Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow, said his company is trying to center transactions in its business model and wants to do with real estate what the iPhone did with phones and media.
The day after Zillow announced the acquisition of ShowingTime, CEO Rich Barton said his company was drawn to the popular real estate exhibition platform because it addressed a “pain point” in home buying and he was excited about its reach to enlarge the platform.
Barton made the comments Thursday afternoon during a virtual question-and-answer session with Heath Terry, a managing director at Goldman Sachs. The session covered a range of topics, with Barton saying that his company is more of consumer engagement with the site want to monetize by Zillow.
“At this point, we’re just trying to convert customers into transactions in happy ways,” said Barton.
He also stated that Zillow had worked in recent years to center transactions in corporate strategy.
“We are moving our business model down the funnel to get compensation for the transaction itself,” said Barton, adding a moment later, “our dream is to have this very integrated transaction.”
Barton pointed out that the iPhone integrated cameras, messages, phones, and many other applications in a relatively short amount of time. Zillow would like to do something similar.
“That kind of integrated, seamless, bundled sensibility is what we try to convey real estate,” he said during the session on Thursday.
This mission is developing on several fronts. For example, Barton loved Zillow’s iBuying program, saying that it’s the first things since Zestimate that get consumers to stop and say, “Wow.” And he said Zillow continues to invest in 3D and display technology.
“We know people want to shop virtually,” added Barton.
The conversation eventually found its way to the acquisition of ShowingTime, which Barton pinned as part of Zillow’s effort to more integrate the real estate experience in one place. Among other things, he praised the home showing platform, saying it freed agents from juggling multiple schedules when presenting properties.
“ShowingTime addressed a critical point in the house show process,” said Barton.
Barton went on to say that Zillow looks forward to expanding ShowingTime’s reach and integrating it with all of these other components.
He didn’t elaborate on what could happen in the future, but one way or another the ShowingTime deal sparked shock waves in the industry. Because of ShowingTime’s huge popularity with agents, many people expressed concern about what the acquisition would mean for them and their business.
Whatever happens, it is evident that all of Zillow’s recent moves are part of a larger plan under which the company will continue to disrupt real estate. What this means for everyday agents remains to be seen, but Barton suggested Thursday that both his company and the “pros of the future” can tackle challenges together.
“All boats,” he said, “will go up.”
Email Jim Dalrymple II