I just got off the phone with Grant and Gia Freer, the founders of realseekr, a new IDX portal in beta but already ramped up with quite a few listings. Grant mentioned they expect to have 2.5 million listings (I hope I got that right) by July in time for the Inman conference. Grant and Gia said they’ve been able to ramp up their listing coverage quite quickly because they are using RETS whenever they can, and they find it much better than FTP. Yeah, RETS!
The realseekr model is pretty interesting. In contrast to Roost, another IDX portal, realseekr is only allowing one sponsoring broker per MLS. However, for $249 per year, other brokers and agents can claim their listings in that MLS and enhance them on the sponsoring broker’s site. When an agent claims their listings, their contact information will appear even if they are from a different firm than the sponsoring broker for that MLS. This is atypical of most IDX implementations, which do not display the contact information or other profile details of competing agents.
I asked if they thought other brokers in an MLS eventually would want the “top spot” on the site as well, and they said they hadn’t seen that so far. Also, it will be interesting to see if the sponsoring brokers eventually find it confusing that the contact info for their competitors is appearing on their IDX site.
Once an agent has claimed their listings, their profile appears on each of their listings along with a great set of tools for the customer to contact them, including Skype, SMS, and e-mail. Consumers also can befriend agents through the site. Each agent profile also includes Twitter updates, blog links, and other social goodness. Listings also can be “socialized” by bookmarking them on many different bookmarking sites. Grant and Gia both emphasized that they are trying to provide a platform for agents to show their expertise to consumers and allow for easy engagement.
I really enjoyed the conversation with Grant and Gia and they are super passionate about their work. They started the site out of frustration with the current players and being convinced they could provide more value. They’re definitely going to be interesting to watch.