Online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac launched a brokerage network today the company says will provide partners with exclusive leads, market insight and media exposure.
The RealtyTrac Network will be available to only one brokerage in each housing market, and will complement the company's mortgage, property and demographic data with "tribal" knowledge of local markets.
RealtyTrac is launching the network with two charter members: Prudential California Realty, which serves Orange and Riverside counties, and Chase International, which serves markets including Reno, Nev., and Lake Tahoe. RealtyTrac said additional brokerages have signed up for the network and will gain access to it in the coming months.
Real estate brokers and agents often have access to information on distressed properties through multiple listing services, which purchase access to mortgage and public property records for their members from data aggregators CoreLogic and Lender Processing Services.
And all Realtors have free access to public property records through Realtors Property Resource, a parcel-based database maintained by a subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors. The latest version of RPR allows users to filter search results by active listings, pending sales and off-market properties -- and also to view only distressed properties.
Last fall Zillow started providing details, including addresses, on 1.2 million homes that are either in foreclosure or have been repossessed by lenders, to anyone with Internet access.
RealtyTrac CEO Jamie Moyle said the RealtyTrac Network offers more granular data on distressed properties than both Zillow and the foreclosure information that RealtyTrac provides for free. It also boasts a sophisticated search tool that enables network members to hone in on properties that meet very specific criteria, he said.
The tool keeps an agent from having to "go property by property with a notepad and pencil" to obtain highly detailed information on a foreclosure, like the lender associated with it, Moyle said.
In addition to providing the property and mortgage data that RealtyTrac mines public records to obtain, the RealtyTrac Network also serves up demographic and community information. RealtyTrac is able to offer much of the demographic information thanks to its 2012 acquisition of Homefacts.
RealtyTrac says it's offering partner brokerages exclusive access to:
- local real estate data and trends that their agents can provide to clients.
- exclusive seller leads from a customized feed of distressed properties nationwide.
- exclusive buyer leads from motivated buyers and real estate investors nationwide.
- Homefacts neighborhood data and information from a number of other commercial data sources.
- the RealtyTrac brand as a platform for providing insight into local real estate trends.
Information will flow both ways on the RealtyTrac Network. RealtyTrac will use input from member brokerages to "color" its mountain of hard data.
"What we're missing is local tribal knowledge," said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist. "We envision often finding out about some of the trends that are happening in the market from these brokers before we even see it in the data."
Moyle said RealtyTrac will put partner brokerages in the media spotlight.
"We have some unique data and that data historically has given us a lot of access to the media, and we haven't used that to empower individual brokerages before," Moyle said. "And I don't think anybody has done that either."
Collating their hard data with member brokerages' observations, RealtyTrac will draw up reports on local housing trends and pitch them to community media outlets. Any news stories on those reports would provide member brokerages with media exposure, since the reports would include information attributed to member brokerages.
"We anticipate sending out different press releases tailored to those local markets," Blomquist said. Currently, RealtyTrac reports focus primarily on national trends and statistics.
The RealtyTrac Network is not the first brokerage network to be built on distressed properties. In December, Carrington Property Services -- an asset management company that specializes in bank-owned homes -- launched a national network to help brokerage firms work with institutional investors interested in distressed properties.
Members gain access to Carrington's institutional real estate services, real estate owned (REO) listings, short-sale leads, investor buyers, and property management and broker price opinion (BPO) services.
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