While real estate agents chase leads and close deals on houses, there’s another level of deal-making that takes place within the real estate industry: mergers, acquisitions, integrations and partnerships.
We’ll be recapping every week’s noteworthy deals that didn’t make it into print (and some that did) for your perusal.
This week’s deals
The Miami Association of Realtors (MIAMI) is seeking to help its 46,000 members uncover new business opportunities through a partnership with “real estate deal-making platform” RealConnex. RealConnex is a global networking and transaction-management platform that facilitates collaboration on real estate deals (mostly commercial) between lenders, investors, property owners, brokers and real estate advisers. The partnership highlights a push by some local Realtor associations and MLSs to capitalize on new technologies and marketing practices, such as allowing Realtors to list “coming soon” properties.
Three MLSs in the region are making it easier for their agents to serve clients wherever they are. Bay Area Real Estate Information Services Inc. (BAREIS), the San Francisco Association of Realtors MLS (SFAR MLS), and bridgeMLS (formerly East Bay Regional Data Inc.) signed an agreement in April to expand their current data-sharing deal to include several third-party apps as well as a new MLS public portal. BAREIS has about 8,000 agent, broker and appraiser subscribers; SFAR has more than 5,000; and bridgeMLS has 3,229.
Engel & Völkers North America announced Christa Huffstickler, one of Atlanta’s top real estate professionals, has joined the international network to open Engel & Völkers Atlanta, the company’s fifth brokerage in the Greater Atlanta area. Building on more than 15 years of experience in new construction and residential real estate, Huffstickler and her team specialize in developer services, having worked on many of the city’s premier projects including 1065 Midtown above the Loews Hotel, 1010 Midtown, The Atlantic and Emerson Buckhead “Atlanta is a top relocation destination largely due to a rare combination of affordability and high standards of living, along with a booming job market, especially in the tech sector,” said Anthony Hitt, CEO, Engel & Völkers North America, in a statement. “We always look for the best of the best, and from the first time we met Christa, we knew she’d be a strong addition to the Engel & Völkers network.”
Matterport, a leading provider of 3-D home tours, has released a new camera that captures high-quality listing photos and immersive 3-D models at the same time. The product should lower the cost of 3-D marketing by allowing real estate agents and photographers to bang out property photos and 3-D tours in a single shoot, said Matterport CEO Bill Brown.
Colorado’s two largest multiple listing services — REcolorado and Information and Real Estate Services (IRES) — have signed a letter of intent to merge, the MLSs announced in nearly identical blog posts Wednesday. The agreement appears to signal a thawing in months-long tension. After IRES rejected its surprise multimillion-dollar buyout offer in January, REcolorado cut off a data share between the two MLSs. The discord illustrates that the road to consolidation is often slow, bumpy and infused with politics.
California Regional MLS (CRMLS) has signed a new data share agreement with Ventura County Regional Data Share (VCRDS). In this new agreement, CRMLS and VCRDS will share listing data directly, allowing real estate professionals belonging to either MLS to view the other’s listing data through their usual point of access. CRMLS subscribers will again have access to listings from the Ventura County Coastal and Conejo Simi Moorpark AORs, and VCRDS subscribers will gain access to the CRMLS database of over 100,000 active California property listings. “We are very excited to rekindle a data share agreement with VCRDS,” said Art Carter, CEO of CRMLS. “Our previous partnership was mutually beneficial to agents and brokers of both MLSs, as well as to home buyers and sellers in Ventura County and across the state. This agreement represents another step in the right direction toward breaking down artificial barriers to data access for all California real estate professionals.”
The MLS, a Southern California-based MLS system, has begun offering MLSPush by zipLogix, in partnership with California Association of Realtors, at no additional cost to its more than 15,000 members. The MLS is among the first few MLS systems in California to provide this new technology to its members. With MLSPush, it is easier for members of The MLS to make an offer. The listing data that is stored electronically in The MLS database auto-populates into a zipForm electronic form. This new technology eliminates the need for multiple passwords. “We’re excited to offer MLSPush as a member benefit as we pride ourselves on offering our members with the latest, most up-to- date technical tools at no extra charge,” said Annie Ives, CEO of The MLS CLAW. “This new tool allows members to easily push listing data directly into their transactions. It will help save our agents’ time and help them reduce data entry errors.”
Boston Logic, a provider of real estate brokerage software, has acquired customer relationship management system (CRM) Propertybase, marking the first in a series of planned acquisitions. Boston Logic CEO David Friedman declined to disclose terms of the deal, other than to say that Propertybase will retain all of its employees. Boston Logic became Providence Equity’s “platform for acquisition” of real estate software after the private equity firm, which has $50 billion in capital under management, made an undisclosed investment in Boston Logic last year. Drawing on Providence Equity’s deep pockets, it’s looking to build real estate tech portfolios through acquisitions — a goal shared by some other well-heeled firms like Zillow Group.
Engel & Völkers North America announced it has entered New Mexico with the opening of its newest real estate shop in Taos. The expansion comes as the result of a union with Taos Ski Valley Realty, a specialized boutique firm established in 2004. The newly established Engel & Völkers Taos will serve all of Taos County, including the towns of Taos, Angel Fire, Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Seco, Des Montes, Eagle Nest, Ranchos de Taos, Red River, Taos Ski Valley, and Valdez. Co-Owner and Qualifying Broker Keith Dowell will lead Engel & Völkers Taos alongside Co-Owner and Associate Broker Martin Molz, who collectively bring over four decades of global business and real estate experience to Taos’ unique real estate market. “Taos is an evolving market, growing both domestically and internationally due to a confluence of factors, including the 2013 acquisition of the ski resort at Taos Ski Valley and the expansion of the Taos Regional Airport,” said Anthony Hitt, CEO, Engel & Völkers North America. “Keith and Martin are ideal, experienced partners to navigate Taos’ changing real estate market and introduce Engel & Völkers’ premium level services and global reach to this burgeoning destination for both foreign and domestic buyers.”
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