Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Listing Bits Episode 91: Tether RE, keeping Agents Safe

What do Willie Nelson and keeping real estate agents safe have in common?  You will have to listen to this great conversation with Tether RE founder Scott Martin to find out.

Did you know that in 2020 60,000 real estate agents reported being victims of assault, sexual abuse, robbery or were murdered in the US?  In 2023 over 75,000 real estate agents reported being victim of a crime.  And there are a ton of more incidents that go unreported.

In this wide ranging conversation with Scott Martin, a serial entrepreneur, we talk about where the idea came from, and the journey that got Scott here.  It’s a wild ride!

Join us for fun and entertaining conversation.

Find out more about the Tether RE 

https://tetherre.com

Reach Out:

Connect with Scott

Our Sponsor:

Trackxi – Real Estate’s #1 Deal Tracker

Production and editing services by:

Sunbound Studios

Listing Bits Episode 90:  Upgrading Client Engagement with HŌM

I hope you enjoy this great conversation with the co-founders of HŌM, Jeff Zakrzewski and Nhan Vo.

In a wide ranging conversation we discuss their orgin story.  Where they came up for the idea of their app and the struggles of going to market with a real estate software solution.

If you are new vendor getting in to the space, an MLS exec, or franchisor professional its worth a listen. 

HŌM is a well designed app that is doing a lot of interesting things with data and collaboration with some great people behind it.

Join us!

Find out more about the HŌM experience

homagent.com | myhom.ai

Reach Out:

Connect with Jeff

Connect with Vo

Our Sponsor:

Trackxi – Real Estate’s #1 Deal Tracker

Production and editing services by:

Sunbound Studios

Listing Bits Episode 89: Kelly Robinson, an MLS pioneer comes back for more

“Hotel California”, is one of the phrases people attribute to the organized real estate industry, “you can can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave”.

Kelly Robinson is an industry pioneer in that she co-founded a software company, Realty Plus Online, that created one of the first web-based MLS systems.  In my conversation with Kelly we talked about the old days, her journey, and what brings her back to organized real estate game.

It’s a fun conversation between old friends and talks about the challenges of the MLS vendor business.

Connect with Kelly Robinson:

Kelly on LinkedIn

Resources:

VESTAPLUS

Our Sponsors:

Trackxi

Listing Bits Episode 88: Does NAR Have Value Beyond MLS Access? – with Michael Lissack of The Virtual Realty Group

The verdict against NAR in the Sitzer lawsuit has organized real estate up in arms.

But Michael Lissack thinks the decision is the best thing to happen to the industry in 100 years.

In fact, he sees the trade association as a criminal enterprise with little value beyond MLS access.

Michael is Managing Broker for The Virtual Realty Group, a 100% commission brokerage that operates in 12 states. 

On this episode of Listing Bits, Michael joins Greg to discuss the real issue behind the lawsuits against NAR and describe what he would do to make buyer’s agent commission negotiable.

Michael explains why it’s necessary to decouple the MLS from NAR membership and how that would likely lead to bankruptcy for the trade association.

Listen in for Michael’s provocative take on why associations don’t deserve a way forward in a world where MLS access is open to anyone with a real estate license.

What’s Discussed:  

The real issue behind the lawsuits against NAR and several real estate brokerages

What Michael would do to make buyer’s agent commission negotiable

Why the DOJ takes issue with mandatory membership in NAR for MLS access

How decoupling the MLS from NAR would impact everyday REALTORS

What decoupling the MLS from NAR membership would do to the trade association (and what NAR might do to demonstrate its value and rebuild)

What it would take to decouple local, state and NAR membership

Why Michael believes a real estate license should be the only requirement for MLS access

Running MLSs as not-for-profit organizations vs. for-profit entities

Greg’s thoughts on providing a way forward for associations by compensating them for the work of building the MLS

Why bankruptcy might be apt for associations who don’t provide value beyond MLS access

Connect with Michael Lissack:

Michael.Travel

Michael on LinkedIn

Resources:

Sitzer v. NAR

Michael’s LinkedIn Post

Our Sponsors:

Trackxi

Listing Bits Episode 87: Ben Graboske’s Big Bet

In 2020 Ben knew they needed to make a change.  So he went to the Black Knight board and made a pitch, “give me the resources to build a modern MLS system”.  To his surprise, they said yes. Now, 3 years later, that dream has been realized.

