Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

More info on FCC’s new robocalls rules

Victor talks about some of the details to the FCC new rules as it apples to real estate lead aggregators.

“Real estate leads are among the most expensive leads generated across all American business, often leading to real estate professionals paying as high as 40% of their commission for a sale generated from a lead. Many leads generated at online shopping websites are sold over and over again, causing consumers to be inundated with spam-y text messages and robo-calls that seem to have no end. Now, there must be a clear opt-in by consumers to this form of communication. The FCC wants the consumer to opt in on a 1-to-1 basis to each company that will receive their contact information. “

Victor Lund, WAV Group

As Rob and I discussed on a recent Industry Relations podcast we think this is going to have a bigger impact than any one realizes.

Trackxi

One thing I’ve discovered about myself is that I really enjoy the beginning phase of starting a company.  Building a team, fleshing out the idea of a product, branding, positioning, pricing, billing, go to market, etc.  Once that part is done is more of a matter of managing and optimizing (which I kind of like too).  That’s why I always enjoy talking to new vendors, hearing their ideas, and if I like the idea/founder seeing if I can match them with the right people.

That’s exactly why I’m started working as an advisor with Trackxi.  Trackxi is a deal tracker software solution for agents, teams and transaction coordinators, it also so has light CRM.  It’s more a project management solution than a “transaction manager”, it doesn’t have any MLS integration or does it incorporate forms natively.  In that way it’s a very opinionated piece of software.  Trackxi is pre-loaded with deal workflows (tracks?) that agents can share with their clients and other people involved in the deal. It has a kind of “pizza tracker” data viz element that clients can view to see what tasks have currently been completed, what tasks are in progress, and tasks that haven’t been started. Which I think will be great for buyer’s agents showing their value.

You can use Trackxi to track pretty much anything.  One client used it to plan her wedding.  I think beyond tracking deals you can make templates like “First 90 days as a real estate agent”, “Kick start your real estate business.” , etc.

Another reason I’m working with Trackxi is their co-founder Vijay Gopalswamy.  Vijay lives in Portland, Oregon and  is bootstrapping the company.  Vijay started as an agent and later a broker team leader and Trackxi was born from some of the lessons he learned with starting that team.  Vijay is a pretty humble guy and has an interesting background. I interviewed him on Listing Bits that I will share later today.

I’m actually not sure what being an “advisor” really means.  But I am having super fun working with Vijay; brainstorming messaging, positioning and company strategy.  Our hope is that these discussions and work translate to getting Trackxi available to more agents.  To find out more about Trackxi please visit their website here.

6%? Hold My Beer

In this first week of the Sitzer Burnett trial is all about the plaintiff presenting their case. And it seems that the plaintiffs are all about showing training materials, and slides from previous conferences that use the 6% as proof that the “fix is in”!

The poor consumer has been tricked in to thinking that this percentage was never negotiable. Hell, the whole reason for scripts in the first place was that CONSUMERS WERE ALWAYS TRYING TO NEGOTIATE. Has anyone brought that point up?

Also, this….

“Good, then we will fight in the shade”

I was talking with an MLS Exec the other day, he told me that they had to call the police because a member was upset at a recent change they made to their MLS system and made threats about what he was going to do when he came to the MLS office. In this day and age with what happens in schools I don’t blame them for calling the police.

I heard another story about an MLS/Assn how a member organized a “march on the association offices”, in this case, the MLS was accused of making too many changes in a short time. Yikes! They even started a Facebook group. Imagine that, a Facebook group, I wonder what name they gave the Facebook group? “Hands off our MLS system!”, “Back to the MLS Books!”, or maybe “You’re doing too much, STOP!”

Of course, you have to plan. These changes have to be thoughtful. But no matter what members will complain that “we didn’t have enough time”, “we weren’t notified”, “it’s not the right time of year” or “we wanted more training”. That is always going to happen, no matter if it’s 3 months or 3 years. To me, those are table stakes that any organization has to deal with when they move forward.

Along with all the drama on social media, MLS staff, and execs are berated with emails, phone calls, and name-calling. You really can’t blame any MLS exec who doesn’t do much and keeps the status quo. I mean it is the safe thing to do if you want to keep your job.

