Is a community seeing an increase in infill development? Does Starbucks or Whole Foods have plans to set up shop? Are local homeowners cliquey, or do they embrace newcomers? The fact that real estate agents can often answer these questions — and real estate websites typically cannot — is part of their lasting appeal to consumers. Real estate professionals across the U.S. now have a new platform for putting their ability to field such questions on full display.

  • WikiRealty, an 'online town square' that has partnered with MLSs, has expanded nationally.
  • Real estate agents can put their local knowledge on display and advertise on the site.
  • Agents can pay to feature posts and events and will be able to share their local knowledge with existing contacts and the WikiRealty audience simultaneously.

Is a community seeing an increase in infill development? Does Starbucks or Whole Foods have plans to set up shop? Are local homeowners cliquey, or do they embrace newcomers?

The fact that real estate agents can often answer these questions — and real estate websites typically cannot — is part of their lasting appeal to consumers.

Real estate professionals across the U.S. now have a new platform for putting their ability to field such questions on full display.

WikiRealty, a website that crowdsources information from real estate professionals to help consumers learn the ins and outs of neighborhoods, has expanded nationally, building on partnerships the startup has inked with several MLSs.

WikiRealty, which is based on Santa Monica, California, aggregates insights from real estate professionals to serve up insider information that the site says consumers might only otherwise obtain through face-to-face interactions with locals.

Screen shot showing WikiRealty's Miami forum.

Screen shot showing WikiRealty’s Miami forum.

While real estate and listing data has proliferated in recent years, “collecting local insight and up-to-date information online is inefficient,” said WikiRealty CEO Sanjay Kuttemperoor in an email.

“WikiRealty offers a one-stop online destination for both crowdsourced local knowledge, neighborhood data and property listings,” he said.

In addition to serving as an “online town square,” WikiRealty displays around two million listings sourced through ListHub, a listing syndicator owned by realtor.com operator Move, and several partnerships with MLSs and brokerages.

Real estate agents share information and respond to questions from consumers in the hope of attracting new customers on the website.

Some Realtor associations, including the California Association of Realtors (CAR), the Chicago Association of Realtors and The Miami Association of Realtors (MIAMI), have inked deals with WikiRealty that may have helped the site collect content from local Realtors.

But WikiRealty has yet to build a large consumer audience.

The site’s Chicago section features 48 tips and two events — mostly contributed by Realtors — but no questions, which are likely to be asked by consumers. The site’s Miami vertical shows one question along with 48 tips and five events.

“We have solved the ‘chicken and egg’ problem because we now have a lot of great content … now we are going to bring the consumers through various digital marketing strategies,” said Kuttemperoor when asked about how WikiRealty would grow consumer traffic.

Although consumers may not currently be highly active on the site, WikiRealty has still generated business for some companies, according to Kuttemperoor. Two large homebuilders attributed four sales to WikiRealty in the last month, he said.

When WikiRealty announced its partnership with the Miami Association of Realtors in September 2014, WikiRealty said the organizations had agreed to cross-link to each other’s websites, and that it would offer prominent placement to Miami members’ listings on WikiRealty.

As WikiRealty geared up for its national launch, the startup gained traction in communities across California, Florida, Milwaukee and Chicago, Kuttemperoor said.

Real estate professionals can pay WikiRealty to promote posts and events and feature their advertising. Another marketing product in the works will let Realtors share local insight with their existing database while syndicating that content to the WikiRealty community.

Email Teke Wiggin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that WikiRealty is based in Santa Monica, California, not Naples, Florida, where the startup was previously based. 

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