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If you spent New Year’s day browsing for homes on Keller Williams’ consumer-facing website, you likely noticed a big shift. The real estate franchisor quietly launched a totally revamped website on January 1, nearly a year after it was first teased at the company’s Family Reunion event.
“Our redesigned KW.com is centered on our core efforts to further optimize the home experience for consumers,” Darryl Frost, a spokesperson for Keller Williams, told Inman. “More updates on our web-based home search will be unveiled in sync with the release of our updated consumer app early in 2020.”
“We are excited about the new responsive functionalities of KW.com,” Frost added. “We also added content to better serve consumers on their home buying, selling, and renting journeys.”
The neighborhood-based search experience is powered by Smarter Agent, which the company acquired in September 2018. Smarter Agent is a mobile-first platform that connects to more than 650 multiple listing services and allows brokers and agents to create branded real estate search apps.
Keller Williams’ website had previously been powered by WolfNet. The company’s contract with WolfNet expired on December 31, 2019, a Keller Williams source told Inman.
Users can search directly by neighborhood, a function that Keller Williams’ says is broken down more hyper-locally than at other search portals or brokerage websites. The website also presents neighborhood-level facts about recent sales.
Keller Williams first previewed the new website and app in February 2018, and at the time, Keller Williams President Josh Team highlighted the neighborhood-centric layout as a reason Keller Williams would be able to compete with the likes of Zillow, Redfin and realtor.com in home search.
“When our agents can make customers smarter on the hyperlocal level, we win,” Team told Inman, at the time. “That’s what the consumer wants, and can’t get from any website or mobile app.”
The neighborhood break-down and insights are provided to Keller Williams through a partnership with local social networking platform Nextdoor.
The website was also given a complete cosmetic overhaul, outside of adding the new search features. The redesign foreshadows the changes expected to come to Keller Williams’ consumer-facing app in early 2020.
While much of the focus of the industry’s race to build a proprietary technology platform has been centered on agent-facing tools, like a customer relationship management tool or a transaction management platform, the industry’s biggest real estate companies have also put a strong emphasis on revamping their consumer-facing websites and apps. RE/MAX has been testing a new app and websites, and Compass launched a new website and search tools late last year.
In launching the new website, Keller Williams ended a nearly two-decade relationship with WolfNet. Individual Market Centers that had websites with WolfNet, outside of the contract with Keller Williams International Realty, can continue their contracts.
“WolfNet and Keller Williams Realty International have been working together for nearly 18 years to provide agents and Market Centers with IDX property searches and related services,” WolfNet Technologies CEO Joel Macintosh, said in a letter, posted on the company’s website. “We’ve had an amazing relationship and the WolfNet team is grateful for the opportunity to support and help grow your business for nearly two decades.”
The company also published an FAQ on its website for current customers, to answer questions about what the end of the relationship means for clients.
Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2019.
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