Technology

Follow the Leaders: Jamie Moyle, CEO of RealtyTrac and founder of Homefacts.com

Bringing transparency to real estate

Jamie Moyle is CEO of RealtyTrac and founder of Homefacts.com.

What’s your favorite activity outside of work and why?

Being on the water. From boating to kayaking to paddle boarding, you can always find me near the water. It helps to clear my mind and focus.

What’s your favorite classic piece of literature and why?

Shakespeare’s sonnets. Shakespeare was an entrepreneur of vocabulary; he had 15,000 unique words. I keep it around the house so I can read passages when I need to say something nice to my wife.

Are you the first entrepreneur in your family?

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No, my grandfather was a small-business owner. He taught me to focus on customer service. He always reminded me that repeat business is a lot easier to secure than new business.

How’d you come up with the idea for your startup (Homefacts.com)?

I was working in the vacation rental space with a company I had created called SkiWest, which I sold to Overstock.com in 2005. As an entrepreneur at heart, I was always looking for opportunities to solve problems and create efficiencies. I found an opportunity to do that when I noticed a problem in the homebuying process. I asked my Realtor to help me perform my “due diligence.”

He seemed surprised that I was asking him to help me find the recommended information that seemed vital to the decision. It inspired me to compile as much data as possible so that any homebuyer can do their due diligence quickly and with confidence.

Describe a time when you felt particularly insecure about the future of your companies (Homefacts.com and RealtyTrac). How did you bounce back?

All business leaders have moments of insecurity. Usually at least once a day, but you learn to take stock of your core strengths and assets, refocus and get back to work.

When Homefacts was still young but growing we got hit hard with a Google algorithm update that resulted in a loss of 500,000 unique visitors a month. That may not be much by today’s standards, but it was enough to make us pause and assess the situation.

We took the opportunity to think about the value of the all the data we were collecting and how we could use it to empower other businesses. The synergy we’ve created with RealtyTrac and others has exponentially expanded our Homefacts offering and now we don’t worry about small dips in site traffic.

What would you describe as your companies’ (RealtyTrac and Homefacts.com) biggest victory since launching and why?

Defining ourselves as a “data company” was a turning point for us. That clarity of mission helped us to secure our data acquisition deal with CoreLogic. Now we are expanding our data footprint in ways that weren’t previously possible.

What’s been the biggest obstacle your business (RealtyTrac and Homefacts.com) has encountered, and how have you dealt with it?

We are in a unique position because we compete with CoreLogic and Black Knight on the B2B side and Zillow and realtor.com on the B2C side.

As a smaller player in both spaces, we have to rely on our service and unique product offering. We spend a lot of time developing relationships. Contracts are finite, but relationships can last a lifetime. We try to remember that when we are entering into partnerships.

What puzzles you most about the industry?

Resistance to change and the lack of transparency, which creates barriers and frustration among consumers.

jamie moyle

Jamie Moyle’s tequila bar in the living room of his Park City, Utah, home.  

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about building a business since launching Homefacts.com and taking your position at RealtyTrac?

Be flexible. You can start out creating one business model, but it may grow into something else. Our commitment to compiling data has always opened up new opportunities for our company.

What’s the most overrated real estate technology?

CRM. Don’t get me wrong, most of them are great tools. They are an accessory to service, not the solution to service. A dedicated professional can serve their clients with Outlook and a notepad. A good CRM will not save a substandard employee.

How will the role of the real estate agent change over the next five years?

They will have to become better experts because consumers are getting smarter. They will have to be more informed and stay up to date on real estate numbers and trends.

What motivates you more: power or money?

Money.

What is your biggest professional fear?

While I’m terrified to fail, I’m not afraid to make mistakes. I’ve realized I’m going to strike out twice as often as I hit a home run, but as long as those wins are meaningful I’m heading in the right direction.

What is your biggest personal fear?

I strive to be someone who can be relied on. My ongoing mission is to provide an environment where my family, friends, employees and cat can be in a position to succeed and enjoy life. My biggest fear is that I may let them down. That drives me to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Who do you respect most in the industry?

I respect a lot of people in this industry. Anyone who understands that change is inevitable. People who embrace evolution and push the envelope. Warren Buffett is a great example of that recently. He took his investment brand and applied it to real estate, a homeowner’s biggest investment. I love that message.

Describe what you do in one sentence:

I assemble great people with a clear mission.

Age: 37
Degree, school:
B.E. mechanical engineering , Vanderbilt University
M.E. management of technology, Vanderbilt University
M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Location: Park City, Utah and Irvine, California.
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/realtytrac
Twitter: www.twitter.com/realtytrac