Industry Relations

This is Industry Relations, a podcast that is at the intersection of real estate and technology from an insider’s perspective. Hosted weekly by Rob Hahn (The Notorious ROB) and Greg Robertson.
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 29, 2017

What’s in store for the real estate industry moving forward into 2018? 


Some might consider this a supplement to Rob's article on Inman News, 7 predictions 2018: Disco Fever.  But it was recorded before the article was published.  In this episode Rob and Greg try their hand at anticipating what’s ahead, offering predictions around the outlook for the MLS, Bob Goldberg and the NAR, the housing market, brokerages, technology and the culture of the industry. They begin with the ‘Blame the MLS’ debate caused by Bob’s response to the Inman Upstream article and Greg’s subsequent South Park blog post. Next, they offer an overview of leadership changes among major industry players and work through the big mystery surrounding RE/MAX’s failure to report Q3 earnings.


Rob and Greg speak to Facebook’s entry into real estate, discussing the differences between the social media powerhouse and Zillow as well as the potential for a syndication deal with Facebook in the coming year. They cover how MLS of Choice is likely to affect the industry, the continuing trend toward the tech-enabled brokerage model, and how NAR’s success in making changes to the tax plan might play out in the 2018 campaign season. Listen in for Rob and Greg’s insight on how the cultural phenomenon that is #MeToo might rock real estate and who will make the biggest splash in the technology space this year.


What’s Discussed: 


The tendency among industry players to ‘blame the MLS’

The mystery around RE/MAX’s failure to report Q3 earnings

Facebook’s entry into real estate

  • Match vs. search

The potential for a direct syndication deal with Facebook in 2018

Real estate as the ‘last frontier of disruption’

Greg’s insight around the rise of virtual MLSs

How MLS of Choice could trigger the first ‘hostile takeover’

The likelihood of non-contiguous consolidation activity among MLSs

Rob’s take on how HAR could leverage MLS of Choice

NAR’s big win on Capitol Hill regarding the tax plan

NAR’s increase in political spending in 2018

The trend of brokerages to adopt a tech-enabled model

  • Keller Williams culture of freedom
  • Agent adoption not a given

Mergers and acquisitions in the vendor space

The probability that #MeToo will rock real estate in 2018

Who is apt to make the biggest splash in real estate tech this year




Andrea’s Upstream Article in Inman

Bob’s Email Response

‘Blame the MLS’ on Vendor Alley

Rob’s 7 Predictions for 2018

Everybody Wins: The Story and Lessons Behind RE/MAX by Phil Harkins and Keith Hollihan

Mike’s Breakdown of Facebook vs. Zillow

Inman Article on Using Facebook for Lead Gen

Brad’s NAR Article in Inman


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website 


Dec 14, 2017

Take a moment to reflect on the past year in real estate… What were the hot topics of 2017? The appointment of a new NAR CEO is probably on your list, along with Zillow jumping into the iBuyer game and Redfin going public. Maybe the Upstream pivot came to mind, or one of the many stories around venture capital and private equity investing in tech-enabled brokerages.

Rob and Greg are taking the time to look back at 2017 and discuss the top five issues that rocked residential real estate this year. They start with the appointment of Bob Goldberg as the new leader of NAR, evaluating his performance so far and how the proposed tax bill will test him in this role. Rob and Greg go on to cover 2017 as the year of the iBuyer, explaining how the model is yet to be profitable and the circumstances under which platforms like Opendoor and OfferPad might become more mainstream.

Rob offers his take on the dynamics between Redfin and Zillow, discussing why he considers the Redfin IPO to be the biggest thing in real estate this year. Greg raises the issue of SoftBank’s investment in Compass, speaking to the influx of capital pouring into the space and the many examples of consolidation in the industry. They walk through the impact of MLS of Choice and what might change as a result of the new policy as well as the question of what success looks like for RPR as Upstream appears to lose relevance. Listen in for Rob and Greg’s overview of the hottest stories in real estate this past year and their insight on what’s to come in 2018.

