Things you may have missed while contemplating the RPR

God, I love that acronym. “Reaper.” There’s so much fun to be had there.

Anyway, a few non-RPR items popped up in the past six days that are worth noting.

Here’s what caught my eye:

Redfin raises another $10 million

CEO Glenn Kelman states that this round will allow the company to make some “big bets” like putting “The whole touring, offer and escrow process online.”

Big bets indeed. And I hope they place them. Whether or not they ultimately make it, I have enjoyed watching Redfin get way out beyond real estate’s comfort zone.

I also am interested to see how big this business can get. Kelman claims they hit a run rate of $20 million this year, but I am curious to know when this year that was given real estate’s seasonality.

Neighborcity.com rates agents by the numbers

 

Back at Inman Connect SF, the smart folks from Diverse Solutions rocked a prototype for an agent ratings service based on MLS data. It drew gasps of astonishment from the crowd.

Neighborcity – an online brokerage in the vein of Estately or Sawbuck – released a new version of its Agent Match service that does this same thing in 20 major markets across the country.

While the NAR seems intent on keeping 1.2 million Realtors in business, something like this may work (nobly, I would argue) to help sift out the many thousands who should have moved on a long time ago.

Zillow starts charging for mortgage leads

After 18 months of free goodies, Zillow is asking mortgage originators to pay for leads. It sounds fair considering they claim over 50,000 consumer loan requests per month and 5,500 professionals in the marketplace.

I find this interesting for a couple reasons:

First, I’m eager to see how the whole transparent/Web 2.0/warm fuzzy angle – which generally does not correlate positively with revenue – works when coupled with a  pay-per-lead model.

Secondly, I want to see this play out as an experiment that may be replicated on the brokerage side of the business as traffic and branding as a value proposition seem to be losing resonance among brokers.

Closing.com releases an iPhone app

 

Closing.com, which allows users to shop for and compare closing services, released an iPhone app. I like Closing.com a lot because they are attempting to cast light into one of the darkest corners (from a consumer’s perspective) of the real estate transaction.

But here’s my problem with the iPhone app: There are really no sensible use cases for it. I don’t see someone thinking, out there in the field, “Hey, this place looks great, I’m going to calculate the closing costs right now.” Moreover, the Closing.com service requires the user to complete a multi-page form, which is fine on the big screen but is something like eating a plate of spaghetti with tweezers on a handset.

Oodle does social syndication for real estate

 

Oodle launched “Oodle Pro for Real Estate,” which syndicates listings to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Craigslist for as little as $15 per month.

I have long considered Oodle something of a sleeper in online real estate category. They have steadily grown in traffic and now power online classifieds for Facebook and Wal-Mart among others.

By offering Oodle Pro to agents and brokers, the company presents a different angle on online syndication – one that has the catnip-like quality of offering Realtors a play in social media. But one must ask just who really wants to see a glut of listings piped through these channels. Its feels spammy to me, but only time (and the numbers) will tell.

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