Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

I had my 15-year-old son try FBS’s new “FlōPlan”, here’s what happened…

So we are all under lockdown due to the corona-virus. Schools are closed, and since my wife teaches 2nd grade the Robertson house is full.

I’ve been wanting to create a floor plan of my house for a while now. I got my hands on the Leica DISTO E7100i laser measuring device to make it easier for me. But with the kids in the house, I had another idea.

Every since FBS announced “FlōPlan” I’ve been intrigued. FBS hasn’t officially launched FlōPlan, but I knew it is licensing the software behind “FlōPlan” from a company based in Finland called CubiCasa. So my actual test was on the free official CubiCasa app in the App Store.

I asked my oldest son, Cole, who is 15 years old, to download the app on his iPhone. I told him the app was a way to create floor plans. I didn’t give him any other directions other than to try and use the app to make a floor plan of the upstairs of our house. He headed upstairs.

Less than a minute later he came down the stairs and said he had a problem. The app asked him to put a name in for his company, and he tried “Test company” but that was already taken. I told him to call it something else, he did, it worked and he went back upstairs.

About 4 minutes later he came downstairs again. I wondered what problem he might have encountered this time. He went to the kitchen and poured himself something to drink. I asked him what the problem was this time? He said, “Nothing, I’m done.” “Done, done?” I asked. That was quick, I thought, maybe a little over 3 minutes? Wow.

So I asked to see the floor plan, the app said it was “in progress”. Their site says the floor plan will be sent to you within 24 hours. It took about 7 hours and we received our floor plan, which you can see above.

All I can say is this shit is super legit! Color me impressed. My whole house would most likely take less than 10 minutes. I checked the dimensions in my son’s room (with my fancy Leica digital laser measuring device) and it was only off by 2 inches.

Side note: FBS doesn’t think the dimensions calculated by FlōPlan should be used as official square-footage, more as a representation of the “flow” of the home.

Adding floor plans to listings is a no-brainer. Consumers would LOOOOOVE them. And I think the MLS is in the perfect position to capture this data. As I said in my first blog post about it.

“On the surface this could seem like just another partnership with a third party software app. But under the surface, the real innovation is about MLS providers capturing a new digital asset. An asset that could be used as leverage against existing portals and make MLS and brokerages more relevant to consumers again.
And what do I mean by “leverage”? Any contract negotiations come up with anyone regarding MLS data, the MLS can negotiate (new and old agreements) new rates and terms based on the inclusion of floorpans.”

FBS introduces FlōPlan, a super easy way to make floorpans, but that’s just the beginning.

The only way MLS providers can get this type of leverage is to have a large inventory of homes where the floor plan is captured. It’s a classic “chicken or egg” scenario. The key to capturing this data would be ease of use and maybe some sort of incentive. After this test, I’m convinced that either the seller themselves, the agent, or even their kids could capture this information without any real effort, and that’s key.

Cock-a-doodle-do

Vendor Alley 2017 Gift Guide

Here’s a list of items any Vendor would love.

1. Apple MFi Certified USB to Micro USB + USB Type-C + Lightning Charge & Sync Cable, 3ft Black. Currently out of stock but you must have this cable in your bag.

2. Juiced Systems BizHUB USB-C Multiport Gigabit HDMI Hub, 3x USB 3.0 Ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 4K, SD/Micro SD, USB-C Power Delivery
For those having gone to the pain of upgrade to a new MacBook Pro and the nightmare of USB-C, this thing is a life saver, better than Apple’s in my opinion.

3. Apple iPad Pro
Speaking of Apple, I just love this thing. I prefer the 10.5″ version. And spend the extra money and get WIFI + Celluar. As shitty as airport and hotel’s WIFI is its always cool to have another option. Think of it as you own personal WIFI spot with a huge battery. PRO TIP: If you are on AT&T with your phone get on another network with your iPad. That way if one network is down or not accessible you have a backup.

4. Eyekepper 5-pack Spring Hinges 80’s Reading Glasses +1.25
These are cheap ray ban knock off reading glasses. They come in a 5 pack so I can just keep a pair upstairs, downstairs, in the garage, wherever.

5. AirPods
One of the those products that you wonder how you did without them.

Happy Holidays everyone!