What’s Discussed: 

The appointment of Bob Goldberg as NAR CEO

How the tax reform bill will serve as a test for Bob

What made 2017 the year of the iBuyer

How market conditions and margins impact the popularity of iBuyers

Why Rob considers Redfin going public the biggest event of 2017

Redfin’s employee-agent model and culture of consumer focus

The influx of capital pouring into residential real estate

-  SoftBank’s $450M investment in Compass

-  Consolidation and tech-enabled brokerages

The significance of ‘MLS of Choice’

The proposal to shut down RPR

Upstream’s apparent loss of relevance



Brian Boero on 1000watt

“Why Does Compass Keep Winning?” in Inman


Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Sep 27, 2017

Hang around the hotel bar at CMLS2017 long enough (we’re looking at you, Greg), and you will overhear conspiracy theories about ‘MLS of Choice’ somehow leading to a national MLS. The MLS community has long feared that NAR is looking to get into the MLS business, and the rhetoric ‘of choice’ raises alarm bells in the industry. What is NAR’s intent in changing MLS Policy Statements 7.42 and 7.43? Could RPR eventually evolve into a national MLS? 


Today Rob and Greg dig into the ‘MLS of Choice’ debate with Sam DeBord and Jeff Young. Sam is a member of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board that revised 7.42 and 7.43, and he will serve as the Vice-Chairman of MLS Policy for NAR next year. He also serves as the managing broker for Seattle Homes Group and VP of Strategic Growth for Coldwell Banker Danforth. 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.


Jeff Young is the Chief of Operations for Realtors Property Resource (RPR), an NAR resource providing comprehensive data, powerful analytics and client-friendly reports for each of NAR’s constituencies. Jeff has been a REALTOR since 1996, serving in various NAR leadership positions including President of the Michigan Association of Realtors in 2008. 


On this episode of Industry Relations, Greg, Rob, Sam and Jeff walk through the details of ‘MLS of Choice,’ discussing how the policy change will offer greater flexibility for brokers and agents in the MLS marketplace. They explore the MLS community’s skepticism around NAR’s intent, and whether there is any merit to the theory that this new policy might eventually lead to RPR becoming a national MLS. Listen in to understand the arguments for and against ‘MLS of Choice’–tin foil hat optional.


What’s Discussed: 


The broker pain points that led to changes in MLS Policy Statements 7.42 and 7.43

The role of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board

The current jurisdictional rules around MLS dues

How ‘MLS of Choice’ provides greater flexibility for brokers/agents in MLS marketplaces

Why the previous policy was endorsed

The arguments for and against ‘MLS of Choice’

Sam’s response to industry fear of NAR establishing a national MLS 

The rumors that RPR could become the national MLS

Jeff’s rebuttal concerning the rumors around RPR

  • -  RPR contracts with MLSs prevent national MLS
  • -  RPR depends on relationships with 661 of 694 current MLSs

The confusion around ‘MLS of Choice’ as a naming convention

The concept of which MLS not if MLS

How the policy change will adversely affect MLSs that don’t provide value

CMLS’s response to the ‘MLS of Choice’ policy change




Sam at Coldwell Banker Danforth

Realtors Property Resource

‘MLS of Choice’ Article in Inman News


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website

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: 

-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


Seattle Homes Group


MLS 2020 Agenda

CMLS 2017

Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website 

Jul 27, 2017

We can all agree that raising the level of professionalism in the real estate industry is a good thing – absolutely necessary, even. But how do we get there? And who’s responsible for elevating the REALTOR brand? With Bob Goldberg assuming leadership of NAR on August 1, there is much discussion around what he can do to be an agent of change in the industry.


The gloves come off today as Rob and Greg debate the validity of the NAR CEO selection process and the best way to go about ridding the industry of incompetent, unethical agents. They discuss the strengths Bob brings to the table, how his leadership may facilitate cooperation among key players, and the likelihood of substantial policy change with Bob at the helm.


Listen in as Greg and Rob get fired up arguing who’s responsible for making the REALTOR brand meaningful. It is up to NAR to raise standards and differentiate between REALTORS and licensees? Or do brokers need to be held to a higher ideal when it comes to recruiting, hiring and training agents? Whether you’re Team Rob or Team Greg on this one, Bob has his work cut out for him as he takes over NAR this month.


What’s Discussed: 


Greg’s experience working with Bob through eNeighborhoods

NAR’s decision to choose someone from inside the organization

Greg’s sense of Bob as a leader

Rob’s take that hiring Bob may have been a ‘done deal’

Greg’s argument that employing a world-renowned recruiting company is ‘thorough’ as opposed to ‘clueless’

Why Rob contends that NAR should have named Bob as successor two years ago

How the NAR membership might have reacted to naming Bob as successor without selection process

How the interview process affords the opportunity for upfront conversation

Greg’s belief in the validity of the selection process

Why a succession plan is more feasible in the corporate world vs. a member-driven organization

