REinventing MLS

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What MRED Teaches Us About Mobile

by Victor Lund, WAV Group

Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) is the MLS of the Chicagoland. It encompasses Chicago and the surrounding region. It is among the largest MLSs in the nation. As you know, here at WAV Group, we love data and charts. Any ability to track trends in our industry that are supported by data lends credence to the strategic planning efforts across our industry.


Lets take a close examination of this graph.

Adoption Curve

The first thing that you notice is that mobile adoption is not a hockey stick. It was in 2011 and 2012 when adoption doubled from 7500 users to 15,000 users (62% growth for those who are counting). But it failed to grow to 30,000 users in 2013 (41% year over year growth).  The numbers in the chart represent use by MRED Realtor® customers only.

MRED has just recently begun tracking the client use of mobile when accessing data sent to them by their broker.  If you were to add those numbers to the chart above you would see parallel growth amongst consumers – with volumes reaching an 8-fold increase in counts per device type.

Device Type

In the graph above, the purple tips are Windows 8 tablets. The green is Android. The red is the Apple iPad and the Blue is the iPhone. Within a reasonable range of variance, this graph would indicate that there is little market shift in the utilization of Android vs. Apple. This is notable because Android devices outsell Apple devices by a significant rate. You will also notice that Blackberry is officially in its grave, resting peacefully beside its fallen brother, Palm.

What is remarkable here is the emergence of the Windows 8 Tablet. If you are in the technology business, you need to go out and purchase one of these devices immediately. I have been using the Microsoft Surface. It is an extraordinary device that marries the mobility of the iPad with the utility of a laptop. Moreover, it runs full desktop versions of your installed applications. That means full versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Explorer. It also runs mobile apps, and it syncs with iCloud. All of my favorite iPad apps are available on the Surface – including Evernote, Flip, Skitch, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Bank of America, Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, ESPN, YouTube (plays all videos, even the ones that are not formatted for mobile), iTunes, Adobe, DocuSign, Find my Phone, Chrome, iCal, mail, QuickTime…..and of course the bell ringer…….solitaire! Like the iPad, it offers touch screen, but as a bonus…..there is a pen! If you long for the days of the pen that came with the Palm Treo, you will be back in the saddle.

3-Year Mobile Technology Forecast

Over 90% of REALTORS® use laptops over desktops today. They bring their work with them. Since just about every Windows laptop from every manufacturer is incorporating touch screen, you will see widespread adoption of Windows 8 Tablets by industry professionals. This may accelerate as these tablets come with Internet connectivity to the 4G or LTE networks. Right now, you need to connect to a wireless network or pair it with your iPhone or Android phone. In three years, I would expect to see fewer iPads and more Windows Tablets. They are about the same price and the Windows Tablet replaces two devices – a tablet and a laptop.

This practicality has the potential to kill the iPad.

Android and Apple will not give up. These great companies (Google and Apple) have proven that they can react quickly to market demands and reinvent the future in a short period of time. Hence, this is why I choose to only look at a three-year forecast. Mobile moves so quickly because of the two-year contract. Everyone gets a new phone every two years whether they need one or not. Even that two-year spacing is being challenged by 1 year upgrade options. Frankly, I am surprised that the laptop industry has not implemented a similar upgrade pattern with the offer of 2 or 3 year leases. Even the MacBook, which once had a 5 year life, has been reduced to 2 or 3. They get slow like PCs, encouraging upgrades.

Strategic Review

If you are an MLS and you are not watching patterns emerge with mobile adoption, you need to. With a few notable exceptions, the MLS system operates on mobile browsers and WAV Group believes that responsive design of web applications is the long-term viable strategy. Mobile apps are great toys, but they lack the industrial utility of the full application. MRED and their technology partner dynaConnections are moving forward with a complete responsive redesign of their workhorse connectMLS™ system.  Based upon the consumer usage mentioned above, they will be focusing first on the real estate client side of the system – making the consumer happy makes the real estate broker happy. Study mobile usage and adoption of both the consumer and the REALTOR®.

It may be unreasonable to test your MLS applications on every mobile device and operating system, but you should have a Windows Tablet, Android Tablet, and iPad for Quality Assurance.  MRED’s award winning Help Desk maintains a complete stable of mobile products for both application testing and troubleshooting customer problems. Compatibility with all three of these operating systems is a requirement, not an option.

What Facebook’s New Graph Search Means for Real Estate

Ever since Facebook announced their new Graph Search on January 15, we’ve seen a lot of advice on how to optimize your real estate business page. And with good reason–Graph Search is a different kind of search that requires a different kind of strategy. Instead of searching the web and returning links, Graph Search searches the tags and likes of its users and returns photos, liked pages, statuses and beyond.

This means that Facebook members can search for (for example) “Italian restaurants my friends like” and see a list of Facebook pages for Italian restaurants that those in their network have liked. It’s instant social proof of what restaurants are best, according to the searcher’s unique social circle.

Think of what this means for real estate. If someone wanting to buy or sell a home is looking for a real estate agent, they can use Graph Search to search “real estate agents my friends like.” Those agents who turn up in the results may very well be considered more trustworthy and worth contacting than those found in a simple web search. Why? Because the searcher’s friends are providing a recommendation, of sorts, for those agents by having liked those agents’ pages.

Because Graph Search is a whole new ball game, meta tags and keywords won’t help you here. Here are a few tips to “optimize” your Facebook page:

  • Make sure your page is categorized correctly. Be sure your page is tagged as a “real estate agent” so you can be found in searches for agents.
  • Update your location. Graph Search lets users narrow searches geographically, e.g., “real estate agents in Miami that my friends like.” Be sure the area you serve is noted on your profile.
  • Build an engaged fan base. Keep putting out great content that your fans will like, share, and interact with. Every action they take is another chance for your page, statuses, photos, videos, etc. to appear in search results.

Identify Leads With Precision

Graph Search not only gives potential clients a way to find you, it can also help agents pinpoint leads.

Let’s say you have a townhouse for sale in an upscale urban area. You can identify potential leads by searching the Graph for pages they like. What attractions are near the property? If you’re looking for young families who may be interested in the area, try searching for “people who like the Ann Arbor Hands On Children’s Museum,” for example.

Have a rural listing you’d like to find buyers for? Search interests like hunting, snow mobiling, or other outdoor interests. Leads for waterfront property can be found with similar searches for boating, water skiing, fishing, etc.

Looking Ahead

The possibilities of Graph Search are endless. You can search any combination you can dream up, including pages liked, photos liked, photos shot in a certain location, videos and statuses that individuals are tagged in, and much, much more. You’ll be able to see results from friends, friends of friends, and the public, depending on each individual’s privacy settings.

Facebook plans to roll out Graph Search very gradually. While it’s only available to a limited number of users at the moment, you can prepare now for the Search’s debut by using the tips above.

 Article by Kelly Phelan, RET Content Team Member

Daily Morning Roundup – June 18, 2012

Here are some of the top real estate posts on the social networking sites this morning:

Good way to start the week!  6 of the Smartest Things Ever Said About Getting Stuff Done –

Another Positive Report for Real Estate from The KCM Blog –

Oh – oh. Foreclosures Strike Back –

What’s the Big Deal about Transaction Management?

To see these as they hit the social networks, please follow us:
Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Google+     MRED RSS Feed

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