RealTime IT News

Real Estate Players Launch Online Platform

Seven real estate industry organizations -- including Realtors, and financial and technology companies -- are joining forceswith Homestore.com Inc. and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), to build an online platform to facilitate the buying and selling of homes.

The Realtors Electronic Transaction Platform, unveiled late Monday, is intended to give Realtors and other transaction participants a Business-to-Business platform for ordering services, coordinating closing processes, and exchanging data and documents. Homestore.com said the platform will be designed to effectively process services such as property inspections, appraisals, mortgages, titles and escrow, and to provide customers and Realtors with the real-time status of transactions.

"We are creating the platform that we hope will set the standard for the real estate industry," said Dennis Cronk, president of the NAR. "We believe the result will be a more efficient, consumer-friendly digital transaction that ensures the Realtor remains the center of the transaction. The Realtors Electronic Transaction Platform is intended to leverage technology to save time for consumers and create tremendous value for Realtors' relationships with their customers."

The initial equity investors joining Homestore.com and the NAR include GMAC Real Estate and GMAC Mortgage, Fannie Mae , and Verisign Inc. .

These charter organizations will contribute capital, software, transaction processing infrastructure and expertise. Homestore.com said the fundamental elements of the transaction platform are already in place, and ongoing development efforts are underway to bring the remaining parts online and integrate and extend the platform capabilities.

Homestore.com recently acquired Wyldfyre Technologies Inc., a developer of listings management software, and will contribute its technologies to the platform.

Three companies have also agreed to support development of the platform and hope to play a larger role in the future. They are the Prudential Real Estate Network, the Re/Max franchise network, and RE FormsNet LLC.

Homestore.com and the NAR said that the founding investors and endorsing parties expect to commit about $150 to $200 million for the development of the platform over the next 12 months.