Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

T3 Sixty will not publish 2024 rankings of brokerages

Prudent.

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.

Are A.R.E.A. and NLS for real?

National Association of Realtors Faces Competition From New Group

“Mr. Umansky said that AREA will offer its members a nationwide database of home listings as an alternative, built from the technology he acquired for his own private listings service. That platform, which they’re calling the National Listing Service, is currently live with limited listings at theNLS.com.

“A centralized database with access to the full scope of listings across the country is better for everyone in the industry, and someone just had to do it,” Mr. Umansky said.

Debra Kamin, New York Times

A good question I would ask the two luxury real estate agents/brokers launching this new endeavor is this: “Will this new entity follow (or match) the Clear Cooperation Policy (CCP) guidelines?”

That would be a good tell.

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….

Less software?

Next week Lone Wolf Technologies will reveal its new platform at the T3 Technology Summit, and I’m super excited about it. Why? Let me tell you a story.

At W+R Studios we were bootstrapped, so we needed to grow organically. Our product strategy centered around making core features of an MLS system better.

CMAs on MLS systems suck? Let’s make a better one. Enter Cloud CMA.

MLS system’s client portals and listing alert emails are ugly. Let’s make them pretty (and easier to use). Voilà , Cloud Streams.

Searching on MLS systems too complicated? Let’s make something simple. Boom, Cloud MLX!

The problem was two fold. In order to grow we needed to add new products (more software) and at the end of the day is that we had 3 different software apps, each of them great in their own right, but they didn’t really work together. Also if you wanted all three you had to buy each one separately, and have 3 separate logins, and 3 separate onboarding scenarios, 3 different times you entered a credit card number, and 3 separate…you get the point.

We solved most of this by creating the “Cloud Agent Suite“, but really only scratched the surface of what was possible, then we were acquired in December 2020.

So this problem of “simplifying real estate” has been on the minds of our (W+R) design team for a very long time. How do we bring all of this together to create an end to end solution that makes sense, and still grow? Can “less software” be the answer?

Turns that the problem was about to get bigger. Starting in 2020 Lone Wolf acquired 5 companies in 9 months (including W+R); HomeSpotter, LionDesk, Terradatum and Propertybase. Now you had 9 (at least) separate logins, 9 separate… you get the point.

Sean Wheeler, CTO Lone Wolf
Sean Wheeler, CTO Lone Wolf

When I left Lone Wolf I was starting to see the green shoots of this work. Most of it on the backend led by Sean Wheeler, Lone Wolf’s CTO. One login, one credit card, one database of contacts for all products, etc. Jimmy Kelly, Lone Wolf’s CEO, talked about their effort and the concept of “less software” on a post on Inman News titled “Real Estate Doesn’t Need More Software“. I was also privy to see some of the earlier mock ups from the design group, which were super impressive.

Jimmy Kelly, CEO Lone Wolf
Jimmy Kelly, CEO Lone Wolf

But, like any good meal it all comes down to ingredients. Lone Wolf from my estimation has the best ingredients in the market. The products they acquired (and the teams behind them) are not only best of class but have high adoption rates and great partnerships. Now it comes down to presentation and taste. And I have full confidence in the design chops of the team behind this. I had a chance to interview, Damien Huze, who was W+R’s Chief Design Officer and now a principal designer at Lone Wolf on my Listing Bits podcast which should drop this week.

Damien Huze, Principal Designer Lone Wolf
Damien Huze, Principal Designer Lone Wolf

Am I biased? Absolutely. Am I still a fan of simple focused software applications? You betcha. But I’m a bigger fan of people. So I look forward to seeing how this particular group of talented people proves less software is better.

Mosaik, the future is now

One of the best things about publishing this blog for so long I (16 years baby!) is that a lot of early founders find me and I get to hear the ideas they are working on and see what they are building.  Sometimes they are looking for advice, or maybe an introduction.  Which I’m always happy to provide if I can.

In the past (I would say my generation) the typical real estate software vendor was a developer and maybe their spouse was a real estate agent or maybe he/she got frustrated buying or selling their home.  They had an itch to scratch.  Whether it was helping their spouse or themselves.  So they made something.  Maybe a small software program that managed  contacts (it always starts with a CRM, doesn’t it?) They bootstrapped their company.  The spouse would start using the software, maybe the broker noticed and asked if other agents in the office could use it, fast forward 3 years, and a company is born.

Nowadays typically I see young founders with funding from VC firms or other outside sources and they have ideas about some level of disruption of real estate.  Or they see the quality of some software applications and think that they can do better.  The biggest difference is the shear confidence, ambition and smarts these new generation of vendors have.   As a bonus they really have great taste in software.

Enter Sheila Reddy.  Sheila is the founder and CEO of Mosaik.  Sheila describes Mosaik as the “operating platform for agents, teams and brokerages”.  In the parlance of the broker/teams software world I would call this an “end to end platform”.  Due to this approach Mosaik really does a great job of focusing on the entire client experience.  Craig Rowe at Inman News did a really great review of the product you can read here.

