Doug Seabolt, CEO of Rocket Homes (formerly In-House Realty) has been a busy guy in 2018. His company acquired ForSaleByOwner.com in the spring, and now In-House Realty has rebranded as Rocket Homes to better connect with sister company Quicken Loans – home of Rocket Mortgage. Both Quicken Loans and Rocket Homes are subsidiaries of the fintech giant, Rock Holdings.
Rocket Homes operates a nationwide Partner Agent Network, but the company’s new home search site is only available in its home state of Michigan today. The company plans to extend its home search site to 10 states by the end of the year.
Rocket Homes helps preapproved buyers and sellers search for a home, connect with a local real estate agent and obtain a mortgage.
For the last 12 years, Rocket Homes has built a substantial business through its Partner Agent Network and will continue to serve their Partner Agents in all 50 states. According to Olivia Zarndt, Director of Marketing for Rocket Homes, the firm currently has 25,000 Partner Agents in their network today. They serve clients in 50 States and 3,100 counties, so you can expect that their Rocket Home Search will be joining your MLS in 2019 if not part of the initial roll out in 2018.
Zarndt outlined their Partner Network advantages in three ways:
- Partner Agents in our Network receive exclusive mortgage-approved, ready to buy or seller referrals.
- With the addition of our new integrated platform, we have one place for clients to go to search for a home, get connected with one of our Partner Agents and apply for and manage their mortgage. By creating this integrated platform, it provides a more seamless experience for our mutual clients and our Partner Agents who are helping manage the transaction.
- Another benefit we are working on is branding opportunities for our Partner Agent Network on our new website
Zarndt outlined their consumer advantages in two ways:
- Consumers that come to Rocket Homes in need of an agent receive a vetted, prescreened Partner Agent along with a dedicated home buying/selling client advocate to ensure a smooth real estate experience.
- Through our seamless integrations, clients can access their mortgage information, get connected with a Partner Agent and search for homes.
WAV Group has provided real estate brokers who have Mortgage companies with a lot of strategic advice and research on how mortgage companies and real estate companies can collaborate in a RESO compliant fashion to cross sell those services as an all in one solution for consumers. Contact Victor Lund if you want to review. Bank of America was among the first mortgage companies to pursue this strategy. Certainly, firms like NRT, Cartus, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Redfin, Howard Hanna, Hunt Real Estate, and many of The Realty Alliance and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World members have moved in this direction. Because of the economic advantages of re-margining the commission structure with agents around relocation splits, broker dollar can be significantly boosted.
It will be difficult to track the growth of Rocket Homes and their market penetration as they grow since transactions will be reported through members of the Partner Network. It is the same issue that we have in tracking the effectiveness of the Bank of America program or others like OpCity. Leading RE and Cartus report their production to some extent.
The referral business in real estate creates a bit of a shadow market in the industry that is difficult to gauge. It is certainly a line item that brokers track and a vital component of broker business development. Referrals in and out of the company drive broker margin when they go through the brokerage. When they go directly to agents, the broker may not receive any compensation. Stay tuned for more on this topic.