Zoocasa/Rogers as a Real Estate Brokerage in Canada
If you are a Real Estate Professional in Canada, I hope that you have already heard the news that Zoocasa/Rogers announced last week, that they are forming a national brokerage. If this is your first time in hearing the news....sorry to have woken you from your sound slumber under that nice comfy rock.
First a brief rundown on how they intend to operate:
- No sales people, meaning no real estate agents employed by the brokerage directly
- The model will be based on referral fee system paid to Zoocasa by the Agent
- Zoocasa will compete directly with Realtor.ca and will aggregate seller and buyer leads in areas where they will be registered by member boards and associations
- Agents will be selected based on experience, expertise (ie. Condos) and area of expertise (ie. Calgary)
- This division is to be headed up by the one and only....Lawrence Dale of CB v.CREA fame
Now that we have that basic understanding of how their model works, the question for you the professional...Would you use this as a lead generating tool?
Let's look at this model for a minute before you get your pants in a bunch and fly off the handle.
In order to understand their new way of doing business it is best to understand all the data we have access to and formulate our opinions based off fact and not what we perceive to be the truth.
My Opinion: They are forming a brokerage to circumvent the DDF and get access to ALL the data so that they can build a "better more accurate website", which they tout as being "better for the consumer experience".
Fact: By not employing real estate agents they don't have the same liability that my brokerage would have
Fact: The referral fees will be anywhere from 25-35%, which is what most of us would expect from our colleagues in the business when we refer our clients. (And yes I realize they aren't 'colleagues'...yet!)
My Opinion: I think Zillow and Trulia in the US thought about going this route at one point but because their market is so BIG and fractured it didn't make sense for them as a viable business model.
Fact: They (Rogers/Zoocasa) are not concerned that (Lawrence) Dale may be unpopular with people in organized real estate ~ Carolyn Beatty President of Zoocasa....Well you should be.
Interesting model right? Think it will work? I think it depends on who they get as Agents to 'buy' into their model
Final Thoughts on Zoocasa's Entry into 'selling' real estate
Now before you start posting nasty stuff here on my blog let me say I am NOT an apologist for Zoocasa. I absolutely do NOT condone what Zoocasa did in the past with regard to scraping data.
However I believe they have been trying hard to earn the trust of the real estate community for the past couple of years. Thing is, I think they have just squandered what they've earned in a BIG way.
How? Well think about it....they've decided not want to play nice with CREA and work within the DDF. In fact they hired the guy that is partially responsible for the DDF and mere postings in Canada as well as the millions of dollars that were spent by CREA and TREB defending our position, and they don't really care what we think about that.
I think a lot of real estate agents are going to turn against Zoocasa partially for the reason I stated at the beginning of this article, but more so because of the perception of what is going to happen.
The Perception? Simply put, the aggregation of 'Our' data and selling leads back to organized real estate in the form of referral fees. This is not just a perception by the masses....It is fact.
I'm all for competition but I would like to see Zoocasa have some actual skin in the game rather than just a website that generates leads. Why not hire 'The Pros' instead of just 'Asking' them (not really an inside joke...visit their website to see what I mean). Take on some liabiity and in turn responsibility for the Agents you choose to represent your customers.
At the end of the day, as a professional real estate agent you have the choice in how you are going to run your business. How you are going to generate leads. What cell and data plan provider you are going to choose.
I've heard a lot of agents say they are swithcing from Rogers to Bell or Telus because of this....Ya...That'll show 'em! <end of sarcasm>.
Wanna do something significant? Want to 'Stick it to tha Man'? Then build your OWN lead generating website. Generate referrals from your sphere of influence. Build such a good book of business that when Big Z comes calling on you to supply them with a 25% referral fee you have the nuts enough to say...No Thank You.