Zillow and Keller Together?

Dec 5, 2018 by

Zillow and Keller Together?

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The Complete Digital Real Estate Experience: Realogy and Notarize Come Together to Close the Online Transaction Loop

Jul 7, 2018 by

July18_TRG_Cover_300x420Technology is becoming increasingly central to every aspect of our lives, and the buying and selling of homes is no exception. Not long ago, brokers had to convince agents to include photos with their online listings, and communicating with clients using video and text message was unthinkable. However, the proliferation of smartphones and advancements in web-based technology over the past decade dramatically changed how the real estate business is conducted. Real estate agents and consumers are now armed with a device that is a phone, a computer and a camera, right in their very own pockets.

As a result, Realogy Holdings Corp. has been working diligently to digitize the real estate process, seeking to streamline its many moving parts for all those involved in the transaction: buyers, sellers, brokers, agents, lenders, mortgage investors, title companies, government entities, and more.

As the leading and most integrated provider of residential real estate services in the United States, with more than 190,000 affiliated agents, Realogy has impressive access to data and assets that can translate into tools and innovation. Realogy spends more than $ 200 million annually on technology and is laser focused on its strategy to build, partner and buy best-in-class solutions designed to optimize agent recruiting and productivity by providing a more seamless user experience for agents.

“We have always been dedicated to creating exceptional real estate experiences for our customers,” says NRT President and CEO Ryan Gorman. “While we place great value on personal and face-to-face communication with our customers, we want to lead the industry with digital solutions that elevate and simplify the process of buying and selling.”

As Title Resource Group (TRG) Chief Strategy Officer Walter Mullen aptly puts it, “It takes a village to make a real estate transaction come together. From looking at homes with a local agent to securing the mortgage loan to the transfer of legal title, a mound of paper requiring signatures stands between the purchase agreement and the closing of the deal.”

As the real estate transaction forges ahead into the digital age, an increasing number of busy consumers are more empowered thanks to the ability to have required documents not only signed, but now also legally notarized online, as an increasing number of states pass legislation allowing digital remote notarizations.

Ryan_Gorman_PQ_p93In February 2018, the National Association of Secretaries of State adopted nationwide standards for online notarization. In June, Texas became the third state to authorize its commissioned notaries to perform online notarizations for signers from around the world who appear live before the notary on a screen via real-time, two-way audio-video conference software. According to Notarize, the first notary public platform to enable legal online document notarization, eight states have now passed laws allowing online notarizations (at press time), with additional states considering laws this year.

In a move to advance the digital real estate experience for its affiliated sales associates, mortgage and title companies and its customers, TRG’s parent company, Realogy Holdings Corp., has now made an investment in Notarize. The expected addition of digital notarization to Realogy’s suite of offerings will advance the company’s goal of providing agents with a completely digital real estate transaction.

“Notarize technology will allow TRG to better serve the growing number of customers who prefer online digital solutions,” says Don Casey, president and CEO of TRG. “Moving toward a full digital closing has been one of our strategic objectives for some time, and Notarize has helped tackle the legal and technical barriers to help make the digital real estate transaction a reality. Realogy’s investment in Notarize positions us at the forefront of change as the industry takes a step toward making buy-sell transactions, refinancing a home or executing a lease 100-percent digital.”


(L to R): Nikolaos “Nik” Athanasiou, Chief Operating Officer, Guaranteed Rate Affinity; Don Casey, President & CEO, TRG; Walter Mullen, Chief Strategy Officer, TRG

“We believe that remote notarization will provide a timely and distinct advantage for today’s mobile buyers and sellers and for military stationed abroad,” adds Casey. “The enthusiasm for the technology is company-wide.”

“We expect this online option will provide security and technical flexibility to our customers, who would no longer have to find babysitters or take time off from work to sign before a notary,” says Scott McCall, CEO of Title Resources (TRG’s Underwriter). “We are excited to continue to move toward modernizing the closing process and bringing the chore of signing paperwork into the 21st century.”

“From a title perspective, it’s a great tool for people with daytime conflicts,” Casey explains. “They can come to the virtual closing table long after business hours or even while they are traveling.”

PQ_p94_300pxThe electronic option brings state-of-the-art efficiency to the traditional real estate transaction and helps eliminate potential failure points, explains Gorman.

