WAV Group attended the NAREE conference for the fifth consecutive year. For more than a few of team members like Kevin Hawkins, they have attended nearly every year of their career. Here is the inside word. If you want to be heard, you need to be a newsmaker. The key to getting access to be heard is establishing a relationship with journalists – otherwise, you are a whisper.

NAREE hosted an amazing event to enjoin the nation’s journalists from the largest publications with newsmakers and public relations firms in Las Vegas. It was one of the best conference agendas that I have ever attended. Great job by Executive Director Mary Doyle Kimbal and conference organizer Ralph Bivins (Realty News Report) for their efforts. They organized 58 agenda items between June 13th and June 16th that delivered on every level to the attendees. The buzz was that this is definitely a conference that every real estate journalist needs to attend to be relevant in real estate. I could not agree more.

Diamond sponsors for the event were Realtor.com, NAR, Trulia, and Zillow – but no top executives from any of those firms were in the room. That was brought up to me multiple times by the journalists. Sending a check is not like sending the people that you quote in your press release. Note to the wise: You cannot BS our way through your relationship with journalists. If you would like to be interviewed by a journalist for a story, it’s a good idea to show up.

In my opinion, Opendoor, CoreLogic, Homes.com, and the exclusive introduction at NAREE by BDX/Homluv.com were the companies that delivered the people who communicated the insights that that were most meaningful. Kevin Hawkins always reminds the WAV Group PR team that news is earned. Relationships are developed with journalists.

NAREE’s “Meet The Press” – organized for more than two decades masterfully by Sue Doerfler, 

is among the most amazing opportunities for newsmakers and journalists in real estate. It allows newsmakers to sign up to spend a few minutes with the top journalists who are writing syndicated columns for the media. On a selfish side, I will tell you that I spend more time listening to the journalist rather than pitching stories. I am awestruck by these incredible celebrities and the body of work they have produced.


There are significant issues in real estate today. We all observed the lack of balance. Shopping malls are dead, and everyone is struggling to replace them properly. The bones are great. Commercial real estate has not had the same market growth as residential. New home growth is fighting the lack of capital support and the challenge of zoning. Vacation homes are a mix match of success and failure as second home market shows up “variable.” Residential resale is hitting insanely high marks – which is a trigger for everyone to try and call the next backslide. Home affordability is a major concern and interest rates are bumping up.

CoreLogic has the best market data. Nobody argues. As much as Zillow and NAR try to grab headlines, they are conspicuous. Buyside was super popular with their information about homebuyer demand and the role that plays in the futures market. So was ShowingTime – nothing shows consumer demand like showing data. These companies have information that calculates propensity scoring of buyer demand like no other, and it is real time and hyperlocal. If you want to look forward, look at buyer demand and showing data.

Ben Caballero did an excellent job sharing his story being real estate’s first Guinness World Record holder for his production. He is a single agent who is doing nearly $2 Billion in residential sales. On Thursday during the conference, he listed 38 new homes through agreements that he has with home builders to manage and market their trades. As a speaker, I love having a top producing Realtor the room that dispels the promise of disruption. Home buyers, sellers – people, and corporations love working with great Realtors.

Disrupting Disruption

In this age of disruption, consumers are more likely to use a Realtor than ever before. It is a fact that so many refuse to understand. Everyone wants an expert to represent them more than ever. My friend Santino Catteano explains it best. He is a boutique broker in San Luis Obispo County California, where I live. Due to a family death, he listed a property in Los Angeles for $2.5 million – 200 miles south of us. He listed the family home for 1% sell side (family) and offered 2.5% buy side. He was not familiar with LA, so he lived in the home for a few weeks during the marketing period. They went into escrow in 8 days at $2.8 million – with five offers at or above list. He asked the other agents why there were not more discount brokerage trades in LA. They told him that consumers do not want cheap services, they want great services. Geez. Really? Probably why discount brokerage has not surged beyond the single digits in America.

And that’s the challenge for journalists now: understanding that the more things change in real estate, the more they stay the same. Reporting on something that will endure versus something that’s a flash in the pan may be more challenging today than ever; especially when newspaper newsrooms are suffering massive cutbacks. Many reporters in attendance either work at newspapers or freelance for them.

Yet great real estate journalism, I would argue, is vital in the age of the unedited internet. Saturday morning, listening to the winners talk in great detail about how they accomplish their craft, was a testament to this. For our team at the WAV Group, this is what makes the work of NAREE, and its conferences, priceless.