HUD Secretary Tells REALTORS® FHA Is Exploring Alternative Credit Scoring Models to Expand Mortgage Access

Apr 4, 2015 by

A diverse group of housing industry stakeholders participated in a credit access symposium recently to discuss how alternative credit scoring models could expand access to mortgage credit for responsible borrowers who may have thin credit histories or extenuating circumstances like medical debts. The event, co-hosted by the National Association of REALTORS®, the Asian Real Estate […]

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Access to listing data at Realogy ‘hackathon’ spurs innovation

Nov 8, 2013 by

150 coders converge on San Francisco event to create a winning real estate app

SAN FRANCISCO — At hour 27 of the around-the-clock “hackathon” hosted by Realogy in a huge room on the ground floor of San Francisco’s Moscone Center, about 40 energy drink-fueled coders busily put the finishing touches on the apps most started building just a day before.

At 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, the 15 teams who completed the event that started Wednesday morning began pitching their ideas to a panel of Realogy exec judges for a chance to win a cash prize and a spot in the National Association of Realtors expo on Friday and over the weekend in conjunction with its national meeting.

The winner, Team RealKick, a group of three led by Web designer Andrew Lockhart, took home $ 2,500 for a mobile app that helps agents guide consumers through the home shopping process. Lockhart spent the whole night coding, pointing to the collection of a half dozen empty Red Bull cans on his table as proof.

The app, conceived and built in just the one day, takes in a consumer’s stated interest in a property and surfaced listings from a multiple listing service based on a proprietary algorithm.

Consumers could accept, deny and communicate directly with the agent through the app about each specific listing. Agents, who would purchase the service and then share the app with clients, would be able to see in a dashboard view which homes their clients liked, didn’t like and why. They would also be able to send notes about specific properties to clients through the app.

What brought Lockhart and his team and the 150 other coders who participated in the event to the Moscone Center for an all-day, all-night hack was a chance to build real estate apps with a tool that gave them access to normalized listing data from six of the largest MLSs in the country, including California Regional MLS (CRMLS), Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), Sandicor, Connecticut MLS (CMLS), InterMountain MLS and MLSListings.

The tool, built by Vancouver-based startup Retsly Software Inc., also gave coders access to more than 2 million listings sourced from proprietary listing databases from Realogy brands Century 21 Real Estate, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, ERA Real Estate and Sotheby’s International Realty.

The event, a follow-up to Realogy’s inaugural “Innovation Summit” held in June that featured a startup pitch competition, was a way to capitalize on the great software development talent that the Bay Area offers, said Alex Pierrello, CEO of Realogy’s franchise wing Realogy Franchise Group.

Pierrello said he was impressed by the innovation he saw bear fruit in just one full day.

Access to real estate giant Realogy was a pull for the developers, but the chance to work with a big data stream from the large MLSs and Realogy was even more attractive.

“This data was not available before,” said Daniel Jurek, who built the app “Home or Not” during the event, with partner Brian Curliss, that allowed users to look at photos of homes for sale in the MLS one at a time and quickly decide if they wanted to know more or not. The app, whose idea and execution were hatched in about 27 hours at the event and a spinoff of the dating app Tendr, were one of four runners up at the event.


Team “Home or Not” put the final touches on their app before their presentation.

Jurek and Curliss, who run Mail Lift, a startup that sends handwritten letters on a salesperson’s behalf,  say they would love to work in real estate, but the opportunity to work with the scale of data that the event provided through Retsly’s tool hasn’t been available before.

“It would have taken months and a lot of money to get the data itself,” Curliss said. Having the data allowed them to focus on what they do best, they said, and incentivized them to pour their coding talents into real estate technology.

Josh Taylor, a product designer from Evernote, whose app that allows agents to list and market homes easily from a mobile device with MLS data was named a runner-up at the event, agreed.

Data access is a “huge barrier to entry,” Taylor said. The ability to access all the data in one spot was an incentive to build something innovative.

The data feeds Retsly negotiated were specifically for the hackathon, but Retsly’s co-founders Joshua Lopour and Kyle Campbell hope that the MLSs and Realogy will consider licensing their data for its platform going forward for developers to use.

Tribus, a provider of real estate technology services to agents and brokerages, announced today that it has taken an investment stake in Retsly, and will build a number of products that rely on Retsly’s services, including customizable Internet data exchange (IDX) interfaces, market data reports, and broker recruiting systems.

Jamie Goldman, a vice president with Realogy’s ERA Real Estate brand, said the event’s success will make Realogy consider doing more hackathons and consider bringing some high-quality coders in house.

The other two runner-ups were EverDwell, which built full-screen micro-sites of listings from MLS data with a tap of the finger and “Rent or Buy,” an app that showed whether it was more economical to rent or buy in any one ZIP code, based on home sale data from the MLS.

Copyright 2013 Inman News
Inman News

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4,000 Prudential Fox & Roach agents gain access to showing service

Sep 24, 2013 by

ShowingTime aims to streamline appointment scheduling process

Prudential Fox & Roach, one of the nation’s largest real estate brokerages, has chosen an appointment center from showing management tech company ShowingTime for its 62 offices and 4,000 agents.

The ShowingTime Appointment Center is designed to streamline the appointment scheduling process for agents. Agents in markets served by Prudential Fox & Roach across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware can call one phone number to schedule showings.

“The ShowingTime Appointment Center provides long open hours, a best-in-class mobile app, two-way text messaging and sophisticated analytic reports. These were major factors in our decision,” said Rajeev Sajja, the brokerage’s vice president of digital innovation, in a statement.

“ShowingTime will help our associates provide even better service to buyers and sellers, and will also provide a great experience for agents showing our listings.”

Prudential Fox & Roach is the sixth-largest real estate brokerage in the nation, according to Real Trends. The firm completed more than 23,000 transaction sides worth $ 8 billion in sales volume in 2012. Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America, the second-largest brokerage in the U.S., announced its acquisition of Prudential Fox & Roach last month.

The ShowingTime Appointment Center is used to schedule more than 2 million showings monthly for more than 400,000 real estate professionals nationwide, the company said.

“Listing agents don’t have to worry about missing any showing requests with our long open hours, while showing agents appreciate how quickly our appointment specialists work to confirm appointments. In each case, agents receive notifications so they know exactly what’s going on at all times,” said ShowingTime President Michael Lane in a statement.

Lane, a ShowingTime co-founder, was recently promoted to president of the Chicago-based company after serving as its vice president of sales and marketing for five years.

More than 6,000 real estate offices nationwide use ShowingTime’s products, which allow agents, brokers, offices, associations and multiple listing services to schedule showings, generate feedback and measure marketing effectiveness, the company said.

ShowingTime’s products are integrated with more than 180 MLSs, and more than 65 MLSs have directly purchased the company’s MLS products for their members, according to the company.

Copyright 2013 Inman News
Inman News

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