“It has long been a logistical challenge—and a pain point for buyers and sellers—to have to drop everything, drive to an office and sit before that notary to sign real estate-related documents,” says Gorman. “We are always looking for innovative technologies, such as those offered by Notarize, to make the home-buying and -selling process seamless.”

Realogy mortgage partner Nik Athanasiou, COO of Guaranteed Rate Affinity (GRA), is glad to see the practice gaining momentum.


(L to R): Adam Pase, Co-Founder & COO, and Patrick Kinsel, Founder & CEO, Notarize

“There is no question that remote notarization puts the customer in the driver’s seat,” he says. “It streamlines the mortgage process, eliminating the need for overnight mail service, fax or hand-carried paperwork—and provides absolute transparency because customers input their own information at the time and place that works best for them.”

Government entities will also benefit in this further digitization and streamlining of the real estate transaction. “Freddie Mac is proud to be one of the early pioneers to accept electronic loan documents,” says Sam Oliver, vice president of Major Project Execution for the Single-Family Business at Freddie Mac. “We’re excited to continue working with Notarize to make 100-percent online e-closings a reality. Their partnership with Realogy and Freddie Mac via Guaranteed Rate Affinity will provide a more convenient, secure and end-to-end solution for borrowers today.”

The rapid acceptance of remote notarization comes as no surprise to Adam Pase, co-founder and COO of Notarize.

PQ_p95_300px“We are taking a historic process into the present,” says Pase. “So much of the real estate transaction has been conducted the same way for decades, but customers are expecting a new experience that empowers them on their terms, anytime, anywhere. Now, Realogy’s companies will have the opportunity to be the vehicle to provide this solution to its customers.”

Founded in 2015, Notarize serves a national audience, empowering notaries in Virginia, Texas and Nevada to serve customers online in all 50 states on a 24/7 basis, with new states expected to come online soon.

“Our goal is to provide our brands and agents with leading-edge technology to help customers overcome last-mile problems,” Gorman adds. To him, Realogy’s investment with Notarize validates the company’s longstanding commitment to industry-leading technology solutions and leveraging these tools at scale.

Realogy has been demonstrating its commitment to far-reaching digital solutions with recent innovations such as ZapLabs, an IT transformation project designed to keep agents and consumers better connected throughout the real estate transaction, and its FWD Innovation Summit, which brings technology start-up companies focused on real estate in front of the company’s decision-makers. The company’s lead management program is also leveraging AI to increase lead quality and conversions.

Just this past February, Cartus, the company’s relocation arm, launched its Leading Edge Analytics Practice (LEAP) platform, using predictive analytics, data science and artificial intelligence to drive improved levels of service.

The program’s interactive timeline, for example, uses advanced analytics and data acquired over millions of moves to help human resource and mobility managers predict and update employees’ relocation journeys as each move progresses.

A 2017 report from the National Association of REALTORS® on real estate in the digital age confirms that while the initial search for property may have begun online, 88 percent of buyers in 2016 worked with an agent to find their home. But as digital devices play a larger role in every phase of daily life, and consumers continue to seek out new ways of doing business, maximizing technology can be a challenge.

It is a challenge Realogy, NRT, TRG, Guaranteed Rate Affinity, Title Resources and Notarize take on with enthusiasm.

As Mullen says, “We are going where the consumer is heading.”

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Powered by Unity: Working Together to Forge a New NAR

Jul 1, 2018 by

The 2018 NAR Leadership Team photographed in Washington, D.C.

Editor’s Note: This is the cover story in the July issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine.

July18_NAR_Cover_300x420_300dpiThe search for the next CEO to head the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) was an intense process. When it came down to the final few candidates, Bob Goldberg knew he had his work cut out for him, having served with NAR for 22 years. Goldberg also knew he was the change agent needed, and was brimming with cutting-edge ideas to quickly steer NAR and the industry into the future.

To prove that he was exactly the right person for this mission, in his final presentation to the search committee, which included NAR 2018 President Elizabeth Mendenhall, Goldberg presented a long list of changes he would enact should he become CEO—changes that presented huge logistical hurdles and even larger cultural ones.

“I looked at it like this,” says Goldberg. “As the industry changes, I think the members’ association has to move faster than those changes. We have to be proactive instead of reactive. If you get mired in doing things the way you’ve done them in the past, even if it has been successful, then you’re destined to be behind the curve of change.”

