How the Portals Can Dominate Local Real Estate Search Within 2 Months

dominationFrom the moment any of the top real estate portals decide to dominate local real estate search it will take them only two months to do so. We’ll explore how exactly how this can happen and offer action steps so you can do it before they do.

All of the portals have access to vast sale data with which they can use their technical prowess to overwhelm brokers at the hyper-local level. It’s frightening more simple for them to do than you think.

And please don’t believe they can’t do it. Just envision a local search you do for anything outside of real estate and where do you go? You’re on Google and Yelp and perhaps a couple other sites. That’s hyper-local information provided by large companies.

Consider how local real estate searches begin. The user types in a long-tail inquiry something like this: “homes for sale in Mountain View subdivision under $300,000”, or “home values and trends in Green Acres neighborhood for 2015”, or “the most walkable condos for sale in downtown Seattle near transit”.

The main portal sites already supply local details that nearly no brokers do. Their goal is to add to these tools. They currently offer not only homes for sale by neighborhood, but also details about school ratings, crime rates, automated valuations, value trends, local business information, sold price range analyses, comparable sold properties, and you can expect them to add to this list every year.

What is the one thing you possess that the portals do not? You know what is hot by neighborhood—what buyers desire the most and what they’ll pay the most to attain in each neighborhood you work. But this can be routinized by the portals using technology.

  • What the portals can do is compile a list of neighborhood names with higher prices and the greatest volume of sales in the major metro areas. The information is readily available by large national data brokers such as Maponics and others; Zillow already has their own database of neighborhood shapefiles. This is market segmentation based on greatest potential ROI due to volume and sale prices.
  • Create a list of the 20 most common questions or search queries related to real estate. They can get this via google or their own portal analytics.
  • Using both sold and active properties they’ll complete a regression analysis of the most sought after characteristics of homes by neighborhood.
  • They’ll use programming to customize template articles with these key characteristics, letting the sellers know what is most important to buyers and letting the buyers know what they get for their money in each neighborhood. This is the kind of advice a seasoned broker might give. Here’s where their technical skills really pay off. They insert programming scripts within each article which pulls in the exact data needed for each neighborhood. For example, to answer the most walkable condos question they can use Walk Score to rate condos and GIS locating for transit, auto-populate the key characteristics discovered in the regression analysis for the area, automatically pull the units for sale into the screen along with full details, and map it all out. This is mass customization in marketing.
  • Now they hit a metro area with these customized landing pages. If they attack 100 neighborhoods with 20 relevant landing pages for each, all of a sudden they have 2,000 landing pages with customized hyper-local data on the internet for your
  • Multiple that by the 300 largest metro areas and they have 600,000 customized landing pages with hyper-local content. This is 600,000 ways to increase advertising revenue.
  • Once the templates are made and the coding and scripts mapped to their database, it will take little effort to launch them and be quickly found on Google.
  • With each portal’s staff and technical expertise it will take limited effort to automatically update each page several times a day as their database changes.

With a skilled staff and some outside programming contractors it won’t take them more than a month to create the templates including coding and mapping of the fields to their database. Purchasing all of the data and paying for a lot of programmers to bang this out may set them back a few million dollars. That’s nothing relative to their corporate budget and probable ROI.

It will take them less than a week to post their 600,000 hyper-local landing pages. Then let’s give google et al three weeks to pull these to the top of the local search results just above where they already have them ranked for more general real estate searches.

They’re done; you’re done.

How much are you willing to pay for the leads coming from such specifically created inquiries? The portals want that money; their investors demand those financial returns.

You can use these same steps to create this system yourself at just your individual local level. This year will probably be your last chance to do so before the portals launch this, and the first-mover to truly meet the markets hyper-local needs will likely dominate.

Pick you niche(s), whether it is by neighborhood or lifestyle or anything you truly are excited by. Add video and the kind of personal articles that capture the emotions of sellers and buyers.

If you are waiting for NAR, Upstream, National Broker Portal, RPR, your MLS, or your franchise to save you, there are at least two problems with this: 1) none of these groups are offering anything innovative based on the desires of the sellers and buyers, and 2) if they ever do then all brokers get the same tool to offer the marketplace, thus you cannot gain any advantage by using it.




Disclosure: Creed Smith created and owns the QValue AVM, which can value properties and determine what buyers most desire by neighborhood as described in this article; patent pending. Creed Smith has no affiliation with any portal or any other company mentioned in this article as of the publication date of this article.


  1. Richard says

    Let me be more specific.

    Are you recommending agents build their own websites (responsive as you suggest in one of your other articles)? Have their own blogs? Quit putting their listings on MLS’s and stop syndicating them and start putting them only on their websites? Utilize pocket listings and related websites to market their properties? In other words what technology do you think is the best route to take at this juncture?

    You’re a breathe of fresh air in terms of real estate commentators and pundits. I had stopped reading most of the online outlets that target “Realtors.” I give you credit, you don’t mind rocking the boat, which I think is great because it is long overdue.

    Keep up the good work!.

  2. says

    Well the way you describe it, things seem pretty dire (or extremely promising, if you’re one of the big portals). Are we doomed?

    • demon says

      Hi Fred, this is not a death notice, but just a wake up call for brokers. The portals have not launched (to my knowledge) this plan yet. Stop them by taking action now. You can protect your local area.

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