The Newscorp-owned U.S. real estate portal Realtor.com has introduced a new series of products and services to help agents grow their sell-side business.
The move sees Realtor introduce a paid subscription service for agents to enhance their listings' presentation and boost their visibility on the portal's results pages for the first time. The new suite of products represents a notable shift in the company's business model and will be widely interpreted as a mirroring of similar features introduced early this year by rival, Zillow.
To quote a company press release, the new selection of products and features available to agents on Realtor.com includes:
The features are collectively known as 'Listing Toolkit' and are already available to agents across the United States. Commenting on the release of Listing Toolkit, Blake Elmquist, Realtor.com Vice President, Seller Category said:
"To succeed in the current market, brokers and agents need a strong partner like Realtor.com, who can help them attract and communicate with the millions of soon-to-be sellers who visit our site each month. Compared to the competition, a higher portion of our audience is ready to find an agent to help them buy and sell,"
"Leveraging the insights and tools in our new Listing Toolkit can help agents get in front of and wow seller prospects, beat out the competition for listings and seamlessly close deals and sell homes faster. The comprehensive toolkit is just one of the many ways Realtor.com is aggressively innovating to drive results for listing agents and helping to grow their business."
Whereas in most European markets, portals charge agents to list on their website and app, in the United States residential real estate portals have typically made money by charging agents for leads rather than on a pay-to-list or premium placement basis.
With Zillow's introduction of its 'Listings Showcase' in June and now Realtor.com's 'Listing Toolkit' the landscape has shifted for agents.
Previously a selling agent would be unlikely to pay a real estate portal as all listings are included in the portal's results pages free of charge via the MLS. Now with the advent of Zillow and Realtor's new products and the rise of Homes.com's premium visibility model, selling agents may find themselves in an arms race to make sure their listing gets enough exposure.