Zillow 1 : Realtors 1 Its a Draw!

5 minutes ago a fellow broker/owner in town sent me an email joking about the uproar Realtors are having online about Zillow listing properties directly.  While I don’t think its hilarious, it is interesting the fear that erupts when someone takes your short cut away.  We have been going back and forth for the past couple of days discussing this new strategy by Zillow and even though they have definitely found a great way to get to buyers and sellers, in no way is it to be feared by the hardworking top producing Realtors.  Here is why

  1.  Zillow Leads – Unless you have built your business up based on Zillow leads or buying zip codes to gain exposure online, you have nothing to worry about.  Realtors that have worked hard to network and spend their days prospecting and protecting their market now have a leg up on the competition.  They know how to generate their own leads which with people that want to work with people.  The agents that were short sited and relied on Zillow leads will struggle to gain momentum and truly are competing against themselves.
  2. Listings – Listing a house for sale is not difficult, if you do it every day.  People will love the idea of selling a house for a zero commission but only in a ripe market and as soon as they have to compete against the house next door they will be needing a leg up.  While 99% of listing agents just “list” a property there is still a professional service provided that can help.  Great pictures, explanation of amenities, correct pricing the 1st time and so on but fumbling through that can be headache and cost time on the market.  Many sellers will not want to deal with that.
  3. Buyers – So most people think they are getting a deal or value or something and that perception is carried mostly by agents.  Buyers agents help buyers negotiate the best deal whether its price, terms or seller concessions this has to be negotiated and at times the only person that can work a best strategy is a seasoned agent.  Sure you can fall in love with a house online and have to have it and walk up to the seller and offer full price.  Thats great but most buyers are not that anxious and working with an agent to many brings them a confidence that their best interest is in mind and someone is hustling for them.
  4. Exposure – If Zillow starts blocking listing services and only shows Zillow listings, they will be out of business.  The entire mindset originally was to provide ALL DATA to everyone, so cutting out traditional listings would be backwards.  Zillow has relied on agents for revenue for years and for them to turn around and exclude them would be detrimental.  Zillow will figure out a way to seem exclusive but without all listings being on their sites they are not a player and will not attract buyers.

I love the idea of open listings and saving money for buyers and sellers.   As a matter of fact I have had some good success offering discounted listings at times but I can only do that because I own the brokerage and share less.  Zillow is a brilliant marketing machine and continues to stir up the industry and until Realtors decide they are not going to fear every time Zillow makes a news release Zillow will be winning.  Zillow has created Realtors with its paid lead system and that is something those agents have to fear but in general I am 100% confident that the top producers and hard working agents will not only see little to no impact but they will see a shrinking of the agent pool in their particular market.  Keep networking and building YOUR OWN business Realtors.

-curt

Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage.  He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments.  Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area.  Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time  volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.