Imagine a world where every real estate agent, broker and franchise in the nation promoted their real estate mobile app to consumers. The app is white-label branded to the agent, broker, and franchise offering direct access to every MLS listing without any competitive ads. That is the way it would need to work. Guess what, we have it. You have it. Our industry has it. Today.
There are two models of how the app works. If the consumer is working with a franchise, a firm, or an agent – that trusted relationship is honored. The professional service provider selected by the consumer is there with them at any time. They remain connected to the consumer to help out with any questions they have. If the consumer is looking out of that service provider’s region, the provider can refer that business however they like.
The second model of the app is for a consumer who has not selected a real estate service provider. In that circumstance, every listing is branded to the listing broker and agent with no competitors advertised on the listing other than the seller’s representative.
For real estate professionals, the professional version of the app needs to be a little different. It needs to provide the agent with deeper data – the confidential fields in the MLS(s) that they participate in – showing instructions and the like. But agents need to do things like access the MLS roster of other agents, so they can quickly contact colleagues to ask a question or schedule a showing. The app needs to have a safe showing feature to enhance safety. The app needs to support the agent’s ability to create a quick CMA. The app needs to allow the agent to look up public record data about off market properties. These tools are vital to serving the client and increasing agent productivity.
Some 850,000 agents have access to this app today, but many agents do not know about it. It is offered by the MLSs participating in the Broker Public Portal. The app is called Homesnap. It is ridiculously easy to use. Agents download the app, select their MLS, and their personal branded app is created. Next, the app prompts the agent to send an invitation to everyone in their phone’s address book with one click. Why would any consumer use an app from an advertising company’s app if they had this service from their agent? Accurate listings. No advertising confusion found on those other apps. It’s the best app for real estate search.
Our industry is at a crossroads. The advertising companies have intercepted the consumer, and try as you may, individual franchises, brokers, or agents will never have enough individual horsepower to beat the portals. However, with cooperation amongst the 670 MLSs, the 85,000 brokers, and the 1.3 million real estate professionals – we can offer an alternative. You have two choices. You can stand around and complain, or you can step up and lead. The hard work has already been done. It’s built.
If your MLS is not participating in the Broker Public Portal and offering Homesnap as a member benefit – please write them a letter. Please petition your MLS board of directors. They are there to support their participants and subscribers. If you do not express your feelings, they will not think that you care. And, things will continue the way that they are today. Status Quo. If they hear you, they will act. Let them know that $1 per month is worth it to get the consumer back. Usually, it does not even take a dues increase. But sometimes it may. Tell your MLS that you are good with that. It is a low-level investment to curate a new experience for consumers that secures your relationship with serving them.
If your MLS already has Homesnap, go to the Android Store or the Apple App Store and put it on your phone right now. Invite your clients right now. They will love it, and they will appreciate you more for pointing them to the best app for real estate. Also, make sure that your MLS knows that you support the product and BPP. If you don’t Homesnap it or express how much you value it, your MLS may not renew its agreement. We can only cause this sea change to serve consumers better if we remain united.
Are you sick and tired of advertising portals and want to create an industry alternative that is motivated by cooperation and business rules that promote your relationship with consumers? You must engage. The app will not load itself. Your MLS will not launch it without your support and encouragement.
By the way, it is important you know that there is no profit motive behind this. Nobody involved in the Broker Public Portal may ever receive a dividend. In fact, the founding shareholders may not even redeem their unit shares. Those investments made by founding MLSs and Brokers only allow them to participate in guiding the company to make sure that the Broker Public Portal and Homesnap does not stray from its course. They vote and serve on the board. That’s it. Let’s change the industry for good right now!