Rob’s frustration with the lack of transparency demonstrated by NAR leadership

Greg’s assessment of how things will change with Bob at the helm of NAR

  • Shift in tone
  • Capacity to facilitate cooperation

Rob’s assertion that conflict in the industry is about policy rather than tone

Rob’s skepticism re: the probability of change in NAR policy

The relationship between personnel and policy

Greg’s assertion that bureaucracy comes from the association side rather than staff

The challenges Bob faces moving forward

  • Elevating REALTOR brand
  • Incompetent, unethical agents

Greg’s position that brokers are complicit in hiring unqualified agents

Rob’s counter that agents are not employees

  • Only Redfin hires employee agents
  • Agent pays broker, not vice versa
  • Recruiting agents = sales (not hiring)

Why Rob finds it remarkable that any brokers institute standards

How NAR’s code of ethics runs counter to their acceptance of anyone with a license

Rob’s proposal regarding policy changes that would make the REALTOR brand meaningful

-MLS access no longer tied to membership

-Association staff allowed to take part in ethics hearings

-Remove 1099 exemption for real estate agents


Our Sponsors:




Rob’s ‘Bob Goldberg Era’ Blog

Rob’s Response to Bill Brown’s Comment



Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Jul 27, 2017

It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for…

Redfin has been quietly dominating since its inception in 2004, and no one in the real estate industry seems all that concerned. We dismiss Redfin as a discount brokerage and debate what to call it – Tech company? Brokerage? Something else entirely? Whatever label you put on it, Redfin is disrupting the way real estate works. And with its S-1 filing, we can finally see just how well the company has been doing. With a sales volume of $16.2B and a 31% gross profit margin, Rob is justified in saying that Redfin has the potential to ‘eat the industry.’  

Today Greg and Rob get into the impending Redfin IPO and the potential consequences of its success on traditional real estate. They cover Redfin’s phenomenal company culture and the advantages associated with having employee agents rather than independent contractors – and explain how its software has the ability to capitalize on repeat/referral business in a way that traditional brokerages do not.


Listen to understand why Rob believes that the industry should be more afraid of Redfin than Zillow, and hear Greg’s take on the relative importance of agent relationships versus company culture in shaping the consumer experience. Might there come a day when traditional brokerages would have to partner with (GASP) Zillow to compete with Redfin? As the company goes public, let’s talk about why Rob and Greg think industry leaders should start losing sleep. 


What’s Discussed: 


The importance of culture at Redfin

Redfin’s recent S-1 filing

-Shares in $12-14 range

-Company valued at $1B

The debate around Redfin’s identity

-Tech company

-Real estate brokerage 

-Agent team hybrid

Why there is no backlash against Redfin’s IPO

Rob’s take on why the industry should be more afraid of Redfin than Zillow

How traditional brokerages throw shade at Redfin as ‘discount brokerage’

Rob’s theory that Redfin is going to ‘eat the industry’  

Standout stats from the Redfin S-1

- $16.2B in sales volume, #5 in RealTrends 500

- 31% gross profit margin

How Redfin’s software capitalizes on repeat/referral business

Redfin’s focus on data

- Measures customer satisfaction via NPS

How the Redfin culture affects the consumer experience

The myth that only independent contractors can provide high-level service

Greg’s take on Redfin’s limited ‘boots on the ground’

The advantages of employee buy-in to Redfin company culture

Who might be considered Redfin’s competition

The what-if scenario around Redfin establishing a ‘sneak peek’ listing agreement

How Redfin generates traffic to its site


- Targeted email

When the heads of large real estate companies should start losing sleep over Redfin

- Redfin offers lower commissions, agents paid based on satisfaction ratings

- Customer demand could force traditional brokerages to enact similar policies to remain competitive

How a company with a multi-brand strategy could incorporate Redfin into its business model

How traditional brokerages might need to partner with Zillow to remain competitive

How reducing costs through automation would allow brokerages to charge less for commission 

The way capital acts as an accelerator in the tech world

How having employee agents allows Redfin to fully adopt its technology systems





Redfin IPO: Tech Company, Real Estate Brokerage, or Something New?

Rob’s Redfin IPO Blog – Part 1

Sam Debord’s Guest Blog


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website 

Greg’s Website 


Jun 6, 2017

If Zillow thought that the industry would thank them for reworking the Open Door model to involve agents in the process of Instant Offers, they underestimated what Rob likes to call Zillow Fever, the intense dislike so many in real estate have toward the company.

Today Rob and Greg are engaged in a rousing conversation about the rollout of the Instant Offers test program and subsequent uproar. They work through the source of the industry’s angst toward Zillow and whether or not it is warranted in this particular case.

