A New World of Platforms for Brokerages

The difference between closed and open platforms exposed

By Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships, Moxi Works

 

Takeaways:

  • A platform is like a power strip; it lets you plug and unplug tools
  • An open platform differentiates a broker’s tool set, aiding recruiting and retention
  • The difference between a closed and open platform is monumental

 

A “Platform” is whatever you want it to be

Platforms have existed in technology for ages. Most industries have already adopted them, but it’s a relatively new idea for a residential brokerage. I’ve noticed that the word “platform” is being thrown around heavily right now – it’s the 2017 buzz word and because of that, it’s starting to lose its meaning.

Some of these vendors that are calling themselves “platforms,” however, don’t actually do what they should and because of that, you’ll need to know what to look for. There are five basic services that a proper platform should have and offer:

  1. Property data that can be shared across all tools eliminating redundant entry
  2. Brokerage and agent data that’s up to date
  3. Consumer data so technology can help agents manage their SOI
  4. Integration with both Microsoft and Google cloud environment to easily and securely share data across tech companies
  5. An API (it allows other tech companies to integrate and share common data)

Let’s also put some rumors to rest. Just because you use a platform doesn’t mean you need to embrace the entire platform. It would be insane for a single brokerage to use every single one of our 30 integrated partners. A platform is whatever you want it to be for your brokerage.

Also, Security isn’t an inherent problem in open platforms just because a system is open, doesn’t mean it’s insecure. YouTube for instance, is an open platform site. No one is afraid to use it.

Closed vs. Open Platforms

I have to shed light on how important the distinction between a closed vs. open platform is. Many vendors that call themselves “platforms” are just products that sit on a database with no API – meaning they have no way to communicate effectively with one another. Here are some examples:

Open platform: Microsoft Windows. Windows is an operating system that allows you to download whatever you want, whether that’s QuickBooks for your taxes or Adobe Photoshop, and delete the apps you no longer want or use. If apple is more your speed, think iPhone and the AppStore.

Closed platform: Video game consoles. If you buy a game for Xbox and you get a Sony PlayStation, you have to buy your games all over again. The choice is not up to you if you ever decide to switch.

As a broker, this means with a closed platform you have to go with whatever tools the vendor chose to work with OR the vendor built it all themselves and can’t afford to evolve it over time at the same speed as competitors. Either way, it can be a disastrous future for a brokerage.

The reality is, no one can be great at everything. An open platform allows a brokerage to get all of the best tools out there, have them work together, and can change tools at will – hassle free.

Open Platform Benefits

If you’re a broker and you’ve already invested in some tech solutions over the past three or four years like a digital transaction tool, gifting, or lead partners, you don’t have to change them to get on an open platform; you integrate them and preserve your investment in agent training. That’s why an open platform is so dominant: the power and tools stay in the brokerages hands. They help companies retain the tools they love and find replacements for the ones they aren’t jiving with.

If you choose a platform provider for those benefits today, that provider can help you flawlessly transition as new tools come online in the future. At the end of the day that’s what everyone wants right? No headaches and a shorter list of items for a brokerage to worry about.

If those are not good enough reasons to use an open platform, then how about this: money. Maintenance and support are cheaper on an open platform because it leverages the entire community that makes up the cloud. Development time also decreases. Boeing doesn’t make aircrafts, they assemble them.

What’s an Ecosystem?

This is another term used in the platform realm. An ecosystem is a collection of complimentary applications all working together, sharing data, that make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Each platform has its own ecosystem that makes up the cloud.

Again, think of your iPhone. You can have all of your applications together so that the device becomes an indispensable business tool. You get to pick à la carte whatever applications you need and don’t have to worry about how they work together. If you find later you don’t like an application, you can delete it and install a different one.

Why a Brokerage Should Care

It’s no secret that the pace of change for real estate technology is accelerating. We know that there are hundreds of companies making technology for residential real estate, which makes for thousands of applications available for use today.

What this means to a brokerage owner is that there’s no way to predict which companies and applications are going to succeed or even to envision what technologies will come into the market in the future.

Having a platform and ecosystem of applications that run on it is the key to agent productivity and retention. If you don’t think that having a complete integrated technology platform and applications to offer your agents is important, talk to a broker that just lost an agent to Compass.

If you choose the right platform, you’re going to get most of the benefits that Upstream promises for your brokerage today and will future-proof your brokerage for what’s to come in the future.

Posted on May 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Moxi Works, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What Is AI and How Will It Affect Your Real Estate Business?

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE It seems that every industry, including real estate, is concerned about the future of AI (artificial intelligence) and how it’s going to affect the future of jobs all over the world.

Posted on May 22, 2017 at 7:23 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: In The News | Tagged ,

What “Free” Websites Mean for Your Brokerage Value Proposition

We all heard the roar coming from NAR (National Association of Realtors) yesterday, who announced they will now be offering free
Placester websites. In the past, these have been offered for $5 bucks a pop, but now are completely “free.”
The problem is, free doesn’t always mean free, and this news puts a big dent in the brokerage value proposition.


Moxi Works CEO, York Baur, weighed in saying, “It’s not good for the industry to have the NAR leveling the playing field for technology. The brokerage is the sun in the real estate solar system and should be allowed to create their own unique value proposition – we don’t need the NAR meddling in that.”

 

It’s important to note that none of these websites will carry brokerage branding. We believe it’s essential for brokerages to encourage agents to include brokerage branding, and although these sites can add your brand, it is not entirely automated. These sites are great for agents to create their own brand and image, but it also creates an extra step for the brokerage to maintain their brand and therefore becomes a headache.

 

“I hate things like this and brokerages should too. It’s not right that they’re taking away the brokerages ability to generate their own unique value proposition. Brokerages should be able to do that without NAR giving away tech,” said Baur.

 

Finally, there’s the upselling factor. This is a “freemium” play as everyone is saying. Freemium models are intended to get something in front of people for free in hopes of upselling them to paid products and services later.

 

Like all startups that raise incredible amounts of money (Placester is somewhere around $100 Million), there will be unbelievable pressure from their investors to get a return. That means they’ll be upselling agents like crazy, which only dilutes a brokerage’s value proposition that much more. “We’re in the business of helping brokerages, so this is unsettling,” said Baur. “The NAR might as well have knocked on the door of the brokerage and slapped them across the face.”

Posted on May 18, 2017 at 5:31 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: News | Tagged , , ,

Moxi Works Adds RealScout to Cloud Open Platform

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE Moxi Works has added RealScout, a homebuyer data technology solution, to its Moxi Cloud open platform, the company recently announced.

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 9:17 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: In The News | Tagged ,

Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Launches Moxi Works Open Platform

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway has launched the Moxi Works open platform, providing its agents access to the Moxi Engage™ CRM and Moxi Present™, among other products, Moxi Works recently announced. The open platform is also integrated with SkySlope, a digital transaction management service.

Posted on May 12, 2017 at 5:10 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: In The News | Tagged ,

Moxi Works Moved!

Since 2012, Moxi Works has grown exponentially. From doubling in employees, to becoming a major player in the industry (and creating the first open platform), the past five years have been good to us. We grew so much that we even had to change offices! It’s a good problem to have.

Our move didn’t take us far. In fact, it took us right downstairs to the floor below us. This time we have the entire floor, giving us more room to spread our tech wings. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve settled into our new quarters and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Say hello to Moxi Works 2.0, we’ve officially landed.

In the spirit of moving, our awesome coworkers took before and after footage of the move. You might be wondering why there are cars driving right next to our floor….well, that’s Seattle for you!

Most of the time, people dread moving days. However, at Moxi, it’s a different story. It’s hard to not be excited when you have an entire wall that’s meant to inspire you day in and day out.

 

 

We also happen to have an extra special admin, an iPad. This little guy checks people in, helps direct them where to go, and of course handles all of the Jimmy John’s orders. The future is finally here.

 

 

And how could we forget our fabulous lobby?! 

 

 

Although we’ll miss where it all started, it’s onwards and upwards (or downstairs in our case) and we’re looking forward to the next five years of Moxi Works!

 

P.S. Thanks to all those who made the move as easy as possible! Especially our VP of Operations, Ring Nishioka!!! 

Posted on May 9, 2017 at 4:07 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: News | Tagged , ,

GeekWire 200 April Update

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE Just this week, Moxi Works, a Seattle-based startup that provides an open cloud platform for real estate brokerages, released a new product called Secret Agent that gives real estate agents access to a trove of public data on clients and prospects.

Posted on May 1, 2017 at 3:42 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: In The News | Tagged ,

Moxi Works Adds Totomic to Cloud Open Platform

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE Moxi Works has added Totomic, a data provider that helps real estate professionals target their marketing efforts, to its Moxi Cloud open platform, the company recently announced.

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 4:38 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: In The News | Tagged ,

Moxi Works Launches Secret Agent, Providing Real Estate Agents Prospect Insights

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE Moxi Works has launched Secret Agent, a new product providing real estate agents instant access to public data on clients and prospects, the company recently announced. Currently in beta, Secret Agent offers insights such as demographics, housing information, lifestyle choices, and more, through the Moxi Works Engage CRM.

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: In The News | Tagged ,

This Moxi Platform Partner Shows Who (and How) to Target During Home Sale


Totomic’s Best Buyer report gives agents a major digital edge, saving precious time & money.

With the inception of the Moxi Works open platform, our sole purpose is set to helping brokerages innovate and future-proof their businesses. We’ve added a lot of tools and services lately, but only those that are the brightest and best in the industry. With that spirit in mind, we want to announce another best-in-class service integrated into the Moxi Cloud open platform: Totomic, which helps guide agent marketing tactics through an in-depth analysis of big data.

 

“Where most marketing plans fail is when there’s no recommended action. The marketing direction Totomic provides is clear and concise, allowing agents to hit the ground running on their listings. We’re currently rolling out to a couple mutual clients and are excited to have them on our open platform within our Moxi Engage CRM,” said Mike McHenry, VP of Channels & Partnerships.

 

 

Totomic uses big data, allowing realtors to identify, reach, and sell to actual buyers in less time, at the best price. Specifically, their Best Buyer report highlights buyer psychographics, customized selling points, staging tips, and ad-buy recommendations. Totomic encourages specific action from their analysis of the data, unlike other sources that analyze but leave it to the agent to decipher what to do with it.

Totomic’s proprietary, patent-pending technology gives brokerages deeper insight into their customers and markets than ever before. Best Buyer drives insight into prospects and properties by fusing data from a wide variety of sources into easy to understand, actionable intelligence that can be used to drive marketing programs, guide development, and secure new business. The data they gather is run through Totomic’s proprietary algorithm that builds a set of audience profiles within the Best Buyer report. Totomic matches property profiles with audiences based on scientific parameters drawn from thousands of fields of data. Sound familiar? It’s not unlike online dating sources that match people based on interests.

 

Most agent marketing tools only use the most accessible data sources on the market, such as MLS data, which means a lot of agents are using the same data as their competitors are. Totomic gives agents a competitive edge with their unique mix of data.

 

Stretch advertising dollars further and increase the amount of time spent pursuing additional listings!

 

Find out more about the Moxi Cloud and how it’s taking the real estate industry by storm by clicking here. 

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Integration, News, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , ,