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NRT Positions Itself to “Out Flank” Zillow/Trulia, Serving as Both Brokerage and Portal

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NRT's new portals, acquisitions, may position the brokerage to out flank competition.
NRT’s new portals, acquisitions, may position the brokerage to out flank competition.

It’s a much different model than Zillow/Trulia, but NRT/Realogy will be on pace to not only capture more leads than Zillow, but it has boots-on-the-ground Realtors who can complete sales. This one-two punch is part of NRT’s strategy to “out flank” Zillow, positioning the brokerage as an online and in-person real estate powerhouse, according to Inman News:

“The nation’s largest real estate brokerage, NRT LLC, is preparing to launch two new search portals that are aimed at reducing the company’s reliance on leads from Zillow, Trulia and, attracting homebuyers by offering access to a complete set of MLS listings in markets where NRT operates, plus bells and whistles like automated valuations.

NRT, the brokerage wing of real estate titan Realogy, has over 42,000 agents and operates more than 700 offices in the U.S. under the Coldwell Banker Real Estate, ERA Real Estate, and Sotheby’s International Realty brands. It also owns and operates Citi Habitats, The Corcoran Group and, when the acquisition closes sometime this quarter, ZipRealty.”


So how will “Project Flanker” effect Zillow and Trulia and the other real estate websites that provide only one service to buyers and sellers? And will this vertically integrated model with e-agents and accurate leads change the business as we know it? And what about local brokerages and independents?

“It is not intended to compete against the big portals like Zillow or Trulia,” Smith said Monday during Realogy’s second-quarter earnings call. “It is a very different approach to the markets, very smart, I think it is very strategic.”

When it launches “Project Flanker,” NRT will join other brokerages in offering a national IDX search portal, including ZipRealty, Redfin and Movoto.

Because NRT is a brokerage, Project Flanker is unlikely to generate the kind of controversy that surfaced in 2011, when Realogy and other franchisor operators successfully lobbied NAR to allow them to index and display IDX listings published by their affiliated brokers on national franchise sites like Century 21.

NAR repealed the approval after less than a year because of backlash from large brokers, who felt that allowing national franchisors to display IDX listings to national franchisors gave them an unfair advantage and went against the spirit of IDX listings, which are usually available only to MLS members. That controversy could explain why NRT, and not Realogy at large, is the one building these national sites.

Franchisors, including Realogy’s franchise brands (like ERA Real Estate) and Re/Max, came up with a workaround that allows consumers to search IDX listings in markets where the brands have affiliates by serving up framed search results of their local affiliates’ sites. powers the ERA and Re/Max sites.

Smith said “IDX is fairly common in our industry, we don’t see any problem there at all,” with IDX display, saying the NRT site is “on track” to launch by the end of the year.

Interesting? Game changing? What do you think?

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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  1. mmCandy Evans says

    As Rob Hahn pointed out, don’t see how the original Inman headline fits — outflanked GodZulia? I doubt it. But it’s a smart move and a step in the right direction. I may point out that “Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) is a global leader in real estate franchising with company-owned real estate brokerage operations doing business under its franchise systems as well as relocation and title services. Realogy’s brands and business units include Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, CENTURY 21®, Coldwell Banker®, Coldwell Banker Commercial®, The Corcoran Group®, ERA®, Sotheby’s International Realty®, NRT LLC, Cartus and Title Resource Group. Collectively, Realogy’s franchise system members operate approximately 13,500 offices with 251,000 independent sales associates doing business in 104 countries around the world. Realogy is headquartered in Madison, N.J. ” If Zulia doesn’t think the big strong brokers are not going to fight back, well, maybe they’ve been vacationing in Colorado…

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