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Offerpad takes cash offer program to Realtor.com

Offerpad takes cash offer program to Realtor.com

Offerpad is the latest company to join Realtor.com’s Seller’s Marketplace. Both companies said the partnership reflects their dedication to furthering consumer choice.

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Offerpad Cash Offers are coming to Realtor.com, according to an announcement on Tuesday.

Homesellers can request a cash offer through Realtor.com‘s Seller’s Marketplace. After providing their address and answering a few questions about their property’s condition, Realtor.com will provide a list of cash offers. If a seller chooses Offerpad’s offer, they’ll get access to a flexible closing date and free moving services.

Blake Elmquist

Realtor.com Seller Category Management VP Blake Elmquist said Offerpad is a “natural fit” for the Seller’s Marketplace and enables the portal to “meet the needs of home sellers in a dynamic market environment.”

“This will also complement our RealChoice Selling experience, which provides consumers selling options, and enables them to compare listing agents to find a trusted expert,” he added.

In an interview with Inman, Offerpad founder and CEO Brian Bair echoed Elmquist’s sentiments, saying Offerpad and Realtor.com have the same core value: bolstering consumer choice.

“As we were working on this integration together, it was a natural fit — people have the choice to list their home, get [a] cash offer, or if they want to, both,” he said. “I really, really like that. Especially where we’re at right now in this market, this day and age is, it’s really important for all of us to [meet] sellers where they’re at. [Well], sellers and buyers, but specifically sellers. That’s where [this partnership] started.”

Brian Bair

Bair said the past four years whipped up violent headwinds for consumers, who’ve had to navigate historical ebbs and flows in mortgage rates, home prices, list-to-sale speed and other key market factors.

During times of immense change, he said the real estate industry must rise to the occasion and give consumers multiple options that meet their wants and needs.

“There was somebody last week we talked to that was a dog owner. It was hard to work around their life when they [had] to go home and let their dog out for showings and those kind of things,” he said. “It’s all these different little life moments that people have where we can meet them, and so our cash offer was a great fit for them.”

As the deadline for several multiple listing service (MLS) policy changes associated with the National Association of Realtors’ $418 million buyer-broker commission lawsuit settlement moves closer, Bair said he expects consumers to take a second look at what iBuyers have to offer.

“The reason I founded Offerpad was I saw the world of real estate changing not because it was anyone’s fault … but everything just changes and people’s patience is not what it used to be,” he said. “Having more control over the transaction is important, and with the settlement that just happened, I think you’re going to start seeing little tweaks from here and there in the traditional transaction process.”

“First and foremost, I don’t think agents are going away by any means, but it’s about providing whatever the [consumer] wants,” he added. “First-time buyers would probably like to have somebody represent them, [and] someone who’s bought a lot of homes might be more comfortable dealing straight with Offerpad. We’re going to see that opportunity [grow].”

Beyond the opportunity to connect with more homesellers, Bair said the Realtor.com partnership ultimately signals a new chapter for Offerpad after a rough patch that included losing profitability, staff layoffs and almost being delisted from the stock market.

The company’s first quarter ushered in slimming losses and an uptick in buying activity and saw the addition of several new agent-focused initiatives, including a listing platform.

“I’ve been in real estate for 20 years; I haven’t seen anything like [the market] out of COVID. It’s been a lot of different challenges,” he said. “We’ve disciplined with the homes that we’re buying … we expect to be net cash flow positive by the end of the year and then continue with our rapid growth again.”

“The one thing I’ve been probably more proud of than anything else is our ability to adapt and stay flexible to all market conditions,” he added. “It really speaks to the strength of the [iBuyer] model in general and the ability of the team to remain flexible.”

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Ben Bray & Associates joins Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Ben Bray & Associates joins Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Ben Bray & Associates, a 27-year-old Tennessee brokerage, is the sixth to join Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in 2024. The Lafayette-based brokerage boasts 28 agents across two offices.

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug. 1, 2024, the noise and misinformation will be banished, all your big questions will be answered, and new business opportunities will be revealed. Join us.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has added a new Tennessee affiliate, according to an announcement on Thursday. The Lafayette-based brokerage, Ben Bray & Associates, has served homebuyers and homesellers throughout Middle Tennessee and South Central Kentucky for 27 years.

Ben Bray

“We’re fully committed to our clients, and their best interests are always what guides our decisions – that’s what led us to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate,” broker-owner Ben Bray said in a statement. “We’ve developed over 100 years of knowledge helping our friends, families and neighbors with all of their real estate wants and needs, but we know that we can still elevate our services even further.”

