Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

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

NTREIS chooses Paragon MLS connect

NORTH TEXAS REAL ESTATE INFORMATION SYSTEMS INC. SELECTS PARAGON CONNECT MLS FROM BLACK KNIGHT AS A PLATFORM OF CHOICE FOR SUBSCRIBERS

“We place a premium on choice when deciding what technology we offer our subscribers,” said John Holley, CEO of NTREIS. “And we were impressed to see that Paragon Connect allows users to do business anytime, anywhere, and from their preferred device. The flexibility and ease-of-use made Paragon Connect an easy choice for us.

NTREIS plans to make Paragon Connect available for its subscribers in early 2024.”

Chalk up another POC deal for Black Knight. I’ve written before of the strategy behind this for both MLS organizations and MLS vendors. The trick will be if any of these POC deals can peel off users from the primary MLS system.

Back in Black

BLACK KNIGHT APPOINTS LUCIE FORTIER AS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF MLS SOLUTIONS GROUP

“Fortier has extensive experience in senior leadership roles for large real estate solutions providers, where she was responsible for product strategy and delivery of advanced real estate capabilities, web applications, real estate data and predictive analytics across the United States and Canada. She has also served as a board member of both the Council of Multiple Listing Services and the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO), which was formed to develop data standards and processes that create efficiencies for all participants in real estate transactions.

“Lucie’s extensive real estate industry experience, coupled with her technology, data and analytics expertise, make her an ideal fit to lead the Black Knight MLS Solutions group and help take our solutions and service to the next level,” said Ben Graboske, president, Black Knight Data & Analytics. “She has in-depth knowledge of what our MLS clients need – both now and moving forward – and has proven time and time again that she knows how to get things done.”

Black Knight

Welcome back Lucie!

MRED adds Paragon Connect

MRED adds Black Knight’s Paragon Connect as MLS platform; expands suite of options for brokers

“MRED’s nearly 50,000 subscribers can anticipate gaining access to Paragon Connect in early 2024. The front end will be offered in addition to connectMLS.  

“As the MRED marketplace expands, we want to provide additional choices to our subscribers,” said MRED President and CEO Rebecca Jensen. “Each of the brokerages we serve is unique. Providing multiple ways to access and enter data allows them the ability to better customize their MLS experience.”  

MRED offers over two dozen products and services to brokers located in Illinois and surrounding states. MRED chose Paragon Connect due to feedback from our marketplace.”

Big win for Black Knight. And turning the tables a bit by putting some pressure on dynaConnections.

I was intrigued by Black Knight’s press release titled, MIDWEST REAL ESTATE DATA (MRED) SELECTS PARAGON CONNECT MLS FROM BLACK KNIGHT AS A PLATFORM OF CHOICE.

“Platform of choice”? What’s “Platform of choice”? I really hadn’t heard that term before, and it certainly isn’t on my “Speaking MLS” post but I’m going to add it, here why.

In the parlance of MLS Vendors like Black Knight, “System of Choice” really only meant “search of choice”. The big difference is that with “Platform of Choice” the alternative MLS system (in this case Paragon Connect) also has its own add/edit functionality. Which for an alternative MLS system is great because otherwise agent/members could only enter listings in to the primary/incumbent MLS system. By also allowing add/edit in the alternative MLS system this essentially levels the playing field so that agent members can also input listings in the new MLS system.

Obviously one reason (biggest reason?) MRED is adding Paragon Connect is to make it easier for neighboring MLS organizations to join MRED without the burden of learning a new MLS system. I don’t believe we have seen a situation where an alternative MLS system comes in and then over time takes over as the primary MLS system in regard to usage. I also haven’t seen an MLS organization shut down alternative MLS Systems once they have merged with another MLS/Assn. but I think this would be easier to do.

Paragon Connect has been getting some good reviews, but it’s going to take more than a new UI/UX differentiation to lure existing MRED users to their platform. I have some ideas. But that’s for another post.

