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RuListing matches buyers and sellers, but will it connect agents?

Buyers can build profiles, earn a 'Ready to Purchase' score and network with sellers. But there are some hidden risks for agents who work with a choosey seller
Privately contact buyers and sellers

RuListing is a national platform for matching private sellers with buyers and renters, and it’s a lead source for agents.

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RuListing is a national platform for matching private sellers with buyers and renters, and it’s a lead source for agents.

Platforms: Browser
Ideal For: Agents who target FSBOs, iBuyers, property investors

Top selling points

  • Highlights buyers and sellers active in the market
  • National reach
  • Patented “Ready to Purchase” score

Top concerns

There could be a risk of violating the Fair Housing Act for agents who choose to work with sellers who picked their buyers based on their picture and financial status, which is considered in a proprietary lead qualification score.

However, there are exemptions for private sellers who don’t own more than three properties not working with an agent.

What you should know

RuListing emanated from its founder’s inability to locate suitable real estate investment opportunities. Its intent is sound, and it looks quite capable.

Its execution is another matter, however.

The website allows aspiring buyers to post a need for either a purchase or rental. They create a personal profile, add social network details, share financial information and receive an RTP, or “Ready to Purchase” score, powered by a patented-algorithm.

Sellers then seek a suitable match according to neighborhood desired, RTP score and personal profile. Or buyers can reach out directly to owners who have posted their home. This isn’t a new concept.

Contributing to the person’s RTP score is also their access to “resources,” such as lawyers and mortgage pre-approval.

This automatically scores lower those who don’t have such resources at the ready. While there’s no question pre-approval speeds the sales process, how having an attorney on speed dial makes one a better homebuyer remains a mystery, other than to suggest they’re maybe more financially capable than someone who doesn’t.

RuListing is a good way for people who desire to own in a specific neighborhood with a shortage of listings to get their message out there.

The RuListing map search allows investors and agents who become members to drill down into their markets to make contact with active buyers and sellers.

The company’s revenue model is not yet in full swing, but it will rely on agents and eventually iBuyers buying geo-targeted advertising plans. There was no mention of simple paid subscription plans or ZIP code-based access to leads.

In our demo, RuListing’s Susan Joynt didn’t sound concerned about entering a real estate-need marketplace against the likes of Craigslist, the world’s No. 1 classified site. Craigslist took in more than $1 billion in revenue in 2018, 99 percent of which emanated from the U.S.

RuListing also operates in Canada and Australia.

Craigslist charges $10 for brokered apartment rentals in New York. Because it’s a non-profit and doesn’t disclose specific financials, I couldn’t verify what percentage comes from real estate listings.

A search of “Housing Wanted” on Craigslist in San Francisco showed 1,029 listings. In Atlanta, 1,099.

However, RuListing can theoretically do a better job for agents at providing an audience (or at least saving them time) than Craigslist because of its lead score and strict focus on only real estate.

Another consideration is that if buyers and sellers chat back and forth before one hires an agent, negotiation can be jeopardized, especially if numbers were discussed.

The company is in talks with an iBuyer, which can use RuListing to find buyers for its inventory and homes to purchase.

Aspiring sellers can also invite people in their market to “post” on their property, which provides an avenue for feedback and general engagement.

RuListing’s overall design and user experience is good.

The map search gives users a quick look into the market, and buyer profiles are nicely broken up into individual content cards that highlight must-haves, budget, timeframes and links to social channels.

There’s a lot going on here. It’s a stew of Nextdoor, ParkBench and an iBuyer platform. But RuListing values real estate agents and aims to involve them in the process. It’s just not quite able to yet.

In response to my suggestion that RuListing could introduce the risk of fair housing violations for agents who work with a seller with a list of buyers to choose from, Joynt admitted that the risk is not unlike that from other networking sites, such as LinkedIn, which includes images and professional backgrounds.

“I think that lane has been opened up by other networking sites,” she said.

Even though agents will eventually advertise according to specific location and not based on a person’s profile, it’s that type of hyper-targeting that put Facebook on the discrimination hot seat. The smell test has me reaching for a tissue.

In short, the intent of RuListing is sound, to have willing and qualified buyers advertise themselves to the agent marketplace.

However, I simply advise agents and investors to thoroughly examine the platform’s advertising model before signing up.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

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