CRMLS Makes Like Lewis & Clark

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I’m still on the road, and overly occupied, but the latest news about CRMLS (a former client) is exciting and deserves at least a couple of comments. From Andrea Brambila’s report:

Brokers who belong to the nation’s largest multiple listing service will soon get a capability they’ve long clamored for: the option to upload listing data directly from their own back-end office systems to the MLS.

“We have some very large brokers that would love to have their agents input their listing information into the broker’s system” and then upload it to the MLS, CRMLS CEO Art Carter told Inman News.

Currently, agents must log into the MLS and key in the same listing information separately. Or they can enter listing data into their MLS system first, and the MLS will feed the information back to their broker’s back-end office system.

Yep. While the technology to do this two-way flow has been around for years, CRMLS is making like Lewis & Clark and exploring the wild unknowns here. The rest of the industry will benefit from watching how things unfold. Kudos to Art, his team, and to the CRMLS Board for taking this important step.

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Free Consulting to NAR and Move

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Why yes, I made $1.3 billion on Realogy… You want to do what now, NAR?

The Notorious B.O.B.’s series of posts on Move “giving back” REALTOR.com to NAR (one here, one on his blog) plus a Facebook conversation got me thinking. Which results in free consulting advice. Worth exactly what you paid for it, of course.

NAR should take Move private and buy it outright.

It eliminates a lot of problems, while of course, creating some new problems. Hey, that’s life. Let’s get into it.

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BREAKING: Zillow Hires Shaun Donovan as Chief Association Persuasion Officer

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SEATTLE, March 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zillow, Inc. (Nasdaq:Z), the leading real estate and home-related marketplace, today announced Shaun Donovan will join the company in the new position of Chief Association Persuasion Officer to lead the company’s relations strategy with REALTOR Associations. He will report directly to Zillow® CEO Spencer Rascoff, and also manage the Washington DC office of Zillow.

As former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, Donovan, 48, brings more than 20 years’ experience in finance, law, government and the real estate industry to this important role. In addition to building and strengthening Zillow’s relationships with the Federal, state, and local regulators, legislators, and policymakers, Donovan will also assume executive oversight for Zillow’s outreach to the National Association of REALTORS as well as the state and local Associations of REALTORS.

“We’re thrilled for Shaun to join the Zillow family. We’ve long admired Shaun for his leadership as well as his perspective and approach in advocating on behalf of American consumers,” said Rascoff. “We felt that bringing Shaun on board as CAPO would really help our friends in the Association world see the benefit of working with Zillow. Or at least not working against us.”

“I’m excited about joining Zillow because I believe the company is leading the real estate industry in innovation and serving consumer needs. Equally important, I believe the entire management team truly understands the essential role that local, state and Federal government plays in ensuring that the playing field is truly level. Consumer protection is everyone’s business, and I’ve seen first hand while working at HUD at just how committed to the consumer everyone at Zillow is,” said Donovan. “Why, just last week, I was speaking with my man Barry and mentioned how we really need to make sure through oversight and regulation that consumers are protected while the real estate industry goes through this exciting time of change, innovation, and competition. He, of course, agrees, since I’ve never met a man more concerned about the average American consumer than him. Plus, he really loved hanging out with Spencer during that online town hall event, you know? Anyhow, I’m sure that our friends — and I know all of the big players at NAR, NAHB, ABA, and all that — would see the wisdom of closer collaboration with Zillow. I’m going to make them an offer they can’t refuse.”

All industry-related services aimed at the brokerage community will continue to be managed by Errol Samuelson, Chief Industry Development Officer. Greg Schwartz, Zillow’s Chief Revenue Officer, who also reports to Rascoff, will continue to lead Zillow’s entire sales and revenue operations across all marketplaces. This includes Zillow’s Premier Agent program and advertising sales for Zillow’s real estate, mortgage, and display businesses, in addition to new responsibilities to grow Zillow’s rental marketplace.

“Shaun and Errol will work closely together as their organizations are tightly integrated to ensure we create and deliver the best possible programs to benefit our industry partners, and that our industry partners see the wisdom of working with us, instead of against us. Shaun’s primary focus on explaining the reality of the situation and convincing the Association leaders to work with Zillow will allow Errol to invest more time on the positive aspects of our relationships, as opposed to all of the persuasive parts of the relationship,” added Rascoff. “And should we encounter any… difficulties with any Associations or MLSs, we’re confident that Shaun can make a phone call or two and resolve the situation to our satisfaction.”

Donovan served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development since January of 2009, after being nominated by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Donovan has a long history of working to provide affordable housing to American families. He previously served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Before his service as HPD Commissioner, Secretary Donovan worked in the private sector on financing affordable housing, and was a visiting scholar at New York University, where he researched and wrote about the preservation of federally-assisted housing.

Donovan also served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing, where he was the primary federal official responsible for privately-owned multifamily housing. At that time, he ran housing programs that helped 1.7 million families access affordable housing.

Donovan holds a B.A. and Masters degrees in Public Administration and Architecture from Harvard.

About Zillow, Inc.

Zillow, Inc. (Nasdaq:Z) operates the leading real estate and home-related marketplaces on mobile and the Web, with a complementary portfolio of brands and products that help people find vital information about homes, and connect with the best local professionals. Zillow’s brands serve the full lifecycle of owning and living in a home: buying, selling, renting, financing, remodeling and more. In addition, Zillow offers a suite of tools and services to help local real estate, mortgage, rental and home improvement professionals manage and market their businesses. Welcoming nearly 70 million monthly unique users in January 2014, the Zillow, Inc. portfolio includes Zillow.com®, Zillow Mobile, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, Zillow Rentals, Zillow Digs™, StreetEasy®, Postlets®, Diverse Solutions®, Agentfolio®, Mortech® and HotPads. Zillow is headquartered in Seattle.

About This Press Release

In the unlikely event that anyone failed to realize this is a complete fabrication and spoof, it should be made clear that this is a totally fake release that serves only to entertain the author. Of course, it could potentially make real estate industry observers think a little bit about the environment we’re all operating in and question certain assumptions. That’s always healthy.

What L’Affaire d’Errol et Curt Means: Brief Thoughts

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I’m really, really, really slammed with work so this won’t be as in-depth and searching as I’d like, but I do think it’s important to put down these semi-brief thoughts, so I can figure out what I think about what Zillow’s recent personnel moves means.

Let me not bury the lede. L’Affaire d’Errol et Curt means that Zillow has written off organized real estate as a significant player in the future of the real estate industry.

I have no special insights, haven’t spoken to anyone from Zillow, and I seriously doubt they would agree with such a strong conclusion. But that’s what my tea leaves are saying to me. Commence calling me crazy at your leisure.

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