Fresh off the heels of its latest funding round and subsequent acquisition of real estate search portal Movoto, OJO Labs is launching a real estate referral network. The company is eyeing “top” agents in each market with a set of minimum standards to participate in OJO Select Network.
“At OJO, We’ve been connecting consumers with agents for a while now,” Chris Heller, OJO’s chief real estate officer, told Inman. “We fairly recently made the acquisition of Movoto and that instantly put us in touch with tens of thousands of more consumers. That accelerated our desire to want to have a referral network of top agents.”
Agents that use the referral network will pay a portion of their commission on closed deals — similar to Redfin’s Partner Program, Opcity, or Zillow’s flex-pricing platform — and will be connected to pre-vetted consumers via a live transfer process.
The company has a fully staffed concierge team that will communicate with the agent, loan officer and consumer to ensure the consumer is serious about buying a home before being connected with the agent, and ensure a strong overall customer experience.
The company is setting a minimum barrier of entry — which is flexible in certain markets where’s there’s not a high level of demand for housing — of at least three years of experience and 25 closed transactions in the past year. Heller, a longtime veteran in the industry and former CEO of real estate franchisor Keller Williams, believes his large depth of experience in evaluating what makes a good real estate experience.
“I understand what a good experience looks and sounds and feels like and I understand what agents do that provides that,” Heller said.
Once the agents join the referral network, they’ll continuously be evaluated based on their responsivity and their customer satisfaction ratings.
“We know that not all agents are created equal,” Heller said. “Some provide a better level of service and a higher customer experience than others.”
“Those are the agents that we want to introduce consumers to, because we’re setting the expectations with consumers that we’re going to connect them to the best possible agent for them.”
OJO Labs’ platform OJO is an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant, which, when combined with the referral network, will provide agent partners with insights into each consumer’s individual preferences, prior to the connection.
The new platform fits into the company’s overall mission of combining both the human experience and technology to meet the needs of consumers.
“We’re committed to helping consumers, no matter where they are in their journey,“ Heller said in a statement. “Combined with our proprietary AI-fueled homebuying experience, which builds trust and confidence, the OJO Select Network will enable agents to take on leads suited for their expertise and convert them to home sales through an unparalleled combination of access, speed and personalized experiences.”
The platform is already live in five markets, but the company plans to roll it out to as many as 50 markets by the end of November and nationwide by the end of the year.