During the RENT fair, on Tuesday 8 November, the conference on “the business model of portals, the American scale” was held. Joel McKintosh, Vice President of Data Services Science at OJO, and Victor Lund, CEO of Re Technologie and Managing Partner of the WAV group, retraced the history of portals. This has not failed to highlight the usefulness of technological advances in the real estate sector. Before proposing ever more revolutionary models with Wav Group and Ojo Labs, these professionals in the real estate sector, with twenty years of experience, once passively underwent the transformations of the market, before becoming players in it. Here is their feedback.
How did portals become full-fledged real estate agents in the United States?
To give some background, it all starts with the Multiple Listing System (MLS). This is an exchange database used by real estate companies. This database allows you to share properties, their information and to structure a common offer. Each agent can then find a buyer at the property entered by another. The MLS is reserved exclusively for professionals in a certain geographical area. It also allows you to better meet people’s needs through access to this database. In the past, a “syndication listing” was the only way for a realtor to access a portfolio of properties, and you had to be registered.
With the MLS, the first real estate portal appeared.
In 1995, a new platform was launched on the market: realtor.com, from the Move company. Originally, Realtor was a closed network that provided information only to members of the NAR (National Association of Real Estate Agents), the equivalent of the FNAIM in France. In 1996, the housing site went public, allowing any Internet user to search for real estate listings. Then, in 1997, Realtor.com had the monopoly of the web when it came to real estate. Even the interest in newspapers, the vehicle for real estate announcements par excellence, has gradually moved away from this model.
The real estate agent was the agency’s godsend. With over 1.3 million listings in 1999, Realtor.com had established itself as the largest real estate listing site. But a new contender enters the fray in 2006: Zillow. The new real estate portals then assumed the status of real estate agent in order to be able to record all the data and use it for their own purposes, in particular those of the MLS.
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