NeighborCity Serves Up Recommended Agents

NeighborCity is an real estate search site that operates in 20 markets across the country. Like Estately and a handful of others, NeighborCity is also a brokerage and as a result, gets access to the MLS and is able to display all the active listings in those markets.

But NeighborCity is taking it one step further. It’s also displaying all the active agents in those markets and suggesting them alongside any searches done on the site. Right now it has profiles built for over 45,000 agents.

The premise is pretty simple, really; say I’m searching for a $400K single family home in the 97219 ZIP of Portland, Oregon – in addition to all the property listings that meet my criteria, NeighborCity is also going to suggest the best agent for my business. In this example, it says it is Dave Hrabal of Windermere.

They’re calling the service AgentMatch and it uses a proprietary algorithm to rank agents based on their relevance to the user’s search criteria – based on variables like price range, property type, neighborhood and the agents’ past performance.

If they’re interested in seeing the home, the buyer can choose to contact any of the suggested agents and the agent can respond to the inquiry with additional details on their commission structure and/or their individual specialties. Consumers get to stay anonymous until they’ve chosen an agent to work with.

Agents can also claim their profiles to provide more information to prospective clients. Presumably, there is some sort of referral fee paid out for any clients that come through the site.

We’ve seen agent matching sites before (Incredible Agents and Homethinking spring to mind) but this is the first site that I’ve seen that marries agent discovery so close to the property search touchpoint. It’s rather like the recommended items on Amazon.com – and I kind of liked the experience.

While it’s bound to be controversial (as any kind of computer generated valuation generally is) – what I liked about AgentMatch was at least the promise of editorial neutrality. Unlike Trulia or Zillow’s pay-to-play advertising model, which as a consumer I’d typically disregard. In theory, the algorithm should surface the best agent for my needs.

What I would like to see however, is greater detail and transparency on how the AgentMatch suggestion is generated. Currently – there’s really no explanation provided as to why the agents that are presented are suggested. And that’s the biggest shame really.

No sense telling me the who without telling me the why.