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May 13 19

The second coming of Rich Barton

by Greg Robertson

Making Uncommon Knowledge Common

“His companies take power from the incumbents and give it to consumers. Instead of trying to hoard information, they are on the side of consumers and giving them more data transparency.

Glassdoor revealed how employees really felt about companies. Zillow shed light on what any house was worth. Expedia let people see the prices and availability of flights and hotels without talking to an agent. These were knowable things that people have always talked about with each other. There are few topics adults love gossiping about more than work, real estate, or travel. And few categories as core to their net worth.

Rich Barton took these whispered conversations and made them public for everyone to see. Afterwards, everyone wondered why they were ever private.”

Kwokchain

Great post about what what makes Rich Barton career unique and why his return to Zillow as CEO is a bigger deal than anyone thinks. I recently got a chance to hear him speak live at the recent T3 Summit. I was a bit skeptical when he first came back to the CEO role but I now think this is exactly his moment. Think about it, although he has nothing to prove, he isn’t exactly a member of the “last name” club; think Gates (his old boss), Jobs, Bezos, and Zuckerberg.

If Zillow is successful at transforming the way we buy and sell real estate, we might all start just referring to him simply as “Barton”.

May 12 19

The birth of Stellar MLS

by Greg Robertson

A Stellar Idea: My Florida Regional MLS Reimagines the Multiple Listing Service

Merri Jo Cowen, CEO of Stellar MLS

“Becoming Stellar, says Cowen, starts with asking one question: “Is what we are doing Stellar?” she said. “Our customers tell us we provide excellent customer service. But our goal is to be Stellar in everything we do; Stellar isn’t just our name — it is our new culture.”
Stellar MLS will continue its leading customer service efforts, delivering regular Broker Summits, quarterly broker conference calls, and onsite training. In terms of its curated customer journey, Stellar will leverage information collected from its new Customer Profiles to help develop new initiatives, as well as new products and services.
“Our customers are Stellar,” said Cowen. “As we get to know more about them, we can create even better customer journeys, because Stellar is not just about us, it is about our brokers and their agents,” she said.”

There is a lot to unpack here. Their press release is chock full of ideas, initiatives, and lists of services. It’s clear Merri Jo and her team have something they want to say and change about the perception of what an MLS provider/organization can be. I think the thread that runs through it what they call a “Curated Customer Journey’. I’m hoping to learn more as they being rolling out some of their programs.

May 9 19

Listing Bits Episode 45: Mission-Driven to Make Real Estate Better for Consumers with Glenn Kelman of Redfin

by Greg Robertson

Recorded live at this week’s T3 Summit!

Glenn Kelman has always had the ambition to make real estate better for consumers. But it took him a while to realize that he wasn’t the only one who wanted to do that. He came into the game with an US vs. THEM mentality, assuming that all of Redfin’s competitors were villains and snake oil salesmen. To his relief, it turned out that his industry rivals were actually good people. And while that doesn’t make him any less driven, he does concede that this shift in perspective has made him ‘not quite so insufferable.’ 

Glenn Kelman is the President and CEO of Redfin, a technology-powered brokerage designed to redefine real estate in the customer’s favor. Prior to Redfin, Glenn cofounded the startup Plumtree Software and served as its VP of Marketing & Product Management until its acquisition in 2005. Glenn has been the CEO of Redfin for the past 13 years, and under his leadership, the company was twice named Innovator of the Year by Inman News. Redfin went public in July of 2017, and today, its market cap is $1.82B.

Today, Glenn explains why he still feels like an underdog, despite Redfin’s success. He weighs in on running a mission-driven company, discussing his aim to ‘do something good for real estate consumers’ whether Redfin makes money or not. Glenn also covers the civil nature of the relationship between Redfin and Zillow, Redfin’s new partnership with Re/Max, and the impetus behind Redfin’s ‘buy without an agent’ feature. Listen in for Glenn’s insight on cultivating agent professionalism and learn how his perception of the competition has changed over time.

What’s Discussed: 

Why Glenn still feels like an underdog despite Redfin’s success

Glenn’s aim to ‘do something good for real estate consumers’

Glenn’s take on the tribal nature of American politics

How becoming a father has made Glenn a better leader

The learning culture Glenn works to cultivate at Redfin

How Glenn’s perspective of his competitors has changed

Glenn’s solutions-based approach to candor with employees

How Glenn is driven by the desire to live up to his potential

The civil nature of the relationship between Redfin and Zillow

How Redfin addresses the idea of agent professionalism

The impetus behind Redfin’s new partnership with Re/Max

What inspired Redfin’s new ‘buy without an agent’ feature

Resources:

T3 Summit

Glenn’s ‘Once and Future King’ Post

Vendor Alley

Andreesen Horowitz Real Estate Stats

Connect with Glenn:

Redfin

Glenn on LinkedIn

May 9 19

Listing Bits Episode 43- Competing Against iBuyers & National Brands with Eric Stegemann of TRIBUS

by Greg Robertson

RECORDED LIVE AT RESO SPRING MEETINGS

In a world where national brands like Zillow and Realtor.com dominate search results, how can individual brokerage websites compete? And how do real estate brokerages stay relevant as the iBuyer market continues to grow? Eric Stegemann believes the firms that adapt and take on alternative options for transacting will be well-placed for the future—and adopting the right real estate tech is a big part of that solution.

