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Industry Relations with Rob Hahn and Greg Robertson

The Notorious R.O.B. and Greg Robertson discuss organized real estate in a disorganized manner.
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Sep 25, 2017

Stakeholders from every facet of the real estate industry are calling for change. Problem is, that’s about the only thing they can agree on. So what happens when you put a broker, a vendor, a consultant, and NAR leadership in the same room to talk about all things MLS? A sometimes uncomfortable, yet revealing discussion around consolidation, data standardization, MLS fees, and the policymaking process.

Stakeholders from every facet of the real estate industry are calling for change. Problem is, that’s about the only thing they can agree on. So what happens when you put a broker, a vendor, a consultant, and NAR leadership in the same room to talk about all things MLS? A sometimes uncomfortable, yet revealing discussion around consolidation, data standardization, MLS fees, and the policymaking process.


Live from CMLS2017 in Austin, Rob and Greg are joined by James Dwiggins and Sam DeBord. James is the CEO of NextHome, a progressive real estate franchise with consumer-focused branding, technology and marketing. Prior to founding NextHome, James served as Chief Strategy Officer and VP of Realty World Northern California & Nevada. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, James’ impressive resume also includes VREO, a groundbreaking company he co-founded in 2000 to develop web applications for agents and brokers.
Sam is both the managing broker for Seattle Homes Group and VP of Strategic Growth for Coldwell Banker Danforth. In addition, he is a member of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board, and he will serve as the Vice-Chairman of MLS Policy for NAR next year. Sam writes for a number of real estate news outlets, and he was named to SP200’s Top 20 Social Influencers and Inman’s Top 101 in Real Estate.


Listen in as Greg, Rob, James and Sam search for a little common ground when it comes to the future of the MLS. James shares his concern regarding a lack of non-REALTOR members in NAR decision-making bodies, and Sam offers his take on the future of the industry. They cover the political barriers that prevent true collaboration in the industry, how the not-for-profit mandate hinders MLS progress, and the value of vendor-inclusiveness. 

 

What’s Discussed: 


James’ message at the CMLS event in Austin
The ongoing conversation among NAR, brokers and MLSs
The continued consolidation of MLSs
NAR’s focus on broker co-op
The vast differences in how MLSs are run
The challenges around a lack of data standardizationFactors that prevent a common data share
The brokers’ contribution to the technical barriers 
How a common MLS feed might affect membership
How members of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board are selected

-Vetted by leadership
-‘Standard of experience’James’ concern regarding a lack of non-

REALTOR members NAR’s effort to bring in advisors/speakers from other industries to inform the advisory board

Why having your heart in the right place doesn’t mean you are a qualified decision-maker
The challenge of overcoming politics to engage in true industry collaborationNAR’s role in fostering cooperation
How CMLS is setting the standard of vendor-inclusiveness
Rob’s argument that the nonprofit mandate is the biggest issue hindering MLS progress
The pros and cons of raising MLS fees
The excessive fees vendors pay for access to IDX feeds
The benefits of MLS consolidation:


-Less overhead, more profitable for MLS
-Broker costs decrease
-Vendors can reinvest money saved


The painful loss of jobs that would result from MLS efficiency
James’ prediction that it will take outside forces to facilitate change
The value generated by a very small number of agents -Zillow market cap at 7.6B -80,000 agents


Sam’s take on the future of the real estate industry

-MLS will be part of equation (dependent on data)
-Fewer MLSs
-Realtor will remain at center of transaction

Greg’s A Few Good Men analogy
Rob’s theory about the future MLS breakdown
The top barriers to change: 

-Politics
-Lack of data standards

Sam and James’ advice to MLS execs moving forward


-Focus on broker priorities
-Be flexible, innovative in delivering
-Discuss pain points with vendors
-Work with other MLSs on same process


Resources:


Seattle Homes Group

NextHome

MLS 2020 Agenda

CMLS 2017

Connect with Rob and Greg:

 

Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website 

Apr 21, 2017

If you ask Wiktionary, to swim upstream means ‘to opt for a difficult course of action when a simpler alternative is available.’ And if you ask Rob and Greg, real estate’s Upstream venture is a prime example of doing things the hard way.