[SPONSOR] Wow, I didn’t know that Black Knight MLS did that!

Technology that empowers real estate agents to say “yes, I can, wherever I am!”

Paragon Connect provides quick, easy access to key property-centric data to help your subscribers be better informed and not miss out on opportunities. 

For example, the Paragon Connect Property Watch feature provides data alerts about changes to a property. Agents can easily select the properties they want to keep an eye on. Once properties are in the watch list, an agent receives notifications when there is a foreclosure, ARM reset, ownership change, tax delinquency, new loan, and much more.

View our brief video to see how it works –> Property Watch by Black Knight

Give your members the advantage they need. If you would like to know more information or schedule a demo, click here.

Your friends at Black Knight

[Sponsor] I didn’t know Black Knight MLS did that!

Seller’s Collaboration Center

Paragon Connect with the Collaboration Center keeps the agent in constant communication with the seller about their home’s activity.

Even better, it’s automated!

Sellers want transparency and to know what activity is happening with their home.

The Collaboration Center provides automatic activity notifications to the seller about their listing views, agent recommendations, buyer-search matches, social media views, broker and open house tours, days on market, current competition and much more.

Paragon Connect makes the seller feel like a VIP client! 

Seller Collab Center Stats from Black Knight, Inc. on Vimeo.

Give your members the advantage they need. If you would like to know more information or schedule a demo, click here.

Your friends at Black Knight

Black Knight

My thanks to Black Knight for sponsoring Vendor Alley this month. I’m excited that Black Knight is introducing its next-generation MLS system – Paragon Connect. Built using the most modern technology, Paragon Connect empowers agents to work wherever they are on virtually any device. Since Paragon Connect’s features and functionality are the same across the platform, agents can start on a desktop and move to their mobile device, or vice versa, without skipping a beat. You’ll hear more about Paragon Connect’s unique new features and capabilities in this month’s blog.

Again, many thanks to Black Knight.

[Sponsor] Wow, I didn’t know that Black Knight MLS did that!

Introducing the new Paragon Connect fully responsive, listing maintenance module.Built for agents in the office and on the go. One system, with one seamless experience

Technology that empowers real estate agents to say “Yes, I can, wherever I am!”

Paragon Connect offers full listing maintenance from any device. Now agents can enter, edit and enhance their listings right from their phones. With this new capability, agents can:

• Enter a full listing manually or auto-populate from public records

• Use the quick find to edit any field

• Use the geocode drop pin to change the property location

• Show required fields only with alert error logic

• Use a full image editor to:

->Upload reorder and enter captions for photos

->Select brightness

->Flip, crop, and rotate

->Edit photo history with the option to undo changes

->Leverage the list price analysis feature- Enter a potential price to see how many active buyers’
searches match before choosing or editing the listing price.

Here’s a quick video on how it works: ▶️

Give your members the advantage they need. If you would like to know more information or schedule a demo, click here.

Your friends at Black Knight

Black Knight partners with Restb.ai for advanced tags for photos

Black Knight and Restb.ai Form Strategic Alliance to Offer an AI-driven Image Product Suite

“Two top industry firms are teaming up to deploy this new AI-powered technology. Today, Restb.ai, the leader in artificial intelligence and computer vision for real estate, announced a strategic alliance with Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) to integrate the Restb.ai MLS Product Suite seamlessly into the Black Knight Paragon MLS platform and offer the integrated products to Black Knight’s customers.”

Great news. I’ve been a big proponent of adding tags to listing photos. But the rub was the cost of doing this at scale. Restb.ai partnering with Black Knight is a perfect outcome.

I think the benefits of this technology are far greater than what is being presented. With advances in AI we are going to see some cool stuff. Sure helping out with listing input is a solid use case but I think we are only scratching the surface of what can happen once all listing photos are properly tagged. And I hope they don’t restrict access to this metadata to other vendors.

Sponsored By Paragon Connect