Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

MLS-Touch reaches “Mobile Milestone”

MLS-Touch by CoreLogic Hits One Million Agent “Mobile Milestone”

“The demand for MLS-Touch from multiple listing organizations and Associations across the US and Canada has been tremendous,” said Charles Drouin, Senior Product Leader at CoreLogic. “We are seeing rapid adoption and usage, with MLS-Touch disrupting the leaderboard and becoming the preferred mobile app used by real estate agents today,” he added.”


Bravo. I have to say CoreLogic’s acquisition of Prospects Software was super smart. Add to that the timing of CoStar’s acquisition of Homesnap (and their failure to resign the BPP) along with a well executed sales strategy and you get these results. Big congrats to Charles, Kevin and the rest of the team.

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…

Why CoStar’s Homes.com/Homesnap GTM might already be DOA

Andrea Brambila for Inman News, CoStar’s Homesnap and Broker Public Portal get a divorce

When real estate juggernaut CoStar acquired real estate tech firm Homesnap for $250 million at the end of 2020, Homesnap said it was committed to its partnership with the Broker Public Portal, a company formed by a large group of brokers and multiple listing services to launch the nation’s first national public-facing MLS website.

But nearly two years later, the two companies are going their separate ways. The National Broker Portal LLC, a joint venture owned 50-50 by the two companies since December 2016, will shut down on Oct. 31.

So much to unpack here in another great exposé by Andrea Brambila. If you haven’t read the whole article, go read it. I have many questions. Like, did MLS orgs and brokers (BPP) get played by Homesnap? Has anyone added up the amount of money Andy Florance has either given up or spent on this residential play so far? But I digress, what I want to focus on now is a glaring flaw I see in CoStar’s strategy with Homes.com.

Agent responsiveness.

Zillow learned this the hard way. When Zillow first launched any agent could buy leads from the company. Then they shifted. To “super agents” and “super teams”. Why? Because agents weren’t responding to leads, this was making Zillow look bad. When Zillow switched to a referral model the scrutiny got even more intense. Not just any agent/broker could buy leads from Zillow you must meet certain criteria in order to be a “Premier Agent”.

Zillow has also initiated a lead incubation program that makes sure every lead is followed up on. Zillow has made considerable investments to make sure that its brand is protected.

Keep in mind, CoStar’s experience with commercial real estate agents. When you call a commercial agent, they pick up the phone. When you email them, they respond quickly. When they show up for an appointment they most likely will be wearing a tie. Compare that experience with a residential real estate agent. The culture is completely different.

I don’t think the fact that leads are going straight to the listing agent is going to make a difference in the level of responsiveness. So if consumers go to Homes.com and ask the agent for more information and they don’t hear back within 30 minutes, they are gone baby gone.

Hopefully, Homes.com/Homesnap has already solved this (and I don’t think the Homesnap app solves this). But, If CoStar doesn’t have a solution for agents not responding to buyer inquiries on Homes.com at launch or shortly after launch all the reported money they will spend on advertising might as well be lit on fire.

You’re welcome.

CoStar’s big bet against MLS

Lots of chatter about Andy Florance’s interview with Brad Inman last week at Inman Connect.  Andy has certainly gotten better at his storytelling since his last interview with Brad.  According to Mr. Florance Zillow is “hijacking” listings by placing other agents around the listing.  But what Mr. Florance fails to mention is that any broker or agent that has an IDX website is also “hijacking” listings.

What’s at stake here is at the very core of the principles behind the MLS, “cooperation and compensation”.  Basically, you help me sell my listing, I’ll help you sell yours.

In a perfect “CoStar world” cooperative compensation goes away, and agents must directly pay to advertise listings.  “The Australian model”, some have dubbed it.   In this case, CoStar’s acquisition of Homes.com serves as their listing portal and Homesnap for their agent toolbox.  Sidenote: I find it kind of funny that Mr. Florance has beaten Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp to the “Australian model” of real estate.  Since realtor.com is so very entrenched in Opcity’s broker referral model.

