Amazon makes splash with game-changing Realogy partnership

The nation's largest real estate company and an e-commerce juggernaut want to change the way people buy homes

BYPATRICK KEARNSStaff Writer


Amazon is diving headfirst into the real estate industry with a new partnership alongside industry giant Realogy, the companies announced Tuesday.

TurnKey, a new platform that rolls out Tuesday with the heft of a major marketing blitz across Amazon channels and social media sites including Facebook, aims to simplify the process of buying and moving into a new home while also seemingly adding a potentially huge lead generation business to the e-commerce leader’s playbook.

The new platform lives on Amazon’s website. There, prospective homebuyers fill out a brief questionnaire, including the metro area where they want to buy a home. Instantly, the home buyer will be connected to a Realogy-affiliated agent. The platform is live beginning Tuesday in 15 markets, focused on major metro areas and representative of about 20 percent of all homes sold through Realogy-affiliated agents.

By partnering with Realogy, the nation’s largest real estate holding company, Amazon is poised to rise expeditiously in an industry that, until now, it had only focused on infrequently, such as through the sale of prefab homes and the development of smart home technology or by investing in prefab homebuilders. The partnership essentially catapults Amazon into the lead generation business in similar ways as Zillow, albeit with Realogy as an exclusive partner.

Currently, 3,000 agents affiliated with Coldwell BankerCentury 21, Better Homes and Gardens Real EstateSotheby’s International Realty and ERA Real Estate are participating in the program and have received training from Realogy and Amazon Home Services. The agents selected are chosen based on their customer service record and local market expertise, Realogy Head of Strategy Eric Chesin told Inman. The agent with whom the home buyer is connected is based on the buyer’s profile.

“Customers can be overwhelmed when moving, and we’re excited to be working with Realogy to offer homebuyers a simplified way to settle into a new home,” Pat Bigatel, director of Amazon Home Services, said on Monday leading up to the roll out. “The Amazon Move-In Benefit will enable homebuyers to adapt the offering to their needs – from help assembling furniture, to assisting with smart home device set up, to a deep clean, and more.”

The aim of the platform is to address the post-closing process, Chesin said. In an industry where real estate companies are racing to offer the best end-to-end experience for consumers, Realogy wants to go beyond the transaction by offering prospective homebuyers complimentary products and Amazon Homes Services valued at up $5,000 by signing on with a Realogy-affiliated agent.

“After the closing, you go to the house day one and it’s sort of romantic,” Chesin told Inman. “You’re sitting in an empty house, maybe there are boxes around, you’re sitting cross-legged on the floor drinking a glass of wine, eating some take out Chinese food. By day two, that’s stale.”

While the lead generation opportunities are obvious for Realogy-affiliated agents – More than 2 billion consumers visit Amazon.com each month – it can also act as an incentive for agents to hit certain metrics in order to qualify to participate in the program, especially as it scales up.

“It’s always good to have a program that delivers really high quality, really exciting leads,” said Chesin, who added that Tuesday’s announcement will be bolstered by paid and organic marketing campaigns as well as ads on Amazon.com and other sites, including Facebook. “Its both great for and motivating for our brokers and agents and it’s also terrific for us and for home buyers and for the companies we collaborate with. It’s one of of those magic type setups that’s a win-win-win across the board.”

After closing on a home, Amazon connects the buyer with services and experts in their area to turn that house into a home. The buyer gets complimentary products and Amazon Homes Services courtesy of Realogy, valued between $1,000 and $5,000. Based on the price of the home, the consumer gets one of three packages.

The move-in benefits include a selection of Amazon Home Services like a deep cleaning, a handyman to assemble furniture, hang pictures and install shelving and more. The buyer also gets a suite of smart home products installed by Amazon or Amazon-vetted professionals.

As a publicly-traded company, Chesin did not reveal a timeframe for scaling TurnKey, but he did acknowledge a plan to expand the program after the initial launch.

“It’s our hope as we learn from the program and roll it out that we would expand it both geographically and broader to make sure it is available to as many home buyers as we can,” Chesin said.

The new platform comes at a time when Realogy has suffered in equity markets, with a plummeting market cap and a per-share dollar value in the lower $5 range. It remains to be seen how the equity markets will react to the news.

Who's the 'best' agent in each state?

In the wake of the annual Real Trends Thousand, the real estate consulting firm released its state-by-state breakdown of the 'best' agents

BY PATRICK KEARNS JULY 09, 2019

Real Trends and Tom Ferry on Tuesday released its seventh annual breakdown of the most productive agents and teams by state and metro area according to transaction sides and volume.

“With today’s release of the 2019 America’s Best Real Estate Professionals list, an elite group of real estate agents across the country are receiving well-deserved recognition,” Real Trends President Steve Murray said in a statement. “These sales associates are far above average and have built enormously successful small businesses in an extremely competitive field.”

The list features more than 14,000 real estate professionals from every state. In order to qualify for placement on the list, an agent must have at least 50 transaction sides or $20 million in sales volume. For teams, the minimums are 75 sides or $30 million in sale volume.

The average Realtor did fewer than nine transactions and $1.8 million in sales volume in 2018, according to Murray, which makes placement on this list even more impressive.

“Those individual agents and teams who make up the 2019 America’s Best Real Estate Professionals represent less than 1.5 percent of all Realtors in the country yet account for over 12 percent of the closed transactions and more than 22 percent of all the sales volume closed last year,” Murray said.

