Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

What does the “Z” in MAZL, LLC stand for?

Update on the Pending Sale of REcolorado to MAZL, LLC

“Firstly, as noted in our public FAQ, MAZL, LLC, is a private company formed specifically to acquire the MLS service. Joseph E. Burks is the sole and only purchaser of REcolorado. He created MAZL, LLC specifically to execute the Letter of Intent (LOI) and complete the business transaction. There are no other investors.”

Denver Metro Association of REALTORS(r)

Okay, I’m just having a little fun with the title of this post. I don’t think Zillow has anything to do with the sale of REcolorado MLS. But I do want to point something out, and it may be obvious already to some but I don’t know why more people are not talking about it.

One person, in this case Joseph Burks, is about to own the 16th largest MLS organization (by agent count) in the country. I don’t think anyone really understands what the second order consequences of this decision could be. 🍿

Don’t shit where you eat

How it started…

President of Powerful Realtors Group Is Accused of Sexual Harassment

“Ms. Brevard, 51, was fired in September 2022 for failing to disclose her relationship with Mr. Parcell, according to the lawsuit she filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., in June.

She had worked at N.A.R. as what was called its “chief storyteller” and handled the group’s podcasts, videos and much of its marketing materials from 2019 to 2022. According to her complaint, she had a monthslong sexual relationship with Mr. Parcell. After she ended it, Mr. Parcell continued to press her with unwanted advances, saw to it that she was excluded from meetings and business trips and told her that he would have her fired, the lawsuit claimed”

Debra Kamin reporting for the New York Times

How’s it going…

NAR President Kenny Parcell resigns after NYT exposé

“The calls for Parcell’s resignation intensified over the weekend, as a growing number of industry leaders called on NAR to hold Parcell accountable for his actions. Anywhere Brands President and CEO Sue Yannaccone was one of the first high-ranking brokerage leaders to make a statement, with her Monday LinkedIn post garnering increasing attention throughout Monday afternoon.

“I was very disturbed to read The New York Times report on the brazen attitudes and alleged behaviors of leaders at the National Association of Realtors,” Yannaccone said. “Given our predominantly female industry, I am incredibly disappointed by the reporter’s allegations as NAR is supposed to be a guidepost for our industry.”

Marian McPherson reporting for Inman News

The Times article was a bit of a head scratcher for me. In my opinion, after thinking about it for the last couple days, and talking to people it’s amazing to me this clown didn’t resign when he was first caught in a sexual relationship with a staffer. This guys outsized ego just sullied a lot of people’s good reputation and future prospects.

Investors sue MLS-owned Remine

Investors sue MLS-owned Remine, demand payment for shares

“Three shareholders of real estate software company Remine filed a lawsuit against the company Thursday following its acquisition by four multiple listing services.

The investors — Alexander Atwood, Brian de Schepper, and Jonathan Ferris — are demanding their shares be appraised and that Remine pay fair value for them.

What a shit show.

“Remine, a company that in its short history has been plagued by financial troubles, plunging personnel rolls, and a toxic work environment, is now a subsidiary of MLS Technology Holdings LLC, a joint venture owned by four MLSs, that acquired Remine in October 2021.”

Exactly what valuation would you give a company “plagued by financial troubles, plunging personnel rolls, and a toxic work environment“?

“Before its acquisition, Remine had more than 100 private investors and those shareholders rolled forward into MLS Technology Holdings, according to former Remine CEO Mark Schacknies.

When do these other guys start popping out of the woodwork? And what if they are successful? Who pays them?

CoStar’s big bet against MLS

Lots of chatter about Andy Florance’s interview with Brad Inman last week at Inman Connect.  Andy has certainly gotten better at his storytelling since his last interview with Brad.  According to Mr. Florance Zillow is “hijacking” listings by placing other agents around the listing.  But what Mr. Florance fails to mention is that any broker or agent that has an IDX website is also “hijacking” listings.

What’s at stake here is at the very core of the principles behind the MLS, “cooperation and compensation”.  Basically, you help me sell my listing, I’ll help you sell yours.

In a perfect “CoStar world” cooperative compensation goes away, and agents must directly pay to advertise listings.  “The Australian model”, some have dubbed it.   In this case, CoStar’s acquisition of Homes.com serves as their listing portal and Homesnap for their agent toolbox.  Sidenote: I find it kind of funny that Mr. Florance has beaten Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp to the “Australian model” of real estate.  Since realtor.com is so very entrenched in Opcity’s broker referral model.

Now, this is a completely sound business strategy.  Break up the MLS-Broker model and go directly to agents and consumers. CoStar, Homes.com, and Homesnap have made a bet, in my opinion against the MLS. Okay, you do you.

But, I personally don’t agree with this solution.  I think having a strong MLS, makes the market work. And I think as we evolve policy in regard to transparency in commissions and listing attribution we can make things better for everyone.

And let’s be honest. The Seller doesn’t give a shit about any of this. They just want their house sold. Zillow and other IDX sites do a great job of giving listings the greatest exposure in the market. All the broker needs to do is, put it on the MLS.

