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AgentLeaf for consumers launched- thumbs up or thumbs down?

Currently in beta in the San Francisco area, AgentLeaf takes a unique approach to helping home buyers and home sellers to connect with a real estate professional. AgentLeaf says they reveal “top local real estate agents using real, objective data from the MLS” and don’t charge agents to be listed.

Matthew Holder, CEO of AgentLeaf has an air of mystery about him because they are still in beta, but below is our interview with him that gives you an insight into how the site works. We’d like to know in comments what you think about the site.

What was the inspiration for Agent Leaf?

“The inspiration behind Agentleaf is the need to improve the public perception of the real estate industry. We want to cooperate with consumers and agents – helping consumers find the right agent on a hyper-local level and help agents leverage their personal brands online.
Through Agentleaf, we want to:

  • Give the consumer more tools to make an informed decision – and save a little money while they’re at it
  • Improve the standards of professionalism in the industry
  • Restructure the way new agents come into and grow within the industry
  • Help agents and brokers improve their business – whether it’s with their existing company or giving them more freedom to go out on their own”

How does the 15% rebate work?

“We cooperate with consumers and agents to provide a commission rebate. The rebate is provided exclusively by Agentleaf to customers who use our site to find and work with a cooperating agent. We enable consumers to be enthusiastic about finding their agent and, therefore, provide agents with consumers who are excited to work with them. It’s a win-win.”

What is the Realtor’s role in AgentLeaf?

“Agentleaf is here to improve the business of professional agents by increasing consumer awareness. With the influx of online brokerages beating down the door of the traditional agent, Agentleaf enables Realtors to fight back by showcasing local expertise and experience to consumers. Realtors will have a chance to showcase their value proposition, increase their personal brand, and legitimize their standing within the local real estate community.”

Holder kept his plans for the future close to the vest, so we cannot confirm the next cities in queue, but we are interested to know what the real estate community thinks of MLS data and a rebate combining to form AgentLeaf. We welcome your comments below.

AG is not affiliated with AgentLeaf.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Anonymous User via Facebook

    March 1, 2011 at 7:14 am

    My first thoughts upon reading this: Here we go again, more phone calls with the “We have buyers…” sales pitch. I also wonder how they will use MLS data to find buyers agents when many buyers agents (like myself) very rarely represent sellers, and therefore wouldn’t have any MLS data available on them.

    • matthew holder

      March 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

      No calls about ‘we have buyers’ unless we actually have one for you…or a seller for that matter. Either way, we do basic qualification of the leads before sending them your way and you don’t pay anything unless you close the deal.

  2. Bruce Lemieux

    March 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

    At last! This is exactly what RE needs to “Improve the standards of professionalism in the industry” and “restructure the way new agents come into and grow within the industry”. A website where agents can add a profile and get internet buyer leads with a 15+% referral.

    It’s such a revolutionary idea, I’m having trouble getting my head around the implications to our industry. Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?

  3. Matt Holder via Facebook

    March 1, 2011 at 10:53 am

    No sales pitch since you don’t have to pay anything to get leads unless they end up using you to buy or sell a home. We take on the risk and you reap the benefits.

    Great questions and thanks for the feedback

  4. Bruce Lemieux

    March 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Matt, all snark aside, I just don’t see a business here. Here’s some of the challenges I think you’ll have:

    1. Get Buyers and Sellers. You are just like every other agent and RE web site in this regard – how do you connect with buyers and sellers? How do you market your services and cut through the considerable noise so buyers/sellers know you exist. Just having a website with ratings isn’t enough. Good luck winning the SEO game.

    2. Sell Buyers/Sellers on Your Value Proposition. It looks like you have two: 1. get 15% back, 2. see agent ratings based on MLS data. Why go with you when Redfin gives me an agent and gives up to 1/2 commission back? So maybe the 15% back isn’t as important as finding a successful agent. Your beta site just has rankings with no explaination or backup. In San Francisco, Mike Hirner is #1 and Gina W. Tse is #2. What does this mean? What’s #5 mean? As a consumer, you aren’t telling me anything. Click ‘next’.

    3. Connect with Agents. If you are giving 15% to buyers/sellers, I assume you are looking for 20-25% from Agents (assuming your goal isn’t to start a charity). Do you have any idea how many calls agents get from companies who have “a qualified buyer/seller in your area?” We all get *tons* of these calls. And we all hate them. If Mike and Gina do any business (which they should since the are #1 and #2), they won’t take your call. I try not to be rude, but I don’t go past one sentence with these guys. Don’t underestimate how hard it will be to hand-off a referral to a decent agent.

    If you really want to build a business promoting the best agents, then do just that. Find the 50 best agents in your target market, and then *you* profile them. Tell us why they are so great. Tell us customer stories of how these awesome agents actually added value to a purchase or sell. Do that *first*, and then contact the agent and see if they would be willing to take a referral for new business. If you did that with me (assuming I made the top 50), then I’ll take your call.

    Also – make sure you actually profile the best agents. If the foundation of your business model really is to “improve the standards of professionalism in the industry”, then do it. If your business is based simply on creating a referral network, then you shouldn’t waste your time.

    Good luck with the business.

    • Matt Holder

      March 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Bruce.

      Thanks for your comments. I think you make very valid and important points, which i have addressed below. I think your feedback is great and there is much more in store that will go well beyond the current site.

      1. That is an issue we are aware of and are prepared for.

      2. You can join the site to see any agent’s sales stats for the past two years. The site is in beta and as such it is a work in progress – we are tackling those issues as we speak. Our goal is to give consumers a combination of choice and savings.

      3. If you don’t want to work with people who have specifically chosen to work with you than that’s your choice. There’s no harm in getting a lead in your email and added to your sales funnel – we’re here to help you get clients who excited to work with you…not clog your sales funnel.

  5. Christa Borellini

    March 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I think it sounds great. Don’t pay unless it closes. Can’t wait till it comes to San Diego! Let me know Matt!

    • Matt Holder

      March 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Christa.

      Follow us on twitter, @agentleaf, for our latest updates and where we plan to launch next.

  6. Mike O'Hara

    March 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Hello Matt. I have not seen the beta site. You provide MLS closing stats, but do you ALSO include withdrawn and expired info? There are plenty of agents that are great at marketing themselves which leads to many listings. If I am a consumer, I would also want to know how many listings have been unsuccessful. This is especially important with the many short sale charlatans that are out there throwing 30 or 40 short sales against the wall in a year, when inevitably only a half dozen actually close. To me, this is a very important distinction.

    • Matt Holder

      March 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

      Hi Mike.

      I absolutely agree. If you join our beta, you can see we include a sales conversion rate for the listing side, which reflects that metric. Our goal is transparency and increased efficiency – so you can see agents who ‘throw [a bunch of] short sales against the wall’ but have a low conversion rate v. agents with maybe fewer listings but a higher conversion rate.

  7. Pingback: If you could see any real estate agent's sales stats and how they ranked compared to all other local agents, would that knowledge impact who you chose to help you buy or sell a home? - Quora

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