Category Archives: ZRT

Will NAR’s bold moves with realtor.com pay off?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for my family. We are in the process of moving back to Chicago, and I haven’t had much time to write. Last week, the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors met to approve “historic” changes to their agreement with Move Inc, to operate realtor.com. Inman News provided good coverage here.

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 1.05.07 PMBasically, realtor.com will be able to display non-listed rentals, new construction properties, and some distressed properties. Basically, idea 3 from my prior post. I’m a proponent of moves like this.

NAR definitely paid a price to make this happen. REALTOR.com is no longer the members-only club it was a week ago. The site is now offering about the same member benefit as Trulia.com offers every real estate agent, REALTOR® or not. What will NAR receive in return?

These changes should help Realtor.com improve traffic, but will they be enough to regain the lead among real estate portals? I’m skeptical. It would be interesting to know what the BOD’s expectations are, which leads me to a question I would love your input on.

What result should NAR expect from Move Inc, now that it has “let realtor.com soar?”

Furthermore, will Move be able to deliver? The BOD’s decision is definitely a step in the right direction, but at best, they are playing catch-up. Trulia and Zillow have robust rental, new construction and distressed property programs in place. Move’s incorporation of New Home Source listings will likely make them a leader in new construction listings, but by how much? Meanwhile, Zillow is still meeting consumer demand for things that remain taboo for the REALTOR® family (agent ratings, Zestimates, FSBOs…). If NAR is expecting Move to regain the lead in traffic, they have their work cut out for them.

Only time will tell what will happen, but I think NAR will have some interesting decisions to make in the near future. Should the association bet on their horse to win, place, or show? If Move can’t deliver, the next special BOD meeting could be about a partnership with Zillow instead.

 

Can I get a death watch for the MLS DeathWatch?

The real estate industry spends WAY too much time worrying about going out of business. I guess some of it is warranted. Things change; just ask a former travel agent. Certainly, a new model for buying and selling a home will come along, and when it does, it will be pretty obvious to all of us that we’re screwed. That day is not here yet, and I happen to think it’s a long way off.

outbizFears of disintermediation often peak in the lead up to Inman Connect. New companies/models launch, press releases are written and pundits ponder. As a result, the establishment freaks out and tries to figure out how to quash the innovation uprising. Relax. Unless someone figures out how to improve on your core value proposition, you’re going to be okay. Continue reading

Say hello to the real estate un-franchise

If you’ve ever wondered who it was that Zillow and Truilia were going to disintermediate, read on:

What is the highest value proposition provided by a real estate franchisor? 

3551915905_bbe82ec693_n Is it to provide powerful lead generation?

Is it the training they provide?

Is it the technology and marketing tools they offer?

Is it the agent referral network?

Or, is it the kick butt national advertising campaigns they run?

After many years of industry apprehension, it’s finally obvious who Zillow and Trulia have their sights set on. No, they don’t want to become franchisors, they just want provide most of the popular services a franchisor provides. As these offerings become robust, what will the franchisors need to do to remain relevant?

Photo: Creative Commons license via Flickr user recursion_see_recursion

 

REALTOR.com Redux: The Brainstorm

In less than two months, the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors will meet in private to talk about the future of REALTOR.com. As I documented in my special report, Zillow and Trulia have made significant gains over the last five years and now outrank realtor.com in unique monthly traffic. Both NAR and Move Inc want to put Realtor.com back in the lead, but it won’t be easy. They have unique challenges that they need to overcome.

imagineJust because the board is meeting in private, doesn’t mean we can’t brainstorm about REALTOR.com’s future in public. I hope you will consider adding your own ideas in the comments, or write a blog post and I’ll link to it. Let’s have a conversation about taking back REALTOR.com and upgrading it to compete with Zillow and Trulia.

I’ll start with a few ideas.

Idea 1: Use the Consumer Advertising Campaign to fund premium listings.

Continue reading