report, and industry hand wringing over how to raise the level of professionalism of REALTORS across the country, Zillow just went ahead a did it.

From Inman News:

‘Best of Zillow’ Premier Agent platform to unlock new consumer data

“Customers will be asked to rate interactions based on responsiveness, communication style, knowledge and expertise, customer priority, trust and customer needs.

Premier Agent customers will receive customer experience reports based on the aggregated data and tools to gauge their performance with consumers. Zillow will be providing training for agents focused on the behaviors that drive customer satisfaction as well as suggestions to help them improve.

“We’re counting on you to be as obsessed with superior customer experiences as we are,” Schwartz wrote in a blog post introducing the changes. “In return, we promise you this: we’re going to give you the greatest platform to make it happen. And we’ll keep pushing to get it right so you can deliver exceptional experiences.”

No details on how this will work. My guess is just like when I finish a ride on Uber, I have to rate my driver before I can do anything else.

And it looks like Zillow is putting their money where their mouth is, Here’s Greg Schwartz, president of media and marketplaces at Zillow Group, again…

“For agents who aren’t performing up to customers standards — Zillow will no longer be interested in taking their money. The company wants to be able to tell every consumer who comes to the site that the agent they select will deliver a high-quality experience.”

Read that quote again. “Zillow will no longer be interested in taking their money”.

Can you imagine NAR, Realogy, KW, RE/MAX or any independent brokerage making the same statement?

I also love this quote from a blog announcing the changes titled “Why Customer Happiness Holds the Key to Your Future – and Ours”

Buying and selling a home remains one of life’s most stressful transactions. Great agents supply great customer experiences. Demand for great customer experiences is growing.”

“Demand for great customer experiences is growing.”

This is exactly right, and what a lot of people are missing about the recent iBuyer trend. Call it the “convenience economy” or whatever, people want great service and they want it now.

Act accordingly.

Oct 29 18

Listing Bits Episode 34: Building a Full-Service Brokerage in the Virtual World with Cameron Paine of eXp Realty

by Greg Robertson


 

 

As real estate professionals spend less and less time in the office and real estate offices host fewer and fewer walk-ins, you might start to question the merit of spending top dollar for office space in a high-rent district. What if you saved that money and reinvested it in agent services? What if you could build a full-service brokerage in the virtual world, conducting business and meeting with colleagues in VR?

 

Cameron Paine is the Senior Vice President of Industry Relations at eXp Realty, the world’s most successful virtual, full-service brokerage. eXp invests the money saved by having very few offices into the technology that helps its agents stay relevant. In his role as Senior VP, Cameron is responsible for seeking collaboration opportunities with MLSs, Associations, brokerages and technology partners. Camron’s resume includes 15-plus years combined experience as top executive for an MLS and Association, and he has been recognized by Inman Newsas one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate.

 

Today, Cameron shares eXp’s decision to invest in change rather than fight it. He explains how a progressive MLS facilitates a broker’s ability to do business and offers insight around the innovative joint system between Arizona Regional and Metro MLS. Listen in to understand how eXp helps its agents build wealth by investing in the company and learn how the brokerage is creating a virtual world for its employees and partners!

 

What’s Discussed:

 

eXp’s decision to invest in change rather than fight it

How eXp serves as a virtual, full-service brokerage

How eXp agents build wealth by investing in the company

The benefits of running a brokerage without office space

Cameron’s background in MLS and Association leadership

How a progressive MLS facilitates a broker’s ability to do business

The innovative joint system between Arizona Regional and Metro MLS

Greg’s argument for a New Jersey and Palm Beach MLS data share

Cameron’s responsibilities as SVP of Industry Relations at eXp

-Collaborations with other brokerages

-Opportunities with tech vendors

How eXp was designed for agents as a tech-forward brokerage

How eXp has created a virtual world for employees and partners

 

Resources:

 

Russ Bergeron

ARMLS|Metro MLS

 

Connect with Cameron Paine:

eXp Realty

Cameron on LinkedIn

Oct 25 18

Molon Labe

by Greg Robertson

Realogy roars: Corcoran and Climb to franchise in 2019

In a double-barreled play to leverage brand identity and work culture, the new Corcoran and Climb franchises will target franchise opportunities in global metropolises and leisure destinations, senior executives for both companies told Inman. Realogy, the parent company, plans to begin selling franchise agreements early next year.

Executives declined to disclose franchise fees associated with owning one of the new franchises. Realogy has not filed franchise disclosure documents yet.

A lot of people have questioned the future of the traditional franchise model in real estate. Hell, venture capitalists are throwing over a billion dollars in to fundamentally changing how real estate is practiced.

That’s why this move by Realogy is so interesting to me. It seems to be a poke in the eye to venture capitalists and the companies they funded looking to poach, replace, or even eliminate agents all together. Realogy’s play is nothing fancy, just straight up “brand and culture”.

This move by Ryan Schneider, Realogy’s new CEO, might seem counter intuitive to some, but to me its him taking a stand (for his company and maybe even the industry), seeming to say. “You want these agents? Come and get them.”

Oct 24 18

Listing Bits Episode 35: A Blueprint for Implementation of RESO Standards & Web API with Mike Wurzer & Andy Woolley

by Greg Robertson


 

 

Talk of standards adoption at the recent RESO conference in Milwaukee sounded much like the conversation last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. So, how do we move beyond discussing the reasons for converting to Web API and begin to execute on that plan? What might vendors do to help facilitate a little less talk—and a lot more action?

 

Mike Wurzer is the President and CEO of FBS, a leading innovator of MLS technology and one of the most respected real estate software brands. Andy Woolley is the VP of Industry Development for Homes.com, one of the nation’s top online real estate destinations and provider of tech solutions for the industry. In addition, Mike is the Vice Chair of RESO, and Andy serves on the Board of CMLS. They join Greg live from RESO Conference 2018to discuss the need for a shift in the conversation from the WHY of RESO standards adoption to actual implementation.

