Eric Stegemann, CEO of TRIBUS, understands real estate agents and brokers, because he was one before becoming a vendor. Raised in St. Louis, he became a REALTOR® before turning 20 as a way to pay for college. His success as an agent turned his temporary career plan into a deep passion for the real estate business which has endured for two decades.
In 2004, Stegemann created River City Real Estate, growing it into the largest independent brokerage in the St. Louis area. The technology-centric brokerage business he developed would be the DNA for the creation of TRIBUS in 2009, a technology firm built for brokerages across the U.S. and Canada.
Stegemann is also an active RESO member and volunteer, and he was a speaker when the Fall 2019 RESO Conference landed in his hometown. His presentation delved into how MLSs can use RESO-standardized data fields to help brokerages make better decisions, like choosing office locations, by passing through more data to brokers and their vendors.
Stegemann walked through a brief history of brokerage and how we got to agent-centric models driving the decisions being made by brokers. He spoke specifically about what led to brokers trying to retain top-producing agents through generous commission splits and the creation of office space based on agent desire rather than hard data.
“It’s all based upon gut,” said Stegemann. “It’s a gut reaction to, ‘Oh my God, if this agent leaves, I’ll lose 300 listings this year. I better keep them.’ Brokerages would just start opening offices anywhere their agents really wanted them to open an office. A lot of them just didn’t have good data to make the decisions, or they didn’t have good tools to use the data to make the decisions.”
The MLS often has the data, he said, but it needs to be delivered back to the brokerage or their vendors.
Stegemann dissected listing data, noting how different data sets could help brokerages determine the true value of a listing. While every other industry can put a price tag on its assets, that’s not necessarily true for real estate, he said.
Stegemann believes that brokerages should be able to assess the value of every listing. They can do that if MLSs provide them with more data, so he drove the point home for MLSs.
“Listings are definitely assets of a brokerage, and…your listings are assets in your MLS,” Stegemann said. “If there’s any data set on that listing that could help them, that’s what I would encourage you to push through.”
Efforts to expand the RESO Data Dictionary to include more data, such as agent identification and showing data, is exactly what brokerages need, he said. MLSs that pass RESO-standardized data to brokerages could help quantify marketing and sales efficiency, including choosing office location.
Said Stegemann, “If I know how many people came through the property, I can better value my listings. I can better say listings in 12345 ZIP code get lots of showings, lots of people see my sign. And I have a 32% chance of my brokerage double-ending that deal if we get that sign in that particular ZIP code because of how well traffic is in the areas or how high in demand that is.”
“Reframe the conversation about trends not just being about market data that the agent can hand to their clients,” Stegemann suggested. “Maybe frame that to your brokerages – to provide more value – as ‘how I can provide you information on what’s going on in the market, so you can make better decisions about the brokerage.’”
Specific to how a brokerage could pick its next office location, Stegemann talked about being able to pull data on added listings over a period of time and what the average price increase has been. Making it easier for brokerages to see that information can help identify up-and-coming areas.
“Maybe I should go put an office here, because it looks like – while it’s been a dilapidated and not great area so far – they just put a Starbucks in there, or they’re thinking about putting in a Whole Foods,” said Stegemann. “The data is starting to show that prices are picking up there. It might make more sense to have the brokerage know that they can put an office there.”
Stegemann went on to explore buyer-side agent data. “We have over 200 MLSs that we pull in data feeds from, and I would say less than 20 pass through the feed on who the buyer’s agent is,” he said.
His parting advice: “Track everything.”
“At TRIBUS, literally every log in, every change of a record, every price change, every status change, every single thing, we track as a record, because there may be something that that broker wants to do with it,” said Stegemann. “MLSs, you should be able to have that kind of data, too, and you should be able to track every single thing that happens in your system and expose that better to brokerages.”
You’ll see even more great presentations like this at the next RESO conference. You can register for “RESO Remote Encore: The Standards Collection,” which will be fully virtual, October 27–29, 2020 at reso.org/fall-2020.DLU September 3rd, 2020