Goldberg outshone the competition, landed the CEO job and took the helm on August 1, 2017. With little time to celebrate, the list of changes he had proposed was handed back to him with a question: “How soon can we get these done?”

It was, perhaps, in that moment that the new NAR was born—not in a series of changes outlined by Goldberg, but in a meeting of the minds around a unified goal: to make NAR a more nimble, member-centric, and future-focused organization.

As Mendenhall describes it, “Bob has brought a culture of ‘yes’ to the association. He says, ‘Let’s see if we can do it before we say no.’ That attitude gets you endless possibilities because any idea can be explored.”

According to Goldberg, he’s simply giving the membership what they deserve. “Our members have an expectation of their national association, and their state and local associations,” he explains. “In order to better serve them, we need to be progressive, and we need to make sure the member is first in every decision we make.”

NAR's 2018 Leadership Team (L to R): First Vice President Vince Malta; Immediate Past President Bill Brown; President-Elect John Smaby; President Elizabeth Mendenhall; CEO Bob Goldberg; Treasurer Tom Riley; Vice President of Government Affairs Kenny Parcell; and Vice President of Association Affairs Colleen Badagliacco (Credit: Melissa Dispenza, Graphic Design Lead, NAR Communications)

NAR’s 2018 Leadership Team (L to R): First Vice President Vince Malta; Immediate Past President Bill Brown; President-Elect John Smaby; President Elizabeth Mendenhall; CEO Bob Goldberg; Treasurer Tom Riley; Vice President of Government Affairs Kenny Parcell; and Vice President of Association Affairs Colleen Badagliacco (Credit: Melissa Dispenza, Graphic Design Lead, NAR Communications)

Uniting for Members
While his appointment to CEO made headlines, the real story at NAR lies in the unique strength of the partnership between Goldberg and the leadership team, headed by Mendenhall and including 2018 President-Elect John Smaby; 2018 First Vice President Vince Malta; 2018 Treasurer Tom Riley; 2018 Vice President of Association Affairs Colleen Badagliacco; 2018 Vice President of Government Affairs Kenny Parcell; and Immediate Past President Bill Brown. From the outset, Goldberg has been in lock-step with this team to put several significant changes in place in the 11 months since he officially became CEO.

Why has this team been able to accomplish so much so quickly? For starters, excellent and open communication.

“The most critical part of making this work is the amount of communication we have with each other as a leadership team,” says Goldberg. “We constantly talk about issues. We don’t wait to have monthly meetings—we communicate in real-time. The other thing that makes us different is that we’re laser-focused on being out with our members and listening. We listen before we talk.”

Chemistry plays a big role, too. “We have a variety of skill sets among us,” says Mendenhall. “That gives us such a broader depth of knowledge. We trust each other and can rely on different people for different tasks.”

NAR_pic&PQ_p32Plus, says Goldberg, “Our leadership team really like each other, and we respect each other’s opinions. That goes a long way when you’re collectively trying to do the right thing for members. It goes a long way toward moving things forward fast and efficiently.”

Of course, with rapid change comes discomfort and missteps, especially when those changes impact 1.3 million people. Goldberg, Mendenhall and the leadership team have confronted criticism with resilience, however, sticking to their guns when they know decisions are in the best interest of members, and stepping aside when revisions need to be made.

Mendenhall eloquently and passionately addressed the difficulties—and the necessity—of change during her opening remarks at the NAR 360 presentation during May’s Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C.: “Change involves fear,” she told the standing-room-only crowd of 2,500. “But we’re not divided by hateful comments; we’re united. We can’t be afraid of criticism and comments and missteps. We have to own the responsibility of what this association is and what we’re doing.”

According to Mendenhall, much of the criticism aimed at NAR of late boils down to misinformation. “A lot of the pushback is caused by a delay in information and a lack of knowledge,” she explains. “The more open we are and the more we talk about where we’re headed, the greater insight it gives people. As we continue to do that more and more, members will be pleased, because the changes we’re making are the things they’ve told us they want and need.”

(L to R) NAR Presidents Malta 2020, Mendenhall 2018, Smaby 2019 with CEO Goldberg

(L to R) NAR Presidents Malta 2020, Mendenhall 2018, Smaby 2019 with CEO Goldberg

This commitment to increased, more transparent communication among the NAR leadership team and staff and with members is central to NAR’s overarching goal to knock down the “ivory tower” and become a truly member-centric organization.

