Was it Mark Twain or F. Scott Fitzgerald who originally wrote: “At first you go bankrupt slowly, then all at once” …I’m not sure? But I often share that quote to illustrate how change happens in culture, or in an industry. Today, I believe that we are on the precipice of an all-at-once moment that will have a profound impact on real estate portals. We see the emergence of homeownership portals happening now. We anticipate that homeownership portals will replace or transform property search portals and real estate CRMs. The move in this direction has happened slowly, but this year, we believe that it is happening all at once. We see enterprise brokers, franchise brands, state associations, and large MLSs implementing these tools today. Its a big shift.
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There are a number of signals in the market that express context that supports the development and adoption of homeownership portals. The first and longest running streak trend among consumer portals is becoming parcel centric. If you look at the success of Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Redfin, and Movoto – the differentiating factor that drives consumers to those sites is that they have data on every property, ergo every parcel. It shocks me that real estate brokers have not woken up to the reality that their IDX website or VOW website will never compete with a portal that has all the listings. Consumers want to know what their home (and their neighbor’s home) is worth, when it last sold and for how much. These are table stakes today.
The next signal is that consumers do not want to be “leads.” This has been a trend for a long time that was epically characterized by 1000watt in their video about becoming a lead. I could not find the video, but Marc Davidson did write a nice piece about the broken experience of being a lead – it simply sucks. When a consumer wants to get information, they desire to look it up. When they have a question, they want to talk to someone that they know or trust. Portals that sell leads to real estate agents are going to die. The consumer experience is unsatisfactory and the real estate agent is overwhelmed from lead fatigue – leads that close 1 out of 100 – or a warm lead that closes 5 out of 100.
The next signal is related to concierge services. Like it or not, Compass crushed the competition with their concierge service that allows consumers to get home repairs done before the sale (and proceeds from the sale pay for them). Same is true of moving concierge. Consumers do not want the hassle of moving – so Updater, MooveGuru, and MoveEasy have delivered solutions.
RESPA crushed the idea of integrated services that consumers want for combining a real estate transaction with a mortgage, title, and insurance transaction. I totally understand the need to dispel the bribe-like revenue sharing between these business services, but geez – haven’t we gone too far? The consumer wants these service providers to deliver an integrated service.
When you take these signals and you mix them together, you recognize that real estate has emerged beyond search. However, two major problems exist. The first is that there is no one-stop shopping portal where all of my service providers collaborate, the second is that nobody is providing consumers with a portal to help with homeownership.
Perhaps the only portal that sees the confluence of services coming together is Zillow. They announced the Super App, but outside of the idea they shared we do not recognize it as having been executed, yet. There are a number of companies that are developing super apps for brokers.
There is a race happening right now to get the most consumers on a super app. Only a few contenders are in the race. The finish line is to give consumers an app that supports their entire lifecycle of homeownership – search, transact, move, own, sell. Once a consumer adopts a homeownership portal for their home, its game over for today’s one dimensional search portals. Much in the same way that we have a portal for managing our health, our car, our education – there will be one app for managing your home.
In this white paper, we explore the key steps to breaking away from the transactional cycle and maximizing the lifetime value of each client you work with. Whether you’re an individual agent or part of a brokerage, the strategies outlined in this paper will help you establish long-lasting, meaningful connections with your clients.