Tuesday, February 27, 2024

CoStar to sunset Homesnap brand this year as it transitions to Homes

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Nearly three years after CoStar acquired real estate tech firm Homesnap, the real estate juggernaut is sunsetting the Homesnap brand name and products by the end of the year in favor of transitioning users to its dominant residential real estate brand Homes.

At the time of Homesnap’s purchase for $250 million at the end of 2020, CoStar Group founder and CEO Andy Florance said, “The acquisition of Homesnap will enable us to enter a new space and expand the total addressable markets in which we can compete.” That “new space” was the residential real estate market.

But in mid-2021, CoStar acquired Homes.com for $156 million and subsequently decided to make Homes.com its dominant consumer brand, though the company said in September 2022 that it intended to keep the Homesnap brand going. That has now changed.

“Homes.com has become the fastest growing site in the industry,” David Mele, president of Homes.com, told Inman via email. Mele is also president of CoStar’s flagship commercial real estate marketplace LoopNet.

“Homes.com traffic has increased 289 percent YOY and continues to grow every month,” Mele added. “In fact, it has 10x the traffic of Homesnap now. We are currently in the process of merging the brands to provide agents with a better experience.”

In order to do that, Homesnap’s agent app Homesnap Pro will be renamed Homes Pro. Mele said the new platform will have “integrated and enhanced the original Homesnap Pro tools agents rely on” and agents will be able to access them on Homes.com. The new app will also offer agents increased exposure and free branding opportunities to Homes.com’s “significantly larger homebuyer audience,” according to Mele.

“Over the next few months we will be moving agents over to the upgraded agent solution on Homes Pro and sunsetting the older Homesnap Pro interface,” he said.

“Homes Pro includes the functionality agents love from Homesnap Pro, with an improved and upgraded user experience, and more opportunities for agents to collaborate with their buyers and sellers.”

Also by the end of the year, Homesnap’s website will redirect consumers to Homes.com, according to Mele. Homesnap will continue to exist as a company “for a while,” but eventually be shut down after the transition to Homes.com is complete, he added.

Homes Pro, like Homesnap Pro, will remain free for agents and for multiple listing services (MLSs) to offer as a core product if they choose, according to Mele. He said Homesnap Pro has 1.1 million registered users and more than 240 MLSs are currently using Homesnap.

“We have been communicating this transition to MLSs over the past several weeks,” Mele said.

While the company hopes to transition all of its users to the new platform, the nation’s second-largest MLS, Bright MLS, told its subscribers Friday in an email that, due to CoStar sunsetting Homensap, it would no longer provide Homesnap as a core offering as of June 30. Bright has more than 98,000 subscribers across six states and Washington, D.C., in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“Subscribers who wish to use Homes.com products can still do so by working with CoStar directly,” Bright said.

An alternative to Homesnap, mobile MLS app MLS-Touch, is available immediately at no additional cost, Bright also told subscribers.

“[W]e recommend transitioning your clients to MLS-Touch over these next 2-3 weeks,” Bright said.

An additional option will be available to Bright’s subscribers in early 2024: The Nestfully app, Bright added. Nestfully is an MLS-backed property search portal and marketing tool for brokerages that Bright partially owns.

“While MLS-Touch is a great tool, we wanted to ensure we delivered Bright subscribers what you’ve been asking for: A robust collaboration app that offers a holistic suite of tools that is MLS-owned,” Bright said.

“The Nestfully collaboration app is an MLS-driven initiative and is built for consumers, brokers and agents, and owned and powered by YOUR MLS, further reducing dependencies on third parties who may or may not be around for the long term,” Bright added.

Inman asked Bright why it will no longer offer Homesnap Pro after this month and will not transition over to Homes Pro.

“CoStar recently informed Bright they will be sunsetting the Homesnap product by Q3 of this year,” Bright spokesperson Christy Reap told Inman via email.

“Moving forward, CoStar will provide the new Homes Pro app through a broker’s license they hold with Ten-X. CoStar is no longer a vendor – because of the Ten-X broker’s license, CoStar is now a participating broker within the Bright ecosystem. Subscribers who wish to use Homes.com products may do so by contacting CoStar or Ten-X directly.”

Inman has asked Bright whether the MLS has a policy against promoting products from participating brokerages and will update this story if a response is received.

According to Mele, the Homesnap app will still work on July 1 for all agents and consumers who use it, including those in Bright’s coverage area.

“It will no longer be promoted by Bright MLS as a core product,” Mele said.

“In other words, all agents and consumers in Bright will have the app directly from us on July 1. There will be no interruption in service and over the next several months the brand will be changed to Homes Pro. This transition will be seamless.”

At the end of October, the National Broker Portal LLC, a joint venture owned 50-50 by Homesnap and the Broker Public Portal shut down. The BPP is a company formed by a large group of brokers and MLSs to launch the nation’s first national public-facing MLS website. At the time of their divorce, BPP said it would pivot to creating and providing a national listing data “superset” and forming multiple joint ventures with tech vendors that wish to use that data for their tech products.

“Homesnap was an excellent partner to the Broker Public Portal, advancing the effort to enable MLSs to have a successful national consumer-facing website and mobile application,” BPP spokesperson Victor Lund told Inman when asked about CoStar’s decision.

“The product was enjoyed by over 1 million real estate professionals. The BPP is excited for the upcoming launch of the replacement for the Homesnap product.”

Lund declined to say when the launch would be, noting that the company is in the process of hiring a CEO.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a comment from Bright MLS.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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