His dream was a mobile-first MLS platform that understands the history of how MLS platforms operate but offers a modern user experience.

That’s exactly what Ben Graboske and Lucie Fortier are working on, and their new product, Paragon Connect, is ready for its close up.

Ben is President of Data & Analytics and Lucie is Executive Vice President of MLS Solutions at Intercontinental Exchange or ICE, the financial services firm that bought Black Knight in September 2023.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Ben and Lucie join Greg to discuss ICE’s history of digitizing complex transactions and explain why its acquisition of Black Knight makes sense.

Lucie shares her motivation for joining the team at Intercontinental Exchange, and Ben describes how ICE’s resources benefit his department in the development of Paragon Connect.

Listen in to understand what differentiates Paragon Connect from other MLS vendors and learn how it simplifies the agent experience by providing an entire MLS platform on both a responsive and native app.

What’s Discussed:  

ICE’s history of digitizing complicated transactions and why its acquisition of Black Knight makes sense

How being an MLS vendor supports ICE’s vision for making mortgages easier

Lucie’s journey to joining the ICE team and how technology drives her career decisions

What features differentiate Paragon Connect from other MLS vendors

Why Ben’s team decided not to change Paragon’s name (despite offering an entirely new experience)

How Paragon Connect provides an entire MLS platform in a native app experience

The talented team of designers behind Paragon Connect

How Ben’s team benefits from ICE’s data assets and information security

Lucie’s approach to transitioning existing users to Paragon Connect

How Paragon is introducing a consumer app in Q1 of 2024

Why the rules around marketing to members need to change in an MLS system-of-choice model

What makes Paragon Connect ‘the MLS platform of the future’

Connect with Ben Graboske & Lucie Fortier:


Intercontinental Exchange

Ben on LinkedIn

Lucie on LinkedIn

Email lucie.fortier@bkfs.com 

Resources:


ICE Acquisition of Black Knight

Paragon Connect Demo

Damien Huze on Listing Bits EP85

Paragon Connect on Vendor Alley

Our Sponsors:


Trackxi

Listing Bits Episode 86: A Deal Tracker Built for Agents – with Vijay Gopalswamy of Trackxi

In 2021, Vijay Gopalswamy’s real estate business was growing like gangbusters. And at one point, he had 32 active transactions.

Which meant Vijay was spending every morning with his team, going over each transaction and asking, ‘Did you send this? Did you follow up with that? Did this contract get signed?’

But when he looked at the transaction management software on the market, Vijay realized that it was built for brokerages, not agents.

So, he set out to solve his own problem.

Vijay is Cofounder and CEO of Trackxi, a deal tracking software platform that helps agents visualize the next step in each transaction and provides full transparency for the consumer.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Vijay discusses his successful career in mechanical engineering and explains how he became an accidental real estate agent.

Vijay describes what differentiates Trackxi from other transaction management solutions and how it serves teams, transaction coordinators and new agents.

Listen in for insight around the visual nature of Trackxi’s tracking system and find out how the app can help you demonstrate your value prop with clients and grow your real estate business!

What’s Discussed:  

How Vijay moved to the US to pursue his Master’s in mechanical engineering

Vijay’s successful 20-year career in engineering, finance and sales with Daimler

How Vijay became an accidental real estate agent

How the challenge of managing 32 open transactions inspired Vijay to build Trackxi

The advantage of a dedicated app that does one or two things well

Why Trackxi is a deal tracking software platform (vs. transaction management tool)

What differentiates Trackxi from other transaction management tools 

How Trackxi serves teams, transaction coordinators and new agents

How Trackxi’s tracking system provides transparency around the agent’s value 

How Trackxi’s visual dashboard delivers a State of the Union of an agent’s business

What to expect from Trackxi’s hands-on onboarding process

Connect with Vijay Gopalswamy:

Trackxi

Email vijay@trackxi.com 

Vijay on LinkedIn

Resources:

Trackxi Review in Inman

The Close Picks for Best Transaction Management Software for 2023

Our Sponsors:

Trackxi

Listing Bits Episode 85: A Less, But Better Approach to Real Estate Software Design – with Damien Huze of Lone Wolf Technologies

Among Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Design is the idea that good design is as little design as possible.

Less, but better.

And Damien Huze believes that the next evolution of real estate software will apply this concept, offering fewer high-quality apps that work together in a fluid system.

Damien is Senior Design Manager and Principal Designer at Lone Wolf Technologies, a software company working to build an end-to-end solution for real estate.

Damien served as Chief Design Officer at W+R studios before the Lone Wolf acquisition, and he is responsible for the design of Cloud CMA, one of the most popular apps in real estate.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Damien explains how making design a priority benefits companies building web-based apps and why he defines design as a skill aimed at problem-solving.

Damien describes how Lone Wolf is working to combine the tools of proptech into a single streamlined experience and shares his team’s user-centric approach to the problem of simplifying real estate.

Listen in for insight on the power of relentless focus and learn about Damien’s vision for designing real estate software that delivers more with less.

What’s Discussed:  

What Damien learned from growing up with creative parents who immigrated to the US

How making design a priority benefits companies building web-based apps (and why so few do it)

How Damien thinks about design as a skill aimed at problem-solving

What Lone Wolf is doing to bring several real estate apps together in a single end-to-end solution

Why Damien believes the next evolution in real estate software is ‘less but better’

Lone Wolf’s upcoming announcement at the T3 Technology Summit

What it means for good software to have an opinion vs. being too flexible or customizable

How Damien’s team brings a user-centric, design thinking approach to simplifying real estate 

Greg and Damien’s take on the advantage of simple tools that get the job done

The well-designed product that’s had the biggest impact on Damien’s life

Why relentless focus boosts productivity and how Damien applies that tenet to design

Connect with Damien Huze:

Lone Wolf Technologies

Damien on X

Damien on LinkedIn

Resources:

Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design

T3 Technology Summit

Starlink

FaceTime on Apple TV

Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson 

Our Sponsors:

Trackxi

Listing Bits Episode 84: Enabling Collaboration in the Home Buying Experience – with Tom MacLeod of ZenList

In preparation for a move, Tom MacLeod and his wife were looking at properties in the Bay Area. Tom was on Redfin. His wife was on Zillow. And they were receiving listings via email from their agent.

But none of the applications talked to each other. So, Tom was making a spreadsheet when he thought, “There’s got to be a better way.”

Tom is Cofounder of Zenlist, an agent-to-client home search that enables efficient collaboration by putting everyone in the same space. 

On this episode of Listing Bits, Tom describes how @properties helped him develop Zenlist and what differentiates his app from Homespotter, RealScout and other competitors in the space.

Tom shares Zenlist’s initial growth strategy, explaining why it didn’t include targeting MLS customers and how that’s changed.

Listen in to understand how Tom’s team gets consumers to download an app and learn how Zenlist is facilitating collaboration in the homebuying experience.

What’s Discussed:  

How Tom’s experience with moving inspired him to build Zenlist

Why Tom made the decision to bootstrap Zenlist over taking venture money

How Zenlist facilitates collaboration in the homebuying experience

Tom’s experience of developing Zenlist with the help of @properties

Zenlist’s initial growth strategy and why it didn’t include targeting MLS customers

What differentiates Zenlist from Homespotter, RealScout and other competitors in the space

Tom’s ambition to serve both real estate agents and consumers

Zenlist’s mobile capabilities and how it was called into action during the Rapattoni outage

How Zenlist is overcoming the challenge of getting consumers to download an app 

How consumers benefit from using Zenlist vs. Zillow or Redfin

Connect with Tom MacLeod:

Zenlist

Email tom@zenlist.com 

Resources:

SNL Skit on Zillow

Leo Pareja at eXp

Trackxi

Our Sponsor:

Cloud CMA for Brokers

Listing Bits Episode 83: Revolutionizing Member Engagement for MLSs + Associations – with Nick Gough of NoteRouter

MLSs and associations face an issue Nick Gough refers to as RDR, an acronym for REALTORS don’t read. 

