SAN FRANCISCO — With a new chief executive officer at the helm, Move Inc. is looking to evolve Realtor.com from a site known primarily for its comprehensive listings to a destination site for property information, in order to attract consumers through the entire "homeownership life cycle."
Move will not only aggregate property information from multiple listing services (MLSs) and public records, but help real estate agents and brokers market themselves to consumers by "adding value" to that data, Move CEO Steve Berkowitz said at the Inman Real Estate Connect conference this week.
The slowdown in many housing markets has created a much longer "transaction window" for homebuyers and sellers, Berkowitz said, and additional opportunities for real estate agents and brokers to market to them.
"The world is moving beyond what’s for sale at any one time," Berkowitz said. "We can give Realtors a way to market on homes that are not for sale."
Sellers are monitoring market conditions before putting their homes up for sale, and buyers are sifting through the wealth of data available to them in search of the best deal. Once they find a home, the difficulty of obtaining financing may also lengthen the transaction window.
Even homeowners who aren’t planning to move anytime soon are interested in property values, taxes, and other related news and content that affects their home and community.
Move wants to meet all of these consumer needs, allowing the company to better serve its real estate professional and advertising partners, Berkowitz said in a recent conference call with investors.
Berkowitz elaborated on those plans in a one-on-one discussion with Inman News founder Bradley Inman before an audience of several hundred real estate professionals in the Grand Ballroom at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
Since taking the helm at Move in January, the former Ask.com CEO said he’s been "drinking from the fire hose" — immersing himself in the company’s operations through discussions with managers. Now, he said it’s time to implement changes by "turning the fire hose on them."
Berkowitz promised to deliver "a richer experience to both sides" — the consumers who come to Realtor.com and the real estate professionals who get leads from the site and manage them with Move’s Top Producer sales and marketing software.
Move has "a couple hundred" software engineers, he said, who in addition to "plugging holes in the dike" — fixing problems in legacy systems — are working on "some innovations you haven’t seen before," which will be rolled out in the next six to 12 months.
In a conference call with investors Wednesday, Berkowitz said Move is testing new search capabilities that will "dramatically improve the user experience" at Realtor.com, portions of which will be launched in the second half of the year. …CONTINUED