Sheila came from the healthcare industry and saw a few parallels in software design/quality for the real estate industry.   She knew it could be better.  And to say Mosaik is ambitious is an understatement.  MLS data?  Yup.  Form integration.  Of course.  AI? Duh!  Client collaboration?  Absolutely. Schedule Showings? You betcha! Native mobile app? We got you!

Framing all this functionality is a beautiful and simple UI.  The biggest challenge she has is just the sheer magnitude of the feature set.  As someone who has always favored small simple “it does one thing and it does it well” type of software applications I am impressed with what she and her team has created.

The industry needs more founders like Shelia.  Their ambition, drive and optimism is just what the doctor ordered. If you are brokerage or a team you should check it out, the video on her website alone is worth the watch.

Victor Lund pens new book with George Slusser on Real Estate Brokerage Mergers & Acquisitions

Acquiring More Profit and Acquiring More Profit Implementation System.

WAV Group’s George Slusser and Victor Lund ‘Write The New Book’ on Real Estate Brokerage Mergers & Acquisitions

“The answers can be found in a new book — Acquiring More Profit: The Definitive Guide to Successful Real Estate Brokerage Mergers & Acquisition — by renowned industry M&A expert George Slusser, who has closed more than 700 real estate acquisitions, and Victor Lund, real estate’s top consultant to leading brokerages, franchises, and brokerage-related networking organizations. This book dives deeply into the process and provides a playbook that allows brokers to create and execute action plans for successfully buying and selling a real estate brokerage.”

Congrats to George and Victor on the new book.

HowardHanna.com switches to VOW, and raises questions on IDX and national portals

This is a head-scratcher. I’m not sure I fully understand what is going on here but I’ll try and explain. From the video, HowardHanna.com appears to be leaving IDX. Currently, they are showing only HH listings and you must register to see more.

So is Howard Hanna pulling out of IDX? Is there some sort of selective listing opt-out mechanism? Mr. Hanna also says they will “still be partnering with the national portals, and figuring what the strategy will be with them.” I can’t for the life of me figure out how since most of the national portals use an IDX feed. Can you blend an IDX feed with a direct feed from a broker?

Genius or bat-shit crazy? I don’t yet understand the strategy fully until some of these questions are answered. I guess if they are super dominant in that market then it might make sense.

But if I’m a listing agent in Ohio that is competing with Howard Hanna the first thing I would bring up at a listing presentation is something to the tune of, “Howard Hanna won’t promote your listings on all websites, I will”.

I’ll be hosting a Twitter Spaces on this subject today at 1PM PT. Join us!

Ginger Wilcox takes top spot at BH&G

Ginger Wilcox

BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE ANNOUNCES GINGER WILCOX AS BRAND PRESIDENT

“Wilcox moves to the helm of BHGRE after holding several prominent leadership roles spanning real estate technology, brokerage, and transaction services. She brings a proven track record of developing and growing unique brands in the industry, having served as Head of Industry Marketing and Relations for Trulia, an online real estate marketplace, where she focused on marketing innovation and digital engagement.  Early in her career, Wilcox developed an award-winning online real estate brand and brokerage, Marin Fine Properties, which was honored as a finalist for the Inman Innovator Awards for most innovative real estate website, as well as a finalist for the National Association of REALTORS® Center for REALTOR® Technology Spotlight Awards.”

Dan and I started W+R Studios in 2008, at the very start of the GFC. Which is a crazy thing to do if you think about it. The whole world wide economy is crashing around you because of real estate and you are starting a software company focusing on real estate.

That same year I remember being at Inman Connect and seeing Sherry Chris launch Better Homes & Gardens. Holy crap, I thought. Here is this women launching a real estate company, in a time like this, just like us. And Sherry did it in the most fun way, announcing via Twitter and other Social Media networks. The optimism! The chutzpah! The balls! Ever since then I’ve held an affinity for Sherry and the BH&G brand. It was mixed emotions seeing the announcement of her retirement. No one in the industry has matched her class and style.

So it’s great to see one of my favorite people in the industry take on the top leadership role at BH&G, Ginger Wilcox. Another women I respect so much. After leaving Trulia Ginger spent a lot of time in the fintech space but now I’m happy to see her come back to the ORE space. Can’t wait to see her at the next event and raise a glass to her new gig. Congrats to Ginger, Sherry and BH&G!

Revive and NextHome partner to deliver move-in ready homes to Millennials

Revive and NextHome Partner to Deliver More Move-In Ready Homes to Agents

“In today’s market, the largest proportion of homebuyers — Millennials, comprising a full 43 percent of the homebuying population — are seeking homes that are ready for them to move in today. The latest research shows that 70 percent of Millennial home buyers will choose a smaller home that’s move-in-ready over a larger home that needs some attention.

Revive, the most complete presale home renovation solution for sellers, and NextHome, the No. 1 real estate franchise in the country in owner satisfaction, are joining forces to deliver more move-in ready homes to more than 5,500 NextHome agents in 610 offices across 48 states.

Revive’s concept is super interesting. Going beyond just “carpet and paint” can yield a huge potential upside on many properties. As someone who goes to open houses for fun I’ve seen many houses where one bad bathroom, or ugly tile in the kitchen makes the whole house a stinker. And, I’m sure many NextHome agents have seen tons more than I have.

Sponsored By Paragon Connect