Bray founded Ben Bray & Associates with a focus on commercial land and farm sales alongside traditional residential transactions and property auctions. The brokerage has two offices in Lafayette and Gallatin near the Tennessee-Kentucky border and is known for their support of several charities including Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Waymakers.

Bray and his wife, Katie, said their new affiliation with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate will enable them to offer better training, education and technological support to their 28 agents.

“It’s never been about being everyone’s real estate provider, it’s been about being the real estate provider that can help with everything,” Bray said. “Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate can provide our company with the training, infrastructure, and support we need to finally be able to dedicate 100 percent of our efforts to the clients, instead of micromanaging day-to-day responsibilities.”

Katie Bray

“Our reputation means everything to us, and as native Volunteers, we understand that many of our clients feel the same,” added Katie, who is an affiliate broker and co-broker/owner. “To be able to maintain that reputation while adding state-of-the-art systems, services and infrastructure is an opportunity that we knew we couldn’t pass up.”

BGHRE President Ginger Wilcox said Ben Bray & Associates is an invaluable addition to the brokerage’s network due to the “consistent growth” and “excellent reputation” Bray has built over the past quarter decade.

“It’s always exciting to welcome a company with a strong, long-lasting reputation into the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate network,” she said. “We’re excited to partner with Ben and his team to further their brand reach and enhance the resources they can offer to their agents. With his network, knowledge, and the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand tools, systems and services, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for his brokerage.”

This is the sixth affiliate BGHRE has added this year.

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Microsoft removes portal data from Bing Real Estate after outcry

Microsoft removes portal data from Bing Real Estate after outcry

Four days after Bing Real Estate came under fire for its alleged co-opting of listing data from Zillow, Redfin and Realtor.com, Microsoft has removed for-sale listing data from its site.

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug. 1, 2024, the noise and misinformation will be banished, all your big questions will be answered, and new business opportunities will be revealed. Join us.

A little over a week after multiple industry leaders rang the alarm about Microsoft co-opting listing data from Zillow, Realtor.com and Redfin, it seems the tech giant has removed the data from its Bing Real Estate platform.

Searches for for-sale listings in some of the nation’s top markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta all yield the same answer: “Oops, there are no results.”

Inman first heard of the potential move Thursday night.

Microsoft declined to answer Inman’s questions, with a spokesperson noting the company “has nothing to share at this time.” However, Redfin, Realtor.com and Zillow’s spokespeople confirmed conversations with the tech giant to remove their listing data from the site.

“We contacted Bing earlier this week with a request to remove all Realtor.com content, and we appreciate their prompt response,” a Realtor.com spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“Zillow has no license agreement with Microsoft for listings or our Zestimate. Its use of our content on Bing.com/homes was not authorized by Zillow and is not permitted by our terms of use,” a Zillow spokesperson said while noting they contacted Microsoft last week. “We’ve asked Microsoft to remove content sourced from Zillow from its Bing.com/homes experience.”

New York City’s Bing Real Estate page | Screenshot from Monday morning at 9:22 am CT

The can of worms exploded on Monday after Inman published a story about Real Estate Standards Organization CEO Sam DeBord’s multiple threads on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. DeBord drew attention to Microsoft’s potential co-opting of Zillow, Redfin and Realtor.com data to fuel its portal, in light of increasing questions from agents, brokers and other real estate professionals about Bing Real Estate.

“I’m getting a lot of questions from the real estate technology space about http://bing.com/homes,” he wrote in a now-deleted thread from May 28. “Can any of our friends at @bing @MSBing_Dev @Microsoft tell me the source of licensing for the data and media associated with these real estate listings? #bing #microsoft.”

DeBord explained Bing Real Estate has been around in some form for several years; however, the addition of traditional portal features — such as monetized ads, a mortgage calculator and the ability for homeowners to claim their home — sparked concerns about whether Bing Real Estate was properly following IDX (internet data exchange) regulations since they don’t seem to be an MLS participant and cannot get permission from an MLS participant (e.g. Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, etc.) to repost listing data.

DeBord and others acknowledged theories that Bing Real Estate could be a SERP (search engine results page) that is simply indexing listings; however, the tech giant’s silence about their strategy made it difficult to lean on that explanation.

“It’s been around in some form for years,” he told Inman. “A significant number of people have reported on a very light version of Bing that had been displaying homes for sale and it appeared that it was using Zillow and Redfin and other listing feeds to make these displays.”

“But the people who reached out to me more recently said this looks like a much more professional marketplace with monetized ads [and] functions very similar to a traditional portal, like the ability to claim your home,” he added. “It appeared to have moved past a test phase into a full-fledged for-profit marketplace.”

