Realtor.com, a top site for home listings that is affiliated with the National Association of Realtors, is raising its prices for some optional listing services. Basic online listing services at Realtor.com, which include a text description of the property and one photo, are still available to Realtors at no cost.

The price increases are related to site upgrades and expansion of the site’s consumer base. “Even though, at enormous costs, we have significantly increased the numbers of consumers using Realtor.com and improved the effectiveness of the service, we have not raised prices in 20 months,” Realtor.com president and CEO Allan Dalton said in an announcement today.

Realtor.com reaches an estimated 6 million consumers per month and offers access to more than 2.1 million Realtor-listed homes for sale.

Featured Homes listings at Realtor.com, an optional service that is intended to draw more attention to listed homes, has been upgraded to a Featured Homes Marketing System that will feature three tiers of pricing based on the amount of traffic in a particular market. As of Nov. 1, Realtors who use this marketing system will pay $349 per year in Tier 1, $849 a year in Tier 2, and $1,999 a year in Tier 3.

Also, the cost of Showcase Listing Enhancements, another optional service at Realtor.com that is intended to draw more attention to specific listings, will increase 10 percent as of Jan. 1.

Dalton said in the announcement, “Only each individual Realtor will judge whether it is worth it to them to enhance their marketing with us. Anytime we adjust our pricing to reflect what we believe is a significant increase in value we want you to review whether the value we are delivering is worth what we are charging for it.” Realtor.com has eliminated its automatic renewal program for services “to further ensure that not one Realtor is charged for our optional services unless it is a well thought out decision,” he added.

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, about 78 percent of home buyers reported that photos were the most desired feature when searching for a home online, 71 percent of buyers searched for real estate on the Internet, and 86 percent of all the time consumers spend on national sites looking for real estate is spent on Realtor.com.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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