Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

NorthstarMLS discontinues Homesnap Pro license

From an email to members: NorthstarMLS discontinuing MLS wide license for Homesnap Pro in March

“NorthstarMLS was an early champion and is a current supporter of Broker Public Portal (BPP), an initiative spearheaded by brokers and MLSs to provide a new option for public display of listings. BPP and technology vendor Homesnap entered a joint venture that facilitated BPP’s introduction of Homesnap Pro. At that time, NorthstarMLS added Homesnap Pro as part of its subscriber offerings. 

In 2022, Homesnap and BPP ended their joint venture. Given this change, the NorthstarMLS Board of Directors decided to discontinue offering Homesnap Pro effective March 20, 2023. “

Me thinks there is more to this story than what is being said…

CoStar won’t buy realtor.com

CoStar will not acquire portal Realtor.com after all

“During Tuesday’s investor call, Florance compared CoStar’s portal ambitions to the choice consumers face between buying a home verses building something new. But thanks to what Florance described as Homes.com’s success with traffic, and its positive reception within the real estate industry, CoStar has apparently settled for now on the building, rather than buying, strategy.

We feel we have a unique offering on the organic side that no one else is offering out there,” Florance said at another point during the call.

Tuesday’s earnings report states that Homes.com now has more than 20 million unique monthly visitors.”

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, remember when CoStar was going to buy CoreLogic? Good times.

Ultimately this was a head-scratcher anyway, how was CoStar going to manage two brands? Rob and I went over this on an episode of Industry Relations.

I love the optimism here from Andy, but Realtor.com traffic is roughly 5 times that of Homes.com, and Zillow is 10 times that of Homes.com. I still can’t believe Andy’s grand plan is to “beat Zillow”, especially organically. I keep believing there has to be something else…some other plan yet to be revealed. Beating Zillow seems like a fool’s errand.

As a wise man once said, “never get involved in a land war in Asia.”

Industry Relations podcast: CoStar Buying Realtor.com Rumors

There’s been a lot of talk lately about CoStar buying Realtor.com. Will it happen or is it just a rumor? What advantages would CoStar have if they do acquire Realtor.com? With a history of bold predictions and Nostrodamus-like moments, Rob and Greg share their thoughts on what’s most likely to happen. Find out why Rob believes multi-brands aren’t a good thing and Greg shares how this could help with CoStar’s SEO. Lots of thought experiments in this episode as they unravel the rumors behind CoStar’s purchase of Realtor.com.

Watch us on YouTube!

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

This podcast is produced by Two Brothers Creative 2023.

CoStar to purchase Realtor.com?

News Corp in Talks to Sell Real Estate Site For $3 Billion

“Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is in talks to sell its Move Inc. online real estate business to CoStar Group Inc.

Move is the parent of Realtor.com and other real estate-related websites. The deal is worth about $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The sale could be announced within days, one of the people said.”

After CoStar announced at a recent earnings call they had raised $750M for future acquistions Rob and I on our Industry Relations podcast tried to guess what they would scoop up. I thought we had a pretty good guess with Matterport. Matterport had recently bought VHT Studios. So we thought it would give them some killer IP and a network of photographers. Turns out Zillow took the bait and purchased VRX, and CoStar had bigger fish in mind. Although $3 billion isn’t that much money for CoStar, remember they bid $7 billion for CoreLogic.

Brings up a few questions. Will NAR approve? Or do they even have the say? If NAR was cool with handing the reins to Rupert Murdoch, then Andy Florance seems like a Boy Scout.

What about Homes.com? I’ve been wondering when the new website would be launched, and they recently had a big round of layofffs. Maybe Andy realized that it would take a hell of lot more money to get Homes.com (a distant #3) to compete with Zillow than it would take #2, realtor.com. And the whole “your listing, your lead” actually might play better under the realtor.com umbrella.

Your move Nestfully.

Did Zillow just launch the new Homes.com?

