In a move to put its customers first and differentiate itself from Zillow, realtor.com is rolling out a microsite intending to provide fair housing resources to renters and homebuyers, according to the company’s CMO Mickey Neuberger. The site was announced at NAR’s midyear conference.
Called realtor.com for Everyone offers news and insights on fair housing for renters and home buyers, along with resources, tools, and the ability to search for Realtors who have completed a diversity course to offer the best fair housing services possible. Through the new microsite, customers will be able to browse through successful anecdotes and links to realtor.com’s branded realtor TV series, Beyond the Block.
The new microsite will be aimed at a specific audience to elevate realtor.com’s brand. Through realtor.com for Everyone, agents and brokers can learn more about what the company is doing within the real estate industry, including who they’re partnering with, and what programs they are currently offering, with plans to grow and evolve as an information hub throughout its life cycle.
Such partnerships include collaboration with the Urban Institute, Homeownership Council of American, and Fahe. Neuberger explained in a recent blog post about the company’s fair housing initiatives:
“This initiative is in collaboration with the Urban Institute, Homeownership Council of America and Fahe, a Kentucky-based nonprofit lending network, and is designed to help individuals who might otherwise be unable to obtain, or have difficulty obtaining, financing to realize their dream of homeownership.”
Realtor.com for Everyone will also link to a new product offered on realtor.com’s main site, MicroMortgage Resource Center, which launched earlier this year. The product offers information and resources surrounding home loans of $100,000 or less.
Neuberger said something that instantly jumped out at us. When describing the new site and its main goals at a Fair Housing Policy Committee meeting at the Realtors Legislative Meetings, he said “Here we say consumers are a North Star,” which rang familiar.
Realtor.com has come out to say it is differentiating itself from competitors like Zillow. Though Zillow has done many surveys and changed aspects of its own site to complement its promise to be more inclusive, including pledging to the Board Challenge and boost legal protection against anyone who could be discriminated against when searching for a home.
It seems like realtor.com is jumping on a bandwagon much later than Zillow in that regard.
So, realtor.com’s CMO is calling consumers their North Star, but Zillow, specifically on the Zillow Group website, has the same wording when it talks about its goals and promises to its user base.
Still, when companies compete like this, consumers win, especially minority ones. Realtor.com moving to a more progressive business model isn't something to nitpick and the more real estate companies investing fair housing and anti-discrimination measures, the higher their credibility grows in the eyes of the average home hunter.