Realtor.com is partnering with home remodeling site Porch to help consumers discover details about work that’s been done on homes they’re interested in, such as the type of project, when it was completed, what it cost and who did the work.
The listing portal has added a widget to its listing pages that lets users enter their email addresses to order property reports from Porch.
Reports generated by the widget show not only a “project history” of remodeling work done on a home, but remodeling activity in the neighborhood around the listing — the first time a listing portal has offered consumers access to such information. The reports also summarize market trends in the neighborhood.
Whenever consumers order a report, realtor.com sends an email on behalf of an agent advertising with the portal that contains a link to the report on porch.com.
Porch, which was one of Real Estate Connect’s “New Kids on the Block,” is an online remodeling network that claims to offer data on 90 million home projects and 1.5 million professionals. The site lets homeowners hone in on professionals who specialize in their neighborhoods, and view those professionals’ project histories.
Matt Ehrlichman, chief executive officer of Porch, called the new widget on realtor.com a “game-changing product” that offers “new information that people haven’t had access to before.”
The project history section may provide information on kitchen, bathroom and other remodeling projects including costs, photos and professionals associated with those projects.
The remodeling activity section reports the total number and median cost of construction, remodeling and electrical projects in a neighborhood, plus the name of the “Most Used Pro” in that neighborhood.
“Knowing what has happened in that home before provides additional information, so you can be smarter,” Ehrlichman said.
The last component of the report, “Neighborhood Stats,” offers local market information including the median value and price per square foot of homes in a neighborhood, the percentage of homes that have sold in the last 10 years in a neighborhood and the percentage of homes in a neighborhood that are owner-occupied.
Part of a sample property report ordered through realtor.com.
Trulia and Zillow both have been displaying comparable neighborhood home value data, and Zillow shows the percentage of renters and single-family homes in a neighborhood. But both seem to lack a statistic that sheds light on neighborhood turnover, like the percentage of homes in a neighborhood that have sold in the last 10 years.
Porch says it generates home value estimates using public records, not realtor.com listing data.
Realtor.com’s addition of the new widget comes on the heels of a string of other new efforts to surface granular data on localities.
NeighorhoodScout, RealtyTrac and PolicyMap all recently unveiled improvements aimed at shining a brighter light on neighborhoods. Those improvements came shortly after Google introduced Google Maps Gallery, a platform that lets organizations publish maps to make their data more discoverable.
Porch couldn’t offer many details on how it defines a neighborhood, saying that it sources neighborhood boundaries from a well-known data provider that it’s contractually prohibited from naming.
But the site revealed that it carves Stamford, Conn., a city of around 125,000 people, into 10 neighborhoods, offering some idea of the resolution of its neighborhood overviews.
In rolling out the Porch widget, realtor.com has also opened up a new marketing avenue for its advertisers. The widget, which appears under the “overview” tab of a listing page beneath property details, functions as a lead form.
It asks users to enter an email address for an “Insider’s look at this home with a local real estate pro.”
If a user enters the information, realtor.com sends the report on behalf of a real estate agent advertising with realtor.com and also furnishes that agent with the user’s email address.
“When someone requests that report … it’ll create additional exposure and leads for these agents,” Ehrlichman said.
A spokesperson for realtor.com said that the listing portal is wrapping leads generated by the reports into its “Connection for Co-Brokerage” advertising product — unbranded lead forms for buyer’s agents that appear on some realtor.com listing detail pages.
She declined to offer details on how the new component might affect the advertisement product’s pricing, calling that “competitive information.”
Porch obtains its data mostly through private partnerships that it cultivated for a year before officially launching late last year, Ehrlichman has said.
Earlier this year, Porch announced a strategic partnership with Lowe’s, which equips employees at some of the home improvement store’s locations with tools that allow them to use the Porch network to connect customers with local professionals.
Ehrlichman said reception of that initiative has been “phenomenal.” He also said that the startup, which raised $6.5 million in seed funding in October 2012, has expanded rapidly. Since its official launch about six months ago, Porch has grown its employee count from about 30 to 125, Ehrlichman said.