One of Chicago’s largest independent brokerages not only became a larger network in April, but it increased its brand presence online.

On April 28 Baird & Warner announced its acquisition of Brush Hill Realtors, one of the largest independent brokerages in the Western suburbs.

  • Baird & Warner has added Zillow API to individual agent websites to integrate Zillow reviews and testimonials.
  • The brokerage recently acquired Brush Hill Realtors, a Hinsdale-based brokerage, to expand its reach in the Western suburbs.
  • The brand expects API integration to improve its awareness in the Chicagoland area.

One of Chicago’s largest independent brokerages not only became a larger network in April, but it increased its brand presence online.

On April 28, Baird & Warner announced its acquisition of Brush Hill Realtors, one of the largest independent brokerages in the western suburbs. Under the Baird & Warner wing, the Hinsdale-based brokerage will become a part of one of the Chicagoland’s most prominent real estate names.

And the company’s agents will have access to the same tools used by the rest of the Baird & Warner team, which includes the Zillow Group’s Broker Pro Reviews API widget.

Sara Brahm Testimonials Page

Launched on April 12, Baird & Warner offered its agents the API, which automatically connects reviews and testimonials to the respective agent site. With the increasing popularity of reviews, the integration seemed like a no-brainer.

“I’m really excited about this new partnership,” says Sara Brahm, the top producer for both volume and units in the Winnetka office.

“So much of what we all do today is based on good word of mouth,” she said. “So to have a tool that is designed to make it easier for people to find out more about me and our fantastic services is a great way to grow my business.”

“We’re the first brokerage in our marketplace to do the Zillow API,” said Wyllys Mann, director of strategic innovation at Baird & Warner. “We’re really taking a step forward in having full transparency and trying to be ahead of the curve, giving homebuyers what they want.”

Since homebuyers are already familiar with Zillow and Trulia, the integration made sense for the brokerage, Mann says. Without having to navigate off the Baird & Warner agent sites, homebuyers can sift through reviews and testimonials. For agents, the API integration allows Baird & Warner agents with a big Zillow presence to incorporate that feedback on their personal agent site.

Of course, some resistance is expected with any new technology addition.

Mann said agents are generally excited about the API, but some are concerned with their lack of control over the reviews — and some are simply not sold on reviews and testimonials as a whole. Those agents can opt out of having the reviews and testimonials on their site.

Brand exposure for Baird & Warner

The API will also feed listings and past sales directly from Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) to each Baird & Warner agent’s Zillow profile.

“Research shows us that 92 percent of consumers trust online reviews, which is why we are always looking for ways to make it easier for homebuyers and sellers to find the services and support they need from the sources they trust,” Laura Ellis, president of residential sales and executive vice president of Baird & Warner, said in a press release.

“Our partnership with the Zillow Group is exactly the kind of resource we look for because it offers our agents a streamlined way to increase their reach and spread awareness of their expertise and services,” she said in the statement.

Additionally, each Baird & Warner listing on the Zillow site will include a quick video about the brokerage. And as a part of Zillow Pro for Brokers, the company will have improved access to listing activity.

So far, Baird & Warner says it hasn’t seen any major uptick in traffic, but it’s still early. The hope is that homebuyers will see the Baird & Warner site as a go-to source with all the information they need to make an accurate purchasing decision with the right agent.

Email Kimberly Manning

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