HomeLight, a startup that builds transaction technology and connects consumers to real estate professionals, announced Thursday it’s launching an elite program for the top agents on its platform.
Agents will qualify for the program, dubbed HomeLight Elite Agent, based on a variety of metrics including their win rate, transaction close rate, ratings from clients and more. In a statement, HomeLight founder and CEO Drew Uher also said that the program includes a key difference from similarly named offerings by other companies.
“Unlike other premium agent programs on real estate search portals,” Uher explained, “real estate agents cannot pay for HomeLight Elite Agent status. Instead, HomeLight Elite is awarded to the top 1 percent of real estate agents on HomeLight’s platform.”
Uher described the resulting group of Elite Agent members as “the preeminent community of agents in the real estate industry.”
A company spokesperson further explained to Inman that HomeLight expects there to be hundreds of Elite Agent members by the end of the year, though that number could grow into the thousands over the longer term. The program is first launching with a small group in California, Colorado and Texas.
The spokesperson also told Inman that on average the company is actively working with 80,000 agents at any given time. Agents can join the platform for free by visiting the company’s website, creating a profile and confirming details of their transaction history.
HomeLight sees Elite Agent status benefiting real estate professionals in a number of ways. For starters, members will get priority access to HomeLight’s Cash Close program that was also announced Friday. That program — which has already begun rolling out in California — will let buyers trade-in their homes via HomeLight so they can move quickly to another property. Cash Close also includes an option that provides buyers with the money to make cash offers on new houses.
Additionally, HomeLight’s statement explains that real estate professionals who have Elite Agent status will get special badging on the company’s website, collateral they can display in listing presentations and elsewhere, first dibs on new products and services, and access to exclusive events.
HomeLight has additionally created a “dedicated Elite Agent Success Team that provides top-notch service and product training,” according to the company’s statement.
As Uher’s comments indicated, there are other real estate firms with programs targeting top agents. Zillow’s Premier Agent, for example, bears a nominal similarity to Elite Agent. However, in Zillow’s case the product is a paid service focused on generating leads.
The launch of both the HomeLight Elite Agent and Cash Close programs comes less than three months after HomeLight revealed it had raised $109 million in its latest funding round. The company explained at the time that it would use the new cash to build out its closing services and home loan business.
The funding also marked the latest stage in the company’s long-running evolution. When HomeLight first launched in 2012, its goal was to match consumers and agents using a machine-learning algorithm. The company still does that — HomeLight.com continues to foreground the company’s matching product — but over the years HomeLight has also turned its attention to making the entire real estate transaction smoother and more painless.
To accomplish that goal, the company has focused on developing tools specifically for agents. For instance, last February, HomeLight debuted a new app that lets agents present their clients with iBuyer offers.
In July, HomeLight also purchased a digital mortgage lender, which enabled the company to begin offering loans to buyers in California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.
HomeLight’s evolution was also apparent this week, when in the announcement for Elite Agent and Cash Close the company described its vision as “a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying.”