Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Listing Bits Episode: Competing in the Showing Solutions Space – with William Schoeffler

When Zillow announced its intention to acquire ShowingTime in February of 2021, a slew of companies jumped into the showing solutions space. But Instashowing had already been in business for two years, and despite the fierce competition, its young founder believes that his startup has an edge.

William Schoeffler is the Founder of Instashowing, a software company out of Bend, Oregon, that offers the premiere showing solution for forward-thinking real estate professionals. On this episode of Listing Bits, William shares the experience with an agent that inspired him to build Instashowing and describes the suite of listing agent tools his team is developing.

William explains how he raised $4M on the heels of Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime, discussing the expectation to grow that comes with that kind of an investment and the advantages Instashowing has over its many competitors. Listen in to understand the challenge of supporting several showing solutions in a single market and learn how William is forming a syndicate to allow MLSs to invest in Instashowing.


What’s Discussed:  

The experience with a real estate agent that inspired William to build Instashowing

How William raised $4M from industry giants Pete Flint and Greg Schwartz

The wave of competitors in the showing solutions space after Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime

Why Instashowing started selling to agents and brokers (not MLSs) when it launched in 2019

The advantages Instashowing has over its competitors

How Instashowing’s success in a given market hinges on full integration with its MLS

Why William believes the industry will return to a single showing solution product in each market

The suite of listing agent tools Instashowing is developing

The expanding vision and expectation to grow that comes with a $4M investment 

Why William is not planning on adding a call center to the Instashowing offerings

How William is forming a syndicate to allow MLSs to invest in Instashowing


Connect with William:

Instashowing

William on LinkedIn


Resources:

Instashowing’s $4M Raise

Zillow’s Acquisition of ShowingTime

Tomo

Offerpad

BrokerBay

Homesnap Showings

MLS Aligned

SentriLock

CRMLS Glide


Our Sponsor:

Cloud CMA for Brokers

Listing Bits Episode 68: A New Player in Showing Services – with Scott Fisher and Devin Beck

Prior to 2003, Supra had a monopoly on the lockbox market. But NAR membership wanted choice, so the trade association invested in its first outside tech company, SentriLock. Today, a similar market dominance exists in showing service solutions, and SentriLock is stepping in once again to compete with the dominant player in the space.

Scott Fisher and Devin Beck are the CEO and Director of Revenue of SentriLock, the first and only combined lockbox, showing service and experience management solution for real estate. On this episode of Listing Bits, Scott and Devin explain why SentriLock is expanding into the showing service space and how proptech consolidation accelerated industry interest their new offering.

Scott and Devin share SentriLock’s approach to entering a new market with a dominant player, describing how their partnership with NAR and commitment to customer service differentiate them from the competition. Listen in for insight around the unique features of the SentriKey Showing Service and learn how you can benefit from their lockbox offering, showing service or combination thereof.

What’s Discussed:  

How Scott’s telecom background led him to the lockbox space

Devin’s efforts to diversify SentriLock’s portfolio of offerings

What inspired the partnership between NAR and Scott’s team

Why SentriLock is expanding into the showing service space

SentriLock’s approach to entering a market with a dominant player

How Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime accelerated interest in SentriLock’s new offering

How SentriLock’s lockbox and showing solutions are designed to stand alone yet work together

Why consolidation causes uncertainty in the MLS community

Why NAR is unlikely to sell SentriLock

How Scott sees their commitment to take care of the member first as SentriLock’s secret weapon

The features that differentiate SentriLock’s showing solution 

How competition among vendors brings value to the industry

Connect with Scott & Devin:

SentriLock

Scott on LinkedIn

Devin on LinkedIn

Resources:

The Story Behind SentriKey Showing Service

Supra

CoStar’s Acquisition of Homes.com

REALTORS Relief Foundation

REALTORS Political Action Committee

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?

Listing Bits Episode 66: How Standards Streamline PropTech – with Sam DeBord of RESO

Policy may not be sexy, but without standards around how we format real estate data and build technology systems, we simply can’t share data or integrate the tools we need to do our jobs well.

Sam DeBord serves as CEO of the Real Estate Standards Organization, the trade group responsible for developing the open standards that drive efficiency and streamline technology for the industry. His resume includes a wide range of leadership positions in the real estate space, including President’s Liaison for MLS and Data Management at NAR and VP of Government Affairs with Washington Realtors. Sam is also the VP of Strategic Growth for Coldwell Banker Danforth in Seattle and writes for REALTOR MagazineInman News and the Swanepoel Trends Report.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Sam describes RESO’s role in the real estate industry, explaining how the standards set by his organization provide certainty for developers and support data shares and tech integrations. He shares the progress RESO has made in the last year, discussing what they have done to streamline compliance certifications and initiate the proposed Listing Exchange Access Policy. Listen in for Sam’s insight on the constraints of the current market (and the new tech that’s emerged as a result) and find out how he thinks about the kerfuffle surrounding the most recent mergers and acquisitions in the real estate space.

