What Lone Wolf's Acquisition of Instanet Solutions Means for Brokers and MLSs
The transaction management software space is one of the most competitive categories of real estate technology. Today, Lone Wolf, one of the leading providers of broker accounting and management solutions, announced its acquisition of fellow Canadian company Instanet Solutions. This is the second transaction management software acquisition in the past two weeks. Fidelity National Financial, Inc. recently acquired a majority interest in Skyslope, another highly regarded transaction management solution.
Instanet provides Transaction Desk to over 500,000 REALTORS® through its partnership with MLSs and associations across North America. Transaction Desk is a transaction management solution comprised of several cloud-based products for document and file management, electronic forms, eSignatures, and file review and compliance. In the last year alone, real estate professionals completed 10 million signings through Instanet, while also submitting over 22 million documents and creating 31 million forms. Lone Wolf currently provides services to 10,000 brokerage offices, serving 180,000 REALTORS®.
The relationship between Lone Wolf and Instanet started as an integration partnership in 2014.
The vision for an end-to-end broker solution has been in the works at Lone Wolf for several years. We at WAV Group have been talking about this concept since 2010. Here's a white paper we published in November 2010, entitled, Brokerage Real Estate Technology, an Industry in Need of a Backbone.
We wrote a follow-up piece in June 2011 that further articulated the vision for a broker-centric technology company seamlessly connecting to MLS data and delivering all of the functionality needed by a brokerage to secure new listings, effectively promote listings and then efficiently process transactions.
It's great to see the vision of a true end-to-end solution for brokerages coming to life.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Arkeveld, CEO of Lone Wolf Technologies, about the acquisition.
Implications for Brokers
Expand the end-to-end solution of Lone Wolf
Lone Wolf purchased Transaction Desk to expand the scope of its end-to-end solution. According to Mr. Arkevald, "This acquisition will provide our broker clients with the benefits of a true enterprise solution for real estate, through a fully integrated transaction management-to-accounting solution. This solution will automate workflow and make the lives easier for everyone in the brokerage."
Lone Wolf will continue to support integrations with competing transaction management solutions
Lone Wolf told us they will continue to support integrations with other transaction management providers that brokers have chosen to work with like DocuSign, SkySlope, dotloop and others.
Implications for MLSs/Associations
MLSs and associations will remain a key priority
Given that Lone Wolf is clearly a broker-centric company, we wanted to understand whether MLSs and associations will remain a priority. Lone Wolf was clear to reinforce to us that MLSs and associations will remain a key priority. They told us, "Instanet's MLS customers are a major factor of the company's success, and we plan to continue to invest in those relationships and the MLS space to enhance our value to the industry as a whole."
CoreLogic/Instanet partnership to remain unchanged
We were first interested to find out what changes, if any, Instanet's MLS customers will experience. Patrick told us that the current distribution partnership with CoreLogic will remain unchanged. Lone Wolf will invest in ongoing innovations on the Transaction Desk platform.
Mls integrations will be enhanced
Transaction Desk enjoys significant adoption and usage, due in large part to its seamless integration into the listing detail pages of MLS systems. We wanted to find out if that functionality will remain in place. Lone Wolf told us that "It's one of the greatest benefits and most appealing aspects of the Instanet platform. Over time, we plan to enhance the value that this integration brings. While we're still planning our long term integration strategy, we will fully leverage this benefit."
Is this acquisition an UPSTREAM killer?
Instanet has enjoyed UPSTREAM-like abilities, which allow agents and brokers to input their listings directly into the MLS system. This is one of the key reasons why brokers prefer Instanet Solutions over other transaction management systems. We wanted to know how much this functionality drove interest in Transaction Desk. "Instanet has had the functionality to upload listings to the MLS for some time, prior to our acquisition," said Patrick. "We are not changing that functionality. We are keenly following the Upstream initiative and will continue to explore it in the coming months."
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