 

Mike explains how the platinum data-dictionary certification stands in the way and addresses the need for education around how to access the credential manager. Andy describes what his team is doing to facilitate the transition to Web API, sharing his intention to publish a follow-up to the whitepaperdetailing the first few conversions. They also cover the complexities around efforts to do away with replication and their responsibilities as established vendors to promote Web API adoption. Listen in for insight around developing a plan for conversion and learn how trusted vendors might work together to help their customers move forward—faster.

 

What’s Discussed:

 

Greg’s frustration with the panel on standards at the RESO conference

How MLS platinum data-dictionary certification is a barrier to adoption

The need to move past a discussion of the WHY to implementation

The need for education around how to access the credential manger

What Andy’s team is doing to facilitate the shift to Web API

Mike’s solution to the issue of renegotiating licensing agreements

Andy’s case study of the first few conversions + the proposed follow-up

The complexities around efforts to do away with replication

-Other methodologies better than Web API

-Software developers expect copy of data

The responsibilities of established vendors in promoting API adoption

-Serve customers, push MLSs to make feeds available

-Implementation = fewer maintenance, data quality issues

Mike’s insight on how the API makes lead data available in all apps

Why every established vendor should have a plan for conversion

The pros and cons of creating a deadline when RETS will stop working

 

Resources:

RESO Conference

CoreLogic Trestle

Spark API

Black Knight

Andy’s Case Study

 

Connect with Mike Wurzer:

FBS IDX Solutions

Mike on LinkedIn

RESO

 

Connect with Andy Woolley: 

Homes.com

Andy on LinkedIn

CMLS

Oct 22 18

MARIS launches new website.

by Greg Robertson

MARIS MLS launches content-first website

“The new marismls.com utilizes a ‘related’ feature that integrates products, education, news and support – making it easy to learn how to leverage MLS tools and access a wide range of business products. On-demand education is available 24 hours a day in the form of a brand-new video library, and online support materials. This content is available widely, outside of any login or paywall, to streamline access.

Website design was crafted by 1000watt, a creative and strategic agency for real estate, who also used the website launch to roll out a new visual identity they designed for MARIS. The new visual identity system was designed to be digitally native and reflect the company’s friendly and professional approach to serving its membership.”

Can’t say enough how impressed I am with this new design. I just love the vibe of the site. The site is not at all corporate, which works well for some, but not others. The site has a really simple, friendly feel to it but is full of forward thinking features. I believe the Products section is a re-skinned Clareity Dashboard –clever!

I had a chance to talk to Quinn Nichols, MARIS’ new Director of Marketing Communications about the challenge of educating their membership of the choices available and what products were best for what task. This can be daunting since there may be feature overlap in some products. That’s why I think the “Learn” section is really smart. It gives members a quick way to learn about products, watch videos and sign up for upcoming webinars all in one place.

I also love the “MARIS Asks” section just below the fold on the home page. MARIS asked several industry thought leaders “Why is the MLS important?”. Glenn Kelman’s response is just priceless.

I also sat down with MARIS’ CEO Tim Dain at the recent Fall RESO Conference and record a Listing Bits episode about launching the site and other MLS industry issues, look for that coming out later this week.

I’m glad to see more and more MLS providers taking the time to focus on their own company website. MARIS’ new site is going to be hard to top. Kudos to Tim, Quinn, and 1000watt for raising the bar.

Oct 19 18

RESO 2018 is a wrap!

by Greg Robertson


I had a great time in Milwaukee this year with everyone (although I think it could be one day shorter). One of the fun things I did was being a game show announcer on Bill Gaul’s panel. Participating on the game show (left to right) in the photo above, Kejii Ikuta of RMLS, Greg Moore of RMLS, Srinivas Mankala CTO of Builders Update, Bill Gaul CEO of Builders Update, and Melissa King of MFRMLS.

I also moderated a panel featuring Steve Byrd of Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Rebecca Jensen, CEO of MRED, and Art Carter, CEO of CRMLS. While I didn’t get all the answers I was looking for I think it helped shine a light on some of the core issues we face to get things going.

Thanks to Jeremy and his team for putting together another great conference!

Oct 16 18

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies

by Greg Robertson


Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and Seahawks owner, dies at 65

“Gates, in a statement Monday, said he was “heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends.” Personal computing would not have existed without Mr. Allen, he said.

“But Paul wasn’t content with starting one company,” Gates said. “He channeled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people’s lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world. He was fond of saying, ‘If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it.’ That’s the kind of person he was.”

Growing up I consumed everything I could about Microsoft. Tons of books, every newspaper article, every television interview. Those of you who know the origin story of Microsoft understand that Bill’s quote above is not overstated.

I love this quote from Paul Allen about failure. It was in a talk he gave about the first product he and Bill Gates worked on, called Traf-D-Data (a device to measure traffic patterns)

“Objectively speaking, Traf-O-Data was a failure as a company. Right as our business started to pick up, states began to provide their own traffic-counting services to local governments for free. As quickly as it started, our business model evaporated.

But while Traf-O-Data was technically a business failure, the understanding of microprocessors we absorbed was crucial to our future success. And the emulator I wrote to program it gave us a huge head start over anyone else writing code at the time.

If it hadn’t been for our Traf-O-Data venture, and if it hadn’t been for all that time spent on UW computers, you could argue that Microsoft might not have happened.”

As I sit here in the audience at the Fall RESO Conference and look around at all the attendees I can’t help wonder what 2 people are going to create next big thing. If two guys from Lakeside School can change the world, then what’s stopping us?

Thank you Paul.