The real estate industry’s thundering response to the Broker Public Portal (BPP) with Homesnap initiative has been impressive. Backed by brokerages of all sizes across the country, our reach now extends to over 900,000 agents through their MLSs. In the Pacific Northwest alone, more than 11,000 Northwest MLS agents registered for the BPP with Homesnap within the first two weeks of its launch in March and started inviting clients into a platform where consumers could access MLS-quality listing data through a connection established by their agents.
Taking It to the Streets
What more can our industry be doing to connect more homebuyers and sellers to the most successful industry-born initiative in recent times? After all, the reason the BPP movement began was to provide consumers with a better online home search experience.
In Chicagoland, the MRED Board of Managers decided to make a significant investment to pilot a consumer engagement campaign.
As one of the earliest Broker Public Portal MLS adopters, we launched Homesnap in July 2016. More than a half-million Chicagoland consumers have since accepted an invitation from their agent to work together in Homesnap. We believe we can increase consumer engagement further with direct consumer marketing.
One of the primary reasons the BPP selected Homesnap is because of its great technology. Agents love Homesnap. Don’t take my word for it though. Ask any agent that uses it, or watch the testimonials in this YouTube video. These agents are unscripted, sharing from the heart.
More importantly, consumers love Homesnap, too. They pushed it to the top of the App Store as the highest-rated real estate app. When you take great technology that consumers and agents love, and marry it with the BPP mission, the next step is to take that story directly to consumers so that more of them will find their way to a superior home search experience that connects them to the source of the property content they need. That’s what we’re doing in Chicagoland.
The Broker Public Portal Mission
The Broker Public Portal exists because consumers deserve a better home search experience than what advertising-driven media companies offer. Homesnap is the BPP’s vehicle for providing the same comprehensive, real-time MLS data used by real estate professionals—the people who list and sell homes, not ads. Consumers across the country can now access 100 million property records and over 59 million (and growing) active and sold listings. If consumers have questions about real estate, they can connect directly with the agents who know the most about each of the properties they’re interested in. No paid advertisers are getting pushed at them. That’s the message we’re taking to consumers.
The Pilot Continues
Tens of thousands of Chicagoland home shoppers have downloaded the Homesnap app and visited Homesnap.com since we started our campaign. Nearly half of our members—over 22,500 agents—are now Homesnap Pro users. Another benefit from the campaign is revealed in Hitwise, which measures online website activity, showing that our consumer-facing website traffic is quickly making Homesnap.com a leading search portal in Chicago.
We’re doing more. We’re exploring new ways the Broker Public Portal with Homesnap can engage Chicagoland consumers directly. This summer we began a test of a new consumer advertising campaign to increase awareness and drive more buyers and sellers to experience the Homesnap difference. We’re hopeful that the success we’ve already enjoyed is only the beginning and other MLSs and brokerages nationwide will start to do the same.
Rebecca Jensen is president and CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), with 45,000 real estate professional members serving Chicagoland and its surrounding counties. She’s on the board of the BPP, the Council of MLSs, and is the Board Chair of The MLS Grid. For more information, please visit www.brokerpublicportal.com or www.homesnap.com/bpp.
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