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 realtor.com, 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NAR repealed the approval after less than a year because of backlash from large brokers, who felt that allowing national franchisors to display IDX listings to national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. Homes.com 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?