Editor’s note: The following is a guest perspective from ZipRealty CEO Lanny Baker. ZipRealty’s “Powered by Zip” program was one of the subjects of a four-part Inman News series published this week, ” ‘Paper brokerages’ flying under the radar.”

By LANNY BAKER

ZipRealty was founded as a brokerage and stands firmly on the side of real estate brokers, agents and the real estate industry. Our dedication to providing superior consumer, agent and broker service through innovative technology is evidenced by the scale and success of our own brokerage, as well as our partnerships with 17 leading local brokerages nationwide and nearly 90 local MLSs through the “Powered by Zip” (PbZ) program. Beyond our current profile, we have plans to further expand PbZ in the fourth quarter, and into 2014 and beyond.

Lanny Baker Photo 2013

Lanny Baker

Some have wondered how PbZ empowers real estate brokerages in the digital age, even suggesting that our business might undermine brokerages, MLSs and agents. Nothing could be more inaccurate. Through PbZ, we provide leading local brokerages with a sophisticated, end-to-end business management solution that includes a world-class Web experience through custom, partner-branded pages on ZipRealty.com and highly rated mobile apps. These consumer tools are connected to a full-featured platform that enables agents to connect with homebuyers, gain powerful insight into their home search preferences, close a greater number of transactions and ultimately grow their business. By partnering with PbZ, a broker’s agents and their customers also gain access to the most accurate and up-to-date home listings data, which we receive directly from local MLSs. Being powered by the most-visited brokerage website in the nation — ZipRealty.com — boosts brokers’ online visibility and gives them a competitive edge in their markets. Last month alone, we delivered more than 3.1 million impressions of PbZ agents at no upfront cost to our broker partners. In addition, our broker partners receive consistent, individual branding everywhere MLS data is displayed on ZipRealty.com and across our highly rated mobile apps.

The most valuable real estate consumers in today’s market conduct their search and connect with agents on their own terms, on their own timelines and through devices of their choosing. Agents, in turn, must be able to effectively conduct business in the office, at home and in the field. That’s where Zap, ZipRealty’s proprietary CRM, comes in to bridge the gap: Zap connects highly motivated homebuying consumers with agents. Available as a SaaS to our brokerage partners, Zap allows agents to be responsive in the field by providing timely, personalized service to their clients. And these agents have a greater opportunity to be more productive. Zap fosters agent engagement and productivity. As a result, brokers provide their agents with high-quality leads, the best technology in the industry, effective agent marketing via Web and email, and valuable insights into client activities, all of which help generate more company dollar for the brokerage bottom line.

To achieve and deliver all of this, ZipRealty works closely with local MLSs nationwide to ensure compliance, and we never skirt or scrape our way around the MLS. Those who circumvent the MLS typically wind up with home listings that are outdated as much as 30 percent of the time, and often fail to include many desirable homes that agents and brokerages are marketing through the MLS on behalf of their consumer clients. On the other hand, ZipRealty posts updated listings every two minutes on ZipRealty.com to benefit consumers, brokers and agents, and offers brokerages the most sophisticated suite of real estate marketing tools available. Armed with these invaluable resources, brokerage firms have the ability to carve out a very competitive space in their local markets.

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