Realtor.com and Rocket Mortgage, two of the biggest companies in the digital real estate space, have formed a key advertising partnership that their competitors are sure to notice.
Effective Thursday, homebuyers on Realtor.com who say they wish to be pre-approved for a mortgage will see an advertisement from Rocket Mortgage that will allow them to receive pre-approval in as little as 20 minutes.
The partnership allows the consumer to have a more integrated home-buying experience, according to Rocket. It’s being rolled out in hundreds of test markets.
In ultra-competitive markets, where inventory is low and homes can sell in 48 hours, the “verified” approval could be the key to victory, said Jay Farner, the CEO of Rocket Companies.
“One of the reasons we started working with Realtor.com is, can you solve problems for consumers that others simply can’t match?” he asked. “Consumers visit a lot of different sites trying to learn about homeownership. But can we really give them concrete information about the home they can afford, how they should buy it? And then pass that along to the Realtor as well so they’re efficient with their time. That’s our mission and this is the first step in that mission.”
Neither Rocket nor Realtor.com disclosed how much money the advertising program was worth, but both noted they had a lengthy business relationship. Rocket, when it was known as Quicken, had purchased digital ads and leads through Realtor.com.
Asked if this was a move to increase market share in the purchase space, Farner and Tim Birkmeier, the company’s chief revenue officer, told HousingWire that they’re chiefly focused on creating products that unify the experience for the borrower.
“Clients don’t think of buying a home as multiple things, they don’t think, ‘Well I’ve got to get a mortgage, I’ve got to get title, I’ve got to get an appraisal, I’ve got to find a real estate agent, I’ve got to get an inspection,'” said Farner. “They think, ‘I want to buy a home.’ And so really it’s our mission to take all of those different components that are involved in buying a home, and really make make them seamless to the client.”
Farner said the pilot program with Realtor.com would make each of their platforms and algorithms smarter, ultimately providing a better experience for consumers and real estate agents.
“It’s starting as this integrated mortgage experience with the advertising, but [we] really think about this robust kind of virtuous cycle where everyone is getting a better experience because of the data and information that we’re building,” he said.
On Realtor.com’s end, buyers that are connected to agents through Realtor.com’s platform, called ReadyConnect Concierge, will also be able to receive a pre-approval for a mortgage.
“We ask [the borrower] a number of questions and we do a live transfer to the real estate agent,” said Ben Rubenstein, chief revenue officer for Realtor.com. “In parallel to those questions we ask them about financing. We send them a link to get digitally preapproved through Rocket Mortgage, and we alert the agent that they’re going through this flow. And then, after we make that connection from the consumer to the real estate agent, both the agent, and the consumer and us in as one team, see what’s happening throughout this whole journey.”
Apart from its advertising program with Rocket, Realtor.com is also piloting a new lender program, in which lenders and real estate agents share the costs and benefits of marketing through Realtor.com’s lead generation platform, called Connections Plus.