CoStar Group-owned portal and agent software company Homesnap has announced the rollout of its new Showings tool which has been specifically designed to take on Zillow's ShowingTime tool.
Homesnap Showings is described as “a direct replacement product” for ShowingTime and lets agents collaborate with sellers to schedule viewing times for their homes. Buying agents can also get instant booking and a multi-stop itinerary function. It integrates with MLSs as well as Microsoft and Google Calendars and is free to most US agents via Homesnap Pro as part of their MLS membership.
The launch of Showings represents a ramping up of CoStar Group's battle with Zillow in American residential real estate. CoStar acquired popular agent tool provider Homesnap for $250 million last year as a strategic move into a market that has been dominated by Zillow for many years.
The strategic move by CoStar, along with its purchase of portal site Homes.com earlier this year, came at a time when Zillow was experiencing more agent scorn and suspicion than usual. Many in the industry are worried that with its $500 million February purchase of popular showing management and data analysis platform ShowingTime, Zillow will now not only control leads but will also control more data around potential home buyers.
CoStar's development of its own showings platform as a direct rival (along with others in the market) is a deliberate move to galvanise agent sentiment and fragment a niche market that has traditionally been dominated by ShowingTime, a point alluded to by Homesnap's SVP of Product Lou Mintzer when we interviewed him earlier this month:
"We’ve been working on Homesnap Showings for quite some time now because at Homesnap, we believe that agents should have access to tools that help them perform their essential functions while also protecting their confidential information and client relationships."
As Zillow lurches out of iBuying, it will now be under more pressure than ever on its home turf of residential lead generation and control as CoStar and a revitalised Realtor.com continue to win over agent hearts and minds. CoStar reportedly went all out at a recent NAR conference, flooding the meeting with its representatives and putting on a huge block party for attending agents and the Washington based company has plenty more marketing budget where that came from...