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"Tom Orsi Interview 2001"


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10/5/01 Interview with Tom Orsi

Homes.com Inc.
978-739-9154
Palo Alto, CA 94066
Biography

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Services of Homes.com

  1. The 800,000 individual home listings on the web site form a portal for traffic from people looking for homes; consumers can use a variety of search criteria to locate appropriate properties that fit their price range, preferred school districts and neighborhoods, etc.
  2. Consumers can extend their search to find an agent/broker to service their needs; Homes.com sells web sites to the agent/broker community; the sites become the contact point between Realtors and consumers.
  3. The number of listings on Homes.com is comparable to competitors such as Realtor.com and HomeAdvisor.com, but the look and feel of the Homes.com product and the company's commitment to servicing the agent/broker community distinguish it from competitors.
  4. Homes.com has repositioned itself with the objective of providing the best web site and the best customer service available in the industry; the company aims to help agents take full advantage of the its web site product so that agents realize sales and commissions.
Financial Overview

  1. In a move to preserve its future, Homes.com filed for bankruptcy on March 26, 2001; during the 18 months preceding that date, the company had undertaken aggressive growth plans without adequate infrastructure or financial backing.
  2. Upon joining the company in November 2000, Orsi determined that the debt load was unmanageable; filing for protection under Chapter 11 was a viable way to defer payment on obligations and allow the company time to direct its energies at its core product, the web sites it sells to agents/brokers, and the ancillary products that support those sites.
  3. In the months following the filing, its financial situation stabilized, and Homes.com expects to be in business for the long term.
  4. The drop-off in customer base at the time of the bankruptcy filing was not as bad as what Orsi had anticipated; by improving its customer service and being more responsive to customer needs, Homes.com is reestablishing its credibility.
Future Growth

  1. The business plan centers on serving existing customers and adding new customers in a thoughtful, managed way; the focus is on enriching existing products and increasing the number of listings, not on developing new products.
  2. The company is up for sale to an appropriate strategic buyer who would fit with the current business plan and who could supplement what Homes.com provides.
Supporting Products that Complement the Web Site

  1. The eCoaching product is designed to help agents set up their web sites and to take advantage of all that Homes.com has to offer.
  2. PREP is a customer relationship management product to help brokers and agents manage their contacts to achieve greater sales.
  3. PREP has undergone a review, and major enhancements are being made; the updated product should be out in fall 2001.
The Competition

  1. The major competition for Homes.com includes Realtor.com, HomeSeekers and HomeAdvisor.
  2. Homes.com's product is as good or better than the competitions; its edge comes down to customer service and demonstrating to its community of agents and brokers that they are getting valued contacts that turn into sales and commissions.
  3. Homes.com's efforts are directed at maintaining the web site and directing the traffic in a way that increases an agent/broker's opportunities for contacts and ultimate sales.
Plans for Emerging from Bankruptcy

  1. Orsi's business plans for the balance of 2001 and the year 2002 address opportunities for increasing the customer base and for identifying additional sources of revenue.
  2. He plans to re-capitalize the company and establish a basis for issuing stock, notes or some form of security to the pre-bankruptcy creditors.
The Attraction of the Site

  1. Orsi believes the company can position itself as the provider of choice by demonstrating to agents and brokers that having a site with Homes.com provides value in terms of contacts and the service necessary to maximize the utility of the web site.
  2. For the AgentAdvantage product, the setup fee starts at $499 and $59/month with a year's contract; the client gets the right to the web product and a web presence for one year.
  3. The quality of the listings draws traffic to Homes.com that passes through to individual agents and brokers from the geographical area of each listing, creating the opportunity to build relationships with contacts that lead to sales.
  4. Homes.com is looking toward establishing joint ventures with strategic partners in the Internet space to provide additional traffic to the site and ultimately to the agents in its community.
Commitment to the Future

  1. Homes.com views itself as here to stay; filing Chapter 11 was a painful but important strategic decision that has positioned the company for the future.
  2. Rebuilding with the focus on providing service to agents and brokers is geared to making money for everyone involved.
Contact Information for Tom Orsi:

(v) 949-248-4277
(f) 949-240-7326
(e) torsi@homes.com
(w)www.homes.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

www.homes.com
www.realtor.com
www.homeseeker.com