Househappy: A More Industry Friendly National Portal?
In many respects, today’s leading online real estate search portals are all starting to look alike. So much so, that consumers frequently skim through listings on more than one of these sites, thereby creating a gigantic number of eyeball visits on an aggregated basis relative to the actual number of home sales. If one adds the reported visits from the 4 top ranked portals by monthly traffic, the number exceeds 150 million unique visitors per month. And yet there are only about 5 million home sale transactions per year over the last few years.
While listing agents may be initially attracted to the appearance of national exposure of their listing asset on the more well known portals, the consumer often finds it easier to locate competing agents on the listing detail page than it is to find the listing agent — that is, unless the listing agent decides to lay out some marketing dollars for prime placement.
It seems the profit model of the large, national portals is based on selling online impression-based advertising to agents, where priority is given to the highest bidder rather than the agent with the listing. And the marketing fees seem to be rising and someday may reach as much as 40% of the commission on a closed sale, as noted in a recent Inman article.
Some brokerages like Edina Realty and Crye-Leike have viewed the business models of third party portals as a means to position the portal between the brokerage’s agents and the consumer — and the brokerages have demonstrated their distaste with these models by removing their listings from a few of the larger portals altogether in some markets, creating “black holes” where the portals do not have local listings to display.
With this Industry feedback in mind, several recently launched portals are trying to find new approaches to displaying listing data while giving proper credit to the listing agent.
So, what if there was a portal that prominently displayed only the listing agent’s name next to their listings—and what if this portal did this for free?
We found a site with a fresh new approach to displaying listings that does just that. Househappy has entered the market quietly — however, you may have seen them most recently in the news as an invited attendee at the Realogy FWD innovation summit where Househappy was described as a “visual real estate search engine that offers consumers an intuitive way to search homes for sale, and brokers and agents a free platform on which to advertise their properties.”
If you haven’t yet heard of Househappy, I encourage you to take a look at www.Househappy.com. You might notice that the home page is very different than what we are used to seeing with other national portals.
Here are a few other things that Househappy is doing differently for real estate professionals and in a manner consistent with Listing Rights Management principles:
- Cost—It’s free. No ads and no fees for real estate professionals or for buyers.
- Leads—All leads belong to the listing agent. Your listing, your leads. Leads flow directly to you. The buyers email you directly.
- Integrity—Clear ownership of listings. Your contact information (and no one else’s) is displayed next to your property post, along with a link to your agent profile.
- Agent Profile—You can build your brand presence online with a professional, dedicated profile page. All your properties are displayed on the agent profile and there is space to include your bio, expertise, specialties, and all forms of contact.
- Social Tools —Connect with buyers and share your properties with built-in social sharing tools on every property post.
Househappy may be flying under the radar for now, but based on what we have seen, not for long. It looks like a welcome addition to the online real estate search space.