Listen in as Rob and Greg discuss the arguments against Instant Offers, how the feature might lend itself to predatory behavior by investors, and how Zillow might have changed their messaging to avoid the blowback. 

What’s Discussed: 

The firestorm created by Zillow’s Instant Offers test program

Greg’s take on how a different naming convention would have tempered agent reaction

How the Instant Offers feature works

  • Response to consumers looking for easier ways to sell
  • Hand-picked 15 private investors
  • Seller can accept investor offer and sell directly, accept offer and use agent to complete transaction, or reject offer and move forward with agent to list on MLS

The weaknesses of the argument that Zillow is duping consumers

The hypocrisy/lack of awareness of agents criticizing Instant Offers

How agents can use Instant Offer as a tool to generate seller leads

The importance of establishing a sphere of communication

The vast number of tools available to help agents stay in touch with past clients

Instant Offers as a potential avenue for predatory investor behavior

  • Bad actors might target the poor, uneducated
  • May require government to step in with regulations

Rob’s problem with the premise that consumers cannot make best decision for themselves based on circumstances

The potential monster success of the Instant Offers feature

The flaws in the argument that Zillow is trying to come between the agent and the homeowner

The way Zillow priorities the consumer over the agent

Whether Zillow has given up on trying to make people happy or if they were caught off guard by the negative reaction to Instant Offers

How other big web operators might respond to this innovation



Greg Schwartz ‘We Come in Peace’


Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Our sponsor:

Centralized Showing Service


May 26, 2017


Brought to you by our very first sponsor, Centralized Showing Services!

Just when you thought the Upstream shift might foster a new spirit of collaboration in the real estate industry, the guns were drawn again with NAR CEO Dale Stinton’s combative rhetoric, as NAR approved an additional $9 million in funding for the scaled back version of Upstream at the Realtors Legislative Meetings in D.C.

Today Rob and Greg talk about the fallout from the Upstream announcement and subsequent doubling down by Stinton at the board meeting that followed. As always, our illustrious hosts each have a unique take on the motives of NAR and how Upstream’s CEO might approach his role moving forward.

Listen in as they discuss the ambiguity around the project now that Upstream will allow brokers to enter their listings into their MLSs and how the change in tactics will affect particular industry players. Click to learn how the antagonistic framing of the big announcement further divided the vendors and MLSs from the brokerages, when it might have been an opportunity to mend fences.


What’s Discussed: 

The three-part Upstream bombshell (dropped at NAR’s Midyear)

  • The so-called pivot
  • Blaming the vendors
  • ‘Live demo’ controversy

Rob’s theory re: the motivation for Upstream

  • Planned syndication from the start
  • Working to regain control of lead gen

NAR and Upstream’s missed opportunity to generate a spirit of collaboration

The purchase of ListHub as an alternative to Upstream

How eliminating a single point of entry makes Upstream a simple listing syndication dashboard

The industry skepticism around Upstream’s transparency and NAR’s motives

Why Upstream is a top priority for brokerages

How Upstream’s messaging has evolved over time

  • Syndication
  • Multiple inputs
  • Blending data
  • Cyber terrorism

Why Zillow is feared by brokerages, MLSs and associations

Zillow’s capability to provide a data management solution

The inflammatory language used by the NAR CEO Dale Stinton (e.g.: vendors and MLSs as ‘cartel’)

The ambiguity of Upstream moving forward

  • Still building listing module?
  • Just another option?

The Upstream pivot as a win for Zillow

Why Zillow may have purchased Bridge Interactive

How Upstream drove MLSs into the arms of Zillow

The likelihood of a continued alliance between Zillow and MLSs to fight NAR

How Upstream CEO Alex Lange might approach his role moving forward

Post-pivot licensing issues for Upstream



Centralized Showing Service

‘NAR Bets on Upstream with Additional $9M in Funding’ by Andrea Brambila


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 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



“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

Mar 16, 2017

Industry Relations EP007 

Greg Fischer Takes Us Back to the Future with NYC Brokers vs. Zillow


We’re feeling a little déjà vu at Industry Relations as controversy brews between Zillow and brokers in NYC. Everything old is new again with the launch of the premier agent feature on leading real estate marketplace StreetEasy. For the last ten years, agents across the country have dealt with syndication – and it seems New York real estate’s time has come.

