By partnering with Realogy, Amazon hopes to jump-start its smart home and home services businesses
Amazon is finally getting into real estate.
The e-commerce giant announced on Tuesday a new partnership with Realogy, the nation’s largest real estate broker, called TurnKey that will provide the brokerage with exclusive leads on potential homebuyers while also boosting Amazon’s smart home division and Home Services, the company’s house cleaning, maintenance, and general handy man service. Homebuyers who purchase through TurnKey will receive up to $5,000 in free services from those divisions of Amazon.
The partnership will work like this: Prospective homebuyers will visit the TurnKey website and answer a few questions about where they live and what kind of house they’re looking to buy. Amazon will refer the lead to a Realogy agent, and if the homebuyer closes on a house through the Realogy agent, they get two coupons for Amazon services, courtesy of Realogy.
One of the coupons will be $450 to $1,500 for Amazon Home Services, which provides services like furniture assembly, cleaning, and maintenance. The other will be a $500 to $3,500 coupon for Amazon smart home products. To get the maximum $5,000 benefit, the purchase home would have to be for $700,000 or more.
The partnership is a potential game changer for Realogy, which has endured a brutal year that saw its stock price drop by almost 80 percent because the housing market is cooling and the company is losing leads and thus commissions to sites like Zillow. By generating exclusive leads for its agents through Amazon and its massive audience, Realogy will be able to collect a larger share of commissions.
For Amazon, the partnership adds a large paying customer to Home Services, which faces stiff competition from well-funded competitors like Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, and Handy. And while Amazon devices like the Echo dominate the smart home market, the partnership is another avenue for beating Google and Apple to potential customers.
TurnKey launches today in 15 markets—San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, Denver, Tampa, Orlando, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.
The real estate industry has been bracing for the entrance of tech giants for some time. Amazon caused panic in the industry in 2017 when it put up a landing page that said “Hire a Realtor” and “coming soon,” but it was taken down shortly after.
And Facebook raised eyebrows in the industry on an earnings call earlier this year when it announced it was planning a separate ad portal for real estate agents, which would put it in direct competition with Zillow. The move came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that alleged the company violated the Fair Housing Act by letting real estate agents exclude people of color from ads.