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The war is on: CoStar accelerates its own planning tool to take on Zillow

One day after Zillow announced the takeover of ShowingTime, Homesnap announced that it would be “pedaling to the metal” in developing an alternative to the show scheduling tool.

Less than 24 hours after Zillow announced he’d agreed to buy ShowingTime for $ 500 million, CoStar’s Homesnap announced that it would be putting the “pedal on the metal” in developing its own tool designed to help real estate agents plan demonstrations.

John Mazur | Image credit: Homesnap

The manufacturer of agent tools – and also the operator of a competing listing portal – announced the development plans to its partners for several listing services. It is because many agents are expressing concern about the Zillow acquisition.

“At Homesnap, we believe that the essential tools that real estate professionals use to serve clients on a daily basis should not be owned or controlled by market participants who compete with those real estate professionals,” said John Mazur, CEO of Homesnap, in a statement.

Homesnap is owned by CoStar, a real estate data and software company behind platforms like Apartments.com and Auction.com. CoStar has announced its intention to launch its own home search platform, but it remains unclear what that platform will ultimately look like.

Andy Florance, CEO of CoStar, has explicitly stated that his business model will not mirror that of Zillow and even said that the “real estate agent is Zillow’s competitor”.

Mazur also toyed with real estate agents’ apparent concerns about the security and confidentiality of their client information. Errol Samuelson, Zillow’s Chief Industry Development Officer, understood that ShowingTime’s existing privacy and data security efforts would continue to apply.

The information they enter is not visible or accessible to any other party and is used for scheduling purposes, Samuelson told Inman.

Even so, Mazur reiterated many of the same concerns raised by agents.

“Agents need to be able to work with their buyers and sellers without fear of their clients’ information being leaked to a competing broker,” wrote Mazur. “Likewise, realtors need to be confident that the tools their agents use will not provide sensitive information to a competitor who may be bidding on their property or listing the house on the street.”

This new show planning tool, which Homesnap has referred to as “Homesnap Showings”, will debut this year. In the letter, Mazur said the tool was already in development, but after Zillow’s announcement, it decided to speed up the announcement that Homesnap had a similar tool in development.

“Our development team is stepping on the gas to make this feature available to every Homesnap Pro user as quickly as possible,” said Mazur.

The new show scheduling tool will be combined with other tools, including a recently launched artificial intelligence tool that the company can use to predict how quickly a home will sell at different prices. In February Homesnap launched a revised version of its Homesnap Pro app. The company also launched new lead generation tools and a future commission-based payment service in 2020.

Email to Patrick Kearns

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