If there is an emerging trend in broker websites today, it is collaborative search. Property search should always have been built as a co-buyer application. Zillow and Redfin – who are predominately direct to consumer brokerages – have figured it out. I am not sure when Compass launched collaborative search. TRIBUS had the functionality a decade ago, but really improved the product with a release announced this week called Households Collaborative Search


A single person purchasing a home without any other friends, influencers or decision makers is a fallacy. It either does not happen at all, or is so incredibly rare that it is insignificant. So why are most real estate websites constructed with the paradigm of ‘My Saved Search’ or ‘My Saved Favorites’? Netflix has already figured this out with family accounts. How did real estate miss the boat?

Listed Match Activity from Website

[Account activity and content]

As consumers search in pairs or groups, they want to share their saved favorites. With TRIBUS, not only can I favorite a listing, but I can give it a ranking of 1 star to 5 stars to show the listings that I like more than others. With collaborative search, when the collaborators unanimously pick a 5-star property, they get the “It’s a match” notification. It is a lot like a dating app.

"It's a Match" Email Notification


Imagine if co-buyers – like husband and wife, parents, and even kids – were all searching together on the same platform; the collaboration would be excellent for everyone and the agent is able to see how different collaborators react and discuss different properties. Brilliant.

Many home purchases today involve parents helping with the down payment or the mortgage. Multigenerational housing has become more popular too. Collaborative search not only brings this all together, but it also allows the agent to recognize a “household” rather than an individual. (I cannot tell you how many Realtors send multiple postcards and flyers to our house because they have both my wife and I in their CRM as individuals and not connected to the same household).  

Strangely enough, my wife and I both have saved searches on Zillow and Redfin – mostly to watch real estate activity around our properties. Redfin connected us; I do not remember how, but they did. Zillow has not connected us. We have not tried Compass or a TRIBUS site yet – but I think that the use of machine learning, big data, and AI would be able to make that magic happen to connect people who already registered. This would be a vast improvement over sharing a listing via email or text – or waiving your phone at your wife (which I do).

Collaborative search is a fresh new wave of innovation that should have been a feature of websites all along. I will not be surprised if this is a standard feature on all broker and agent websites within a year.

But there is more…

Collaborative search is the beginning of home ownership portals; one spot for everything that includes all members of the household. Several companies are working on this. I am anxious to see how they come to market.  One company working on a home portal solution is Inside Real Estate. They are developing a Home Ownership Platform – Code Named HOP. We have not seen it yet, but their plan is to bring together context around home value, property searches, listings of interest and even transactions. Another product that is ready for market today is Milestones.ai. It is impressive and quite possibly the leader in the clubhouse for home ownership portals.

Congrats to all for having a vision that builds customers for life. WAV Group has published dozens of articles on this topic – it is great to see it all come together. Here is a link if you would like to read more up on customer for life strategies.