CoStar-owned portal company Homesnap yesterday announced that it is developing a software tool to rival ShowingTime, the home viewing scheduling and data analytics company that Zillow announced that it had agreed to buy for $500 million yesterday. Homesnap's decision to disclose that it would be putting the 'pedal to the metal' to create a tool to let agents schedule viewings comes after some strong negative reaction to Zillow's acquisition.
A majority of realtors on industry forums are sceptical about Zillow's motivation behind the acquisition and are worried about how the company will seek to use the data it gains from ShowingTime. Homesnap CEO John Mazur was clearly seeking to exacerbate the concern around Zillow's encroachment towards the transaction with comments made yesterday to Homesnaps MLS partners:
"At Homesnap, we believe that the essential tools real estate professionals use every day to serve clients should not be owned or controlled by market participants who compete with those real estate professionals"
It seems as though we are in for a year of good headlines in the US residential real estate marketing industry. Since commercial giant CoStar started to lumber its way into residential real estate last year, the competition for Zillow Group has been hotting up. CoStar's Andy Florance has already fired off some incendiary comments such as "the residential agent is Zillow's competitor" and called Zillow's model "a failure if you look at P&L".
A visit to the CoStar owned houses.com where a message intended for real estate agents says in big letters that "CoStar sets the stage for its entry into residential real estate" and that this entry will happen "without disenfranchising or disintermediating valuable real estate agents in the process" leaves little doubt that CoStar will be overt and aggressive in approach to taking on Zillow.