Does your broker opt-in? Or do they opt-out of Zillow? Many that just started reading this have no idea what I’m talking about, but whether you’re a home seller or a REALTOR®, you best believe your broker knows if they opt-in or out of Zillow! But you as an agent, or you the home seller, definitely NEED TO KNOW either way!
Opt-In or Opt-Out of Zillow… For What???
Recently the Zillow Group, which includes Zillow and Trulia, announced it will no longer allow real estate agents to manually enter a listing into Zillow and Trulia. This poses a few questions. First off, what exactly does entering a listing directly into Zillow (and Trulia) do?
In the recent past, if an agent worked for a broker that did not allow the brokerage’s listings to populate into Zillow’s database, the agent could manually enter the listing for extra exposure or if it was important to their sellers.
Everyone knows Zillow is the big gorilla in the real estate market. Where it goes, so do a lot of real estate industry trends. Not having your listing on Zillow meant you were missing valuable exposure. This is important to a home seller for obvious reasons. The more buyers that are interested in a home, the more money it can demand. Simple, right?! RIGHT!
But for a REALTOR® the motivation could go either way. An agent may prefer to have their listing on Zillow to sell the property quicker, get a higher sales price, and even attract buyers as new clients interested in the home. But the other side of that coin though is some agents may prefer NOT to have the listing on Zillow.
The agent may feel the home is in a coveted neighborhood and already has a built-in buyer pool they can market to and take advantage of. If they end up representing the buyer as well, they can double-end the deal and make twice as much in commissions! Or maybe they know the price is aggressive and buyers will fight over the listing, and again the agent can attract potential buyer clients and/or double-end the sale.
But Now Zillow Has Removed That Choice
As stated above, Zillow is the big gorilla in the room and it gets to do what it wants. For years now Zillow has smartly allowed agents to include their listings manually. But Zillow has grown exponentially since, and this new policy forces the hands of all the real estate brokers that have up to this point refused to allow their listings to populate to Zillow. Zillow has become so integral in the real estate industry now, that opting-out is greedy and selfish on the part of the broker. It’s also now bad business….
Let’s play make believe. Say you are a real estate agent at a listing appointment:
Seller: If I sell my house with you, will my listing be on Zillow?
You: No. My broker opts-out of Zillow listings and does not allow it.
Seller: How does that help my bottom line?
Its not advantageous to the seller to sell with an agent if the broker doesn’t allow their listings on Zillow. And now, agents can’t manually include their listings when their broker opts-out. Its an all or nothing scenario.
Its now not advantageous to an agent either because they can lose listings specifically because their broker opted-out of Zillow and Trulia! So beginning in May 2017, Zillow and Trulia will ONLY accept listings through direct MLS or brokerage feeds. Agents WILL NOT be able to post listings directly to Zillow independently of their MLS or brokerage.
This does not affect For Sale By Owners (FSBO’s). All MLS syndication preferences are managed at the brokerage level only. And once opted-in, a real estate broker can also control whether or not their agents have a choice regarding their own syndication preferences.
So, does your broker opt-in or opt-out of Zillow? Your answer to that question can have a serious affect on your home sale! AND the price it sells for. Oh and by the way, yes, we ALWAYS opt-in here at Garrigus Real Estate!
-Todd J Garrigus Broker, Garrigus Real Estate