What’s Discussed:  

What RESO does to create efficiencies and streamline tech for the real estate industry

RESO’s evolution to an independent trade organization and how it relies on thousands of volunteer SMEs to build its Workgroups

RESO’s recent work to streamline its compliance certifications and create a new development guide for vendors

How RESO standards provide certainty for developers and support data shares and integrations

Why Sam is a proponent of creating a single policy for how data is used and displayed (and how that would help brokers)

RESO’s work with the broker community and CMLS to draft the proposed Listing Exchange Access Policy

The progress RESO has made in just the last year to align industry trade organizations, brokers and MLSs around common goals

How RESO standards helped facilitate the NorCal MLS Alliance

Sam’s take on how the artificial constraints of the current market impact agents and the tech facilitating the trend to buy homes sight unseen 

How Sam thinks about the most recent mergers and acquisitions in the real estate space

Why proptech companies need to recognize our cultural preference to work with an agent

The potential problems associated with a broker-member of an MLS being paid by that MLS for a technology service

Connect with Sam:

Real Estate Standards Organization

Email sam[at]reso[dot]org

Sam on Twitter

Resources:

RESO Workgroups

RESO Web API Tools & Software

RESO’s Broker Advisory Workgroup

RESO Certification

2020 RESO Certification Updates

Andy Woolley

CMLS

NAR

NAR’s MLS Technology & Emerging Issues Advisory Board

Summary of NAR’s 2021 MLS Policy Changes

CMLS’s Participant Data Access Policy

LeadingRE

The Realty Alliance

CMLS’s CCP Implementation Guide

RESO Compliance Guide

NorCal MLS Alliance

Zillow Economist Jeff Tucker on Industry Relations EP059

CoStar

Zillow’s Acquisition of ShowingTime

Greg on Twitter

RESO’s Unique Organizational Identifier (UOI)

Victor Lund at WAV Group

RESO Remix

RESO’s 2021 Fall Conference

Our Sponsor:

Cloud CMA

Listing Bits Episode: Making Video Marketing Profitable – with Christian Sterner of WellcomeMat

Video marketing is a powerful way for agents, brokers and real estate companies to reach consumers. But how do we get the most mileage out of our videos? How do we maximize the marketing value of the content we create?

Christian Sterner is the Cofounder and CEO of WellcomeMat, the premier platform for managing your real estate video. Christian’s team facilitates successful video marketing campaigns for agents, brokers and companies who are committed to video as a long-term marketing strategy, helping clients leverage video content to generate traffic and engagement on their domain. Christian has been playing in the technology and marketing space since 2000, and he has led WellcomeMat since its inception in 2006.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Christian explains how WellcomeMat maximizes reach for every video in a user’s library and helps them make educated decisions about what videos to create. He offers insight around what kind of content really moves the needle for real estate professionals, sharing his take on the pros and cons of producing humorous or provocative video content. Listen in to understand how WellcomeMat is working to facilitate visual search for the real estate industry and learn how drone automation can be used to create killer listing videos and accelerate the adoption of video marketing among brokers and agents.

What’s Discussed:  

WellcomeMat’s mission to make video the most valuable thing agents and brokers can do to market themselves and their properties

What makes WellcomeMat the best way to maximize reach for every video in your library

How WellcomeMat accepts content from any service (and allows users to switch providers at will)

What WellcomeMat does to help users make educated decisions about what videos to create

How WellcomeMat increases site visits by an order of magnitude over using YouTube alone

Why listing videos are best for pushing top line revenue

The value in producing evergreen content like neighborhood tours, agent profiles, etc.

WellcomeMat’s referral database of 5,000 video production companies

Christian’s take on producing provocative and/or humorous video content

The MLS rules around branded and unbranded content + how WellcomeMat offers tools to remove branding for MLS compliance

WellcomeMat’s work to facilitate visual search for the real estate industry

How drone automation facilitates the production of quality video at scale for the real estate space

Connect with Christian:

WellcomeMat

Christian on Twitter

christian [at] wellcomemat [dot] com

Resources:

RE/MAX

Trulia

8z

Booj

CBRE

Revaluate

Homebot

ZAVI Homes

TED

For Sale by Owner

LeadingRE

Luxury Portfolio

Halstead

Semonin Realtors 

Wistia

Tim Smith Group on YouTube

Smith Group’s ‘Teach Me How to Duffy’ Marketing Video

Gracenote

Shazam

Cole’s Drone Video

Amazon’s Ring Always Home Cam

Skydio

eWebinar

Listing Bits Episode 64: An IT Geek Turned Broker’s Take on Tech – with Georgia Purpura of Urban Nest Realty

What can technology vendors do to better connect with the agents and brokers we hope to serve? And what can we learn from the perspective of a computer engineer turned REALTOR about how to approach real estate professionals and what kind of tech solutions they need?

