BrokerageMLS & Associations

Novel end-to-end real estate marketplace Xome launches today

Platform designed to usher homebuyers and sellers through a transaction from lead to close

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Nationstar Mortgage Holdings has officially launched Xome, a new enterprise that promises to create a real estate marketplace by taking consumers through each step of a transaction from lead to close.

Xome is not just another lead-gen play or referral network; it’s proposition is to be a complete real estate ecosystem.

Powered by a real estate database of more than 80 percent of the MLS-listed homes in the U.S., an in-house digital transaction management platform, in-house title and mortgage services and a 24/7 “concierge” service, Xome, a licensed brokerage in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., wants to be the hub of consumers’ real estate experience.

“We’re a customer-experience company that happens to be in real estate,” said Kal Raman, CEO of Nationstar’s real estate software and data wing Solutionstar, which is rebranding to Xome.

Raman, an experienced tech executive who has stints at tech powerhouses eBay and Groupon under his belt, likens the platform to another e-commerce giant on his resume, Amazon.

He described Xome’s real estate value proposition to consumers as “selection, price and convenience.”

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End-to-end consumer experience

Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com — by far real estate’s most popular websites — meet consumers, primarily buyers, at the beginning of their transaction life cycle and hand them off to agents. They are primarily ad platforms. Aside from their growing efforts to connect consumers with a lender in their mortgage marketplaces, that’s typically the end of the relationship until buyers are ready to hunt again.

iPad-comparison
Xome’s home search design (iPad app, left) includes many elements found on the national portals, like Zillow (iPad app, right). 

But at Xome, consumers search for a property and then connect with an agent in the “Xome Agent Network,” possibly get a loan from Nationstar’s mortgage lending wing, Greenlight, and title services from Xome’s title division, Title365. Then they close the deal and walk away having bought or sold a home with one firm holding their hands along the way.

Xome has a back-end dashboard that helps consumers keep track of their deals through the platform. Although they can choose any lender or title insurer they want, only Greenlight and Title365 are fully integrated into Xome’s back end. In those cases, the mortgage or title component won’t be completed using Xome’s software.

The platform matches both buyers and sellers with agents.

The firm wouldn’t reveal how many agents are currently members of its network, but Raman said that the firm is marketing the opportunity to the approximately 170,000 agents who use Real Estate Digital services (Nationstar purchased Real Estate Digital last year for $18 million). (Agents interested in signing up for the network can find more information here.)

Agents, commissions and the Xome AVM

Agents in the Xome Agent Network agree to charge clients no more than 2 percent commission. Traditionally, agents charge a commission of from 2.5 to 3 percent for their services — but agents will be happy to offer a discount or a rebate because Xome’s software and concierge service helps curate leads and streamline a deal through its completion, Raman said.

Also, unlike real estate’s most popular portals, agents don’t pay anything to Xome until the transaction closes.

Agents pay Xome a flat referral fee for deals they get through the platform, which vary based on home price.

For properties between $100,000 and $500,000, agents pay $300; for those between $500,000 and $1 million, they pay $500; and for transactions over $1 million, they pay $1,000.

In the 13 states that don’t allow rebates, Xome says it has a different referral-fee structure, but didn’t provide details to Inman for how it works in those locations.

When homebuyers go to a listing detail page on Xome and click on the prominent “Make An Offer” button, they are presented with three agents based on geography and the discount they offer Xome consumers, Allison Cornia, senior vice president of marketing at Xome, told Inman.

Agents

Homebuyers on Xome are presented with three agents to choose from. If they want others to choose from, they can contact Xome’s concierge service.

The algorithm that serves up agents to buyers will incorporate other features in the future, including performance metrics, she said.

Sellers who want to use Xome claim their home on the platform. Xome verifies a home’s owner through several steps, one of which includes matching the name of the consumer with that of the one on the deed. A concierge will step in if there’s a problem with verification.

Xome’s concierge network is the oil that makes the 360-degree real estate transaction engine hum.

Xome launches with 50 full-time employees in its Seattle office who will do nothing but help consumers and agents get a deal to close. Raman calls the concierge service a client’s “virtual quarterback” for the transaction.

Because of the hand-holding that the Xome concierge pros give clients, agents will not receive leads, but “curated deals,” Raman said.

Xome doesn’t just have information on homes for sale; it will offer public records data on more than 120 million homes in the U.S. and an automatic valuation model (AVM), dubbed the “Xome value.”

The Xome AVM goes beyond just estimating price by evaluating nearby comparable homes for sale and recently sold, but it also incorporates other big data.

While the AVM doesn’t show up on listings, buyers will soon be able to request access to the Xome value on for-sale homes they’re interested in, Raman said.

Xome office location Number of employees
Denver 45
Chennai, India 140
Lewisville, Texas 435
Orange County, California 475
Pittsburgh 190
Seattle 75

Source: Xome

Member broker

Although Xome is a brokerage, the firm wouldn’t specify the terms under which it currently displays its MLS-sourced listings: whether as a broker MLS member or under a listing agreement as a third-party portal, akin to those like Zillow and Homes.com must set up.

While a Xome spokeswoman said the firm’s model “is to operate as a member broker,” she wouldn’t say how Xome is currently authorized to display listings.

The site is powered by IDX (Internet data exchange) and VOW, which has clear rules dictated by the National Association of Realtors.

It’s not clear at the moment if the firm will have in-house agents or only work with agents on a referral basis.

That’s a big distinction, because if no agents work under its roof and the firm displays listings as a broker member of an MLS, it might be operating as a “paper brokerage” — which is a firm that joins an MLS as a broker and publishes listings that broker-members make available to each other for consumer display under IDX agreements, but doesn’t actually provide brokerage services itself.

A company spokesperson said the firm’s listing display model is “to operate as an active participating broker in each of the MLS markets.” However, no agents “hang” their license with Xome — “all agents who opt to be members of the Xome Agent Network operate under brokerages who carry their own distinct brand,” said a company spokesperson.

“Xome will conform and comply with all necessary rules and requirements,” according to the company.

For a year, Nationstar has been feverishly laying the foundation for Xome — a revamped version of its HomeSearch.com portal.

Nationstar timeline to Xome

Date Action
June 9, 2015 Xome launches
March 2015 Real Estate Digital launches digital transaction management platform rDocs.
November 2014 Xome’s predecessor, HomeSearch.com, acquires title and settlement services provider Title365.
November 2014 Former Amazon exec Kal Raman named CEO of Solutionstar, Nationstar’s real estate software and data wing.
August 2014 Russ Bergeron, former CEO of large Chicago-based MLS MRED, joins Real Estate Digital to help usher in a new consumer site, HomeSearch.com.
May 2014 Nationstar acquired real estate tech services firm Real Estate Digital

Email Paul Hagey.