In the post-bubble Google-dominated world of real estate brokerage, the terms used have changed. These days terms such as ‘AVM Opt-Out’ and ‘Organic Search Results’ now are as important as ‘Contingent Contract’ and ‘Enhanced Title.’ Below are some of the new terms that need to be understood.
AVM // An Automated Valuation Model (AVM) is a source (typically Trulia or Zillow) that computes a value for a piece of property without human involvement. By use of an algorithm that combines sales data, public records and other available relevant inputs, an AVM will produce an estimate of value. Most listing agreements now contain Opt In/Out language for AVM’s and their use should be a strategic decision. What Zillow calls a ‘ZESTIMATE‘ would be the result of their AVM.
IDX // The Internet Data Exchange (IDX) rules were put in place to formalize the rules by which co-operative brokerages can display other brokerage’s listings on their own site. The rules were put in place to make sure that brokerages gave credit to the actual listing broker (prominently) somewhere on the listing display. Most MLS Systems create a data feed that they sell to third party IDX services who in turn, repackage in user (and developer) friendly form to be integrated into websites.
SERP // The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is the display page of results from a keyword search. Most Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) display paid ads above the organic results and to the right hand side. The paid ads will be subtly different (usually a colored box) to differentiate the results that are bought versus those that the search engine has determined to be most relevant. The public generally prefers organic results 90% of the time or more. Google favors local content in local searches and thus national or regional sites will employ a PPC (Pay Per Click) model for local real estate searches.
Dodd-Frank // The Dodd Frank Reform Act was a bill (that is now law) written by Senators Chris Dodd and Barney Frank in an effort to protect the country from another financial collapse (like in 2008) by increasing both regulation and disclosure. This massive increase in regulation and disclosure has largely frustrated many (both Realtors and the buying public) as the new requirements are viewed as only increasing the expense of finance (without eliminating any real risk) and dramatically slowed underwriting. Dodd-Frank has also modified the GFE (Good Faith Estimate) process with lenders.
Syndication // Listing Syndication is the act of taking listing data and ‘pushing’ or ‘syndicating‘ them to 3rd party sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com or any other site which offers public search of real estate for sale. While increased exposure is usually a good thing for your listing, it does not come without risk. By pushing these listings into the web and outside of the reach of the local MLS Boards, the information gets increasingly less accurate and the sites where the information appears bear no real responsibility for quality control. Likewise, most of these sites offer agents the ability to pay to appear next to listings that are not theirs and thus, direct inquiries away from the listing agents. This practice is both frustrating and confusing to the public and offers little value to the overall process.
If there is a term you wish to see discussed, let us know.