Today’s guest, Greg Fischer, serves as principal broker at Fred Real Estate Group in Bend, Oregon, and author of the blog Next in Housing. His unique background also includes work in the tech industry with real estate software companies Move, Inc. in San Francisco and Doorsteps in New York City. This makes him uniquely qualified to discuss the bruhaha as NYC brokers decide whether to pay the Zillow tax or boycott it.

**Audio alert.  Robertson's audio track has an echo effect that we couldn't get rid of in post.  But Fischer and Rob audio (which handle the majority of the discussion) sounds great.***

What’s Discussed: 

How NYC brokers reacted to the premier agent feature on StreetEasy

How StreetEasy GM Susan Daimler justified the change

  • Home shoppers deserve the option to connect with agent who represents only them

The explicit language used by the StreetEasy product to suggest a buyer agent

Why NYC should seek the counsel of brokerages around the country who have dealt with syndication

How Manhattan real estate does business differently

  • Listing agents are used to owning all buyer leads

REBNY’s request for an investigation into the legality of advertising an exclusive listing

The potential to create an MLS in NYC

  • Change in compensation model
  • Dominance of top ten listing brokers
  • Legal ramifications of only sharing data feed with REBNY

The differences among IDX, VOW and StreetEasy’s premier agent

The danger of dual agency

Fischer’s take on leads generated via third-party websites

  • Inquiries rarely lead to sales

The evolution of Zillow’s playbook on generating revenue

Why brokerages need to get savvy on how ad tech works

The value of agents as local experts

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin’s concession to Zillow




Greg Fischer’s Premier Agent Blog Post

The Real Deal’s Premier Agent Article

The Real Deal’s Premier Agent Video

Vendor Alley Job Board


Connect with Greg Fischer:



Mar 7, 2017

This is an odd one.  Rob and Greg are back, and this time they are debating an unusual strategy real estate coaches and trainers might employ to establish credibility – using the techniques of the pickup artist community.

In researching the dating habits and family formation of millennials (for work – no, really!), Rob happened upon a company called Real Social Dynamics, the world’s largest dating coaching company. Among their promotional materials are YouTube videos called ‘infields’ in which their coaches demonstrate the company’s techniques for attracting women in real situations at parties and nightclubs.


This got Rob to thinking, “Why don’t we do that in real estate?” On this episode of the podcast, Rob and Greg explore the feasibility of real estate trainers generating similar footage to market their services.

What’s Discussed: 

How infield footage lends credibility to the trainer

The legality and ethics of filming interactions with clients

How Hear It Direct sought to give professionals an understanding of the consumer point of view

Why data (# of transactions) may not be enough to establish a coach’s authority

  • Numbers demonstrate personal credibility (sufficient for the consumer)
  • Infields would establish credibility for the tactics you are selling

The significance of training as a key value proposition for every association

The aspects of an agent’s work that could benefit from infields

  • Listing presentations
  • In-person lead generation
  • Buyer negotiations
  • Sphere of influence calls
  • Customer relationship management


Real Social Dynamics YouTube Channel

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website



Mar 2, 2017

Rob and Greg are back with yet another spirited debate. This time they explore whether fiduciary duty extends to listing on Zillow. With Zillow’s current dominance, Rob argues that to provide maximum exposure for your seller client, listing on the platform is a must.

Rob and Greg get into the perception of Zillow as a threat as well as the issue of buyer agency. Listen and decide whether the responsibility to act in the client’s best interest means that a realtor is obligated to list on Zillow.

What’s Discussed: 


The current dominance of Zillow

  • Quarterly record Revenue of $227.6 million increased 34% year-over-year
  • Full year 2016 record Revenue of $846.6 million, up 31% year-over-year

Rob’s argument that fiduciary duty requires listing on Zillow

  • Must provide seller client with maximum exposure
  • Only exception is when the client has other interests that take precedence (i.e.: privacy concerns)
  • Brief your client and have them sign off if you do choose not to use the platform

The potential for lawsuits if agents don’t use Zillow

How the internet has changed the value proposition of the MLS from an advertising standpoint

Why the perception of Zillow as a threat is flawed

  • Zillow is a vendor that relies on agents for its existence
  • Their continued success depends on the model staying the same

The core complaints against Zillow

  • Buyer agency
  • Zestimates
  • Access to information lessens realtor’s value



Inman Report on Zillow

Rob’s Zillow Blog Post


Connect with Rob and Greg:


Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website



Feb 27, 2017

Rob and Greg return with some news from north of the border and a discussion regarding what the real estate industry in the states might learn from recent regulations imposed in British Columbia.

