TurnKey matches consumers with real estate agents in 15 cities in the U.S. from brands within the Realogy family like Century 21 and Sotheby's International Realty, later rewarding consumers with smart home and other home services from Amazon. The program was launched to make the home buying process easier and more convenient.
Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move that the deal will help its real estate agents with lead generation, while Amazon will benefit from knowing which consumers need smart devices installed or other services like painting before owners even move into their new homes.
Some are questioning Amazon’s long-term intentions when it comes to partnering up with Realogy, citing cases of the giant’s niche industry takeovers. D.A. Davidson Senior Research Analyst and Yahoo Finance On The Move guest contributor Tom Forte said the TurnKey program shows early signs “consistent with Amazon’s historical playbook.”
“Partner first, learn, then go solo,” Forte said. “I would not be surprised if they started with this partnership and eventually did it by themselves.” Forte believes that real estate presents the next opportunity for Amazon to expand into in order to generate more revenue. Amazon is already selling homeowners insurance.
But Schneider isn’t too concerned. “Amazon’s gonna do what Amazon’s gonna do,” he said. “They’ve been a great partner in this. They’ve been very clear they want us to focus and be the real estate provider. We’re the largest real estate company in the U.S. We have the national scale, really the only unique national scale to make this partnership work. We feel like we’ve got a good partnership with us doing the real estate and them doing the smart home and home services products and we’ve never worried about other things beyond that.”
Real estate industry in flux
Schneider also dismissed industry threats from “Do it yourself” real estate competitors like mobile apps and internet databases that do not require service from agents.
“There is a lot of disruption there and there’s a lot of skepticism out there but that’s why we as the industry leader are doing things like the TurnKey program with Amazon to not just compete out there but to show people, ‘Hey, we’re going to be the ones to innovate and lead in this market,’ and then the public equity markets will judge us how they want,” he said.
Marabia Smith is a producer for Yahoo Finance On the Move.