I also don’t agree with the fear-based message Mr. Florance is sending out.  It seems that Mr. Florance’s whole value proposition is that they are “not Zillow”.  Zillow is the “mafia”.  Zillow is “hijacking” your listings.  He even readily admits that CoStar is not coming out with any innovations in regard to the “UI or UX” of its software.  It seems their entire go-to-market strategy is just tapping into all the Zillow haters. Granted, Zillow has done a lot of stupid things to make it easy to pick on them but I wish Mr. Florance would tell us why his site and tools are better than everyone else’s instead of just bashing competitors.

Next week CoStar/Homes.com/Homesnap is shutting down part of the Gaslight District in San Diego and throwing a huge party and concert with Country Music Star, Keith Urban.  And I’m sure a lot of wining and dining will happen.

But, I’m not a big fan of Country Music, especially Australian Country Music.

Homes.com : Always

Always: Your Listing. Your Lead. Your Commission.

At Homes.com, we are committed to being a friend and ally to the real estate industry. Our purpose is to connect consumers and real estate pros through a simply smarter home search experience. 


I don’t think Homes.com gets enough credit in the industry for not only talking the talk but walking the walk. Other portals are going deeper into agent’s pockets with new business models that really attack the heart of a real estate practice. Listing portals now want to take ownership of the customer, charge referral fees, and then convert them to their own mortgage house. Basically making agents Uber drivers.

Not Homes.com. While they may not have the most traffic their site does get a lot of engagement. And there’s this:

“And we promise to always send a copy of every consumer inquiry on a property to the listing agent. None of the other big real estate search sites can say this.”

What remarkable about that simple statement, is that it’s remarkable.

Behind Opendoor’s layoffs

I think I’ve told this story before, but I attended a Proptech CEO Summit a couple of years ago put on by Pete Flint and Paul Levine. One of the speakers was Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin. During his interview, he commented that Opendoor was the first company he thought cared about operating margins as much as Redfin.

Opendoor’s culture is one of frugality. You have to deeply care about your margins if you are in the iBuyer market because, at this stage of the game, they are razor-thin. They even have a saying at Opendoor, “We eat BIPS for breakfast”. BIPs meaning basis points (BPS), meaning 1/100th of 1%. That’s the increments Opendoor lives in. Every little expense matters.

Flash forward a couple of years and I wasn’t surprised that Redfin had partnered with Opendoor.

Last week when I read the news about the Redfin layoffs I tweeted this.

A few people on Twitter thought I was referring to other brokerages or franchisors. But, knowing how similar Redfin and Opendoor operate my first thought was Opendoor. Cuts are coming, and they are going to be deep.

Haters are gonna hate. Just as many people were crowing that Redfin’s model of employee agents doesn’t work, many are already calling the death of iBuying. Pay no attention to the haters, they are wrong. What is happening now is unprecedented.

Mr. Kelman and Mr. Wu are fighting for the survival of their companies and sometimes that means you have to make tough decisions, you have to focus, and give it everything you got.

That’s what happens when you are in the arena.

Industry Relations Episode 41: 10 Defining Moments & Trends in the Last Decade of Real Estate

On January 1, 2010, organized real estate was still reeling from the recession. Dale Stinton was steering the ship at NAR. Zillow was seen as the enemy of the MLS. Real estate software was meh. Agent teams were rare. Nearly all brokerages took a split. Selling your house online seemed outrageous. And we still signed documents in pen.

On this episode of Industry Relations, Rob and Greg are looking back at the last 10 years in real estate. They discuss the passing NAR’s MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy, debating the significance of the office exclusives loophole and how it might lead to government involvement. Our hosts also express their disappointment around the Newsday investigation in Long Island, Testing the Divide, challenging brokerage leadership to make a strong statement against the egregious racism it uncovered. 

Greg and Rob go on to share their top 10 defining moments and trends with the biggest impact on the industry over the last decade, describing how the rise of agent teams, 100% commission brokerages, the iBuyer model and consolidation have transformed organized real estate. Listen in for insight into how NAR’s decision to fund RPR and Upstream changed the way the MLS saw Zillow and explore how the space has evolved from 2010 through the end of 2019.

Editor’s Note: We did record an Episode 40 that was never aired. It was about Policy 8.0 but wasn’t ready before the vote. After the vote passed we decided it didn’t add to anything to the issue.

What’s Discussed: 

NAR’s passing of the MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy

Rob & Greg’s take on the Newsday investigation in Long Island

How the loophole in 8.0 could lead to government involvement

The 10 defining trends/events in the last decade of real estate

  1. The end of poorly designed software
  2. The rise and domination of agent teams
  3. The transition in leadership at NAR
  4. Opendoor pioneering the iBuyer model
  5. Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia
  6. 100% commission brokerages
  7. Consolidation and the influx of capital
  8. The practice of buying agents/agent teams
  9. The mainstreaming of digital signatures
  10. NAR’s decision to fund RPR + Upstream

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


MLS Clear Cooperation Policy

Compass Pre-Litigation Letter to Bright MLS

Bright’s Response to Compass

Newsday Documentary: Testing the Divide

Rob’s Blog on the Newsday Piece

1000watt Article on Real Estate Software

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan

Ben Thompson Interview with Rich Barton

Our Sponsors:

Cloud MLX

The Red Dot

A Vegas Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens…

For the first time the hand appeared to shake.
“Good Spirit,” he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: “your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me by an altered life?” The kind hand trembled.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”

The quote above is from the last few pages of Mr. Dickens’ famous novel. In which that last spirit, the spirit of death, is pointing at Scrooge’s tombstone in a deserted churchyard, and showing what will happen if he doesn’t change his ways.

