By Nick Caruso
As any savvy real estate agent knows, leads can come from a variety of sources, but quality leads that can be converted into real buyers are harder to come by. Although the Internet is scattered with potential suppliers, Homes.com connects all the dots by offering brand advertising and marketing solutions alongside top-notch lead generation, while connecting agents with over 12 million consumers monthly.
Homes.com came to fruition in 1992 when Homes & Land magazine officially registered the domain. A company that opened in the early ’70s, Homes & Land was a primary print source of advertising for agents and brokers. The very next year, in 1993, Homes.com’s actual site was created and launched.
“There was obviously a vision there as to where advertising was going to evolve—from print to online,” says Brock MacLean, executive vice president for Homes.com and ForRent.com. “That was the impetus of the site itself.”
As the Internet gained traction, more and more consumers started logging on and searching for information. What made advertising’s print beginnings so successful was beginning to be mirrored on the Web. In its early days, Homes.com was seen as the digital extension of Homes & Land magazine, with all of the magazine’s ads posted to the online version and searchable by market. Thanks to the company’s keen insight, Homes.com was able to start building their digital presence years before the dot-com boom.
In 2004, Homes.com was acquired by Dominion Enterprises, which also owned ForRent.com, Homes’ sister site. Now, consumers’ needs were covered whether they were looking for a rental property or a home to buy, thanks to the sharing of content between the two sites.
“Our ability to develop two real estate search sites that addressed the spectrum of consumer real estate needs was really important, and it speaks to the kind of value of the service we provide at a consumer level,” says MacLean.
Although Homes.com has changed greatly from the early days, the business model is one thing that hasn’t changed much, says Andy Woolley, vice president/general manager of Homes.com. “The model is still matching buyers and sellers up with real estate professionals and providing real estate professionals with advertising options to find buyers and sellers.”
However, as the company progressed, its advertising model became more economical. Back then, if a REALTOR® wanted to advertise a listing, they would have to buy an entire city.
“With digital ads, you can be more geo-focused and economical. Agents can buy impressions that fit their budgets and specific zip codes,” says Woolley. “It’s become a lot more affordable for agents, and much more targeted.”
Homes.com is no stranger to partnerships with franchises and MLSs either. Today, the company processes 700 IDX data feeds from MLSs across North America.
“We’ve worked hard to create a reputation that’s industry-friendly, positioned as a strong B2B brand so that our partners can be confident that we’re working on their behalf,” says MacLean.
According to Woolley, Homes.com began seeking MLS partnerships in order to get feeds to post directly onto Homes.com. Currently, nine of the largest MLSs have a partnership with Homes.com, which includes full listing display on Homes.com and a suite of lead conversion tools. Combined with another 20 MLSs in the queue, these valuable partnerships represent more than 300,000 agents and brokers across the country.
On the franchise side, Homes.com has relationships with all the major brands, offering varying levels of exposure for their listings, brokers and agents, remaining a top source of leads and brand exposure for virtually all of the franchisors.
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