Following in the footsteps of Zillow and Redfin, U.S.-based ReferralExchange has entered the Canadian real estate market.
The real estate referral and lead generation management firm has begun operations in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary to start, but already has plans for further expansion throughout the Great White North, including in Edmonton this week. Dubbed as “dating for real estate agents and clients,” ReferralExchange will commence Canadian operations by matching agents with consumers, but soon intends to launch an agent-to-agent program that has already proven popular in the States.
“We have always seen Canada as a strong market as a supplement to our business,” said ReferralExchange’s VP of Marketing Lisa Fettner. “We don’t just want to help agents in the U.S., we want to help Canadian agents too. Activity in Canadian real estate is strong and we just have to work out details to get there and start launching through the rest of the country. We’re going market by market.”
ReferralExchange appears to be off to a good start, having already overseen its first referral sale in Mississauga, ON. Fettner says it’s a sign of things to come.
“There’s tremendous opportunity there,” she said. “It’s a market we’ve been eager to service for years and we just wanted to make sure that we can do it properly. Many Canadian agents we’ve met over there have asked us when we’re bringing our services to Canada and we’re looking forward to growing there.”
The service is all offered online and will include cross-border referrals, too. Given the entrance of other American companies, particularly juggernauts Zillow and Redfin, there will likely be more to follow. Fettner is especially excited about the agent-to-agent referral facet of the business it plans to launch in Canada.
While there could conceivably be opposition to American real estate businesses proliferating in Canada, Sunny Sharma, president and co-owner of Leading Edge VIP Realty, welcomes the arrivals. In fact, given the weak Canadian dollar, American investors have had keen eyes on markets north of the border and Sharma believes ReferralExchange could help broker more deals.
“Seeing as how our dollar is down and the U.S. dollar is in excess of our money here, Canada is on sale for cross-border sales,” he said. “They have 30 cents extra on the dollar, so their return on investment will be much higher. We’re 30% off right now for them.”