Realtor.com vs. Homes.com – you choose
Recently I wrote a post on Zillow and Trulia. I hope it was helpful to read on pros and cons. It’s time to review the other two giants on the real estate search arena.
Realtor.com – should I say more?
Perhaps. Realtor.com – is without a doubt the leader of the pack. I assume it helps to be operated by the National Association of Realtors. Yes, a part of your dues support the site which in turn accesses all MLS systems and presents all currently available listings. Whether you want it or not, your listings are automatically on Realtor.com. Realtor.com is strong; they’ve been there before any other major players appeared on the market. Realtor.com is also related to Top Producer and Market Snapshot.
Enhanced Profiles and Listings on Realtor.com
If you are a part of a major franchise the chances are your profile and your listings are automatically enhanced. Though too often the leads that come of your listing will be sent to your office and how they are spread among the agents after that is up to your broker. If you are an independent broker or Realtor it is up to you to upgrade your profile and make your listings featured. The cost? It all depends on how many listings you have. I’ve seen rates from $350 to $2,000 per year. With a featured profile you can upload up to 25 pictures and have only your personal information on the listing and no Viarga ads.
One of the features that I like is the option of video tours. Yes, you can upload your own videos of the listings (limit 100 Mb per video) and not have them linked to YouTube, like most other search engines do. At the same time, I do like how easy it is to simply drop a link in MLS to a video tour on YouTube, and then sites like Trulia and Zillow pick them up and display a link to the video tour on the listing. But if you don’t have a YouTube account (which you should) you can make a quick video and upload it on Realtor.com. In addition you can make it branded here, where on MLS it must be unbranded. Video tours can give you an additional edge with buyers because they will see a video tour icon on your listings in search results. Have you started making home video tours yet?
In addition you can purchase a Buyer Assist feature which allows you to be listed as a featured agent when buyers are searching in a specific zip code. Realtor.com makes it easy to track all the leads coming your way and gives you an opportunity to sync them into your Top Producer system. With Buyer Assist you are also getting a dedicated phone line so you know you have a potential client on the line when then phone is ringing. However, Trulia also automatically assigns you a phone line (when you have a Trulia Pro account) and records your messages so you can listen to them online. Zillow assigns a dedicated phone number as well (Premier Agent). I get immediate text messages from both notifying me of a new lead, so I often call the potential clients while they are still looking at the listing on their computer.
Home Values feature
Home Values is another cool tool Realtor.com offers to the clients and of course to agents (agents pay a fee). Not cheap and I haven’t tried it, but it links clients to your Market Snapshot. This is where you can get seller leads and I assume you’d appreciate getting listings in addition to working with buyers, so there’s value it Home Values feature – worth checking out.
Homes.com – serious competition
Homes.com – is a rising star. While Realtor.com focuses on searches and features, Homes.com embraces the interaction and engagement idea. Of course it’s also a robust home search platform, and in addition to that it features a very popular sections called Questions and Answers. I get tons of requests that home buyers and sellers post daily with questions about properties, HOA fees, rentals, etc. Not every request is going to turn into a closing, but if you engage, spend time and establish yourself as a know-it-all professional you will have business coming your way. Just ask Ashleigh Masi at ReMax AllStar. By promptly engaging and answering questions she has turned some of these folks into clients.
It is free to set up your profile on Homes.com and you can buy ad space that can help you increase your exposure. If you want your listings featured and get a significantly higher number of views you’ll have to pay some. $19.95/month per enhanced listing. If you want to go even further – Local Branding is for you where city and neighborhood ads are available for purchase. Contact Homes.com for pricing. Homes.com also has a unique new product called Homes-Connect (click to watch the presentation), which is a marketing and client management platform that integrates with your social media outlets. And for en extensive comparison of available features and products simply take a look here.
So, if you are looking for more than just listings, need to post a question and get some answers, want to address statewide or local real estate concerns, Homes.com maybe a good place where you can engage.
What sites are you using? Where do you get the most return for your money as an agent? We’d like to know your opinion, please comment below.