Georgia Purpura is Managing Broker at Urban Nest Realty, a mid-size independent brokerage out of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she specializes in helping agents grow their business. She is also very involved in the local association, most recently serving as Chair of the MLS. Georgia has been a licensed agent for 12 years, acting as broker for Keller-Williams Southwest before joining Urban Nest in 2018. Prior to real estate, she earned her degree in business and information technology and spent eight years working as a computer engineer.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Georgia discusses how her background in IT has served her well in real estate, explaining how she evaluates technology solutions and what vendors can do to market their software more effectively. She offers advice for vendors and brokers on creating a business model that mitigates agent churn, challenging us to focus on producers rather than subscribers—casting a deeper net as opposed to a wider one. Listen in for Georgia’s insight on how modern agents learn about technology tools (and how that’s evolved over the years) and get her take on the top technology needs in the real estate space.

What’s Discussed:  

Georgia’s background in computer engineering and how that tech experience has served her well in real estate

How Georgia learned about tech tools early in her career from sales meetings and through the local association

How modern agents learn about tech tools through word-of-mouth on social media

Georgia’s advice for vendors around marketing to top producers who can create influence for you

Why vendors should lead with the problem they’re solving for in pitching agents and brokers

How Georgia evaluates tech based on its potential to shorten the sales cycle and save time or money

Georgia’s criticism of how brokers have gone about increasing profitability by having the biggest army (rather than the best)

How real estate brokerages and software vendors can build a business model that mitigates agent churn

The top technology needs Georgia sees in the real estate space

–Integration among tech solutions (strategic alliances)

–Agent retention and engagement tool for brokers

Connect with Georgia:

Urban Nest Realty

Email georgiapurpura [at] gmail [dot] com

Resources:

David J. Tina

Top Producer

Inman News

Realtor.com

Realtor Magazine

Vendor Alley

Rob Hahn

Joe Versus the Volcano

Our Sponsor: 

Cloud CMA

Listing Bits Episode: How to Win Business with Buyer Data – with Ashley Terrell of Buyside

Speaking of Buyside

It’s easier to gain a seller’s trust when you have the data to back you up. But where can agents and brokers go for real-time buyer data? And how do we turn those numbers into actionable insights to earn new business?

Ashley Terrell is the Executive Vice President of Partnerships at Buyside, a real estate tech platform that helps real estate professionals leverage intelligent buyer data to capture seller leads, win more listings and close more transaction sides in-house. Prior to joining Buyside, Ashley served as the Director of Account Management and Director of Strategic Growth at Constellation Software and the Director of Account Management and Product Marketing at Real Estate Digital. 

On this episode of Listing Bits, Ashley explains how Buyside partners with other vendors to procure data and provide its users with seamless product integration. She offers insight around the current buyer landscape, sharing her take on why there’s such a boom in real estate right now. Listen in for Ashley’s insight on the resources available to help agents use the Buyside tools and learn how to leverage buyer data to win your next listing presentation.

What’s Discussed: 

Ashley’s background in tech and how she was introduced to the real estate tech space

How Buyside serves as a seller lead gen tool and helps agents win listing presentations

How Buyside procures data from vendors like Zillow, ShowingTime, etc.

Buyside’s focus on seamless product integration to create the best possible user experience 

Ashley’s insight around the current buyer landscape in real estate

Ashley’s take on why there’s such a boom in real estate right now

How agents and brokers can leverage buyer data in a listing presentation

–Help seller price home

–Marketing strategy

–Pool of buyers

How Buyside serves large brokerages vs. small brokerages and large teams

The value proposition for Buyside in a buyer’s market

Ashley’s commitment to building out resources that help agents use the Buyside tools

Connect with Ashley:

Buyside

Ashley on LinkedIn

Resources:

Market Leader

Sharper Agent

Real Living

John Hensley

John Heithaus on Listing Bits EP061

Charles Williams

ShowingTime

RealScout

Cloud CMA

Inman News

‘Existing Home Sales Skyrocket Amid Pandemic, Inventory Down’ in Inman News

ShowingTime’s June 2020 Showing Index Results

Buyside Help Center

Sponsor:

Cloud CMA

Listing Bits Episode 56: The Value of Nationwide MLS and Association Data – with Clint Skutchan

Out of 565 Multiple Listing Services nationwide, 82 serve less than 100 brokers and agents. Unsurprisingly, this means that the nation’s 20 largest Multiple Listing Services serve over 50 percent of the nation’s total MLS subscribers. These statistics didn’t exist a year ago, but thanks to the Real Estate Almanac, the disparity is clear. Now that we understand the scale of the issue, how can we make changes to better serve agents, brokers, and their clients?

