RealEstate.com, an online real estate portal that launched brick-and-mortar brokerage operations earlier this year, now has operations in Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Owned by InterActiveCorp’s LendingTree LLC, RealEstate.com has quickly assembled four real estate brokerages and a sales force of about 100 agents through new launches and an acquisition.
RealEstate.com provides real estate information for consumers at its Web site and helps connect them with real estate professionals. It also generates Internet business for brokers in its referral network through LendingTree.com, affinity programs with Costco and five major airlines, and other Internet channels.
This year’s initiative is the first time the online lead generation company is engaging in the brokerage business.
In April, RealEstate.com launched brokerage operations in the Portland, Ore., and Denver, Colo., regions. The Portland-area office, based in Clackamas, has about 30 agents, and the Colorado office, based in Greenwood Village, has 45 agents.
Later that month, LendingTree LLC acquired The Ramsey Group Inc., a 22-year-old residential real estate brokerage with about 40 agents. The management team remains in place at The Ramsey Group, now known as Ramsey Group, a RealEstate.com company.
In May, the company launched its Seattle-area brokerage, based in Bellevue, Wash. There are about 20 agents affiliated with the Bellevue office.
Richard Lockwood, vice president and general manager for Ramsey Group, said in a statement, “As a result of this acquisition, our agents will have unparalleled access to state-of-the-art online lead generation and business support services.”
Bret Violette, senior vice president and general manager for the Western division of RealEstate.com’s company-owned brokerage operations, said that Ramsey Group has 38 agents and operates mainly in the Salt Lake City market and suburbs. “Shortly, we’ll be up to Ogden and down to Provo, and also in Park City,” he said. The Salt Lake City brokerage office offers full residential real estate services.
RealEstate.com’s brokerage offices offer to advertise sellers’ properties in local and regional newspapers and magazine as well as at RealEstate.com and other Web sites, Violette said. For buyers, the company employs a customer service team “that will immediately respond to their inquiries, then pass them on to local RealEstate.com agents after initial contact,” he said. “The new brokerage operations will not compete for leads with RealEstate.com’s existing broker partners.”
Company agents are independent contractors and receive 32.5 percent of the commission split for all company-generated business. The commission structure is different when agents bring in the business. The company-owned brokerages do not at this time offer rebates or discounts to consumers, such as the ones offered at the RealEstate.com and LendingTree.com sites.
Violette did not reveal any more details about future expansion plans for company-owned brokerage operations.
LendingTree also operates LendingTree Loans, a direct-lending division created in 2004 when the company acquired HomeLoanCenter.com. LendingTree is a part of Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp, which includes an assortment of Internet sites such as Ask.com, Citysearch, Domania, ServiceMagic, Ticketmaster and others.