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How to Differentiate a New Portal?

Can you still build a real estate search portal?

Yes, absolutely. Anything is possible.

That said, if you plan to build a portal and compete – you need to win the consumer (buyers), somehow. Without buyers, no one in the industry makes any money. So, how do you attract them? They are already using agent and broker websites, and/or a combination of one or more portals. There’s not some huge untapped market of buyers not already using Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, etc. To compete at the portal game, you need to attract those people away from the websites/apps they’re currently using.

askdoss-logo-squareAs a portal-to-be, what exactly is your value proposition to consumers?

Let’s take DOSS as an example (since they wrote the post I linked to in the 1st sentence).

Below is their stated mission:

To interconnect the home servicing and real estate industry into a single superior search portal that gives Consumers the BEST user experience, help REALTORS© and Service Providers consolidate their support services, reduce their cost, make more money, and spend less time doing it!

Sounds good in theory. But, really, I’m not exactly sure what the portal does based on that sentence. How, precisely, is it superior? What does the best user experience mean? How does it consolidate realtors and service providers support services?

The reality is delivering a super service for consumers, service providers, and agents at the same time is a massive massive undertaking to bite off in one go. What consumers want, and what agents want, aren’t necessarily the same. They mention “on demand home servicing” on the website as well, which seems like an entire startup / business by itself.

What’s the core consumer value proposition that’s going to get someone using a new portal? What are you doing, no one else is delivering on?

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Derek Sanborn

    Great article Drew. I think the natural tendencies of startups is to try to solve the entire problem at once, which is just about impossible. In the real estate software market, people are trying to solve the problem for one side or the other (agent/consumer). These two entities co-exist.

    From what I’ve learned, you can’t fix bad service with technology. Technology should be a vehicle in which agents deliver better service. Collaboration, communication, sharing information, updates, setting expectations…these things come natural to good agents. A good portal would just help facilitate this service in a way the 2016 consumer wants it.

  • I am not really sure what they will do based on their mission statement. I can’t tell if one will search for a plumber or a home or a Realtor. I also have no idea what they mean by consolidate our support services to save money.

    I guess we can figure out what they will do once they do it.

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