Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Zillow’s “touring agreement” may be illegal

Virginia Realtors: Zillow’s touring agreement may not be legal

“While many in the industry have been intrigued by Zillow’s new pilot program, Virginia Realtors is taking a tougher stand.

In a notice published on Friday, Virginia Realtors wrote that “upon analysis of this ‘touring agreement’ form, Virginia REALTORS does not believe it is in compliance with the requirements of Virginia law.”

The trade organization also advised members to discuss business practices and any agreements and forms they are going to use with their broker to ensure that they are in compliance with state law.”

Brooklee Han, HousingWire


Zillow asks industry to save its ShowingTime business

Zillow’s new touring agreement puts consumers first

“Our touring agreement–which expires after seven days and covers touring activities only – does not require compensation or exclusivity. That’s by design. We believe any negotiation of compensation, and what it will look like for the buyer and agent to work together, should happen after both meet and feel ready. At the time when an additional agreement is signed, the buyer and the agent should be aligned on all terms and expectations, including compensation, with no surprises. “

Errol Samuelson, Zillow Group

I think we all knew that the NAR Settlement requirement for agents to have a written agreement for showing homes threw a big wrench in Zillow’s attempt to “Uberize” real estate agents with the “Request A Tour” button.

Under the guise of “putting consumers first” Zillow’s “touring agreement” is a pretty clever attempt to help them save their Premier Agent/ShowingTime Plus business.

In my mind’s eye I can see Zillow’s Industry Relations Reps loading their slide decks, making restaurant reservations, attending to last minute party details, and filling their hotel suites with bottles of Fiji water in preparation for their descent in to Washington DC for the NAR Midyear meetings next week.

Raise your glass of Silver Oak high for these champions of consumers!

Industry Relations Podcast: CoStar Acquires Matterport, The photography wars

How will CoStar’s recent buyout of Matterport affect the industry? In this episode Rob and Greg dive into the recent acquisition of Matterport by CoStar and how Rob and Greg predicted this years ago. How will Zillow respond? And how will other industry giants such as Redfin be affected by this huge announcement?

They also talk about Realtor.com’s CEO, Damian Eales, and his plans to expand the portal’s offerings. But beyond the competition between these portals lies an important conversation about raising the bar in the industry and eliminating low-quality agents for the betterment of consumers. 

And what’s the next battleground in real estate? Buyer rep agreements will be crucial to differentiate between the showdown with good agents and bad agents.

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

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This podcast is produced by Two Brothers Creative 2024.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Top portal rivals show mutual support for buyer agency

“In a LinkedIn post, Zillow Co-founder and CEO Rich Barton drew attention to Eales’ “valuable thoughts” in the Wall Street Journal op-ed, but also reminded the industry that Zillow had previously launched its own effort — “Real Estate Rights for Consumers” — to show support for transparency in the industry and for buyer agency. “

AJ LaTrace, Real Estate News

Shocking. Two companies that sell buyer leads to agents agree that buyer’s agents are important.

Ziltorfin just peed in its pants

“Over $1B invested” 👀

Homes.com teases Super Bowl Ad

Watching the Grammy’s last night I caught an ad for Homes.com.

The ad features Lil’ Wayne and Dan Levy with the tag line, “Home Shopping goes back to school” and then the date “2.11.24”, which is the date to the Super Bowl.

There are also two other ads on their YouTube channel. The one above features Dan Levy again and Heidi Gardner riffing on new Homes.com slogans.

The last video appears to have CoStar’s CEO Andy Florance in a cameo board room scene (:15). Both of them teasing the “2.11.24” Super Bowl date.

We are already know that Mr. Florance likes to go big with their promotion, and nothing is bigger than a Super Bowl ad. Should be fun to watch!

Industry Relations Podcast: Impact and Consequences of the Zillow Lawsuit

What happens when a real estate giant like Zillow takes legal action against their own clients?  Things get a little complicated as Rob and Greg explore the issues of the delicate balance of being a participant, vendor and MLS organization (sometimes all at the same time!)

***Disclaimer – Due to MLS Aligned being a consulting client of Greg, the views expressed on this podcast are Greg’s opinions and DO NOT represent the views of MLS Aligned.***

Rob and Greg discuss the recent Zillow lawsuit against two MLSs, ARMLS and Metro MLS, which alleges control over technology distribution and the practical implications of not being integrated into the MLS member portal and how it affects the functionality of platforms like ShowingTime. Greg gives his own first-hand experiences with MLS system integration and Cloud CMA.

They explore what could be the potential impact on competition and the challenges faced by MLSs in making integration decisions.  And can MLS organizations choose who they do business with or not?  Mountain? Molehill? Listen to Rob and Greg try and grapple a tricky situation as only they can.

Watch us on YouTube!

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

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Greg’s Website

Our Sponsors

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This podcast is produced by Two Brothers Creative 2024.

Z acquires FUB for $400M

Zillow acquires CRM Follow Up Boss, super app ‘mission’ ongoing

“A CRM makes sense for Zillow. The acquisition demonstrates that the evolving proptech remains on a path to become an increasingly influential presence in the residential real estate industry with consumers and agents.

It has taken on a number of software brands of late, starting with ShowingTime in early 2021, which became the basis for ShowingTime+, an umbrella brand under which a litany of agent-oriented marketing services come to rest, such as Listing Showcase and Aryeo, a marketing media management solution which it scooped up in August.

Follow Up Boss will not be part of ShowingTime+, Zillow President Susan Daimler told Inman.”

Craig Rowe for Inman News

Congrats to Dan and his team. Follow Up Boss is all about culture. I think it’s smart not to roll them in to the ShowingTime+ team. Also, talk about timing….

HowardHanna.com switches to VOW, and raises questions on IDX and national portals

This is a head-scratcher. I’m not sure I fully understand what is going on here but I’ll try and explain. From the video, HowardHanna.com appears to be leaving IDX. Currently, they are showing only HH listings and you must register to see more.

So is Howard Hanna pulling out of IDX? Is there some sort of selective listing opt-out mechanism? Mr. Hanna also says they will “still be partnering with the national portals, and figuring what the strategy will be with them.” I can’t for the life of me figure out how since most of the national portals use an IDX feed. Can you blend an IDX feed with a direct feed from a broker?

Genius or bat-shit crazy? I don’t yet understand the strategy fully until some of these questions are answered. I guess if they are super dominant in that market then it might make sense.

But if I’m a listing agent in Ohio that is competing with Howard Hanna the first thing I would bring up at a listing presentation is something to the tune of, “Howard Hanna won’t promote your listings on all websites, I will”.

I’ll be hosting a Twitter Spaces on this subject today at 1PM PT. Join us!

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.”

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