Move Inc., a subsidiary of News Corp., entered into an agreement to acquire Opcity, which is a technology platform designed to match qualified buyers and sellers with real estate professionals.
Move Inc. operates Realtor.com. It was originally claimed that this acquisition of Opcity would broaden Realtor.com’s lead generation product portfolio. It would give real estate professionals the choice between the standard, traditional leads that they can work themselves, or a concierge-based model that provides leads that have already been highly vetted and are transaction-ready.
What Does Opcity Do?
Opcity uses proprietary data sets, applied analytics, and machine learning to effectively capture online leads and instantly connect customers with agents. It’s purpose is to simplify the consumer’s home buying process, while trying to also help real estate agents close more transactions.
“This acquisition will help us bring buyers, sellers and agents together with as much simplicity, efficiency and choice as possible,” said O’Hara, CEO of Move Inc. “The addition of Opcity to our portfolio will align with our strategy to enhance the experience of consumers, while providing our industry partners with more opportunities to connect with clients and grow their businesses.”
Real Estate Agents are Concerned Over the Switch
Real estate agents apparently do not share that same enthusiasm for this acquisition. Brokers across the country are expressing concern, after learning that the company now plans to replace its own lead generation service with Opcity’s. They are currently testing the Opcity model in several markets across the country.
Realtor.com’s current lead generation model entails real estate agents vetting and converting their own leads. If Realtor.com replaces this with Opcity’s model, Opcity will verify the leads first, and then agents will be required to pay Opcity a referral fee for the lead.
The reaction over this new way of handling leads is similar to what happened with Zillow and StreetEasy previously. StreetEasy announced that a company representative would initially screen buyers first, instead of handing leads off directly to agents.
The biggest concern with these new lead generation models is that agents will receive fewer leads, and have to pay more to obtain those leads. This can greatly impact real estate agents who rely on sources, like Realtor.com, to provide them with leads to convert.