Inman will continue to follow this story and post more updates.

Developing… 

RealScout becomes LeadingRE’s newest preferred vendor

RealScout becomes LeadingRE’s newest preferred vendor

California-based proptech leader RealScout has become Leading Real Estate Companies of the World’s newest Solutions Group program member, according to an announcement on Wednesday. LeadingRE member brokers who register for a new RealScout account through the LeadingRE platform by June 30 will receive a 20 percent discount, the company explained. 

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug. 1, 2024, the noise and misinformation will be banished, all your big questions will be answered, and new business opportunities will be revealed. Join us.

California-based proptech leader RealScout has become Leading Real Estate Companies of the World’s newest Solutions Group program member, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

Andrew Flachner

“This partnership has been in the making for a long time,” RealScout President Andrew Flachner said in a prepared statement. “For years, many of the largest LeadingRE members have relied on RealScout to nurture and convert more business. We’re excited to take this relationship to the next level and bring our award-winning platform to the larger LeadingRE audience.”

LeadingRE’s Solutions Group has 60 members that offer a variety of transaction management, customer relationship management, lead generation, marketing, photography and videography, home insurance, and real estate data services.

RealScout is known for its full-fledged search platform that boasts an array of features, including a branded home search portal, interactive side-by-side listing comparisons, social media tools, lead management and distribution, and several other agent and broker-focused support features.

The platform also includes RealScout’s headline-making homebuyer activity intelligence dashboard, which is partially powered through Buyer Graphs in 18 select markets. The graphs include information from brokerage partners who agree to share real-time anonymized buyer data and habits, which enables agents and brokers to make quicker and more accurate pricing decisions.

RealScout has spent the past year making several game-changing updates to the platform. The most notable upgrade was the December launch of RealScout Pro+’s Auto Nuture feature, which automates outreach efforts to new and existing clientele with an agent’s CRM. Auto Nurture’s outreach efforts are bolstered by a Home Value Alert tool and real-time market activity alerts that align with each stage of a client’s real estate journey, from securing a mortgage to their tenth year in homeownership.

“We’re incredibly excited to unveil Auto Nurture as part of the RealScout Pro+ release,” Flachner told Inman after RealScout Pro+’s launch. “The impact of this feature has proven to be immediate, meaningful and quantifiable for many of our customers.”

Jeff Kennedy

LeadingRE Vice President of Sales and Partnerships Jeff Kennedy said RealScout’s track record of helping agents build robust, data-driven businesses made the decision to add them to LeadingRE’s Solutions Group a no-brainer.

“RealScout isn’t just a tool; it’s a game-changer for real estate professionals,” he said. “With its seamless integration and intuitive interface, it empowers agents to effortlessly connect with clients, deliver valuable insights, and capitalize on immediate sales opportunities.”

LeadingRE member brokers who register for a new RealScout account through the LeadingRE platform by June 30 will receive a 20 percent discount, the company explained.

This is the second enterprise deal RealScout has secured in the past six months. In December, RealScout inked an agreement with Anywhere Real Estate to offer its platform to offices operating under Century 21, Sotheby’s International Realty and Coldwell Banker.

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Microsoft’s mysterious real estate portal sparks data safety concerns

Microsoft’s mysterious real estate portal sparks data safety concerns

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug. 1, 2024, the noise and misinformation will be banished, all your big questions will be answered, and new business opportunities will be revealed. Join us.

Microsoft’s mystery portal Bing Real Estate is in the spotlight, thanks to a social media thread highlighting the potential theft of listing data from Zillow, Realtor.com and Redfin.

Real Estate Standards Organization CEO Sam DeBord sounded the alarm last Tuesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, with a thread raising issues around listing data on Bing Real Estate. Listings on the site, he said, seem to be stealing listing data — descriptions, photos, sales history, etc. — from Zillow.

Screenshot of DeBord’s May 28 X thread.

“I’m getting a lot of questions from the real estate technology space about http://bing.com/homes,” he wrote. “Can any of our friends at @bing @MSBing_Dev @Microsoft tell me the source of licensing for the data and media associated with these real estate listings? #bing #microsoft.”

His post drew the attention of agents, brokers and real estate tech leaders who’ve gotten increasing questions about the site, which seems to have existed in one form or another for three years.

The biggest splash Bing Real Estate made was a 2021 partnership with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), which gave the site permission to display active real estate listing summaries in Canada. In 2022, the site sparked commotion with an overseas hiring spree focused on building a long-term rentals team.

Since then, Microsoft has been tight-lipped about Bing Real Estate, despite multiple social media queries and Microsoft forums flooded with questions from agents and consumers about how to add, remove or claim listings through the site’s owner and renter hub.

