Realtors who don’t have a personal website have officially run out of excuses.
The National Association of Realtors is offering free property search websites to all members as part of a new deal with real estate software provider Placester.
The partnership makes it possible for all Realtors “to build an online presence they can control,” said CEO Matt Barba in a statement. And it could fuel Placester’s efforts to build a massive user base that could be receptive to buying upgrades.
A previous deal between the trade group and Placester made basic versions of Placester sites available to Realtors for $5 a month. Under the new deal, the two are offering Placester websites for no charge.
The free mobile-friendly websites come with features including IDX [Internet Data Exchange] listing integration, “global listings search,” homepage with slideshow, mortgage calculator, social media share buttons and editable listing search, about and testimonial pages.
Agents must pay for upgraded versions to add lead-capture features, such as contact forms, to the websites.
The free sites are ideal for new Realtors, but could also be useful to vets for personal branding, targeting a specific demographic (e.g. renters, luxury buyers, investors) or geography and marketing specific property types, such as waterfront or vacation homes, said Placester spokesman Seth Price.
For 60 of the 600 multiple listing services covered by the product, agents must pay a surcharge to activate IDX-powered property search. Placester values the websites at $240 a year.
The free websites are provided under NAR’s “Realtor Benefits Program.”
Under the agreement, Realtors can also receive a 20 percent discount on annual paid subscription products, including single property websites, broker websites and Placester’s lead-management and marketing “bundles.”
Retail price for Placester’s “Essential” package, the company’s cheapest bundle, costs $150 a month and includes an IDX website, email marketing, lead-management system, advanced website features and “advanced account assistance.”
Placester has expanded rapidly by offering websites at an extremely low cost — often through big deals with industry players — with the presumed aim of “upselling users” on its more expensive products.
Its new deal with NAR appears to mark the company’s transition to a “freemium” model.
Placester recently raised an additional $50 million in a Series D funding round, bringing its total funding to $100 million.
Placester says its users represent over 95 percent of real estate franchisors, and “powers the businesses of more than 400,000 real estate professionals” through its various products.
The company declined to disclose its weekly number of real estate agent users.