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The NAR is talking to Silicon Valley tech giants, but won't say why

By Mike Wheatley | March 13, 2018

National Association of Realtors’ chief executive officer Bob Goldberg has revealed that he’s in talks with three major Silicon Valley tech giants, according to reports.

Goldberg told media that the 1.3 million member trade group he leads is holding “active discussions” with three of the four “FANG” companies, which are Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, though he didn’t say which ones or what those talks were about.

“I can’t disclose who we’re talking to, but I can tell you three of the four, we’re talking to. And they’re interested in wanting to talk to NAR because of the presence that we have with our members in this industry,” Goldberg said at the event. “So if we can do something to help bring them in to help our industry and our members, that’s a good thing.”

When pressed for further information about the talks, NAR spokesperson Sara Wiskerchen said she was unable to comment on the specifics of the discussions.

“As part of Bob Goldberg’s vision as NAR CEO, he created a new team within NAR, the Strategic Business, Innovation & Technology Group, led by Senior Vice President Mark Birschbach to ensure that NAR remains at the forefront of business and technology,” Wiskerchen said. “This new group has been and will continue to be very active in the real estate and technology communities to promote innovation in our industry in a way that best serves our members.”

None of the above mentioned FANG companies were willing to comment on the reports, but at least three of them have signaled an interest in real estate previously.

Goldberg talks about the FANG companies at about minute 33.

Perhaps the strongest interest comes from Facebook, which has long been a marketing platform for real estate agents. Facebook has also allowed property listings to posted to its Marketplace since October 2016, and in August 2017 followed up with its first real estate advertising product. More recently, Facebook began including rental listings from sources such as Apartment List and Zumper in November 2017.

“Marketplace will continue to explore a variety of new opportunities to partner with businesses, in addition to optimizing the consumer-to-consumer product experience,” the company said in a statement at the time.

Amazon could also have an interest in real estate. Last year it seemed as if the online shopping service was about to debut a real estate referral service that would let users hire an agent through its professional services marketplace. The company accidentally posted a placeholder web page that offered users a chance to “Hire a Realtor”, before quickly taking it down. It’s not clear if or when Amazon plans to follow through with this service.

Google has also touched on real estate with its acquisition of smart home company Nest Labs, and its investments into housing tech startups such as, HomeLight and CommonFloor via an incubator fund.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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