Okay, so what does this have to do with Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS recent reversal to end listing distribution to portals like Zillow?

Work with me here…

One group that at first I found humorous, but now annoying, are the “Zillow Haters”. These agents and brokers begin to see red when the subject of Zillow is brought up. This fear, and yes its mostly fear, can make the comments section of any Zillow article on Inman News look like a Trump rally.

Now, I’m not saying Zillow is perfect. They can be heavy handed and a bit tone deaf to organized real estate.

But, I also see many MLS organizations have to deal with these “haters” with their leadership. And sometimes it just takes one director. When the subject of Zillow comes up at the next board meeting the hater’s blood begins to boil and any rational business decision making abilities go right out the window.

The haters don’t want to hear facts. Such as, they (the broker) can remove listings from Zillow at anytime, many of their agents find value in working with Zillow, one of the first things a Seller does now a days is check Zillow to make sure their house is listed on the site, etc.

But none of these facts matter to the hater, they just want to “stop sending listings to Zillow!”. They may as well be shouting to shut down the internet.

But, no matter how many emails are sent, no matter how many special board meetings are convened, the haters simply refuses to understand that they can remove their listings from Zillow at anytime. So what do you do if you’re an MLS?

This is where Dickens come in. You need to show the haters the future. And I think that’s exactly what GLVAR has done. They have given the haters what they want by announcing they were indeed shutting down MLS feeds to Zillow. And look what happen, people were now paying attention. Facts began to matter and GLVAR announced they were “reversing” their decision.

My guess this wasn’t a “reversal” at all. This was exactly what GLVAR wanted to have happen. It’s a Christmas Miracle!

Did Zillow just “raise the bar” in real estate?

Our long national nightmare is over. After all the debates, The D.A.N.G.E.R. Report, and industry hand wringing over how to raise the level of professionalism of REALTORS across the country, Zillow just went ahead a did it.

From Inman News:

‘Best of Zillow’ Premier Agent platform to unlock new consumer data

“Customers will be asked to rate interactions based on responsiveness, communication style, knowledge and expertise, customer priority, trust and customer needs.

Premier Agent customers will receive customer experience reports based on the aggregated data and tools to gauge their performance with consumers. Zillow will be providing training for agents focused on the behaviors that drive customer satisfaction as well as suggestions to help them improve.

“We’re counting on you to be as obsessed with superior customer experiences as we are,” Schwartz wrote in a blog post introducing the changes. “In return, we promise you this: we’re going to give you the greatest platform to make it happen. And we’ll keep pushing to get it right so you can deliver exceptional experiences.”

No details on how this will work. My guess is just like when I finish a ride on Uber, I have to rate my driver before I can do anything else.

And it looks like Zillow is putting their money where their mouth is, Here’s Greg Schwartz, president of media and marketplaces at Zillow Group, again…

“For agents who aren’t performing up to customers standards — Zillow will no longer be interested in taking their money. The company wants to be able to tell every consumer who comes to the site that the agent they select will deliver a high-quality experience.”

Read that quote again. “Zillow will no longer be interested in taking their money”.

Can you imagine NAR, Realogy, KW, RE/MAX or any independent brokerage making the same statement?

I also love this quote from a blog announcing the changes titled “Why Customer Happiness Holds the Key to Your Future – and Ours”

Buying and selling a home remains one of life’s most stressful transactions. Great agents supply great customer experiences. Demand for great customer experiences is growing.”

“Demand for great customer experiences is growing.”

This is exactly right, and what a lot of people are missing about the recent iBuyer trend. Call it the “convenience economy” or whatever, people want great service and they want it now.

Act accordingly.

Molon Labe

Realogy roars: Corcoran and Climb to franchise in 2019

In a double-barreled play to leverage brand identity and work culture, the new Corcoran and Climb franchises will target franchise opportunities in global metropolises and leisure destinations, senior executives for both companies told Inman. Realogy, the parent company, plans to begin selling franchise agreements early next year.

Executives declined to disclose franchise fees associated with owning one of the new franchises. Realogy has not filed franchise disclosure documents yet.

A lot of people have questioned the future of the traditional franchise model in real estate. Hell, venture capitalists are throwing over a billion dollars in to fundamentally changing how real estate is practiced.

That’s why this move by Realogy is so interesting to me. It seems to be a poke in the eye to venture capitalists and the companies they funded looking to poach, replace, or even eliminate agents all together. Realogy’s play is nothing fancy, just straight up “brand and culture”.

This move by Ryan Schneider, Realogy’s new CEO, might seem counter intuitive to some, but to me its him taking a stand (for his company and maybe even the industry), seeming to say. “You want these agents? Come and get them.”

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