RealTrade aims to empower real estate agents to develop their online presence, creating potential cost savings for buyers and sellers.
If you’ve ever gone to buy or sell a house, you may have noticed that the industry is lagging behind from a technical perspective. MLS listings, the raw material that sits at the center of the real estate data ecosystem, create reports that look like they’re from the previous century. And already existing solutions tend to be more focused on making the company money rather than connecting buyers, sellers, and agents.
As founder and CEO of the West Palm Beach-based RealTrade, Ryan Poole knows these issues firsthand, having worked in real estate for more than two decades. Two years ago, he decided to tackle this problem head on by developing his own solution.
Major platforms such as Zillow and Trulia create a competitive landscape that ultimately hurts all parties involved. “We’re cutting out the middleman by allowing the buyers and sellers to go directly to the listing agents,” Poole says. “That gives buyers and sellers better information and helps agents build the local, online business they’ve always wanted.”
With legacy platforms, agents’ contact information does not appear on listings. Instead, these websites pit agents against each other to bid on listings. In Poole’s experience, that can create confusion for buyers: “When users call the agent listed on Zillow, they think they’re calling the listing agent, but they’re usually not. It can take 10 to 15 minutes to get paired with an agent, and then the buyer often knows more information because they are looking right at the listing, whereas the agent is not.”
RealTrade flips the script by enabling agents to create their own social media-style profiles for their listings. Agents can easily share listings and cross-promote on social media platforms. Buyers and sellers can create accounts as well to follow listings and agents, and opt-in to being contacted about properties they like.
Community is top of mind for Poole. RealTrade is based at West Palm Beach-based innovation hub 1909, and Poole participated in their accelerator program. “RealTrade would not exist without 1909, the entrepreneurs that work here, and the accelerator program,” Poole told Refresh Miami.
Poole has pledged 1% of equity in RealTrade to 1909 in an effort to help them “do whatever they need to do to help grow the community and support entrepreneurs here.” Real estate professionals also have the opportunity to amass points for referring other agents to the platform, which Poole says they can later convert and make an equity investment into RealTrade.
The platform currently has more than 100 agents across South Florida representing 30 different brokerages, plus 500 buyers and sellers. Poole has his sights set on 1,000 agents. Once RealTrade reaches that threshold, Poole plans to start pitching membership opportunities to title companies, mortgage brokers, and appraisers. Unlike agents, buyers, and sellers, these auxiliary stakeholders will have to pay to use the platform. But Poole expressed confidence that they will see the value of RealTrade as a sales funnel for their businesses.
In the next three months, Poole plans to kick off a crowdfunding campaign. This fits within Poole’s broader mission of democratizing business, or fighting the avaricious accumulation of assets through community ownership. “What really motivates me and gets me excited about RealTrade is the community owned and curated aspect of it,” Poole explained. “When you’re allowing the people that are adding value to the platforms to own those platforms. That’s the future, and I would love nothing more than for RealTrade to be a leader in that new model.”
Check out RealTrade’s website to learn more and sign up for free.
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