Compass’s New Sneak-Peek Marketing Doesn’t Look Good

 Credit: The Real Deal

Credit: The Real Deal

The Rundown

Compass continues to bring refreshing innovation to the Real Estate industry. However, the company’s latest move is raising some eyebrows.

The brokerage announced last week it launched a feature that allows its agents to their listings to the company’s website days before listing them with the local MLS and national portals.

According to The Real Deal’s article, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin believes the company’s new direction, “will help (its) agents get a head start on marketing”, as opposed to the more obvious unfair advantage it potentially provides Compass in the form of direct deals, managed exposure, and ability to highlight said advantage to leads and clients.

How this differs from agents promoting pocket listings on social media is difficult to determine. Additionally, Zillow and Redfin both allow “coming soon” listings within 21 and 30 days, respectively.

Great for Agents

Agents who can offer sneak-peek listings stand to benefit greatly by marketing an ‘exclusive’ offering to potential clients. It’s no surprise these have grown in popularity recently. RealAgenz.com, launched by a former Keller Williams agent, charges brokers a monthly fee for access to whisper listings.

Earlier this year, however, New York’s REBNY board proposed a ban on whisper listings, and received considerable blowback from the community. So it stands to see who will win out, and who should.

The answer likely lies with the consumer.

Not Great for Consumers

Here’s a thought experiment: it’s obvious there are advantages to sneak-peek’s and whisper listings for agents. Taken to an extreme, if every agent were to take advantage of this incentive, portals would disappear and every listing would reside exclusively on the listing agent’s site.

That’s incredibly disadvantageous to consumers. While I believe the actual seller should have control and say over where their listing is featured, they’re naturally incentivized to put their home in front of as many potential buyers as possible.

So this appears to be a choice between benefitting agents or consumers. I believe the best route is always the one that benefits the consumer. Keeping listings siloed across listing agents works to the disadvantage of home buyers and sellers:

  • Buyers no longer have consolidated resources to find homes, whether that’s an MLS-based search or national portals

  • Seller’s offer their listings to a potentially smaller pool of possible buyers

  • Agents benefit by creating a competitive advantage within the agent community, not born from one that benefits clients

The consumer’s needs to always be the lens which these decisions are viewed. What do you think? Should agents focus on benefits to themselves? Are there benefits to home buyers and sellers with sneak-peeks?