Today Rob and Greg discuss the MLS response to the brokerage community’s push for data sharing and the probability of Upstream’s success. They also cover other hot topics in real estate technology news, including Zillow’s new Millennial consumer brand announcement, the extraordinary capital raised by Placester, and Realogy’s recent changes in management.

Listen in as Greg explains how to think about the ‘real estate ecosystem,’ and Rob outlines the inevitable development of a new brokerage model.

 

What’s Discussed: 

Zillow’s recent announcement regarding its launch of new consumer brand

Why Zillow is likely adding RealEstate.com as a search portal

The real estate industry’s ‘Millennial worship’

  • Half of new home buyers under 36

The stereotypes associated with Millennials vs. the reality

What a site designed for Millennials might look like

The staggering capital being poured into the industry

  • Placester raised $50M in March, bringing its total to $100M

Placester’s recognition of the aspirational nature of real estate

  • Willingness to take any agent

Why Zillow focuses on ‘super agents’ and teams

Placester’s role in the ‘real estate ecosystem’

Realogy’s recent changes in management

How technology undermines the idea of a ‘real estate ecosystem’

The necessity for transformation of the current brokerage model

The mammoth undertaking that is Upstream

The feasibility of Upstream clearing all the hurdles it faces

How MLSs have responded to the brokerage community’s call for consolidation

Rob’s suggestion to add representatives from the broker community to the CMLS Board

Resources:

 

“Zillow Group to Launch New Consumer Brand” on RISMedia

 

“Placester Continues Growth with $50 Million Capital Raise” in HousingWire Magazine

 

Connect with Rob and Greg:

 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Feb 18, 2017

Rob and Greg are back with another outspoken discussion about current real estate industry topics. This time on the podcast they attempt to predict how the new POTUS might affect the state of real estate – and how difficult it is to predict what Trump and his administration might do. They cover the evolution of HUD under Ben Carson and his promise to cap or eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction.

 

Rob and Greg also address the powerful lobby that is the NAR and who might fill the shoes of CEO. Listen in to understand how the ‘Trumpening’ presents a particular challenge for the new leadership of NAR as organized real estate approaches a crossroads.

 

 

What’s Discussed: 

 

The choice of Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

How a real estate developer in the Oval Office might be good for housing

The affordability crisis in the housing market

  • The Trump administration may work to reduce regulations and boost development

The unpredictability of Trump and his cabinet

The lobbying muscle of the NAR

The best argument Greg has heard for getting rid of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the mortgage-interest deduction

  • A fractional equity ownership model would spread out the risk

Who might succeed Dale Stinton as CEO of NAR

  • The perception of Bob Goldberg as Dale Stinton 2.0
  • The argument for #NARGirlBoss

The big challenges of organized real estate that the new NAR CEO must address

The role of personal relationships between the lobby and career bureaucrats

  • Many of those career government officials will leave to avoid being a part of the Trump ecosystem

 

 

Resources:

Andreesen Horowitz’s Fintech Podcast 

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Feb 9, 2017

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Industry Relations, recorded live from Inman Connect NYC. Join Robert Hahn, Managing Partner of real estate consulting firm 7DS Associates, and Greg Robertson, Co-Founder of real estate software company W+R Studios, as they engage in frank discussions about current real estate industry topics.

This time on the podcast, Rob and Greg debate the state of the MLS, the problematic relationship between the MLS and associations, and potential systemic changes. Listen in as these industry insiders argue the critical obstacles facing the MLS – unfiltered.

What’s Discussed: 

Rob and Greg’s take on the problems with the current MLS system

The dichotomy between low fees and great products and services

The need to identify and address the MLS’s that don’t follow the rules

  • Big brokers don’t have enough power in local communities to affect change

Why MLS execs deserve much credit for the tough work they do in furthering cooperation and compensation

How associations might evolve if divorced from governance of the MLS

The role of politics in local MLS boards

  • Making the MLS for-profit would eliminate those conflicts of interest

Upstream’s potential to create chaos in the real estate data marketplace

How emerging leaders in MLS might feel about changing to a for-profit model

The broker narrative regarding the role of the MLS

 

Resources: 

Upstream

 

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

 

 

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