Technology

Windermere Real Estate’s company-owned offices join RealtyTrac Network

Partnership could be expanded to include franchisees

In a deal that could be expanded to include franchise affiliates in other states, Windermere Real Estate’s 10 company-owned brokerage offices in the Seattle market have joined the RealtyTrack Network.

RealtyTrac launched the brokerage network last year, promising partners media exposure, market data and leads. The network got off to a fast start, signing eight brokerages in 2013. Windermere Real Estate is the fourth brokerage to join the network this year.

Windermere boasts a network of 7,000 agents who work out of 300 offices in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Mexico.

Only the company-owned Seattle offices have joined the RealtyTrac Network. But OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, said he envisions franchisees following suit.

As Windermere expands, “it’s a way to get our name out there,” and for affiliates to take advantage of RealtyTrac’s long-term relationships with the news media, Jacobi said.

RealtyTrac generates publicity for partner brokerages by citing them as local experts in market reports it produces for the news media on local housing trends.

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The data aggregator can also generate leads and exposure for partner brokerages that choose to display listings on realtytrac.com and homefacts.com.

RealtyTrac’s data “is significantly better than some of the other aggregators out there,” Jacobi said. “It’s important for agents to stand behind data. That is really part of the allure to us, to partner with someone who takes data seriously.”

“Our listings are on the big three portals (Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com), because we believe the exposure for sellers is important. Those portals to us are the same as newspapers were 10 years ago — we use them for exposure as we see fit, and continue to evaluate them as the world changes.”

In markets where RealtyTrac has ironed out the details with the local multiple listing service, partner brokerages can display Internet data exchange (IDX) listing feeds that include all listings represented by brokers participating in IDX.

Listing detail pages on realtytrac.com and homefacts.com carry the branding of the RealtyTrac partner broker, and all leads generated by lead forms on the site go to that broker.

RealtyTrac signs partner brokerages on an exclusive basis in each market. RealtyTrac CEO Jamie Moyle attributed the slowdown in new brokerages joining the network so far this year to RealtyTrac’s entry into the tax, deed and mortgage data licensing business.

“We’ve had a big year, and that took a lot of our bandwidth to get into that space,” Moyle said.

RealtyTrac intends to compete with CoreLogic and Black Knight Financial Services by bringing “creativity, flexibility and transparency” to the provision of tax data to brokers, franchisors and MLSs.

RealtyTrac’s partner brokerage in the Denver market, Re/Max Alliance, plans to integrate off-market properties into its search site, Moyle said.

“We have a lot of information that can help them to price recommendations for sellers,” Moyle said. Re/Max Alliance, in turn, is providing experience in operations that RealtyTrac can put to good use in putting the data it has to work for other brokerages.

Moyle said another factor in the RealtyTrac Network’s slower pace of expansion this year has been the nuances in regulations employed by different MLSs.

“Some of our assumptions about MLSs were a little off,” he said. “We’ve had to adapt.”

MLSs “are all data companies” that want to make sure their data is accurate and protected,” Moyle said. “We respect that business a lot.”

Jacobi characterized Windermere’s partnership with RealtyTrac as being “in its infancy.” As the program grows, Windermere “will take a look at all the different data they have for us to use on our websites.”

Windermere is also a technology provider, through subsidiary Windermere Solutions. One reason Windermere continues to operate company-owned brokerage offices “is to stay close to agents, and the public, and make sure we are doing the right thing for franchisors,” Jacobi said. “It keeps our pulse to the ground.”

Previously announced RealtyTrac Network members:

  • Real Living Lifestyles (San Diego), 250 agents (August 2014)
  • First Team Real Estate (Irvine) 1,800 agents (April 2014)
  • Re/Max Alliance (Arvada, Colorado) 750 agents (March 2014)
  • HER Realtors (Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio) 820 agents (August 2013)
  • Prudential Utah Real Estate, 400 agents (August 2013)
  • Bob Parks Realty (Tennessee), 450 agents (August 2013)
  • Laffey Fine Homes International (New York), 600 agents (July 2013)
  • Chase International (Nevada), 240 agents (June 2013)
  • Prudential Alliance Realty (Oklahoma City) (June 2013)
  • Prudential Detrick Realty (Tulsa) (June 2013)

(“Charter member” Prudential California Realty, announced in May 2013, has been replaced by First Team Real Estate.)