FBS taps AgentSquared as solution for its Broker Services Team

FBS Broker Agent Services Team to Offer AgentSquared180,000 Realtors Gain Access to Instant IDX Websites

“With an AgentSquared IDX website powered by the Spark API, Flexmls users can register their domain and have a beautiful, live IDX website in minutes that’s modern, branded, mobile-responsive and integrated with their Flexmls contacts (so they don’t have to manually enter lead information from their AgentSquared website into their Flexmls CRM). Because the listing data is coming from a real time API, any changes to the listing record are reflected instantly on AgentSquared websites so consumers have the freshest and most comprehensive listing information possible.”

I’ve been meaning to write about Troy and his company, AgentSquared, for sometime now. It’s really the first API only solution I’ve been impressed with. You have to see it to understand that when they say an “instant IDX website” it really is that simple, and instant. The brilliant part about this solution is the way AgentSquared leverage the API data for setup. I don’t think that has been talked about much.

The only caveat is that things are much quicker and simpler with FBS’ Spark API platform which has agent info in their API and handles both the data and permissioning. That doesn’t mean that an MLS provider with an API could grant that permission for the product as part of the solution.

When Zillow bought Trulia

Loved this podcast, Acquired, where the hosts (Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal) talk to Kathleen Philips, of Zillow Group about the Trulia acquisition. Well worth the listen!

Tip of the hat to Drew Meyers for first pointing this out.

Spacio Pro Open House app adds RealSatisfied integration

Melissa Kwan of Spacio got a nice write up yesterday on Tech Crunch. Part of post focused on her killer Open House App, Spacio Pro. If you have checked it out you really should, very well done.

They recently announced an integration with Real Satisfied.

Spacio Pro Plans To Supercharge Open House Showings With A Smart App

“Spacio Pro’s pitch is the “Paperless Open House”. In other words, increasing the conversion of data capture at open houses and helping agents turn strangers into customers. It’s app provides the check-in experience for buyers on the front end, and logs everything on the back-end so agents can revisit leads in the future. Better than pen and paper!

Spacio Pro has now done a collaboration with real estate customer satisfaction platform, RealSatisfied, where their customers can integrate their reviews and testimonials directly on the Spacio Pro sign-in form, improving their first impression with potential buyers by sharing past successes.”

I have to say the RealSatisfied has made integrating agent reviews (survey results) super easy. Smart.

T3 Tech Guide

t3techguide-logo
This might be a little late, but one of things that I was totally impressed with at the T3 Summit in Vegas earlier this month was their T3 Tech Guide. Jack Miller did an excellent job putting this together.

And I know what you are thinking…”Tech guide huh?, isn’t that just a bunch of product ads?” Not this baby, they really did an excellent job really giving each of the products they selected the run down (alas Cloud CMA or Cloud Streams didn’t make the list, maybe next year).

I was also struck at how much the quality of real estate software applications has improved. The guide is over 212 pages and chock full of screen shots and use cases. I also like the product matrix they do to compare core features.

IMG_0235

Stefan already had a good business with his yearly “Trends” report and this looks like another winner.

If you were at the T3 Summit you got one for free. If not they have a site up where you can order and see other various events they are doing around the launch.

Check it out at t3techguide.com

Zillow Agent Finder is awesome.

facepalm realtor

I’ve been playing around with Zillow’s new Agent Finder. It’s crazy good! Matt Carter of Inman News summed it up in a post article entitled; “Zillow just gave consumers something more than a cow pie.”

Realtor.com couldn’t do it. Redfin couldn’t do it. Even the Houston Association of Realtors tried and failed.

Now Zillow’s done what the industry establishment couldn’t: It’s helping consumers find agents in their area who have the greatest number of sales, the most listings or the best reviews.”

I’ll say. And of course I sure many REALTORS will lose their shit about this. You can already see this in the article’s comments.

Few things that strike me about this announcement.

1. Timing. Matt mentions this in his article too. With Zillow trying to get as many direct feeds why launch something so controversial?

2. Will the industry play catch up? Now that the cat is out of the bag. Will Realtor.com, Redfin, HAR finally get their agents and members to get off their ass and compete?

3. Consumers are going to love Agent Finder. One thing I noticed when I was searching through the list of agents is when I came across agents with no reviews, I was wondering…”what are they hiding?” Agents with no photo, or listings (currently or previously) seemed not worth my time.

Of course their are other services out there. Just yesterday Cloud CMA announced integration with RealSatisfied. In a nutshell you can add any ratings and reviews you get on RealSatisfied right as part of your Cloud CMA report pages.

RealSatisfied sample page-blog

Cloud CMA clients can also easily add Zillow Agent ratings too.

Zillow and RealSatisfied sample pages-blog

Agent ratings and reviews are here to stay. The industry needs to get out of their own way and embrace this new world, not fight it.

Making choices

Like a lot of other vendors I do online meetings and webinars. Just on casual observation many of you are using GoToMeeting. We use it at W&R Studios. While it’s not the best designed software out there it does, for the most part, get the job done.

But one of the most glaring shortcomings is that it doesn’t work with iCal. Meaning when I schedule a meeting I would love it to create an invitation in iCal to send to meeting participants. Nope. I typically have to create an invite manually and copy/paste the meeting details. Since I first subscribed to the service, some time ago, I’ve asked about this feature and they’ve promised “it’s coming”.

Recently GoToMeeting announced a new feature…

“Android Smartwatch App.

GoToMeeting and your Android phone and smartwatch are getting along fabulously these days. If you have all three, you can join, participate and leave a meeting from your watch without ever touching your phone.

Take a jog while you’re taking a meeting. Listen in on a session while rocking your baby to sleep — no squirming into your pockets and fumbling with your phone needed. Plus, you’re going to feel like a super-cool spy.”

What? The? Fuck?

Seriously? Letting someone know WHEN a meeting is scheduled is SUPER Important. “Listen in on a session while rocking your baby to sleep”? NOTSOMUCH.

The choices many companies make to spend their development resources astounds me. Whether its Google Glass for Trulia or this turd.

Nancy Reagan had it right, “Just say no”.

1000watt website – don’t call it a refresh

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 1.48.04 PM 1000watt just updated their website today. Which means every other website in the industry now looks like shit. Thanks guys. ; )

But seriously. I love, love, love the new design and company logo. It’s so hard to get this right. You want to have a proper layout, makes things easy to navigate, and that’s just for starters. But the great sites set a tone, a vibe for the people and work they do. And 1000watt nails it. You can read about their new design and the thought process behind it at their blog.

Looking to make your brokerage or MLS cool? Looking to grow your market share? Looking to ways to increase communication and engagement with your members/agents? Looking for a smart team to bounce ideas off of and get great feedback? Call them.

Congrats to Marc, Brian, Joel and the rest of the 1000watt crew. Amazing job!

Redfin nails it with “Redfin Home Dashboard”

Redfin:

“At Redfin, our goal is to make the entire home-buying and selling process easier, from the day you start dreaming about owning the cute Craftsman on the corner, to the day you step inside your new home for the first time. We’ve transformed how you find homes for sale online, stay on top of new homes hitting the market, schedule home tours with agents, plan a weekend of open house visits, and take care of all the paperwork and tasks involved in the escrow process when you buy a home.”

OnMarket-dashboard

Coverage aside, one of the knocks I hear against Redfin is their conversion rate. People love the site. When I ask my industry friends which real estate portals they use personally Redfin is always at the top of their lists. But getting those site visitors to convert to using a Redfin agent has always been a challenge.

This new Home Dashboard is another attempt at improving that conversion, since it only available to clients who use Redfin agents. And I love it. The design is great plus it adds a nice cherry on top of a great value proposition for the Seller, check this out…

“The dashboard adds to the digital marketing program that Redfin provides for everyone who sells their home with us, including premium placement of their listing on Redfin.com (that doubles the amount of traffic the home receives from potential buyers), targeted emails and advertisements to homebuyers who are searching for homes in the area and free professional photography for listing photos. This additional exposure has been proven to sell homes faster, and for more money, according to a recent Redfin analysis. With the Redfin Home Dashboard, Redfin clients will be able to see the results of these activities in real time.”

Double the amount of traffic, free professional photos, 1.5% listing fee (not your typical 3%), and I can track all this in real-time. Imagine the television commercials these guys will put out once they go public.

Redfin is the dark horse and has the potential of being the true disruptor in this race.

Sponsored By Giant Steps Advisors