Rob explains the dysfunction in the Vancouver housing market that led to disreputable behavior on the part of some realtors and the public outcry that followed. He and Greg also debate the likelihood of something similar happening here in the US. Listen in to understand the parallels between the systems in Canada and the US and how leadership in the industry could prevent an analogous government intervention here.

What’s Discussed: 

The similarities between the Canadian and US systems

The Trump administration’s position on regulation

Why regulations are more likely to be imposed on a state (rather than federal) level

The impetus behind the public outcry in British Columbia

  • Simmering resentment over a high price-to-income ratio in Vancouver
  • The rampant practice of shadow flipping

Why the standard form contract clause allowing a buyer to assign the contract to someone else without seller approval was added initially

How price fluctuations in the Vancouver market led to the practice of shadow flipping

Why government intervention is rarely precision reform

How British Columbia changed the way the regulatory body works

  • The Real Estate Council had been comprised mostly of realtors appointed by local realtor associations
  • Industry representatives can only account for 50% of the council membership now
  • A newly appointed Superintendent of Real Estate has been given much power

The steep fines agents and brokerages face if found in violation

The likelihood of a similar phenomenon happening in the US

  • Six of the top ten most dysfunctional markets in the world are in California
  • Though the practice of shadow flipping is unlikely here, other dysfunctional business behavior (i.e.: pocket listing) is probable

How the real estate industry could maintain its privilege to self-regulate

  • Include non-industry representatives on real estate commissions
  • Improve the process of enforcing the code of ethics
  • Make an effort to protect the consumer



2017 Trends Report

The Globe and Mail Expose


Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website



Feb 23, 2017

Rob and Greg return with reinforcements this episode for a round table discussion regarding the

#NARGirlBoss movement and its implications about the necessity of a culture change in the industry. They are joined by Sunny Lake, David Charron and Andrea Bushnell, each of whom have a unique take on the NAR CEO selection process.


Lake is the founder of the #NARGirlBoss Movement, a campaign aimed to help realtors choose the NAR’s next CEO in a transparent, collaborative process by raising awareness of accomplished women leaders in the industry. She has 13 years of experience in real estate, most recently serving as Principal Managing Broker of Coldwell Banker Bain|Seal in Bellingham, Washington. Lake is currently Managing Broker of eXp Realty.


David Charron is the Chief Strategy Officer of Bright MLS, Inc. and President at MRIS Investors in the Washington DC Metro Area. He has an extensive background in real estate, information systems and internet business solutions. Charron has been an industry leader for many years and was the first recipient of the Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award of Excellence. In 2016, he was named by Inman News to the Inman 101 for driving industry change. He has been a key voice in the conversation around the evolving role of the MLS and a proponent of innovative tools, partnerships and business practices.


Andrea Bushnell is the CEO of the North Carolina Association of Realtors, where she has served since 2010. After earning a degree in law from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1988, she was a partner with the firm Burt, Vetterlein and Bushnell for several years before becoming the Director of Business and Legal Affairs for Rentrak. Bushnell spent 13-plus years at the helm of the Oregon Association of Realtors before making the move to North Carolina. In 2016, she received the prestigious William R. Magel Award of Excellence, awarded annually by the NAR to an association executive who has truly excelled.


Listen in as these industry leaders discuss the intentions of the #NARGirlBoss movement, the nominating committee’s approach to hiring a new CEO and the need for a culture change in the real estate industry.



What’s Discussed: 


The intention of the #NARGirlBoss movement

  • 800-1,000 people got involved in just one week
  • Several participants hold NAR leadership positions (including members of the CEO selection committee)

Women in NAR leadership roles

The nominating committee’s approach to hiring a new CEO

  • Seems to be an open, transparent process
  • Soliciting input from membership re: the CEO position description

The pressure on NAR to consider capable, competent women for the CEO position

The general sense of distrust of the NAR and resulting grass roots movement

Why a culture change is necessary in the industry

  • Decisions made by older white men in leadership don’t always resonate with diverse workforce

Bushnell’s experience as first female CEO of the North Carolina Association of Realtors

  • Members felt disenfranchised from the organization
  • She spent a year on a listening tour to build relationships and change the culture to make people feel valued

Lake’s effort to shine a light on up-and-coming female leaders who aren’t acknowledged





NARGirlBoss Website

NARGirlBoss Twitter

NARGirlBoss Facebook Group


Connect with Lake, Charron & Bushnell:


Lake on LinkedIn


Charron on LinkedIn


Charron MRIS Website


Bushnell on LinkedIn


Bushnell NCAR Website


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




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





Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website