One London couple on the hunt for a luxury home in Tredyffrin Township, Pennsylvania, had trouble competing with local buyers, who would lock down listings before the couple could pounce.
But their real estate agent, who works at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, was able to use a special tool to help his clients overcome this challenge.
He tapped a brokerage-wide platform to get the inside scoop on a home that a colleague was preparing to put on the market. That set the couple up to submit a winning offer as soon as the property listed on the MLS, according to Rajeev Sajja, vice president of digital innovation at Fox & Roach.
Buyside is a tool that helps brokerages tee up more deals in which their own agents represent both buyer and seller. Brokerages and their agents can also use it to serve up home valuations that feature intelligence on buyers who might be interested in a specific address.
Turning the ‘greatest lie in real estate’ into truth
Some argue the come-on “I’ve got buyers in your area” is the “greatest lie in real estate,” said Buyside CEO Charles Williams. But Buyside, he suggested, can help listing agents back up the claim.
In office sales meetings, agents have long exchanged information on clients to match their buyers and sellers, often giving colleagues advance notice of properties they’re planning to list on the MLS.
More recently, brokerages have turned to new technologies to streamline the process, including off-MLS listing databases, private Facebook groups and company-wide communication networks like Yapmo.
Buyside automates the match-making.
For the platform to fire on all cylinders, a brokerage’s agents have to add buyer profiles and properties they’re gearing up to list to a Buyside database.
Agents must input listings manually. But Buyside can get buyer profiles both via manual entry or by importing them from a brokerage’s contact management system.
Active to pending — lickety-split
In the case of Fox & Roach, agents can click to send auto-generated buyer profiles to Buyside that are based on a registered user’s search activity on the brokerage’s website.
Buyside’s ability to pair Fox & Roach buyers with “coming soon” properties — homes that Fox & Roach agents haven’t yet posted to the MLS — is the technology’s “secret sauce,” Sajja said.
Unless a seller gives permission to withhold a property, MLSs require members to post listings in the MLS within a short timeframe (often between 24 and 48 hours) after signing the seller as a client.
Buyside helps Fox & Roach listing agents exploit this window of opportunity. They can get the word out about their listings to colleagues working out of dozens of offices spread across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware — not just coworkers who show up for a sales meeting.
If Buyside successfully matches a buyer with a “coming soon” listing, that can sometimes mean that “as soon as [a property] hits the MLS, it changes to pending,” Sajja said.
Buyside also pairs buyers with Fox & Roach listings already posted in the MLS by combing a Fox & Roach database of active listings that’s baked into the brokerage’s contact management system.
Brokerages and agents can also use Buyside to drum up and convert leads. It can power a tool on brokerage and agent websites that lets consumers enter addresses to see several home value range estimates.
The variation between the estimates may entice prospective sellers to click a contact button on the reports for a more precise valuation from an agent.
But what sets Buyside’s valuation reports apart are their summaries of buyer demand. Sellers see a breakdown of the brokerage’s local buyer contacts, including the exact number of buyers the brokerage knows about who might be interested in the property.
Beefing up listing presentations
In listing presentations to prospective sellers, agents can introduce Buyside as a special service they bring to the table, casting the software as a tool for hunting down buyers and tailoring a listing strategy based on hard data.
“We’re able to say, ‘For your listing on Sherbrook Street … there are 33 buyers who have been looking for a similar property,’” said Buyside CEO Charles Williams.
Agents might also be able to use Buyside to make the case for a price reduction should Buyside data show shrinking demand.