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6. It’s the brokers’ game to win.
Says Gaskill, “Brokers are highly motivated to stay engaged with consumers because that’s the brokerage business. Before the Internet, agents sent postcards, knocked on doors and made telephone calls. Now the consumer is online, and agents are motivated to engage with that consumer where they are.” But, he argues that pricing a home appropriately is more important than exposure on real estate portals.

“Syndication doesn’t hurt you, but it doesn’t necessarily bring the real value we think it brings. If a home is on the MLS and is priced appropriately, it sells.”

Portals may have seized a lion’s share of the online traffic, but they don’t appear to be taking that much money—and their business model seems to be unclear. In fact, at the same time as portal use has grown exponentially, the use of real estate agents has grown too. According to NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 89 percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker in 2012, a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001.

“It is still the brokerage businesses’ game to win, but they will have to up their investment, skillset and engagement,” concludes Gaskill.

Reva Nelson is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Chicago. She has been writing about real estate and professional services for more than 15 years. Reva lives with her husband, their two sons, and a Russian tortoise.

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