“It’s incredible to consider that such a small number of real estate professionals have found a way to truly build their own businesses.,” Murray added. “It’s also interesting that these top performers are reaching new levels while they work with numerous different kinds of brokerage firms and regions of the country.”

Real Trends compiles the rankings based on surveys from “virtually every national branded network,” along with many state and local Realtor associations, multiple listing services and the largest brokerage firms in the country.

Many of the agents that appear at the top of the list in their respective states also headlined the Real Trends Thousand, released in June, like Ben Caballero in Texas, Ryan Gehris in Pennsylvania and Ralph Harvey III in Florida.

The list is compiled in a joint partnership between real estate analytics and consulting firm Real Trends and real estate coaching and training firm Tom Ferry International.

See the full breakdown of the “best” agents and teams here.

Compass Concierge

Another initiative by Compass how they are shaping the real estate industry.

Exclusive to our Clients, Compass Concierge helps you sell your home faster and for more money by covering the costs of services to prepare your home for the market. From staging, to home improvements and so much more - over 100 options. No hidden fees or interest charged, ever.

Services may include:

Staging, Deep-Cleaning, Decluttering, Cosmetic Renovations, Landscaping, Plumbing, Interior & Exterior Painting, HVAC, Sewer Lateral Inspections & Remediation, Roofing Repairs, Moving & Storage, Pest Control, Custom Closet Work, Fencing, Water Heater, Electrical Work, Seller-side Inspections & Evaluations, Kitchen Renovations, Bathroom Renovations, AND MORE.

Curious how Compass Concierge will transform your sale? Learn more and see what a difference this program makes for yourself here.

Outdated seller beliefs agents should debunk

The success of HGTV and the plethora of online information has shifted the ground rules of real estate sales

Any seller who has not sold a home in the past five years is in for a shock: Everything they thought they knew about selling a home has changed.

Sellers who do not understand the new rules of engagement can easily make costly mistakes and jeopardize their chances of a sale.

3 fundamental changes

These three changes have altered the homebuying and selling landscape forever.

Change 1: The advent of HGTV

Buyers spend countless hours watching HGTV and have developed extremely refined tastes. They know what they want and when they look at homes for sale. They are looking for properties that look similar to what they have seen and liked on TV.

Change 2: The advent of mobile devices and HD internet connectivity

Buyers used to have to visit a home to add or remove it from their short list. No longer the case, today’s sellers have between seven and 10 seconds to sell their home, and those seconds are on a mobile device anywhere on the planet — not in any home for sale.

If a buyer does not like an online listing, they will move on to the next home in a heartbeat and will usually not come back to review.

If they do not like what they see on their device, they will never waste their time visiting in person.

Change 3: The advent of internet real estate sites

Realtor.comZillowTrulia and a host of broker-owned sites have populated the internet with user-friendly websites that provide property data, historical facts, HD pictures, automated valuations, neighborhood and school info, and more.

They have completely removed the need for buyers to visit in person to determine if they like a home. Once a buyer has shortlisted available inventory, they only visit the select few they like.

These three changes have not only revolutionized the way buyers search for and view prospective homes, they have transformed what they buy as well. Historically, there were three groups of buyers:

Top-tier buyers: Willing to pay a premium, this group looked for move-in ready homes that had all the amenities they were looking for.

Middle-tier buyers: Looking for homes in “original” condition, this group hoped to get a decent price and then improve the home over time with sweat equity.

Bottom-tier buyers: This third group were contractors and flippers looking for distressed properties they could buy for 60 percent to 70 percent of retail value.

The middle tier, which historically represented a significant percentage of market sales, is disappearing. More comfortable with tech than construction, today’s buyers are forgoing the middle tier en masse and paying more to obtain move-in-ready homes that look like the finished properties they have seen on HGTV.

This is not simply the consequence of real estate-related technologies. The past few years have seen sweeping societal shifts as homebuyer wannabes, for many reasons, are less willing or even capable of fixing up a home they’ve purchased.

They know exactly what they like when they see it, but have almost no idea how to produce it themselves. The No. 1 question buyers ask about our listings is, “Can we buy the staging?”

With buyers moving away from “original condition” properties they perceive as needing upgrades, homes that appear in the middle tier are being forced down into the bottom tier and need to be priced accordingly. Sellers who do not understand this new reality stand to end up with far less than they imagined.

Donahue Maley Burns Team nominated in Boston Agent Magazine's "Best Team" Category

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We are so honored to be nominated again this year for “Best Team” by Boston Agent Magazine in the 2019 Agents’ Choice Awards.

The Donahue Maley & Burns Team is keenly aware that selling or buying your home is one of the most stressful and important decisions many people will make in their lifetime. Years of experience negotiating contracts and an inherent understanding of the purchase and sale process allows us to provide our clients with the confidence and comfort they need to make these critical decisions.

From start to finish, our clients always come first. We listen, learn, and gain a true understanding of the unique goals of each person so that we can provide the best path for achieving them. Whether buying, selling or just poking around, we offer 24/7 accessibility, vast knowledge about the communities we represent, and unrivaled negotiation skills. These are the hallmarks and the foundation for how we conduct business.

We owe our success to those clients who have entrusted us with one of life’s most significant financial undertakings — the purchase or sale of a home. We take this mission very seriously and we are thrilled to share our success with our clients. With over half a billion in sales, we continue to exceed expectations, one client at a time. 

Thank you to all of our friends, clients and supporters! To vote for the team, please click here.