Written by Jerred Ziegler.
With the rise of online real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia, it has become more challenging for realtors to sell a home. With hundreds of listings available at the click of a button, it can be difficult to make a home to stand out from the crowd. These types of sites make it harder to communicate a home’s history and the personal touches, simply because there’s not enough room to include this type of in-depth information.
Columbus, Ohio’s, SocialMLS is helping realtors break through the clutter and connect with potential buyers by leveraging the power of social media. SocialMLS is an app that creates a unique listing page for every new property that can easily be shared with Facebook friends. Listings are created by the realtor, and include photos of the property and personal statements from the seller about the property’s history and the memories there.
“We’ve found that our pages really resonate with a seller’s network of friends, family and neighbors on Facebook,” said Chris Sauerzopf, founder and CEO of SocialMLS. “In fact, once a seller shares their SocialMLS page, the traffic to the listing goes up tenfold.”
Once the SocialMLS page is built, the app allows agents to craft 10 different posts they can easily share with friends and followers. The app also generates four different messages for the seller, who can share the listing with their friends. Once shared, SocialMLS tracks each page’s likes, comments and impressions and reports them back to both the realtor and seller so any adjustments can be made.
“In the world of real estate, this kind of social selling used to happen organically. People would hear about listings from their friends, and then talk about the wonderful memories associated with a home,” said Sauerzopf. “Our app recreates that experience for the digital age.”
Sauerzopf and his wife spent more than 10 years as the owners of a real estate title business before starting SocialMLS. Once sites like Zillow became popular, the two noticed many of the realtors they worked with were having trouble generating business. They decided to use their expertise in real estate to help, creating SocialMLS while still running their title business.
In early 2015, SocialMLS began working with Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier. The company participated in the organization’s Concept Academy, working with mentors and Rev1 staff to develop a product prototype that would resonate in the real estate industry. These efforts culminated in August 2015, when Rev1 awarded SocialMLS concept funding for further product development and marketing.
“Concept Academy helped us analyze our idea and honestly figure out if we were creating something that potential users would want,” said Sauerzopf.
SocialMLS is currently available to realtors in central Ohio, with the goal of expanding outside the region in the near future. Sauerzopf, a native of eastern Pennsylvania, says Columbus and Rev1 have played a valuable part in his company’s success.
“Rev1 is an excellent resource for anyone looking to start a business in central Ohio,” said Sauerzopf. “For our business, the strong real estate community in the area provided an excellent foundation on which to grow.”