“I didn’t realize that Microsoft Bing is now showing real estate,” Dallas-based real estate consultant Michelle Combs wrote on LinkedIn several months ago. “Hmm, seems to be lacking all agent and MLS attribution. That’s odd.”

Sam DeBord

In an interview with Inman, DeBord said he’s been receiving an increasing number of questions like Combs’s from concerned agents, brokers and fellow tech leaders who wonder if Microsoft has permission to repost listing data from Zillow, Realtor.com and Redfin.

“It’s been around in some form for years,” he said. “A significant number of people have reported on a very light version of Bing that had been displaying homes for sale and it appeared that it was using Zillow and Redfin and other listing feeds to make these displays.”

“But the people who reached out to me more recently said this looks like a much more professional marketplace with monetized ads [and] functions very similar to a traditional portal, like the ability to claim your home,” he added. “It appeared to have moved past a test phase into a full-fledged for-profit marketplace.”

DeBord said the shift to a full-fledged real estate marketplace means Bing Real Estate’s actions could be in violation of IDX (internet data exchange) regulations, since they don’t seem to be an MLS participant and cannot get permission from an MLS participant (e.g. Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, etc.) to repost listing data.

There’s also a secondary issue, he said, regarding photographer and vendor copyrights for the listing photos and videos on the Bing Real Estate site.

An example of how listings look on Bing Real Estate.

Inman reached out to Zillow, Realtor.com and Redfin about Bing Real Estate, whether they’re aware of Bing Real Estate’s usage of their listing data, and whether they have any agreement that allows Bing Real Estate to repost their listings.

A Redfin spokesperson said they have no data agreement with Bing Real Estate, and a Realtor.com spokesperson said they’re looking into the situation. Zillow and Microsoft did not respond.

Inman also reached out to NAR about the situation and asked whether they have an agreement with Bing Real Estate’s U.S. site that’s similar to what CREA has with Bing Real Estate’s Canadian site. They have yet to respond.

DeBord acknowledged theories that Bing Real Estate is a SERP (search engine results page) that is simply indexing listings, which is allowed under MLS IDX rules. However, without a full-fledged explanation from Microsoft clarifying exactly what Bing Real Estate is, the SERP theory is a little thin.

“If http://bing.com/homes is just a SERP, we probably need to reclassify every product review site as a SERP,” he said on X Monday morning. “Maybe Wikipedia is just a SERP. Is @Yelp just a SERP? What about @AutoTrader_com? This nonsense continues without consistent scrutiny and big voices joining in.”

Victor Lund

WAV Group founder and managing partner Victor Lund is part of the cadre calling for answers from Microsoft. However, he believes Bing Real Estate’s endgame isn’t to stand toe-to-toe with Zillow or another portal.

Instead, he thinks it’s all about mortgage leads.

“I mean, they built a search engine for real estate and their intention is to drive mortgage leads,” he said. “When you look at the site, you’ll see they’re sending traffic back to Zillow or Redfin — you can’t inquire about a listing [on Bing Real Estate] but you can inquire about a mortgage. Just think about all the mortgage companies that are advertising on those pages.”

Whether it is about listings or mortgages, DeBord and Lund said it’s important that Microsoft and Bing Real Estate follow industry regulations.

“These [portals] value following the rules with these data feeds,” DeBord said. “They are not taking chances with this and they are not going to be the ones in the wrong at the end of this story.”

“MLSs should send a cease and desist to Zillow [. . .] and Microsoft with some reasonable time frame and a takedown notice,” Lund added, taking a more hardline approach to the situation. “If they fail to honor it, then each MLS has the obligation to turn off the data feed to Zillow and Redfin. That’s the remedy.”

As for what agents and brokers can do now, DeBord said this evolving situation should be a reminder of how valuable the data they create is. As for the next steps, that’s less clear; however, he said this is the perfect time to assess the current IDX rules and policies and make sure industry professionals are aware of their data rights.

“The real key is that I just want to share information and not accusations,” he said while noting the lingering mystery about Microsoft’s intents.  “I think it’s another reminder that brokers and agents and their MLSs create a lot of value with their listings.”

“They’re being reminded again that the most valuable company in the world finds their data valuable and wants to participate in that value creation,” he added. “At the end of the day, yes, it’s about serving clients and customers to help buy, sell, rent real estate, and we create additional business value to make those businesses better.”

“And making sure that we can help enforce those licenses and those rules so that the value creators are the ones capturing back the value of that listing data and media they create is a very important thing, as is being proven again here.”

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Know anything about Microsoft’s search portal? Let us know in the comments.