HomeGain Press Release

March 09, 2000

HomeGain Clicks With Agents, Consumers

Popular Web Site Fast Approaching 1 Millionth Registered User; Thousands of Agents Sign Up For New Referral Fee Plan in First Six Weeks; 'Our house was sold in four days… Does it get any better than this?'

Emeryville, CA - HomeGain, the Internet's first Web site catering to the needs of home sellers, today announced an overwhelming response from both consumers and real estate agents nationwide as it closes in on registering its one millionth user. As many as 10,000 buyers and sellers sign up for the service every day. The service has more than 30,000 registered real estate agents, thousands of whom have signed up for a special referral fee plan launched just last month.

For consumers, HomeGain offers a winning proposition where they are in control of picking an agent and can quickly learn more about the home buying and selling process. HomeGain's highly popular valuation tool, for example, gives home sellers an estimated value range of their home for free in just 10 seconds, including comparable sales figures for homes in their neighborhood.

Take Jack and Lorrie McCreary, homeowners in St. Petersburg, Fla., who picked a HomeGain agent. It started when they were looking to sell their home but were unsure of its market value. An article in the St. Petersburg Times led them to HomeGain.

"We weren't sure about the value of our home and were leery about choosing a real estate agent. HomeGain gave us valuable statistics about neighborhood sales, and we were able to find the value range of our home," Lorrie McCreary said. "When it came to choosing an agent, HomeGain had selected a group of reputable agents, so our selection was already narrowed down."

After reviewing proposals from agents, focusing on sales performance and time in the business, the McCrearys selected an agent.

After reviewing proposals from agents, focusing on sales performance and time in the business, the McCrearys selected an agent.

"Our home was sold in four days!" Jack McCreary said. "Does it get any better than this?"

HomeGain, which launched its site www.homegain.com in April 1999, expects to register its one millionth user during the week of March 13. This year, HomeGain has registered upwards of 10,000 consumers on the site daily.

Top producing and qualified real estate professionals are also big winners on HomeGain.

Take Donna Gola of Lynwood, Wash., who has secured six listings with HomeGain sellers thus far, some of which sold in just a few days. Gola, a real estate agent with Windermere HKW near Seattle, said that in 1999 one-sixth of her business came from HomeGain.

"I enjoy marketing on HomeGain because it pays off in so many ways - both sales and referral business," she said. "I believe in the quality approach - giving the seller valuable information - low pressure, but willing to assist and serve."

Gola considers the Internet essential to growing her business. She believes more buyers and sellers are finding out about homes on the Internet and have more information than traditional buyers when they call an agent. "I would recommend HomeGain to other agents," she said. "I believe it's a small investment with a good return."

After hearing from many real estate agents that they wanted the flexibility of paying for HomeGain's service at the successful conclusion of the transaction, HomeGain introduced a referral fee model. With it, the agent pays an annual membership of $29.95, plus a referral fee equal to 15 percent of the real estate commission for that side of the transaction that the agent represents.

"We are so confident in our business model that we are happy to prove ourselves with every transaction," said Bradley Inman, founder and CEO of HomeGain.

The company also offers agents a flat-fee annual membership of $498.

Thousands of agents have signed on under the referral fee plan in the six weeks following its introduction.

Traffic to the site continues to be driven by HomeGain's effective advertising and marketing programs. HomeGain recently turned its efforts up a notch by initiating a major new branding and marketing campaign, including launching a new logo and a complete site redesign at www.homegain.com.

HomeGain's new advertising campaign includes a combination of radio, magazine, newspaper and online advertising. Two of the four new radio ads feature the distinctive voice of movie actor Daniel Stern ("Home Alone", "City Slickers"); two others feature TV actress Wendie Malick (Nina Van Horn in NBC's "Just Shoot Me", Cable-ACE Award-winner as Judith Tupper in "Dream On").

"We're spending more than $30 million to market the value proposition HomeGain delivers daily to home sellers, buyers and real estate professionals," Inman said. "That messaging is hitting home consistently with a growing number of consumers."

HomeGain was named the fastest-growing home-buying site on the Web for January by Nielsen//NetRatings, the Internet measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, Inc. HomeGain beat out Century21.com, Homefair.com, Homebuilder.com, iOwn.com, and Realtor.com as the site with the largest increase (274%) in the growth of unique visitors to sites in January 2000, compared to December 1999.

About HomeGain

HomeGain® is a leading provider of online marketing solutions that connect real estate agents and brokers with home buyers and sellers. HomeGain offers free services to find and compare real estate agents, research home values, and view homes for sale. Since 1999 REALTORS® have used HomeGain's real estate marketing programs to connect with consumers, promote their services and grow their business. HomeGain.com has been a top visited real estate website since 1999. HomeGain is your real estate connection.

About Classified Ventures

Classified Ventures™ is a strategic joint venture among six media companies whose objectives are to collectively capitalize on the revenue growth in the online advertising categories of real estate, automotive and rentals. To execute on its objectives, Classified Ventures has created three leading businesses - Homescape, Cars.com and Apartments.com. Homescape delivers online real estate solutions to a network of over 150 newspapers. Visit www.classifiedventures.com.

Back to HomeGain's 2000 Press Releases