But there are others that press forward, who know the risks, but know the rewards as well, and press on. Because if we aren’t growing, we are dying. You don’t want to “change for change’s sake” but we have to try new things if we want to progress. We all need to fight to move our organizations and the industry forward.

That’s leadership.

So when presented with a new idea you want implemented, or a decision you need to make that should have been made long ago, don’t be discouraged. Remember what the Spartans said when the Persians told them if they fought they would unleash enough arrows that would “black out the sun.”

“Good,” the Spartans said, “then we will fight in the shade.”

MLSListings adds Prospects CRM as a new member benefit

MLSListings Delivers CoreLogic’s Prospects CRM as a New, Included Benefit to its ~17,000 Subscribers

“We are bolstering our agent tech stack by making a top-shelf CRM solution available to our subscribers that offers easy onboarding and time-saving integrations with other CoreLogic solutions, including MatrixTM and the MLS-Touch® mobile app, said Dave Wetzel, President and CEO of MLSListings. “Prospects CRM gives our members a powerful new tool that will help them manage clients in the most efficient and effective way possible.”

Adding a CRM as an MLS member benefit is a relatively new thing. Although C.A.R. recently added LionDesk at a state level. Integrating with MLS client portals seems to be a no-brainer. Interesting to see how far this trend goes.

Milestones grows to 250,000 agents and loan officers

Milestones Surpasses 250,000 Agents and Loan Officers

 Milestones (milestones.ai), the all-in-one homeowner portal making it easier for consumers to buy, move, own, sell, manage and access mortgage services for their home, today announced that their product is now licensed to 250,000 real estate agents and loan officers, and their customers.

Milestones uniquely partners with real estate brokers, mortgage lenders, title companies, franchises, Realtor associations, and multiple listing services to offer the service to agents to better serve their clients.

I’m sure their recent partnership with CAR helped them get to this number. What Milestones is doing is not a new idea. Homeownership portals have been around for a while. I think what makes Milestones different is the talent they have attracted and a twist on the business model. I also think including loan officers in the mix is a smart side bet. The challenge for them going forward is upselling, which is always a percentage game.

Listing Bits Episode 75: Get Your Time Back with Automated Webinars – with Melissa Kwan of eWebinar

Listing Bits is back!

If your role in real estate involves sales demos or any kind of training, you’re likely familiar with the frustration of delivering the same webinar over and over again. 

Or worse, preparing a webinar that is either poorly attended or no one shows up.

But what if you could do 100 or even 1,000 webinars a month—without getting in front of a camera?

Melissa Kwan is Cofounder and CEO of eWebinar, a platform that saves people from repeatedly delivering the same webinar by turning videos into automated, interactive webinars. 

Prior to eWebinar, Melissa founded and successfully exited the real estate tech startup Spacio, a check-in app for open houses.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Melissa shares her journey as a proptech entrepreneur, describing how she developed her mad sales skills and why she was ready for a new challenge after Spacio.

Melissa discusses how her experience with onboarding and training for Spacio inspired the creation of eWebinar and explains what differentiates the platform from Zoom, YouTube videos and webinar replays.

Listen in for insight around Melissa’s intentional approach to life and learn how your real estate business might leverage eWebinar to get your time back and spend it on things you enjoy!

What’s Discussed:  

The initial idea for Spacio and how it evolved into a check-in app for open houses

How Melissa developed her hustle and sales ability out of necessity

Melissa’s successful exit from Spacio after 4 years of running the business

The real estate leadership dinner that launched Melissa’s career as an entrepreneur

What differentiates eWebinar from YouTube, Zoom and webinar replays

How Melissa’s experience with training for Spacio inspired the creation of eWebinar

How brokerages and real estate teams are using eWebinar to qualify leads

The benefit of using eWebinar in terms of video quality and availability of content

eWebinar’s use cases for sales demos, onboarding and training

How Melissa runs eWebinar to reflect her work less, enjoy more philosophy of life

Connect with Melissa:

eWebinar

Melissa on LinkedIn

ProfitLed Podcast

Resources: 

Spacio

Inman Connect

Greg’s Post on Melissa in Vendor Alley

Pocket

SAP

HomeSpotter

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Our Sponsor:

Cloud CMA for Brokers

My interview with Jimmy Kelly, CEO of Lone Wolf

The first 4 months at Lone Wolf have been an awesome learning experience for me. Lone Wolf and W+R Studios have always had mutual customers, and I was always aware of the forms and transaction management business but now I’m getting a full immersion course. What I’m learning the most is this, at scale, it’s a tough business. I know that competition is starting to rise in this space, I would only say to them, be careful what you wish for.

With that in mind, I sat down to talk with Lone Wolf’s CEO, Jimmy Kelly. I was surprised but not surprised that he agreed to do this interview with me. I don’t think we made any edits or cut anything out, it’s about 30 mins long and worth the watch. Jimmy answered all my questions, even the tough ones (check out the timeline), and I still have a job!

Hope you enjoy and see how running a form business during the beginning of a worldwide pandemic is a little like Lucy and Ethel working at the chocolate factory.

Timeline:

:40 – Introduction to Jimmy, and history in software industry

4:20 – Greg and Jimmy discuss forms changes and frequency of requests

5:15 – Looking back on pandemic, COVID requests, and response from Lone Wolf

9:30 – Greg asks about product outages, instability. Jimmy discusses what’s going on at Lone Wolf.

12:00 – Greg: What do you say to customers who’ve heard that before?

16:05 – Jimmy discusses future of Back Office. 

17:45 – Greg: Are Transactions (zipForm Edition) and Transactions (TransactionDesk Edition) eventually going to merge? 

20:00 – Greg: What do you say to customers who want you to focus on current issues rather than innovating/buying companies? 

23:45 – Jimmy previews what he’s most excited about coming soon from Lone Wolf

29:00 – Greg: What can you share about Stone Point Capital acquiring CoreLogic? 

31:30 – Is Greg a thorn in Jimmy’s side?

Mooveguru helps agents find PPP loans

Real Estate Agents Eligible for PPP Loans Until March 31

Paycheck Protection Program or PPP loans cover independent contractors in Real Estate, about 90% of the 1099 agents will qualify for the forgivable government PPP loan. The loan amount is likely to be around $5,000 on the low end and up to $20,833 on the high end, according to information provided by Capital Plus, Blueacorn, and MooveGuru. Approval rates are currently at 90%.

The website to share with agents to apply for the loan is https://mooveguru.blueppp.com.

I know many vendors who have taken advantage of PPP loans. Every little bit helps as we make our way out of this pandemic. If you involved with doing any agent/member communication I would get this word out there.

Join me on Clubhouse, today at 3PM Pacific.

First off if you don’t know what Clubhouse is, here’s a brief description from the New York Times.

What is it?

A social networking app that lets people gather in audio chat rooms to discuss various topics, whether it’s sports, wellness, art or why Bitcoin is headed to $87,000. Rooms are usually divided into two groups: those who are talking and those who are listening (participants can see a list of everyone who is in a conversation, and the numbers sometimes run into the thousands). Unlike Twitter, Clubhouse is a closed, hierarchical platform: A moderator oversees discussions and has the ability to let someone chime in or to kick out the unruly. In addition to the “clubs” sorted by topic, two or more users can join together and start their own chat room.”

You’ll need to download the app and have an invite. I have a few to give out. First come, first serve. Also, Clubhouse is iPhone only for now.

I’m going to start the room on Clubhouse at 3PM today, PT. The topic I want to discuss is What is an “active user”.

If an agent has created a website but doesn’t login to the backend every month, do they not find value in having the website?

If an agent creates listing alerts for their past/active clients but doesn’t login to the backend of the app and change anything, does that mean their clients don’t see any value? Is “set it, and forget it” a bad thing?

If a vast majority of agents barely do one transaction per year and barely log in to the MLS, why should they pay monthly MLS dues?

Let’s face it, if you tied value to app usage then the clock on your computer desktop would cost $500 per month.

It’s complicated. I see all sides to this. But most times “logins” are not the answer. Sometimes just using the app once a year is worth it.

Increasingly vendors are under pressure because MLS organizations and associations are under pressure to deliver services that members value. But how we define “value” is, well, complicated. Especially since most agents don’t do many transactions.

The nature of Clubhouse is that it’s a live conversation, and not recorded. So join me at 3PM for a safe space to discuss this topic, hopefully, it can spur more offline conversations that can lead to a greater understanding of this complicated issue.

Sponsored By Giant Steps Advisors