MLS & AssociationsTechnology

Listingbook enables house hunters to ‘search like an agent’

Listingbook gives consumers access to 'richer data' and 'deeper search engine'

Real estate tech firm Listingbook plans to beat Zillow at its own game.

Some industry watchers say Zillow won the minds of consumers by offering data that real estate agents wouldn’t.

Listingbook’s play is to siphon off these data-hungry house hunters by letting them “search like an agent.”

Listingbook

Courtesy of Listingbook

The company offers consumers a password-protected platform that serves up multiple listing service data, local community information, points of interest, school information, property tax data from public records, geographic boundary overlays, and analyses of local market conditions and comparable properties.

The platform is free to consumers, but the only way to get it is through an agent.

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“The idea of Listingbook is to enable an agent to get their leads and their clients and prospects into their own private Web environment,” Listingbook CEO Randall Kaplan told Inman.

“The way to do it is by giving them more current, richer data [and] a deeper search engine for the serious user … that they don’t get on a public website like Zillow where that agent’s clients can be poached away from that agent.”

The MLS data includes not just the active listings that MLSs send to Zillow and other third-party portals, but also sold data going back three years and pending listings, depending on the MLS. The data is updated every five to 10 minutes. MLS “agent-only” data — such as commission information — is available to agents, but not consumers, through the platform.

Consumers can search by city, county, ZIP code, school zones, neighborhood or subdivision; search multiple areas; or create custom searches.

“Public search portals dumb down their searches to serve the lowest common denominator,” Kaplan said in a statement.

“We serve the serious agent, active producers who work with smart consumers who want to search like an agent.”

Listingbook’s platform includes a patented collaboration feature that allows agents to see their clients’ search activity, designate listings they think their clients would be interested in and exchange private messages with clients. They can see when their clients log in, what they search for, what they view and what they favorite.

Agents can mass-import their contacts into Listingbook and add their preferred local service providers to the platform’s “Home Services” tab, where clients can also find local discounts and deals.

Daily “Morning Reports” for buyer clients contain information on new properties that match their search criteria, including status changes, changes to “Favorite” properties, and any relevant upcoming open houses or featured listings, the company said.

Reports for sellers include “competitive” properties in the area that came on the market yesterday; price changes to competitive properties; and how many Listingbook buyers viewed or tagged their home.

Agents’ “Morning Reports” include a summary of activity for each of their buyers and sellers, important updates or changes to their clients’ search results, updates on competitive listings, and appointments, the company said.

In a statement, San Diego Realtor Bobbi Rogers noted that her sold clients continue to use the platform even after they move.

“It lets them keep an eye on the market and know that they got a good deal,” she said.

Kaplan added, “Listingbook is a way to really keep them engaged and make them a client for life.”

Kaplan, a lawyer turned chemical company president turned serial entrepreneur, became CEO of Listingbook in 2006 and owns most of the company.

Listingbook launched its “AI” (Advanced Intelligence) platform in 2011. Between 2009 and 2014, the company invested $6 million in the platform and continues to invest “loads of dollars” into continual improvement, Kaplan said.

Listingbook has signed agreements with 70-plus MLSs representing more than 600,000 agents and brokers, the company said in a fact sheet. Of those, more than 180,000 agents have a Listingbook account.

More than 2 million U.S. consumers have Listingbook accounts.

San Diego-based Sandicor is the 35th and latest MLS to deploy the new platform, which is now available to 500,000 real estate pros.

Listingbook’s Basic version is free to agents and limited to up to three clients. Its Insight version costs $14.95 per month and has no limit on clients. Its Pro version is $19.95 per month and includes all features, including agent branding and Listingbook’s mobile app. The app integrates with the platform for both agents and clients.

The company is currently focusing on leveraging social media. Agents are now able to give out Listingbook Web and mobile accounts across social media using unique invite links that, when clicked, allow any contact to get a Listingbook account only from that specific agent who posted it, Kaplan said.

“That way, Listingbook agents are able to generate leads over social media, and then incubate any and all of their social media contacts in their private Listingbook environment. You never know who may soon be in the the market to buy or sell a home!” he said.

The company will soon release new social share features to allow a client’s family and friends to be much more involved in a client’s home search process if desired, he added.

You can also read about Listingbook’s AI search here.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.


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