Market Leader is hoping to boost its HouseValues.com business by offering real estate professionals exclusive territories, a guaranteed number of seller leads, and access to an integrated version of the company’s customer relationship management tool, Market Leader Professional.
Market Leader — which was known as HouseValues before rebranding in 2008 — had transitioned during the housing downturn from a company that mainly sold leads to real estate brokers and agents, to a provider of "software as a service" marketing tools and customized websites for real estate professionals.
The move to revive HouseValues.com follows the Kirkland, Wash.-based company’s $8.25 million acquisition of lead generation site RealEstate.com in September 2011.
Market Leader relaunched RealEstate.com in August as a referral network, entering into agreements with multiple listing services in more than 150 markets for Internet Data Exchange (IDX) feeds containing information on about 1.5 million listings. Some brokers voiced concerns about the move, noting that IDX feeds are usually displayed only on MLS, broker and agent websites.
Of the new HouseValues.com model, Market Leader CEO Ian Morris said in a statement that the company is seeing "strong demand from serious prospective sellers for timely and accurate information about their home. Our real estate professional customers are eager to provide their expertise, and in turn get the opportunity to win new clients."
HouseValues.com’s approach of providing exclusive access to prospective sellers is "a very different approach from that used by other companies who forward consumer requests to many agents at the same time," the company said. "This exclusive approach is optimal for agent and consumer alike because it provides consumers with the real information they seek from one local professional while that agent has an exclusive opportunity to use their expertise to earn a new client."