Now, this is a completely sound business strategy.  Break up the MLS-Broker model and go directly to agents and consumers. CoStar, Homes.com, and Homesnap have made a bet, in my opinion against the MLS. Okay, you do you.

But, I personally don’t agree with this solution.  I think having a strong MLS, makes the market work. And I think as we evolve policy in regard to transparency in commissions and listing attribution we can make things better for everyone.

And let’s be honest. The Seller doesn’t give a shit about any of this. They just want their house sold. Zillow and other IDX sites do a great job of giving listings the greatest exposure in the market. All the broker needs to do is, put it on the MLS.

I also don’t agree with the fear-based message Mr. Florance is sending out.  It seems that Mr. Florance’s whole value proposition is that they are “not Zillow”.  Zillow is the “mafia”.  Zillow is “hijacking” your listings.  He even readily admits that CoStar is not coming out with any innovations in regard to the “UI or UX” of its software.  It seems their entire go-to-market strategy is just tapping into all the Zillow haters. Granted, Zillow has done a lot of stupid things to make it easy to pick on them but I wish Mr. Florance would tell us why his site and tools are better than everyone else’s instead of just bashing competitors.

Next week CoStar/Homes.com/Homesnap is shutting down part of the Gaslight District in San Diego and throwing a huge party and concert with Country Music Star, Keith Urban.  And I’m sure a lot of wining and dining will happen.

But, I’m not a big fan of Country Music, especially Australian Country Music.

CoStar buys Homes.com

CoStar Group to Acquire Residential Listing Site Homes.com

“Unfortunately,” continued Florance, “current residential listing sites do not serve the interests of homeowners or their agents as they focus on selling advertisements on top of agent listings and increasingly offer competing brokerage services. These sites generate a portion of their revenue from directing potential homebuyers away from the listing agents to unrelated buyer agents that are advertising on top of listing agent listings. This is a practice we plan to no longer continue. Our plan in bringing Homesnap and Homes.com together is to help agents market their listings in support of the ‘your listing, your lead’ philosophy – which stands in contrast to most players in the industry.”

$156M seems pretty cheap when you compare to the ShowingTime deal at $500M and Homesnap deal at $250M. I guess I thought they were bigger than they were.

I still don’t know how CoStar makes any money selling only to listing agents, without IDX going away, which is problematic think this “your listing, your lead” rhetoric is still problematic towards MLS and organized real estate. There might be an interesting culture clash with many in the company.

What some may not realize is that Homes.com (due to them previously being remax.com’s MLS data supplier) has one of the largest, if not the largest MLS data aggregation platforms in the space, and now all that data is controlled by CoStar.

Vendor Cage Match: Homesnap goes after Remine with new predictive analytics features

Who you got?

The off-market/public records game is heating up!

Homesnap’s new platform guesses when people will move

“The platform uses an algorithm that crunches millions of records, including MLS data, to come up with a “Likelihood to List” score. The service, available only to licensed agents, shows a “heat map” of neighborhoods color-coded to zero in on the homes most likely to go on the market.
“Instead of sending a postcard to 5,000 homes, real estate agents can just focus in on the people the algorithm has determined are the most likely to list their homes,” Lou Mintzer, Homesnap’s chief product officer.”

Things could get awkward for both these D.C. area-based companies if they frequent the same restaurants.

New Homesnap Pro

Remine has been on a bit of a hiring spree lately. Joe Kazzoun and Bill Andrews were hired back in October of last year. Recently they also hired Quinn Nichols, formerly of MARIS, Troy Feeken, formerly of FBS, and Chelsea Goyer, formerly of Redfin. That’s going add a lot to their burn-rate.

Meanwhile, the O.G. in the game, CoreLogic, is not sitting still. CoreLogic has been recently touting a brand-new Realist “re-imagined from the ground up “. This space is heating up quickly, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

In an article posted on Inman News today, Homesnap CEO John Mazur calls this new Off-Market Marketplace their “crown-jewel” and promises more enhancements coming.

The new Homesnap Pro

All this can only be good for agents and MLS customers. Competition is a good thing.


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