SentriLock, the home lockbox company wholly owned by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), announced Tuesday that they created a computer and smart phone platform to help real estate agents juggle their home showing appointments.
The development is intriguing for a few reasons.
For one, SentriLock, which is a 19-year-old company located a few miles north of Cincinnati, said the product is an attempt to compete against ShowingTime, which is the industry leader in the home-showing appointment realm and a company Zillow announced the $500 million purchase of back in February.
But, ironically, the emerging NAR-Zillow proxy battle comes three months after Zillow announced it is an NAR-member real estate brokerage. Also, Zillow increasingly relies upon NAR-sanctioned Multiple Listings Service feeds to highlight available homes on its well-trafficked website, a move that spurred an antitrust lawsuit by the discount brokerage REX against Zillow and NAR.
Technology has given consumers the power of choice and expedited the entire real estate purchasing process. Successful agents, brokerages and loan officers of the future are going to rely significantly on technology to find, nurture and engage with buyers and home sellers while also playing an expanding role as personal advisors.
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NAR-owned SentriLock spent the last 18 months writing code and otherwise developing the new appointment handler, said company CEO Scott Fisher. The platform uses the Google Cloud, and “marries access” between the agent’s appointment page and SentriLock lockboxes, Fisher said.
The platform, Fisher said, was created with ShowingTime in mind.
“ShowingTime has about all the market after they bought Centralized Showing Service,” Fisher said, a reference to ShowingTime’s 2019 acquisition.
NAR, a defendant in half-a-dozen antitrust lawsuits across the country currently and which settled a federal Justice Department antitrust complaint in November, also spoke to a desire for competition.
“Competition anywhere benefits consumers everywhere,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg in a statement. “And the introduction of SentriLock’s showing service solution offers a significant opportunity for realtors and our nation’s entire real estate industry.”
SentriLock will have its platform available on all MLS services by this summer. Fisher characterized NAR “as very hands-off” in its dealings with SentriLock, deferring to the subsidiaries’ technological expertise.