To that end, Goldberg has worked tirelessly to open the channels of communication to brokers, agents and industry partners, personally engaging with more than 10,000 members and industry stakeholders on social media and meeting in person with more than 100 boards and association executives, as well as directly responding to emails.

While the path of open communication and transparency hasn’t been the easiest one to travel, it’s exactly what Goldberg wants.

“I wouldn’t trade this open and transparent approach for anything,” he says. “What comes with it is an opportunity to educate members and, therefore, they will have an opinion and get engaged. It may not be what we want to hear, but if members are listening and participating, and we have an opportunity to hear what they’re saying, that’s a good thing. That’s the price you pay for transparency, and I say, bring it on.”

Changing From Within
In order to truly effect change for the membership masses, Goldberg knew it meant looking within, as well.

“When I became CEO, I talked about my vision for turning the association ‘inside out’—for creating a radically member-centric organization. We must become not only the National Association of REALTORS®, but also, more importantly, the National Association for REALTORS®. ”

To do so meant a full organizational realignment at NAR, which led to changes like 227 employees reporting to new leadership and an abolishment of the “silo mentality.” Job titles were reexamined and terms like “departments” and “divisions” were replaced with “teams” and “groups.” The goal was to invert the pyramid, and the process is ongoing.

“The main goal of the realignment never ends,” Goldberg explains. “We will always look to perfect our structure to make sure it’s member-first and member-focused. That’s why we did what we did—to eliminate the hand-off mentality and a delay in responsiveness, and to make us more nimble. We’re working hard with leadership to flip the pyramid upside down so that the members are at the top and NAR is at the bottom.”

Belly-to-Belly With REALTORS®
Part of the organizational realignment at NAR meant getting NAR staff on board with its new member-centric mission. To make that happen in a fast and tangible way, Goldberg instituted an ambitious program to put NAR staff side by side in the field with REALTORS®. The Day in the Life Program mandates that every NAR employee—that’s 350 people combined from the Chicago and Washington, D.C., offices—annually shadow a REALTOR® in the field, participate in a sales or staff meeting at a brokerage office, or visit a state or local REALTOR® association.

Designed to give everyone at NAR a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by the members they’re serving, the program has been completed by 100 NAR staff (including Goldberg), with the entire staff on track for completion by August 31.

In another effort to get the NAR team into the trenches, Goldberg launched the Executive Outreach Program in January 2018. Through the program, NAR senior management teams were formed to serve as direct points of contact and sources of information for the staff and volunteer leadership of the local, state, MLS, and brokerage entities within each of NAR’s 13 regions. The goal of the program is to utilize NAR senior management as direct points of contact and conduits of information for members, and, in turn, provide NAR’s top tier with a greater understanding of the key issues facing REALTORS®.

These programs are just two examples that define the larger cultural shift taking place at NAR. As Goldberg explains, “We understand that REALTORS® won’t always come to NAR seeking information, so our priority is to better connect NAR’s resources to REALTOR® communities in a more personal environment.”

Embracing the Disruptors
In a real estate environment where brokers and REALTORS® are increasingly worried about new business models infiltrating their business—the so-called “disruptors”—Goldberg wants to change the conversation and embrace these firms—invite them into the tent, so to speak—in order to lead change before it leads us.

To that end, NAR created the Strategic Business Innovation and Technology Group, designed to drive industry innovation and benefits to members through strategic relationships with a broad range of business and technology players. In addition to overseeing NAR’s Second Century Ventures, the REach® technology accelerator program, the REALTOR Benefits® program and the Realtors® Information Network (RIN) businesses, the group is forming a new think tank of strategic players who will meet regularly to help keep the association on the cutting edge of innovation.

“This will be a collection of some of the top minds in technology and business innovation,” says Goldberg. “This think tank will serve as a key feeder into the leadership team so we can be way ahead of the curve with planning for our future.”

Embracing the future of innovation even further, next month, NAR will debut a brand-new event: the iOi (Innovation, Opportunity and Investment) Summit, taking place August 28-30 at Bespoke San Francisco. NAR has long been driving innovation and benefits to members through its strategic investment arm, Second Century Ventures, and its REach® technology accelerator program. The iOi Summit will now extend that mission by bringing together technology innovators, capital investors, and the real estate industry to help get in on the ground level of cutting-edge opportunities.