So, what can these organizations do to communicate more effectively with the members they serve? 

Nick is Founder and CEO at NoteRouter, the all-in-one email and texting platform designed to help organized real estate achieve record-high member engagement.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Nick shares his experience in leadership of associations and MLSs, explaining how it drove him to build NoteRouter.

Nick describes how NoteRouter helps users write content that connects with REALTORS individually and discusses why the presentation of your message matters as much as the value you provide.

Listen in for Nick’s insight on leveraging influencer marketing to reach more REALTORS and learn how to humanize your outreach by focusing on the real pains your members face.

What’s Discussed:  

Why Nick dropped out of college and became a real estate agent at 18

Nick’s experience in leadership of associations and MLSs and how it drove him to build NoteRouter

How NoteRouter solves the problem of member engagement 

Using email and text outreach to help associations and MLSs connect with the people they serve

How NoteRouter helps users write content that connects with REALTORS individually

Why presentation matters just as much as the value you provide

NoteRouter’s expertise in outbound communication through email service and telecom providers

Why NoteRouter is designed around the principle of permission-based marketing

Why it’s crucial for MLSs and associations to learn influencer marketing

The relationship between email open rates and subject lines

The benefit of humanizing your outreach and focusing on real pains members face

How the latest MLS outage impacted Nick and the team at NoteRouter

Connect with Nick Gough:

NoteRouter

Nick on LinkedIn

Email nick@noterouter.com 

Resources:

Seth Godin

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell

Our Sponsor:

Cloud CMA for Brokers

Listing Bits Episode 82: Jeremy Henley of QuikFix

Dealing with things that come up during a home inspection is a challenge for all involved in a real estate transaction. 

But what if there was a way to get an accurate quote for home repairs in seconds? And then connect with licensed contractors who are available to do the work now?

Jeremy Henley is Founder and CEO at TheQwikFix, a proptech platform that leverages AI and predictive modeling to generate a quote for repairs based on the home inspection report.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Jeremy explains how his experience as a real estate investor inspired the creation of TheQwikFix and why contractors love getting work from its marketplace.

Jeremy describes who manages the process of using the platform to do home repairs, discussing how buyers can leverage TheQwikFix quote to negotiate—and then follow through on the repairs they care about after closing.

Listen in to understand why TheQwikFix doesn’t have issues with contractor availability and learn how Jeremy’s service makes life easier for contractors, buyers, sellers and real estate agents!

What’s Discussed:  

How Jeremy’s background in sales and cybersecurity led to founding a proptech startup

Jeremy’s experience as a real estate investor and how it inspired the creation of TheQwikFix

How TheQwikFix software generates a quote based on the home inspection report

Why contractors love getting work from TheQwikFix marketplace

The combination of AI and human confirmation TheQwikFix uses to generate a quote

Who manages the process of using TheQwikFix to do home repairs

Why contractors are willing to accept TheQwikFix’s binding quotes

How TheQwikFix does most of its business in SoCal but its service is available nationwide

How buyers can leverage TheQwikFix to negotiate and then complete repairs after closing

Why TheQwikFix doesn’t have issues with contractor availability

What Jeremy’s team is doing to help TheQwikFix stay top-of-mind with agents

The potential for TheQwikFix to handle ongoing home maintenance/repairs or remodels

Connect with Jeremy Henley:

TheQwikFix

Jeremy on LinkedIn

Jeremy on X

Resources:

TripIt

Expensify

1000watt

Sponsored By Lone Wolf