They started out talking shop.
Now they’re making tools.
The founders of a Facebook group created to help agents exchange information on technologies and best practices have emerged as sought-after industry consultants.
They’re excited to have a hand in fashioning technologies for their peers and to offer deals in partnership with real estate tech firms, and they pledge only to accept financial rewards from companies that offer best-in-class products.
Lab Coat Agents has evolved into a one-stop shop for agents keen on learning about the customer relationship management systems, marketing platforms, lead follow-up techniques and workflow strategies that top-producing agents are using to boost their bottom line.
Some agents say that tuning into the group’s discussions has helped them bring their business to new heights.
One agent recently messaged Ahumada that he had inspired her to take on a $1.4 million listing from a friend. She had previously turned down the seller’s offer, worrying that she might jeopardize their friendship if the home languished on the market.
“But now reading your posts I feel like I can do this,” she messaged Ahumada on Facebook. “I’m damn sure I could slam dunk this.”
The growing popularity of Lab Coat Agents, which recently surpassed 10,000 members, led some real estate software providers to propose partnerships with Ahumada and Baldwin.
The group has gradually accumulated a portfolio of around a dozen deals on products that they offer through these partnerships.
Lead Gen Scripts and Objections, another popular real estate Facebook group, has enjoyed similar attention from real estate tech providers, even creating a spin-off group that features their wide range of deals.
Marking another phase of Lab Coat Agents’ evolution, real estate tech firms began enlisting the help of its founders as de-facto consultants.
“The vice-president of realtor.com flew me out here to talk to his products development team for Top Producer, realtor.com and Tiger Leads,” Ahumada said, referring to products owned by Move Inc.
Now, Ahumada and Baldwin, who recently incorporated Lab Coat Agents as a business, are directly collaborating on designing products in exchange for equity.
The group recently unveiled sold listing landing pages that Ahumada and Baldwin say they helped design with real estate website provider SpotOn Connect.
In return for their assistance, SpotOn Connect offered the two a stake in the company.
The landing pages invite visitors to enter their addresses to see recently sold listings in their neighborhoods, netting their creators “partial leads” — addresses.
The recently sold listings are meant to present an entrée to requesting a valuation. The page generates a pop-up window inviting visitors to enter more contact information to receive a home valuation.
Baldwin envisions agents advertising the landing pages through marketing channels like Facebook and search engine ads.
“See expired listings in your neighborhood,” a Facebook ad might read.
Looking ahead, Ahumada said he and Baldwin will welcome similar partnerships with other tech firms.
Promoting products in exchange for financial rewards might be seen as a conflict of interest. But the pair says they aren’t worried that touting products from companies they partially own or have revenue-sharing agreements with will tarnish the group’s reputation as a forum for discovering the best tools and tactics.
That’s because they only plan to cut deals with companies that provide cream-of-the-crop products. “We’re still telling people to use products that we love,” Baldwin said.
Ahumada added he’s often heard a line from group members that runs along these lines: “We don’t care that you make money. You guys are just so helpful all the time.”