OWN IT_speak bubbleWhy REALTORS® Have to ‘Own It’
Mendenhall’s rallying cry for her 2018 presidency is the phrase, “REALTORS® Own It!” While effective in its simplicity, its meaning is actually multilayered and deeply significant. In its simplest form, Own It relates directly to the NAR mission of advancing homeownership for more Americans, but the message is also meant as a call to action for NAR leadership and REALTORS® themselves.

“In our organization, our local presidents and state presidents turn over every 365 days,” explains Mendenhall. “You have to be willing to take ownership of your organization during that time. We’ve given it to you; make it better than where you found it. And, as REALTORS®, there’s a lot of conversation about professionalism. You have to be willing to be more professional and own your role in the transaction as a trusted advisor for the consumer—you can’t leave it up to someone else.”

Mendenhall’s 2018 priorities break down into four key areas:

  1. Increased professionalism.
    This year, NAR is introducing the REALTOR® Commitment to Excellence Program, which invites members to take a skills assessment to measure their proficiency in 11 areas, including ethics, advocacy, technology, data privacy, and customer service.

Professionalism has so many components,” says Mendenhall. “A lot of consumers really like their real estate agent, but they don’t like real estate agents as a whole. What you really want as a consumer is someone who has your best interest at heart, someone who is looking out for you. We have to be the best that we can be.”

  1. Increase influence in an uncertain legislative, regulatory, and political environment.
    NAR played a huge role in this year’s historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, collectively sending a record-high 300,000 letters to Congress. NAR’s efforts helped preserve the rules of exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a principal residence, and preserved the 1031 like-kind exchange for real property.

Mendenhall is calling upon members to increase advocacy efforts, as it directly affects their business. One of the most important legislative issues on the agenda for this year is the preservation and advancement of the Fair Housing Act. The Act turned 50 in 2018, but work remains to ensure fair access for all, Mendenhall says.

“As stewards of the right to own, use, and transfer private property, REALTORS® depend on a free, open market that embraces equal opportunity. Fair housing protects our livelihood and business,” says Mendenhall, “and it protects consumers. It makes all of us stronger.”

  1. Take the management of real estate data to the next level.
    The third priority involves the evolution and management of real estate data. “Competition and the demand for more data and analysis is forcing the management of real estate data to evolve,” says Mendenhall. “We want to help brokers better understand effective ways of managing their data.”
  1. Ensure the role of the REALTOR® is essential to the consumer.

All of Mendenhall’s priorities feed into the ultimate goal, which is to make sure the REALTOR® remains essential to the consumer. And one of the best ways REALTORS® can secure their role is to stay educated, informed, and current on innovation. And that’s where NAR can help.

“One of the things NAR does best is provide news and information on every issue and every new technology coming up,” says Mendenhall. “You don’t have to know everything, but you have to know what you don’t know. You have to be confident and know why you’re doing what you’re doing.”

An Ongoing Mission
The transformative partnership that Goldberg and Mendenhall have forged isn’t something that will fade with the tenure of her presidency.

“We started this year with clear goals,” Mendenhall says, “which came from strategic planning and research and from the members. The entire leadership team is clear on these goals, but more importantly, the NAR staff is clear and committed, as well. We’re doing a better job of melding the entire organization together to ensure continuity.”

And while so many changes have already been put in place, there’s no slowing down. NAR will adapt as members’ needs dictate.

“Everything we do, everything we’re all about, every decision made on a daily basis, must answer, ‘How does this benefit our members?’ That’s the ROI for NAR staff and leadership,” says Goldberg. “We’re the stewards for the members. We need to make sure that every penny they pay us in dues is well spent on their behalf.”

For more information, please visit

Patterson_Maria_60x60Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

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Get Your Team Together and Trust Them

Sep 17, 2017 by

Today we have Carl White on the show who tells us that we need to get our team together and trust them!  Good advise!

The post Get Your Team Together and Trust Them appeared first on National Real Estate Post.

National Real Estate Post

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Get Your Team Together and Trust Them

Sep 16, 2017 by

Today we have Carl White on the show who tells us that we need to get our team together and trust them!  Good advise!

The post Get Your Team Together and Trust Them appeared first on National Real Estate Post.

National Real Estate Post

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