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" -- Threat or Opportunity!"

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Scott Kucirek Photo
10/6/00 Interview with Scott Kucirek
1401 Marina Way South
Richmond, CA 94804

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Overview of zipRealty

  1. zipRealty is a leading online real estate brokerage that combines the best of the traditional process with new, leading-edge Internet technology; the bottom line for consumers is great service and thousands of dollars in savings on their transactions.
  2. The company empowers consumers by giving them information and convenience through access to its web site; zipRealty also capitalizes on a team of agents from local markets.
  3. The company's online agents are headquartered in a single office in Berkeley, California; local field agents drive around in blue VW Beetles (zipMobiles) to provide direct customer service.
  4. zipRealty agents are salaried, so they work to benefit the customer, not to gain a commission.
The Berkeley Center

  1. Agents (30+) work at computer terminals and telephones, accessing multiple behind-the-scenes systems to enhance the efficiency of service; technical, marketing and administrative staff are also housed at Berkeley.
  2. Agents are organized into regional teams; experienced Realtors are recruited from each area to assure local knowledge; online agents are relocated to headquarters, but field service agents stay in the marketplace.
The Buying Experience

  1. Visitors to's "Home Buyer" section find information about the process plus tools for seeing how many homes are active in their area, automatic email updating, mortgage and other ancillary services.
  2. Upon registering, customers are contacted by an online agent and set up with an account that walks them through the process; they promptly receive filtered multiple list data directly by email about homes in their area.
  3. zipRealty agents and brokers are members of multiple listing services; zipRealty now has available 200,000+ active homes in about 15 markets.
  4. After reviewing information about houses and neighborhoods online and by email, the customer can schedule an appointment via the online agent to see the houses of interest.
  5. A field agent meets the customer at the properties; if customers like a home, they make an offer online by following a basic Q&A format.
  6. The online agent passes the offer to the field agent, who reviews a hard copy with the customer and proceeds with submitting it to the selling agent, usually a traditional agent outside zipRealty.
  7. zipRealty, which is strongly pro-agent, works smoothly with professionals outside the company; outside agents are receptive because the service is good for consumers.
  8. zipRealty gets paid traditionally‹splitting with the selling agent the percentage commission negotiated with the seller; zipRealty returns about 50% of that split to the buyer.
The Selling Experience

  1. Sellers are also assigned to an online agent for their area, who contacts them by phone; a field agent follows with a home visit to do a listing presentation and get a signed agreement.
  2. The home is marketed traditionally through the MLS, on the zipRealty site and on other Internet sites.
  3. Agents with interested buyers contact the zipRealty online agent to arrange a showing; offers are also fielded through the online agent.
  4. zipRealty pays outside buyer's agents the full, traditional commission, but the seller pays a reduced commission to zipRealty.
  5. zipRealty can operate on lower margins than competitors because the web site and division of labor of the teams create efficiency.
The Trend toward a Total Online Transaction

  1. zipRealty provides customers with their own home page through which they are updated on key steps with the escrow process‹where loan documents, title reports, etc. are.
  2. If customers choose a loan partner that is online, that provider's methodology can be accessed.
  3. Consumers are demanding to do more online; using the Internet for transactions is convenient and ultimately saves the consumer money.
  4. The new digital signature legislation represents third-party validation that consumers want to move more commerce online.
Real Estate-Related Services

  1. zipRealty provides access to online lenders, credit reports, pricing of homes, insurance resources, and home improvement and moving services.
  2. On other sites, the customer's online experience usually ends at that point; on, the transection continues online.
  3. After testing numerous virtual tour companies for service and value, zipRealty has signed a contract with iPix to do its virtual tours.
zipRealty's Business Approach

  1. Besides being a useful web site, offers the lesson to all e-business aspirants that long-term profitability must be considered.
  2. zipRealty was founded with the idea to make its services easy to use and to reach profitability as soon as possible (in the next 12 months).
  3. zpRealty is disciplined about spending money but recognizes the necessity of advertising enough to build awareness in the marketplace.
Outlook for the Real Estate Industry

  1. In the next 3 years, there will be a shakeout‹the survivors will be companies that are customer-focused and efficient; consumers will still be able to choose among both traditional, brick-and-mortar players and online players.
  2. Large companies not in the real estate business now will attempt to enter the market.
  3. Among the best-bets for survivors are Cendant, HomeStore and HomeAdvisor.
Contact Information for Scott Kucirek:

(v) 877-500-2510
(f) 877-544-6142

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
Home Advisor