Eric is the founder and CEO of TRIBUS, a custom brokerage platform vendor tasked with providing medium and large real estate firms with made-to-order websites, intranet, email marketing, transaction management and CRM systems. Eric became a licensed agent at the age of 18 and started his own tech-oriented brokerage, River City Real Estate, at 21. In short order, River City became the largest independent brokerage in St. Louis due in large part to its real estate tech innovations, which became the framework for TRIBUS. Eric is often called upon to speak at industry events, including Inman Connect and the NAR Annual Conference.

Today, Eric explains why brokerage websites still matter in the age of Zillow and Trulia, discussing what differentiates a TRIBUS site from the national brands. He shares his conservative approach to growth for TRIBUS and offers advice for aspiring vendors in terms of building trust and fixing your mistakes. Listen in for Eric’s insight around the challenges facing brokerages today and get his industry predictions on MLS consolidation, the changing role of the agent, and potential winners in the iBuyer market.

What’s Discussed: 

How Eric started selling real estate to pay for college 

What inspired Eric’s shift from broker to software vendor

The meaning behind the company name, TRIBUS 

TRIBUS’ aspiration to be a zebra rather than a unicorn

Eric’s take on the challenges facing brokerages today

Eric’s insight on why brokerage websites still matter

How TRIBUS customer sites rank in Google search results

How local content differentiates a TRIBUS site from Zillow

TRIBUS’ pioneering collaborative search mechanism

How brokers can build their own iBuyer programs

Eric’s top advice for vendors on persistence and presence

Eric’s predictions on MLS consolidation + iBuyer success

Resources:

RESO Conference

Doyle Real Estate Team

LeadingRE

Blackstone

Connect with Eric:

TRIBUS

TRIBUS on Facebook

TRIBUS on Twitter

TRIBUS on LinkedIn

Eric on LinkedIn

May 8 19

Redfin announces “Redfin Direct” – Will now take offers from unrepresented Buyers

by Greg Robertson

A real estate broker prompting to you “Buy without an agent”? What sorcery is this?? Redfin is shaking things up again by letting unrepresentative buyers make a “direct offer” on their listings on Redfin.com.

I sat down with Glenn Kelman this week at the T3 Summit for an interview on my podcast Listing Bits (to be published later this week). Glenn told me Redfin Direct is a “new service for their Sellers” and launched in Boston area on March 28, 2019 and of their 150 listings 4 have sold to unrepresented buyers and small percentage of Redfin agents (not the same agent) representing both sides (those numbers obviously may have changed since our interview).

Is this some sort of genius lead play for double ending listings and/or acquiring more Sellers? Or just giving consumers what they want? Or both? You be the judge, click on this link to a listing in the Boston area to see how it works.

May 3 19

Happy Cinco de Mayo! [Video]

by Greg Robertson

You knew this was coming!

Art Carter had asked that Dan and I do this one, but I’m never in the office long enough. Enjoy!

May 3 19

See you at the T3 Summit

by Greg Robertson

Looking forward to driving down to San Diego and attending the T3 Summit. Stefan, Jack and crew always do a great job.

As always I’m hearing a lot of rumors about this and that and hoping to confirm a few things while I’m there (and maybe recording a few podcast episodes).

Give me a shout if you are going to be there. Or you can follow me on Twitter for live updates. See you there!

May 3 19

RIP Jenny Natale

by Greg Robertson

Last week the industry lost someone very special, Jenny Natale. I’ve known Jenny a long time, she was one of the most nicest and humblest people I’ve known in this business. She was a private person but I think Matt Cohen said it best in a recent Facebook post.

“She never put herself in the middle of things, looking to speak at conferences, and she didn’t socialize a lot at conferences either. Nonetheless, she was extremely competant, loyal and very special in ways I just can’t sum up in a short post. She spent a big part of her life making sure the real estate industry worked well for the professionals of Long Island.”

Matt Cohen

Every year I would get to see her smiling face at the MLSLI’s MLS Tech Fair and we would catch up on things going on in and outside the industry. I’m going to miss her. My deepest condolences to her family and friends.

May 3 19

MRED-AI

by Greg Robertson

MRED to Become First Multiple Listing Service to Launch Restb.ai Artificial Intelligence Services

“The benefits of this new technology will also be felt behind the scenes. Restb.ai provides a compliance solution that allows MRED’s Rules and Regulations staff to proactively monitor listing photos for rule violations. This process takes place before photos are public, enabling corrected images to be uploaded in a timely manner and resolving issues early to save real estate professionals from potential fines.”

MRED

This is legit. I got a chance to see a preview of this last week at MRED’s strategic planning sessions. MRED’s CTO, Chris Huran is taking the exact right approach by focusing on compliance first (yard signs with phone numbers, etc.) But the possibilities are endless. I’ve said this before; photo tagging is the next frontier, and I liken it to when aerial photos and digital mapping where first introduce to real estate apps.

And, from first hand experience I can tell you the tech from Restb.ai is super impressive.

I recently interviewed Restb.ai Vice President, Dominik Pogorzelski, on my podcast, Listing Bits.

Apr 26 19

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

Business Development Manager (Product Owner) – Bright MLS

“We are looking for a Business Development Manager who will be responsible for working with the VP, Premium Services, to develop and operationalize the premium product strategy in order to meet corporate goals for revenue growth and innovation. “

To find out about this job and more visit the Vendor Alley Job Board