Is Amazon getting into the real estate business?

by Rincey Abraham

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Zillow has been called the Amazon of the real estate industry – disrupting and revolutionizing the way that homes are bought and sold across the country. However, Amazon may be looking to become the Amazon of the real estate industry.

Amazon quietly added, and then quietly removed, a page to its website titled Hire a Realtor. According to GeekWire, the website included an option to search for a Realtor by ZIP code with a “Coming Soon” and “Email me when available” prompt.

Image Source: HousingWire, Amazon.com

It is unclear exactly what Amazon is looking to offer with the page. But based on the limited information it looks like it would connect buyers and sellers with agents, which is slightly different than its would-be competitors Zillow and Redfin. Those sites focus more on connecting individuals with homes, though they both have the ability to connect individuals with agents as well.

The news of this new feature caused Zillow stock prices to drop last week, going from $46.15 a share to $44.54 as of last Wednesday morning. However, stock prices have since recovered to $46.60 as of Monday morning.

The National Association of Realtors confirmed to HousingWire that Amazon did not receive permission to use the word “Realtor,” which is trademarked by the association. It is common for people to use the word “Realtor” in place of “real estate agent,” unaware there is a difference. A Realtor is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors.

The page was included under Amazon’s Home and Business Service marketplace, which currently connects Amazon customers who are looking to do home improvements, electronics installations and other services with those professionals for a referral fee.

This comes on the back of another recent Amazon expansion into the service sector. Recode recently reported that Amazon has been hiring in-house gadget experts to offer free Alexa consultations and home product installations for a fee.

This service is already available in seven markets – Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose and Orange County – and the job listings show that this will be expanded to Tampa, Hoboken, Miami, Orlando, Houston, Dallas and Las Vegas.