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Changes at Move.com Good for the Real Estate Agent?

August 18, 2009

Realtor.com recently announced their intention to become a larger part of the transaction life cycle by adding public records and other information. Seemingly, they are adopting a model very similar to Zillow.com.  Having tracked Zillow’s strides in visitor traffic over the last 9 months, it’s clear that they are doing something right.  Zillow has become one of the top ranked real estate websites within the last 9 months according to Hitwise; closing in on Realtor.com’s once lofty, dominant reign.

Certainly, the quest for consumer eyeballs is a goal that all websites strive to achieve.  However the real estate agent does not make its money from higher website traffic alone.  Do valuation models and sold data serve any monetized value to the broker or agent?  Current homeowners may be persuaded to put their homes on the market after seeing the estimated value of their home (a much less likely scenario than years past).  Or, particularly industrious buyers could use this information to help with their homebuying decision (a role that their agent ought to take).  In either case, is this of direct value to the agent?  Even then, what mechanism is in place to drive that potential client to any single agent?  To whom will the consumer be directed when it comes time to list his home?  How many Orange County agents are there vying for a listing appointment?  First Team Real Estate has enjoyed a long and beneficial relationship with Realtor.com, so it remains to be seen if there’s a place for a broker to fit into their new direction.

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