Reply vies for the Real Estate 2.0 crown

It looks like Reply! is going to be using some of that $17 million in VC money it got recently to take on two Real Estate 2.0 heavyweights, Zillow and Redfin. Inman News has the scoop. A quick look at their web site shows that it’s temporarily unavailable and a press release is up as a placeholder. Unfortunately their change in strategy is not accompanied by an change in their jargon-heavy writing style. (I can’t believe they actually used the term ‘close the loop’ to describe their service.)

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I forced myself to push through the doublespeak and a few points jump out:

Using the Reply! web site, consumers simply enter an address to access instant information including an aerial photograph of the neighborhood with comprehensive valuations for every home.

Sound awfully like another well-funded web site we’ve all come to know so well? I seriously doubt Reply! has the necessary clout to take on Zillow’s marketing muscle – to say nothing of their deep pockets. Furthermore, it’s unclear how Reply intends on deriving these valuations. But, to be fair, I’ll reserve further judgement until their new site goes live.

And in a move that’s sure to send Glenn Kelman’s blood pressure through the roof, Reply plans allow interested interested home buyers the opportunity to place an offer on a home.

Users simply go to the Reply! site, identify and research the home or homes of their choice, and then complete an offer on the site – either a specific offer or simply an indication of interest in buying the home. For $24.95 Reply! will deliver a physical package notifying the homeowner of the offer. The homeowner can then retrieve the offer at Reply.com and is free to engage directly with the prospective buyer.

Redfin has applied for a patent application on that business model last summer, so it’ll be interesting how Reply!’s gambit will play up in Seattle. Not well, I suspect.

In any case, welcome to the ring Reply! – let’s see what you’re made of.

UPDATE – Some media coverage here: