Realogy, which owns and runs some of the nation’s largest franchise brands such as Century 21 Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Real Estate, will roll out an all-in-one technology platform to 50 of its franchisees in June and to 300 by year’s end.
The technology, an adaptation of ZipRealty’s mobile-responsive customer relationship and lead generation platform, changes the real estate franchise game, Realogy CEO, Chairman and President Richard Smith told analysts on a conference call today to discuss the firm’s first-quarter earnings. (Realogy purchased tech-focused brokerage ZipRealty for $166 million last July.)
As Realogy’s affiliates begin to onboard ZipRealty’s “Zap” platform, it’s “going to make it clear in the marketplace that to be meaningful as a franchisor in this industry you have to provide an important technology platform as part of the value proposition,” Smith said. “Those who are not are going to be substantially disadvantaged, and that’s our goal at the end of the day.”
Realogy doubled down on in-house technology with its acquisition of ZipRealty.
The nation’s other major franchisors, including Keller Williams Realty, Re/Max and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, haven’t developed technology themselves in the same manner, yet. However, they do have enterprise partnerships with tech firms — such as Keller Williams Realty’s deals with tech firms Market Leader and dotloop –who provide services to their affiliates and agents.
If Smith’s projection is correct, expect these firms to beef up their tech in a big way.
Realogy’s not just looking to outmaneuver its brand competitors with its tech play, but it’s also looking to entice unaffiliated firms to see the franchise light.
Despite the recent independent brokerage boom, Smith said he thinks that as technology like Zap becomes a real estate standard and as firms increasingly recognize the great expense needed to develop it, brands as tech providers will look increasingly enticing to independent firms.