Real estate website provider Real Estate Webmasters has launched a property valuation tool that helps brokers and agents capture seller leads from their own MLS-connected, REW-powered websites.
The tool comes as a widget that can be embedded anywhere on a broker or agent’s Real Estate Webmasters site. It provides potential home sellers with an estimate of their home’s value, based on comparable active for-sale listings in their MLS’ Internet Data Exchange (IDX) and virtual office website (VOW) feeds.
Depending on local MLS rules, the tool can also be geared to include recently sold homes in its model, said Matthew Andrade, a business development specialist at REW.
Sellers first select a geographic area by entering their city or neighborhood or drawing a circular- or polygon-shaped boundary on a map that accompanies the tool.
After selecting their home’s property type — whether single-family home, condo or another kind — and denoting its square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and its overall condition, sellers get a home value estimate based on comparable homes in their selected area.
The tool also highlights the lowest and highest prices among the comparable homes in the target area, and provides links to some of the comparable properties (demo a live version of the tool here).
Seattle-based brokerage Redfin released a similar tool in 2012 that allows sellers to pick recently sold nearby comparable homes to give them a feel for their home’s potential market value. It was designed to help start a conversation between consumers and agents.
REW’s tool is designed as a seller lead-gen tool for agents, too. The home valuation estimate is a stepping stone in the client-acquisition process, Andrade said. “It empowers the lead.”
Sellers can whet their appetite on the tool and then contact the agent to get a deeper home-valuation analysis through a comparative market analysis, Andrade said.
As soon as a consumer uses the tool on an agent’s site, that agent gets an email notification from REW that details the search the potential seller conducted. REW also automatically makes that seller a lead in its back-end customer relationship management system.
The new tool comes as an option on all new sites that the 10-year-old, Nanaimo, British Columbia-based firm provides to its consumers, said Mike O’Connell, a marketing consultant at REW. Agents and firms can pay $50 per month or $500 per year to add to their REW sites, he said.
Currently, the 100-employee firm has 2,000 clients ranging in size from the large Vancouver-based firm Sutton to individual agents and small teams, Andrade said.
Michael Audet joins REW
REW has just brought Michael Audet, a founding partner of real estate consulting firm WAV Group, on board as vice president of business development. Audet founded WAV Group with husband-and-wife consulting team Victor Lund and Marilyn Wilson in 2004 and has helped run it as a full-time partner until now.
Audet says he will focus on managing and expanding REW’s enterprise relationships.
Audet’s new position will also include roles that mirror ones he filled as a consultant to franchisors, brokerages and tech vendors at WAV Group. He’ll assist on strategy, overall product planning, development and research at REW, he said.
“I wasn’t looking for a job,” Audet said. But he and REW founder and CEO Morgan Carey have a similar vision, he said, and the prospect of working on the technology side of real estate after 10 years on the consulting side excited him.
In his work with REW as a consultant, Audet found the firm’s technology to be top-notch, helping persuade him to join the firm when Carey broached the subject. Audet said he feels a personal connection with Carey — both are songwriters and have performed onstage together, he said.
Audet says he’s excited to work in the broker-agent technology space because it’s still so wide open.
The MLS tech space is more mature, Audet said, but the broker and agent arena has shades of Wild West-like opportunity.
“There’s a huge amount of innovation in the space,” Audet said. He clicked off a number of niches: lead generation, transaction management, Web services, lead management.
Audet says he wants to help REW become a leader in end-to-end tech tools for brokers and agents.
Audet’s fellow WAV Group founding partner Victor Lund says he’s excited for Audet and expects WAV Group to keep on chugging without missing a beat as each partner had a hand in all aspects of the business. WAV Group will continue on led by Wilson and himself and two assistants, he said.
Audet will remain on the board of director’s of WAV Group’s sister company RE Technology Inc., which has 12 full-time employees, Lund said.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that WAV Group has 12 full-time employees. In fact, WAV Group’s sister company RE Technology Inc. has 12 employees while Victor Lund and Marilyn Wilson, along with two assistants, make up WAV Group now upon Mike Audet’s departure. This story also previously stated that the Real Estate Webmasters’ home valuation tool comes standard on all REW sites. In fact, it is an optional add-on feature that goes for $50 per month or $500 per year.