Can Amazon revive Realogy? Ecommerce giant launches broker partnership

by Scott Klocksin

The only thing you can’t buy through Amazon is a house—right?

No longer, apparently.

Amazon and Realogy have partnered to offer a new service called TurnKey, which will match homebuyers with agents and offer users up to $5,000 in Amazon products and services once they move in.

Anyone who’s bought a home recently knows that it’s usually only a matter of days after closing that their mailbox is inundated with marketing materials for everything from furniture to electronics to paper towels. The idea from Amazon, it seems, is to give consumers an incentive to use an agent through one of Realogy’s brands, while giving Amazon a reason to attract customers who, presumably, will come back for more as they set up their new homes. 

It works like this: Homebuyers will log into their Amazon accounts and after registering for free, they’ll disclose what criteria they’re looking for in a home. Based on consumer’s needs, TurnKey will suggest agents through one of several Realogy brokerage brands: Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Corcoran, ERA and Sotheby’s International Realty. The new program is already available in 15 major U.S. metropolitan areas, including Atlanta. 

“Realogy and our brands are always looking for ways to give consumers an awesome homebuying experience with a terrific real estate agent, and today’s launch of TurnKey is a big part of that continued strategy,” Ryan M. Schneider, Realogy CEO and president, said in a press release.

“Realogy’s great affiliated agents serve their clients during one of the most important moments in their lives, and Amazon’s services and products can transform that moment to make it rewarding in a way no one ever has before.”

The value of those rewards, according to the newly-launched TurnKey website, will correlate directly with the closing price of the home purchased. A home sold for between  $150,000 and $399,000 gets buyers a package worth $1,000 through Amazon’s Home Services division; one costing the buyer between $400,000 and $699,000 is good for $2,500 from Amazon; and homes that cost over $700,000 will bring a $5,000 bounty from the world’s largest retailer. All packages include Amazon’s Echo smart home system, along with installation, and a discretionary budget to go toward “unpacking, cleaning, handyman services, carpet cleaning, furniture assembly and more.”

Realogy will foot the Amazon bill, presumably taking a hit on the brokerage’s share of commissions, in a bet that the new arrangement will bring a flood of new business to its brands as it struggles to maintain market share in many of its markets. The company’s stock price has taken a series of hits in recent years, and it has battled recent high-profile lawsuits both as defendant and as plaintiff.

“When we designed TurnKey, we recognized that ‘closing’ on a home is really just the beginning of the homebuying journey,” Realogy Senior Vice President and head of strategy Eric Chesin said in a press release. “We are proud to team up with Amazon to extend the value we bring to buying a home beyond the moment you first unlock your new front door.”