This is an article not about why Zillow is bad, or good. It’s an article about a large string of emails I started to get starting at 0600am.
Apparently, our REMAX office was not having it’s real estate listings appearing on Zillow under the correct Agents who had them listed. There were also listings which were missing from their platform which were in the Multiple Listing Service via the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.
The banter was hot and heavy. It was easy to see who was playing into the Zillow machine. By some of the concern raised, you’d have thought Zillow was not a real estate syndication website, but a sick relative.
Zillow was a genius creation. A website that would take existing real estate listings that were on the market for sale and use those listings to generate real estate leads and monetize those leads by selling them to agents willing to pay for them. Real estate listings that were not their property, in fact!
Of course, Zillow is not loved by all agents. Some are really upset that real estate syndication websites are allowed to use listings that don’t belong to them to generate leads in order to make money.
Real Estate lead generation – an evolution
Real Estate lead generation, prior to sites like Zillow, experienced an evolution. There was before the internet when newspapers, magazines, bus benches and other print mediums ruled the day. I remember when those “free” real estate magazines when they were as thick as Cosmopolitan.
Then came the internet – Blogging by the savvy realtor was a stellar way to generate real estate leads and still is.
Once the internet gained traction – real estate listings started to appear online. In the beginning, there were a lot of lawsuits by various Boards of Realtors versus the “syndication” websites.
In fact, any website publishing real estate listings which was not “approved” by the Board of Realtors was almost certainly threatened with legal action.
In some way the real estate syndication websites took hold and started advertising real estate better than the Realtor Organizations. Enter Zillow.
Agents were, and still are, crawling over themselves to get on the Zillow Lead List. The sell leads per zip code back to the agents willing to pay for them. Some agents are paying over $10,000.00 a month for leads.
Then the machine breaks – not very often, but sometimes, as with all technology, things go awry. As was the case at zero dark thirty when I was awoken by real estate agents asking the “Hey, does anyone know what’s happening with zillow”, question.
Of course, bashing zillow is not the purpose of this write up. I wanted to be informative related to lead generation and obtaining leads in a semi-old fashioned way.
The internet and blogging.
Real estate syndication websites are tough for agents to beat when it comes to being on the first page of Google.
Most of the first page of google is filled with real estate syndication websites.
How an agent can compete is by being the expert. I have always said that a good car salesman shouldn’t sell anything. He will provide information. Give knowledge about the car buying process. Maybe instead of selling a car, he will speak about financing and how the customer can get their best deal when it comes to the car loan.
I approach real estate in a similar way. I will never out Zillow zillow. However, I will be the local boots on the ground expert that will explain the best way in order for a buyer to not have to pay closing costs when buying a home.
I can write articles on how a real estate seller can triple their profit on their home by just updating their kitchen with a particular type of granite and cabinet facia.
I can show how a new home buyer can leverage larger discounts, paid closing costs and additional upgrades from the new home builder.
This is how I out zillow zillow. This is how you can too. While getting the knack of writing daily on your very own real estate blog is a bit difficult, the payoff is immense.
However, writing the article is not where it stops. It’s the sharing of the article. The being able to tell your client, after they ask a particular question, “I have written about that – Let me send you the link…” – That’s power folks and the true pay off.
This article will be shared by real estate agents I train. Those whom I network with online and those within the many social channels I frequent.
This article will be read and re-read, critiqued and commented on. I will interact with those who are bold enough to have an opinion or a congratulation.
Why? Because that is how it works if you want to do business the right way.
I hope this article has snapped you back to a time, maybe before you were licensed as a Realtor, maybe after. Either way, there is a lot to learn about building your own brand and keeping it fresh.
Doing it yourself when it comes to content marketing and building a daily content strategy will pay big.
The next time someone on facebook asks a real estate related question, maybe you will have the link to send them to an article you wrote that answers the question showing you are the true “boots on the ground” real estate expert.
Update July 6, 2017
Update – July 6, 2017 – It seems that some of our RE/MAX listings are now populating the Zillow platform. However, the listing prices are incorrect. How is that for accuracy in the public eye? I’d imagine that some of the home sellers who are trusting REMAX to sell their homes are a bit perturbed. They are seeing incorrect listing prices on their own real estate listing on Zillow!
I’d imagine there is a lawsuit in there somewhere, or maybe the TOS – terms of service has them covered – either way, I’d be a bit dismayed to see that bad intel was being rendered online about me or anything about my business.
I’ll continue to keep you posted about the Zillow Debacle. Mark my words, Real Estates Agents will still be trusting Zillow as if they have access to inspiration scripture. However, some may see that they have lost their shine. Stay Tuned…