Clint Skutchan is the vice president of T3 Sixty’s association and MLS division. T3 Sixty is an industry-leading management consultancy and research company that focuses on residential real estate brokerage. Clint has over a decade of experience in the real estate industry and previously served as CEO of a realtor association in Colorado. He established an independent consulting company in 2014. In 2018, he joined T3 Sixty.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Clint discusses T3 Sixty’s latest undertaking: Real Estate Almanac. He explains where the idea for a comprehensive list of MLSs and associations came from and talks about some of the surprises that came out of that list. Listen in for Clint’s insight on the future of the Real Estate Almanac and how the data it consolidates will impact the industry, and the nation as a whole.  

What’s Discussed: 

How Clint got involved in T3 Sixty 

What the Real Estate Almanac is and what it says about the industry 

Why T3 Sixty put the latest MLS and association list together

What issues MLSs and associations are facing nationwide

Whether Clint thinks NAR membership will stagnate, drop, or continue increasing

How the list of MLSs and associations has shrunken in five years

Why MLSs choose not to consolidate

How smaller MLSs might tackle some of the issues they face

What’s next for the Real Estate Almanac

Resources:

T3 Sixty

Real Estate Almanac

Top Associations/MLS

Connect with Clint:

Follow Clint on Twitter

Follow Clint on LinkedIn

Listing Bits Episode 55: Getting People in Homes with Down Payment Assistance – with Rob Chrane

According to research conducted by Freddie Mac, there are 83 million mortgage-ready renters in the US! But most grossly overestimate how much they need for a down payment and very few know about the low down payment programs available to low and moderate-income home buyers. How much could a real estate business grow simply by making down payment assistance part of its business development strategy?

Rob Chrane is the CEO of Down Payment Resource, a platform that aggregates down payment assistance program data and connects homebuyers with down payment assistance. Rob has more than 30 years of experience as a top-producing Realtor and mortgage broker, and he has been recognized as a HousingWire Vanguard for his leadership in the housing economy.

One thing I love that Rob does is the “Beverly Faull Affordable Housing Leadership Award”. This year it went to Tonya Todd.

“The award, named in memory of accomplished real estate veteran Beverly Faull, recognizes an individual who has demonstrated leadership in providing more access to homeownership and affordable housing finance solutions. Faull was a well-respected veteran in the MLS and housing industry and one of Down Payment Resource’s first employees.”

I used to work with Bev and I know many of you knew her as well, and I think this is such a great tribute.

On this episode of Listing Bits, Rob discusses who down payment assistance is designed to help and why some agents and lenders are reluctant to incorporate these programs into their workflow. We also discuss the evolution of Proptech as well as the pros and cons of the fractional ownership model. Listen in for insight around how Down Payment Resource shares its data with MLSs, lending companies, and individual agents and LOs—and learn about the massive opportunity available to real estate players with access to down payment assistance tools.

What’s Discussed: 

How Rob connects homebuyers with down payment assistance

What inspired Rob to create Down Payment Resource

Who down payment assistance programs are designed to help

Why agents and lenders are reluctant to use these programs

How Down Payment Resource gets its data to industry players

  1. MLSs and Associations
  2. Enterprise solutions for lenders
  3. Down Payment Connect (individual agents, LOs)

How Down Payment Resource makes money via a subscription model

How Rob thinks about the Proptech fractional ownership model 

How DPR’s data shows up for MLS clients vs. individual agents

Resources:

Urban Land Institute

Freddie Mac Housing & Economic Research

Cloud CMA

MGIC

Divvy

Shelley Specchio

Connect with Rob:

Down Payment Resource

Down Payment Connect

What is homeownership?

I think my friends in organized real estate have to start paying attention to how companies are evolving the definition of “homeownership”. Below is a video of a presentation given by Adena Hefets, CEO of Divvy Homes at an event held by Andreessen Horowitz.

“We believe the industry is very binary. You either rent a home, or dive in to the deep end and get a mortgage. There is no in-between.”

Adena Hefets, CEO of Divvy Homes

If you have been listening to my podcast Listing Bits you know I’ve been tracking Divvy Homes and Adena for a while now and am super intrigued.

Sponsored By Giant Steps Advisors