To recognize the changing landscape of technological innovation in the real estate industry, Inman News has retooled its annual Innovator Awards categories. The nominations process for the 2011 Inman News Innovator Awards, which opens today, has been expanded to include categories for: the most innovative mobile app; real estate startup; social site or social service; and multiple listing service or real estate trade association.

Created in 1997, and first awarded during an Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in 1998, the Inman News Innovator Awards honor those companies that use technology and innovation to enhance the real estate transaction process and improve the experience for consumers and real estate professionals alike.

This year’s categories that are open to nominations include:

  • Most Innovative New Technology
  • Most Innovative Brokerage or Franchise
  • Most Innovative Real Estate Website or Web Service
  • Most Innovative MLS or Real Estate Trade Association
  • Most Innovative Real Estate Startup
  • Most Innovative Mobile App
  • Most Innovative Real Estate Social Site or Social Service or blog

Nominations are open to all and are submitted via an online form:

Online Nomination Form

Please note that duplicate nominations submitted by the same individual will be discarded, and the volume of nominations for a particular company has no bearing on the selection process. You may nominate your own company. Also, please take care to select nominees that fit the category.

An Inman News review team will consider the nominations and selects a list of finalists, and the finalists are selected from the full list of nominees and a list of other candidates suggested by the Inman News review team. The review team selects the winners from the list of finalists.

One of the annual awards, the Innovator of the Year Award, recognizes an individual who embodies the spirit of real estate innovation.

Also, at the close of the nominations process, Inman News will open up the full list of nominees to our readers to choose, by popular vote, the winner of the second annual Inman News People’s Choice Innovator Award.

This year’s winners will be announced in a ceremony during the upcoming Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, which runs from July 27-29, 2011, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square hotel.

The annual awards have recognized companies including LendingTree, Coldwell Banker, Sawbuck Realty, Redfin, ActiveRain, vFlyer and, and individuals including Frank LLosa of Frankly Realty and, Bob Hale of the Houston Association of Realtors, and Mark Lesswing of the National Association of Realtors’ Center for Realtor Technology.

View a complete history of the Innovator Awards winners.

The following is a list of the winners for the 2010 Inman News Innovator Awards:

1. Most Innovative Brokerage or Franchise: The GoodLife Team.
The GoodLife Team, a boutique real estate firm based in Austin, Texas, takes an agent team approach to its brokerage. The small company has a focus on training and technology and is led by Krisstina Wise, principal and broker. The website features property, neighborhood and school details and information about area activities.

2. Most Innovative New Technology: ZipRealty’s HomeScan.
The ZipRealty HomeScan iPhone app feature incorporates multiple-listing-service-based property information with augmented reality — users can point their smart phone’s camera within the neighborhood where they are standing to view an overlay of nearby homes that are for sale or recently sold. ZipRealty’s app also offers photos, maps and details on for-sale homes in about 4,900 cities.

3. Most Innovative Web Service: Houston Association of Realtors’ Realtor Match.
Realtor Match, created by the Houston Association of Realtors, allows consumers to search for Realtors based on ratings from consumer surveys and based on their transaction history, such as active listings and closed sales. Users could search for Realtors by map area.

Agent complaints prompted the association to cut the search tool from its standard Realtor-search tools accessible at, though this award honors the innovation as originally designed and launched.

4. Most Innovative Blog: Tech Savvy Agent blog.
The Tech Savvy Agent blog features three real estate voices, including Stephen Pacinelli, Suzanne Roy and Chris Smith. The site offers up hardware and software reviews, videos, tech advice and tips, and integration with social media. A recent post sparked over 300 tweets on Twitter and 264 "shares" on Facebook.

5. Most Innovative Media Site: ProPublica Eye on Loan Modifications.
ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit news agency that has a mission to produce investigative journalism in the public interest. ProPublica’s Eye on Loan Modifications project continues to shine a light on actual performance of large servicers participating in the federal government’s loan-mod programs and serves to connect those homeowners who have sought loan mods with journalists who are working on related articles.

6. People’s Choice Award: DocuSign’s ESIGNControl app.
The DocuSign ESIGNControl app allows real estate professionals to send and receive documents from their iPhone to be electronically signed by buyers and sellers, and also allows professionals to oversee document details and corrections.

7. Innovator of the Year No. 1: Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC.
Sherry Chris has served in executive roles for a range of large brokerages across the country and in Canada, including Royal LePage, Real Living, Prudential and Coldwell Banker, and most recently served Realogy Corp. in launching the Better Homes and Gardens real estate franchise. Her forward-thinking approach to social media, technology and branding has helped to grow this new franchise. During the Real Estate Connect conference Chris discussed a just-launched "Beta Brokers" Web project that profiles a number of real estate industry innovators.

8. Innovator of the Year No. 2: Dale Stinton, CEO, National Association of Realtors.
Dale Stinton, CEO for the National Association of Realtors, helped to launch the association’s Second Century Ventures, an incubator for tech innovation. His leadership has also brought about the deal to form Realtors Property Resource — a massive national property database project now in development.

He also oversaw a partnership by NAR with e-signature provider DocuSign, and the launch of the Game Changers program that has fostered innovation at Realtor associations across the country, as well as the Right Tools, Right Now initiative to put useful resources into the hands of member Realtors.

Since their inception in 1997, the annual awards have recognized companies including LendingTree, Coldwell Banker, Sawbuck Realty, Redfin, ActiveRain, vFlyer and, and individuals including Frank LLosa of Frankly Realty and, Bob Hale of the Houston Association of Realtors, and Mark Lesswing of the National Association of Realtors’ Center for Realtor Technology

The deadline to submit nominations is July 1, 2011.

Questions about the nomination process? Write to with "AWARDS" in the subject line.

Online Nomination Form

Complete History of Innovator Awards Winners


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