MLS & AssociationsTechnology

Xome ready to shake up online real estate

Nationstar Mortgage Holdings is taking on portals

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Editor’s note: The Xome website is back in closed beta mode. It will be going live tomorrow, June 9, at 9 a.m. EDT.

This story has been updated to clarify that Xome is a new iteration of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings subsidiary Solutionstar. Representatives from Xome noted that the company fully intends to operate as an active, participating broker in each of its MLS markets.

Ready for a new business model that is certain to shake up the real estate industry?

Check out the beta site for Xome, a new iteration of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings subsidiary Solutionstar, which quietly (super quietly) launched last week. This is a national property search site, powered by IDX (Internet data exchange) and VOW. And Nationstar is one of the largest nonbank lenders/servicers in the U.S.

Here is the icing on the cake: Xome promises to feed leads to agents who agree to give back 1 percent of the deal to consumers. Discount play?

The company is not shy about its plan, dubbing it “a radically better way to buy and sell a home.” And radical is not a common word in the vocabulary-careful real estate industry.

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Xome is clearly taking aim at Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com. Even more: Its business model is more transactional than advertising, which could position the company to become much bigger than Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com.

Solutionstar spent $18 million to acquire the company that holds the password to achieving its lofty goals: Real Estate Digital.

Real Estate Digital (RED), a 2011 spinoff of Lender Processing Services Inc.’s Real Estate Group, provides technology services to more than 500 multiple listing services, 350 brokerages, nearly 60 settlement services companies and more than 300,000 agents.

RED specializes in data aggregation and has licensed 98 percent of all MLS listings — an accomplishment only matched by realtor.com, which licenses data from virtually all of the nation’s 850 or so MLSs through its relationship with the National Association of Realtors and its subsidiary, Realtors Property Resource.

Nationstar runs an online auction platform, HomeSearch.com, which features bank-owned properties and short sales.

Last month, the company dubbed its stealth project “HomeSearch 2.0.” Today, meet Xome.

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Nationstar is thinking big.

“Today, real estate search engines allow you to search for homes, find the estimated property value of your home and, somewhat realistically, those of your neighbors,” said Nationstar CEO Jay Bray in an earnings call on May 8 with investors.

“However, these search engines are not currently designed to allow consumers to transact and lack a comprehensive fee-based business model. In short, their value is generally limited to real estate catalogs supported by advertising.”

By contrast, Nationstar envisions that consumers and real estate agents who come to its site will be able to list their properties, manage them, sell them, buy them, and look for “downstream” mortgage, title, appraisal and closing services.

Big ambitions. But there is more here than grand ideas. Xome also has data and capital.

Onward!

Email Brad Inman.

Inman reporter Andrea V. Brambila’s historical writing and reporting was used in this post.