When evaluating the wide variety of marketing platforms available to real estate professionals, we talked to a number of agents who echoed a similar refrain: “I’m a member of [platform], but I’m not sure why. I don’t really know what it’s doing for me.”
However, when talking to agents and company representatives about HomeLight, it soon became clear that the platform recognizes this common problem and works hard to provide resources and programs designed to drive engagement and make its services more available, more accessible, and more meaningful to both agents and their clients.
Whether you are currently on the platform or just beginning to explore its potential, the message you’ll get from those who find it useful seems to be remarkably consistent: Put in the work on the front end to reap the rewards.
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HomeLight is a referral platform that is 100 percent free to join. Agents pay a 25 percent broker-to-broker referral fee when they close a HomeLight transaction, preventing the “pay for play” frustrations many agents express about other real estate platforms.
HomeLight provides consumers with the opportunity to speak with two to three agents in their market to decide which one is right for them. This ensures that the power to convert a lead into a client lies with the client experience and the agent response — not with the platform itself.
HomeLight refers agents based on a proprietary internal algorithm that evaluates the agent’s past history of closed transactions and the location of the lead’s listing. The platform evaluates agent success based on responsiveness and conversion rates as well.
Top-performing agents gain access to an increasingly powerful array of the platform’s tools and technologies, which they can use with all of their clients, not just those referred by HomeLight.
HomeLight is not just about driving referrals. The platform also offers a number of integrated programs and services to help facilitate client transactions and provide alternative solutions to help agents serve their clients, even in the face of tight market inventory or adverse conditions.
In addition, HomeLight connects agents with affiliated lenders and escrow services to provide a more streamlined, fully integrated transaction process. Annie Dreshfield, director of strategic communications and PR, offers an overview of HomeLight’s various programs and how agents can use them to generate more closed transactions.
HomeLight Trade-In offers agents the ability to work with seller clients facing a variety of challenges so that they can unlock the liquidity in their current home and get into their new home more easily and profitably.
According to Kelli Griggs of Navigate Realty in El Dorado Hills, California, the trade-in program has been very effective in helping her close more transactions, calling it an “easy button” for maximizing client services.
When using the trade-in product, Griggs does a home inspection and pest inspection and looks at the ROI on any needed improvements. Once the client is approved for the program, they can shop for a home in the new market where they want to move, close on it, and move in. Once the listing is empty, Griggs’ crew facilitates repairs, ensuring that the home sells for top dollar.
Griggs recently used the trade-in product on a house set on a five-acre parcel owned by a large family with five children plus a variety of animals, including a mini pony, five dogs, and chickens everywhere. “The house needed a lot of work, but the clients were able to go to Tennessee, find their dream home, move everything across country,” Griggs said.
Once they moved, Griggs and her team went to work and got the house into “perfect” condition, selling it for $30,000 more than the highest neighborhood comp after a massive bidding war. Had she not used the trade-in program, Griggs said she “never would have gotten anywhere near that [price] because of the condition of the home and the animals.”
This HomeLight lending program allows buyers to make a cash offer in competitive markets, backed by HomeLight’s Home Loans division. This program is especially useful in markets with a great deal of investor activity and makes buyers three times more likely to win in a multiple-offer situation.
HomeLight’s Disclosures.io product is a platform that helps agents manage, market, and sell their listings through a streamlined platform and process. “Agents can track real-time snapshots of buyer interest and automatically organize offers into a dashboard that compares terms side-by-side, giving their clients a bird’s-eye view of interest in their home,” Dreshfield said.
HomeLight offers closing services featuring industry-leading security, automated notifications, and secure cloud document storage, ensuring a more comprehensive, transparent, and reliable escrow and closing process.
HomeLight Elite is an invitation-only program for the platform’s most highly engaged and successful agents. Agents may be invited based on their prior performance or may apply for the program.
According to Griggs, the platform evaluates agent performance based on system updates, conversion ratio, and reviews. “It’s easy to set yourself apart if you’re putting in the work. If you’re not doing that, you go undetected,” Griggs said.
According to Dreshfield, optimizing your agent presence on the HomeLight platform should be an ongoing process, involving information sharing, transaction updates and robust engagement with the platform’s services. Here are her tips for standing out:
- Use your HomeLight profile as an online resume. Highlight awards, skills and past transactions, with an emphasis on successful closings in your target neighborhood.
- Communicate quickly and efficiently to maximize your chances of converting the leads you receive from HomeLight. The mobile app allows you to get real-time notifications and detailed notes about the lead’s activity on the platform so that you can be more responsive.
- Think creatively about solutions to your clients’ needs and familiarize yourself with the platform’s unique programs. “Many of our top agents use HomeLight’s tools and technology to help with a variety of clients’ challenges, no matter where they are in the transaction process,” Dreshfield said.
Griggs is a HomeLight Elite agent and among the top 1 percent of HomeLight’s agents platform-wide. She heard about HomeLight from another top producer in San Francisco and signed up.
Her advice for optimizing the HomeLight platform basically boils down to: “You get out of it what you put into it.” Griggs’ tips for getting the most out of the HomeLight platform include the following:
- Be responsible for educating yourself on the platform’s features and optimization options. From the beginning, Griggs read the content provided on the website and made updates to her profile on a regular basis, including ensuring that her past transactions were consistently updated.
- Ask for help to stand out. According to Griggs, “I began asking my HomeLight rep questions: How do I get more leads? How do I shine? Constant updating made the lead flow increase.”
- Take advantage of opportunities offered by HomeLight to increase your impact on the platform’s algorithm. “Once I demonstrated that I was a quality agent and was getting a great conversion rate, then they started extending additional opportunities. We became a team. I leveled up at HomeLight.”
- Familiarize yourself with HomeLight’s product offerings to offer more services and options to your clients. Griggs said, “The best way to describe it is when I show up at a Listing Appointment I have an arsenal of things I can offer based on their needs. The trade-in program has 10-X’d my business. I have done an additional $8 million in business that I wouldn’t have done without that program.”
For many of the HomeLight agents we talked to, much of the platform’s appeal comes down to the ability to pay based on the commission rather than paying upfront for advertising.
According to Tamar Asken of Los Angeles brokerage Avenue 8, “Overall, I’d rather pay Homelight 25 percent of my fee commission on a deal than to pay for leads from Zillow, for example. It’s a free lead, and I only pay them if I close the deal.”
All in all, it’s clear that the platform works for those who work the platform. Optimize your profile presence there, and actively engage with HomeLight’s various programs to ensure a more effective user experience — and more potential clients.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr