New BlueRoof Website Includes Phoenix and Denver Markets

BlueRoof expands to Denver and Phoenix markets

Since BlueRoof first launched three years ago we have accomplished a lot- we’ve been voted “Best Real Estate Website” three years in a row, we’ve won the W3 Award (Silver in 2007, Gold in 2008 ) for Best Homepage, Visual Appeal and Navigation, we’ve sold hundreds of homes/year with only a few people, and we’ve built a strong brand in the Utah market with very devoted clients.

And although I have been offered (over two dozen times) to expand into new markets, I haven’t. Don’t get me wrong, the plan has always been to grow, but so far I have not had the chance for a few reasons- first of all Prudential bought the BlueRoof brokerage (but not the website or technology)  just 5 months after I started it, back in 2006, and I had to sign a contract stipulating a few things that prevented me from doing anything else. Then we started BlueRoof360 (in April of 2008 ) and in the last 8 months have built over 1200 websites for agents and brokers around the country, which has obviously taken my focus.

BlueRoof Agents

But the most important reason I did not expand BlueRoof sooner was that I needed to decide what was the best way for me to grow the brand while ensuring the client experience would not suffer. I’ve watched as other brands have grown to other areas but I didn’t want to grow in the same ways.

Roost partners with a company in each area, meaning the leads are going to any of the company agents, some of whom will do a good job for the clients and some will not (every company has good and bad agents) so they are basically selling leads. Redfin hires their own agents in each market, but that would require me raising capitol and they hire agents who are relatively inexperienced (top agents don’t want to be a desk jockey for another company). Estately refers leads out to other agents and although I like that they have say in the quality of service these agents provide, these agents don’t have an investment in the brand so they aren’t going to promote the brand or be dedicated to it.

I did not want to franchise the name because that would risk the brand being diluted by bad agents/brokers or not being marketed properly and I would have no control over it. I did not want to open my own brokerages in other markets because I would have to bring in investors to raise the necessary capitol and then have other people who do not know the brand, or the real estate business, telling me how to run it. And I didn’t want the website to simply be a lead generator. .  I wanted BlueRoof to be represented by people in each market that were invested in the promotion and growth of the brand and the overall experience the client receives working with the BlueRoof team.

I needed to find good, strong, established Realtor teams to work with. Teams who have a lot of experience and can handle the new business that will come, would be dedicated to growing the brand, and also offer excellent service to their clients. People who shared the same vision I have that technology should not only be used to get new business, but to improve the home buying/selling experience of our clients.

Today, I am excited to announce that I have found these teams to partner with in the Denver and Phoenix markets. Teams that I am proud to have represent the BlueRoof brand. And today we are all together  launching a new version of the website with some  cool new features and upgrades, but have maintained the overall look and feel of the original, award-winning, design.

Bob Maiocco

Our Denver, Colorado team is led by Bob Maiocco with Keller Williams. Bob got into the business in 1992 and he and his team have a lot of experience working with online web visitors, in fact has been a speaker at Keller Williams technology events discussing best practices in utilizing technology. Bob’s team averages $12-$15 Million/year in sales.

Nate Green

In the Phoenix market our team is led by Nate Green, also with Keller Williams. Nate was named the agent recruit of the year in 2004, Rookie of the Year in 2005, was ranked #10 in the nation for volume at Keller Williams November 2005,  in 2006 he was named “Cultural Icon” , in 2008 his team were spotlighted in Residential Executive magazine, and the last two years they have been the top agent and team in their office of 120+ agents and have consistently closed $12-$15 Million in sales.

BlueRoof Client Area

Our new backend system gives our clients tools that are unlike anything else in the industry, including the ability to follow their entire transaction as it happens and see showings and feedback on their listings immediately as it is left. Our new search is, in my opinion, the best in the industry- with the most visual and fun home searching experience online.

I believe that design is the most important element in a website. And by design I don’t just mean looks. At BlueRoof360 our philosophy can be summed up by a quote by Steve Jobs,

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like, design is how it works.”

We still have a lot of cool social and mobile features we’ll be adding soon, but we wanted to get the new site launched so we can begin promoting it for the spring season and using the cool new back end system for our clients. By the way, I realize that having a landing page that is a map is so… Web1.0, but I wanted the actual site to be able to represent each area separately, but also allow the web visitor to select which area they are interested in.

If you have a few minutes to spare, stop by and look around. I’m always interested to hear what people think.

Here’s to the economy stabilizing, a new presidential administration that actually cares about people who don’t give them money, the Utah Utes crashing the BCS party again, and to a fun and prosperous 2009!

Greg

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13 thoughts on “New BlueRoof Website Includes Phoenix and Denver Markets

  1. Congratulations on the expansion! Are these teams switching over from Keller Williams to Blue Roof or just building the Blue Roof brand while they hang their license with their respected brokerages?

  2. Tony,

    They will stay with their current brokerages, although they have the option to create a BlueRoof brokerage. When I first launched I started BlueRoof Real Estate and we were very successful with our model, so much so that Prudential bought us after 5 months.

  3. You may want to think about structuring it differently. Even with re “partners” your growth will be slow in a sector where speed is crucial. By the time you reach the east coast I’ll be retired, or a new kid on the block will take over.

    Think in terms of tech rather than RE. What if you have authorized technology dealers in each protected area? Agents & brokers in the area are forced to do business through that dealer ensuring the success of each dealer.

    Your upstream, so anything developed by the upstream is available to the dealers.

    Just a thought. Afterall, how much penetration are you really going to get in my area where people recognize me by name and face?

  4. Hi Greg,
    Thanks for the great introduction. I’m looking forward to sharing your well thought out design and application with the Denver real estate market. Of the hundred or so people I’ve directed to it so far I have had nothing short of ecstatic feedback. Blueroof is a terrific tool with a fantastic user interface.

    This is a perfect example of how technology allows users to not need to know anything about technology!
    -Bob

  5. Greg,
    Online brokerages that utililze a process to screen or qualify agents and intelligently route referrals provide a valuable service to buyers, sellers, and the agents who receive the leads.

    I found your comment interesting;

    “Estately refers leads out to other agents and although I like that they have say in the quality of service these agents provide, these agents don’t have an investment in the brand so they aren’t going to promote the brand or be dedicated to it.”

    And while you may be right on that the agents don’t have an investment and are therefore not as dedicated, I think you have overlooked a few points.

    First, customer loyalty is what is most important. I’m talking about real customers; the homeowner. So long as comanies like Estately have loyal users who trust them, they will remain relevant. Second, competent online referral companies don’t need the agents to promote their brand because they do it on their own, online.

    While I admire your model, website and blog, I think that marketplace is ripe for services that screen and qualify Realtors based on their past performance.

    http://www.RealEstateSpace.com is one such website that provides qualified Realtor referrals based on the home’s neighborhood and price range.
    -Jonathan

  6. Jonathan,

    Each company obviously has their reasons for their business model. I believe I have found the best way to ensure the clients are taken care of, the brand is represented by agents who are invested into it and care about it, and we continue to grow.

    As for me and my brand, this is the best way to go. I have turned down many opportunities to grow because I did not feel comfortable that clients would taken care of and the brand would be represented well until now.

    I have 15,000 visitors/month to my blog and have turned down many opportunities to sell advertising on my blog, but I have turned them down because I have not yet found a way to advertise in a way that I feel comfortable with (with the amount of time I am willing to dedicate toward it). If I figure out how I can have ads and keep the integrity and readership, I may do it- until then I won’t.

    Best of luck to you…

    Greg

  7. Greg,

    It is tough to compete with online companies that sort out and find the most effective agents in a particular market and refer their customers to them. This is an invaluable service that you can’t replicate with the traditional broker/agent model and a nifty website. That’s my point. If you could, then why divide your focus with 360BlueRoof and license revenue?

    The truth is that you can’t be all things to all people. Home buyers and sellers need local experts that move volume in their neighborhood. If I am buying a house in Bald Eagle in Deer Valley, I’m going to use a different agent than if I am buying a duplex in Sugar House or a single family in Olympus Hills or a condo in Scottsdale.

    How does your brokerage handle that?

  8. I’m not competing with online companies. We serve clients- that’s what we do. We show them properties and give them guidance and advice and help them make good financial decisions, and we help them sell their homes.

    We do not sell leads to other agents. In the markets we serve we are the agents and in markets we do not serve we do not work with people or sell their lead information or anything.

    We are not trying to be “all things to all people”. We are trying to be the best agents we can be to our clients- we aren’t an online company, we are Realtors who use technology very well.

    We don’t try to make money from people in every market, we are working with home buyers and sellers in the markets we serve and that is all.

    You and I have completely different business models and we are not competitors so I’m not sure what you are trying to debate, but you obviously don’t understand BlueRoof.com and our business model.

  9. Greg, you didn’t answer my question. But I do believe I understand your business model. You were a Realtor in Utah and now you are a Realtor in Utah with a website that covers Utah, Colorado, and Arizona who has recruited other Realtors to handle his website requests in CO and AZ in order to earn referral commission.

    At the same time, you license the Blue Roof website and CRM technology to other Realtors who pay you license and set up fees on an ongoing basis, so that they too can have a nifty website, hook more clients, and manage it all online.

    I get your model. My comments are still relevant. How does your model help the consumer find the most qualified Realtor for their given profile home in a purchase or sale?

    Moreover, why is the Blue Roof model superior to the other online players that you mentioned in your post?

    I appreciate your responses,

    Jonathan

  10. Jonathan,

    I did answer your question, I don’t think you understand my business model, and I am not sure what you are trying to debate.

    Your question;
    If I am buying a house in Bald Eagle in Deer Valley, I’m going to use a different agent than if I am buying a duplex in Sugar House or a single family in Olympus Hills or a condo in Scottsdale.

    How does your brokerage handle that?

    My answer;
    I would help the home buyer if they want to buy a home in my areas of expertise. If they are buying in Phoenix or Denver- the other BlueRoof agents can help them. If they are not buying in those areas I will not be able to help them and I will not try to sell their info to another agent. If they want me to help them find an agent in abother area I will help them, but I do not sell leads. That is your model, not mine.

    With regards to my business model you stated;
    I do believe I understand your business model. You were a Realtor in Utah and now you are a Realtor in Utah with a website that covers Utah, Colorado, and Arizona who has recruited other Realtors to handle his website requests in CO and AZ in order to earn referral commission

    This is not true. I make no referral, commission, or referral commission from BlueRoof in Denver or Phoenix markets. I have identified agent teams that I believe offer incredible service and knowledge for clients and those agents have paid to own BlueRoof.com in those markets to help them find business and service their clients better (through the back-end technology). But BlueRoof.com is their website in their market and it has nothing to do with whether or not they sell one home or one thousand homes- it is their site and they do not pay me any more or less based on what they do with it. They market the site themselves because it is their website. They have simply paid for the right to use what I believe to be the best real estate website on the internet (and many national awards would agree with me).

    Then you asked;
    “Moreover, why is the Blue Roof model superior to the other online players that you mentioned in your post?”

    I did not say the BlueRoof model is superior to any other model- anywhere. This post was about the great news that we have expanded and how I decided the best way for ME to expand. I decided the way to expand that made me feel good and that I felt was best for me.

    That has nothing to do with you or your business or anyone else’s business. I used examples of how some other people have grown their models and explained why those ways of expanding did not work for me.

    You ask;
    “How does your model help the consumer find the most qualified Realtor for their given profile home in a purchase or sale?”

    It helps the consumer because if they use BlueRoof.com in Salt lake, Denver, or Phoenix they are going to be working with one of the best agents in those markets. That helps the consumer. It does not help them “find the most qualified Realtor” in other markets like you claim to do.

    You say;
    It is tough to compete with online companies that sort out and find the most effective agents in a particular market and refer their customers to them”

    I am not trying to compete with that model. That is not my model at all so I am not competing with it.

    I understand you are trying to protoe your website, but stop telling me I am competing with your website when your website has relevance to me whatsoever.

    You are tying to make money by finding buyers and sellers and selling their info to agents. My real estate team is trying to actually be the agent, helping them buy or sell their home.

    Those are completely different things.

  11. Greg,

    Thanks for the explanation. Your accusation that I am selling customer information to agents is completely false. I have hundreds of witnesses, the Realtors who receive our customer information, as well as the referral agreements that govern those relationships. I also have HUD statements and closing documentation for all of our transactions where we received payment, that I can redact and make available.

    We are a licensed real estate brokerage and we provide customers to the Realtors in our referral network who we have carefully selected and pre-screened based on their transaction histories. We do this in order to match customers with the most experienced agent for their particular needs and property profile. We provide customer information to our Agent partners under referral agreements and with our customer’s expressed consent. We are paid a commission out of escrow like any other brokerage.

    American Home Realty Networ, LLC, our brokerage, provides a unique and valuable service to home buyers and sellers across the country. Our licensed Realtors on staff respond to customer questions all day long in an effort to assist everyone from first time homebuyers to experienced investors in accessing and understanding listing information, the market in general, and the transaction process. We help them without a representation agreement in place in order to gain their trust, respect and to assist them in hiring THE RIGHT AGENT, when they are ready and comfortable. We do this without bias and based on their needs and comfort level.

    Whether we compete or not is debateable but please do not disparage our company by falsely publishing on your blog that “you are trying to make money by finding buyers and sellers and selling their info to agents” when this simply isn’t true (at least no the “selling their info to agents” part).

    I appreciate you publishing my comments so that the record is straight and not hiding behind the delete button.

    Sincerely,

    Jonathan Cardella
    NeighborHubs, LLC
    American Home Realty Network, LLC

  12. Jonathan,

    You are saying that you do not actually assist clients and represent them buying or selling homes, correct?

    Your business model (the way you make money) is by finding buyers and sellers and then giving their info to agents who pay you for that info.

    Without judgment- it is what it is- you can call it something different, but I am not competing with that business model because I am not making money by selling people’s info (with their consent) to agents.

    That is not our model.

    We ARE the agents who help them buy and sell their homes, not a middleman. We don’t screen agents, we are the agents.

    You are welcome for publishing your comments on my blog. It looks like you do not have a blog of your own- you might want to start one so your clients and agents can have these discussions about your company on your own blog instead of mine.

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