Well it certainly looking that way…

Check out today’s press release from Zillow:

New service from ShowingTime+ enables agents to deliver beautiful, dynamic listings with less hassle

“We want to help agents effortlessly deliver standout listings that wow their sellers and help win over potential buyers,” said Cynthia Taylor, vice president of product for ShowingTime+. “Listing Media Services cuts down on the time agents spend preparing a listing so they can focus on the high-touch, high-value work they do as a trusted adviser for their clients.”

Also, check out the Listing Showcase site:

Here’s copy from the Listing Showcase site:

… select agents will receive the keys to a new best-in-class listing display — Listing Showcase.

Until now, online listings all conformed to the same structure. Listing Showcase is a NEW style of listing display that truly differentiates top-tier agents in their market.

Aren’t these two things; better content and new ways to highlight listings, exactly what CoStar was promising with their brand-new Homes.com?

Looks like Zillow just hijacked CoStar’s business model.

Zillow acquires VRX media, includes a national pro photographers network

Zillow Group acquires VRX Media to create national photographer network, elevate listing media through ShowingTime+ brand

“Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z and ZG) today announced it has closed on the acquisition of VRX Media. This real estate media marketing and services leader is known for its aerial drone photography, virtual staging, 3D tours, high-definition photography and fast-media delivery to clients, which is made possible through the company’s national professional photographer network. Zillow Group will continue to offer VRX Media’s services through the ShowingTime+ software suite.”

Smart, and obviously a move to help Zillow compete against CoStar’s yet-to-be-announced launch of the new Homes.com which is said to offer “listing enhancement” packages.

I had made a prediction on the Industry Relations podcast that CoStar might buy Matterport because Matterport had recently bought VHT Studios which also had a nationwide professional photographers network. I guess Zillow thought it was a good idea too.

CoStar announces re-shuffle and layoffs of 100 employees of HomeSnap/Homes.com

CoStar Group Integrates Homesnap Operations With Homes.Com

“Today, CoStar Group took steps to combine and streamline the operations and functionality of Homes.com and Homesnap. David Mele, who led Homes.com for 7 years prior to its acquisition by CoStar Group in 2021, has been named President of the combined Homes.com and Homesnap organization. The company believes that the combined entity is now better positioned to efficiently achieve its goal of becoming the leading residential real estate portal.”

David Mele (who I hear is well-liked) has mostly been behind the scenes since the acquisition. Well, he is about to get a lot of attention focused on him now.

“Over the course of the next 12 months, CoStar Group expects to increase the net number of employees building Homes.com by 700 after today’s reorganization and headcount reduction of approximately 100 duplicative roles.”

Damn. 100 people. Well, I guess John Mellencamp doesn’t come cheap…

“My listing, my lead is a scam”

Great thread on Twitter from @gregfischer

It seems like everyone chimes in on this thread. Good discussion and I think Greg is spot on with some of his observations (including the one above).

Industry Relations Podcast: CoStar’s Recent Earnings and Transformational Deals

It’s the rise of CoStar! From commercial to residential real estate, shocking Q3 earnings, and antitrust lawsuits, CoStar could be making some transformational deals in the near future that may have a serious impact on the marketplace. In this episode, Rob and Greg discuss Andy Florance’s motivation going into Q4 and what potential deals are on the table for CoStar.

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Rob’s Website

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This podcast is produced by Two Brothers Creative

Now that CoStar is a broker, is their way of “hijacking” IDX listings better than everyone else? You be the judge.

In an interview with Brad Inman, Andy Florance, CEO of CoStar said Zillow was “hijacking” listings and also compared them to the Mafia. His analogy was as follows:

“An agent puts up a yard sign, and then another company pulls up, spray paints over the sign, and puts a new agent’s name on the sign. Florance said no one would tolerate such behavior in the real world.”

Here’s what I’m picturing from Andy’s description.

In a recent post about the divorce of Homesnap and BPP Homesnap’s co-founder Steve Barnes stated…

“Homes.com and Homesnap.com will also offer paid preferred placement for listings in search results.”

Would this be tolerated in the “real world”?

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