Realtor.com®: Change Is Here

REALTOR® listings get stronger branding amid an expanded array 
of content designed to bring traffic gains.

September 18, 2013

The Web site with your name on it—realtor.com®—has been in a virtual frenzy since July.

Among other things, the site has added 5,500 new-home communities and thousands of new rental listings. Realtor.com® executives say they needed the new content to compete more aggressively with third-party property aggregators. Members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® board of directors, who voted on the measures during a special meeting in Chicago July 24, agreed. The directors recommended allowing realtor.com® to:

  • Display unlisted new homes and new-home communities.
  • Display unlisted rentals.
  • Obtain listings from entities that are not REALTOR®-owned and controlled, as well as 
from brokers who are not REALTORs®.
  • Identify properties where a notice of default has been recorded, auctions of distressed properties, short sales, foreclosures, and bank-owned properties. (Listing brokers can opt out by calling the realtor.com® customer care center.)

Among many NAR directors, there was unease about the changes. But when NAR and realtor.com® executives showed the inroads third-party aggregators had been making since 2010, the recommendations passed overwhelmingly. Until 2010, realtor.com® was the undisputed online traffic leader; today, it ranks behind competitors Zillow and Trulia.

“We want realtor.com® to have the resources and flexibility it needs to give consumers what they want while ensuring that today’s buyers and sellers can continue to rely on REALTORS® for the most accurate, credible market data,” NAR President Gary Thomas said in a prepared statement after the meeting. “We think the proposed changes achieve both goals.”

The added content, coming just a few months after a comprehensive site redesign, will enable the site to gain a stronger footing in a crowded online real estate world while strengthening the REALTOR® brand. Site visitors will see the REALTOR® trademark displayed prominently on all listings represented by REALTORS®. In searches, when all other search criteria are the same, REALTORS®’ listings will display first. And the site is beefing up content about the value of using a REALTOR® and the difference between a REALTOR® and a practitioner who’s not. For instance, adjacent to new-home listings will be content about how a REALTOR® can help you in the purchase of new construction.

As it becomes a more comprehensive source for consumers, the site is working hard to retain its key advantage: accurate, up-to-date listings, says realtor.com® President Errol Samuelson. Samuelson, who is also chief strategy officer for Move Inc., the San Jose, Calif.–based company that operates realtor.com®, says more than 90 percent of realtor.com® listings are updated every 15 minutes. 

Perhaps that’s why one thing you won’t see added to the site—at least for now—is FSBO listings. Builders and individual consumers can’t upload properties to realtor.com®. 

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is vice president of business-to-business communications for the National Association of REALTORS®. In addition to overseeing REALTOR.org, REALTOR® Magazine, and the quarterly REALTOR® Association Executive magazine, she manages a variety of e-communications for REALTORS® and REALTOR® association executives. She has been with the NAR for more 20 years, starting as an associate editor with Real Estate Today magazine, where she covered sales and finance topics.

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