Can Zillow annihilate Realtors?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. CA BRE# 01330941

I have just read the post by Greg Swann, BloodhoundRealty.com

Zillow.com to launch Realtor rating system

Greg is a superb writer, so it doesn’t matter how bad news he might be writing about, you will enjoy Greg’s rhetoric more than your will fear its possible meaning. Yes, I don’t see Zillow to be conscious benefactor of Realtors, however I don’t believe that it is in Zillow’s, Trulia’s or Redfin’s power to damage Realtors in a long run. Only we can achieve this! But joking on the side – as I pointed out in my recent post

Who Started the Real Estate Revolution?

I credited Zillow and Trulia for being a visible trigger of on-going real estate revolution. They are good for realtors (at least for now) as they put tremendous pressure on MLS and realtor association to change.  I see positive changes in some extremely conservative associations that happened within last 6 to 12 months, as a result of this pressure. These changes are good for us, as our associations were very slow to change in the past. Customers embraced Zillow and Trulia as they provide services to clients they were denied before. But what clients really want? I believe clients want our knowledge. The knowledge and experience that took years to develop. It cannot be duplicated by a few well funded start ups any time soon. So, how can we position ourselves best for the future? Just keep learning more and getting better. Your customers will never leave you.

Yes, real estate is changing. Average commissions will get lower, long awaited new business models will arrive, but good brokers and good agents will not go away. Yes, there will be many casualties among our ranks, but at the end (five years from now?) the best agents and brokers will become real state consultants (in many different flavors…), meaning that they will provide more knowledge and expertise to clients for less money. The average commission will definitely be lower than today, but I strongly believe that some of us will be still be having commissions above 6% or more 5 years from now. I will not venture to predict what might happen 10 years from now, however.

What do you think? Please share it with us.

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Rainer
434,914
Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission.
Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. - Cooper City, FL

AU,

Zillow.com is a great referral network for me. 

Jul 11, 2007 11:10 PM #1
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value
Scott, I like Zillow's FAQ and they really help to educate clients. What Greg worry's about is that Zillow, Trulia and other technology start ups might extract knowldge from realtors and once it happens - they "would become less friendly" to us. Personally, I see it as an incentive to learn more and offer more to my clients. Thank you for your reply.
Jul 11, 2007 11:20 PM #2
Rainmaker
462,574
Richard T. Dolbeare
KW Island Living - Lihue, HI
R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist

Change is inevitable and one can be at the forefront or be swept up by the backwash.  I doubt that Realtors will go away in the foreseeable future but certainly our jobs will continue to evolve.  This change should continue to make life exciting!

Jul 11, 2007 11:34 PM #3
Ambassador
602,258
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
Artur, these new services will annihilate only those Realtors(R) who don't figure out a way to provide some of the same services themselves.  For those of us who are willing to stay on top of new trends, I think we'll be able to survive.  For those less willing to change, the prognosis is less benign.
Jul 12, 2007 12:10 AM #4
Rainer
96,751
New Jersey Real Estate James Boyer Morris, Essex & Union County NJ Realtor
RE/MAX Properties Unlimited, Real Estate - Morristown, NJ

In my opinion zillow and trulia really ad nearly no value to the situation.  just a waist of time..

 

The real issue that may come to hurt the Real Estate industry is the DOJ and it's quest to take the MLS's away from the real estate community and give it to people like zillow, google, trulia, and their other quest to do away with exclusive right to sell listings.  It seems to be their Republican idea that it would be better if big business had control and a few hundred thousand to many many hundred thousand mom & pop businesses were put under.

Jul 12, 2007 01:26 AM #5
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value

Scott, I agree. There is a lot of good information there.

Richard, change creates opportunities and definitely adds excitement. Thank you for the comment

Brian, for years real estate didn't hone innovation. Today it becomes a must. Thank you.

 James, I believe that Zillow's and Trulia's key value comes from creating pressure on us. This is how innovations happpen. Thanks for your comment. 

Jul 12, 2007 05:11 AM #6
Rainer
19,252
Jay Emerson
Weichert, Realtors® - Galster Group - Fair Oaks, CA
Broker, e-PRO, SFR, CHS

It will take about 1 lawsuit that names Zillow or Google (or other fair-weathered wannabe) as a defendant and they will realize the legal fees are not worth it.  There is a lot at stake when dealing with such an important event for people.  Zillow throws an algorithm at past sales prices and calls it "macaroni".  It is indeed a model that will force NAR/DRE to evolve but these minor league ball players don't have a stomach for the legal ramifications.  I use them for free postings.  My pricing comprehends comparables, neighborhood information, and the momentum behind market trends.  The core value of Zillow is in applying listings to a map.  They don't deal with people.

People buy real estate from people, not search engines.

Jul 13, 2007 04:23 PM #7
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value
Jay, I appreciate your comments. The most positive impact of Zillow, Trulia and Redfin coming to the market place is the pressure they put on NAr, local associations and MLS. Without competition there is no progress.
Jul 13, 2007 07:54 PM #8
Rainer
2,940
Duane Kidman
Trinity Oasis LLC - Mansfield, TX

Why fight change?  Teach an old dog a new trick?  Follow, lead, or get out of the way...

The fact is, the internet has impacted many facets of realty in a positive manner.  Those that embrace and use available internet tools to their advantage will inevitably become increasingly successful.  REALTORS should be embracing new and innovative real estate communication methods, a means to educate clients, resulting in an expanding market of client and referral contacts. 

In fact, I would go so far as to say that MLS should open-up to Zillow in a cooperative agreement.  This agreement would combine the information of MLS and display in the Zillow user friendly-public forum.  Home seekers will be motivated to contact listing agents for home purchases, thus freeing up REALTORS time to seek more listings. 

Think about it, the bottom line would be focused commissions for listing agents. 

Aug 03, 2007 10:07 AM #9
Rainmaker
336,972
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate
Not too worried.  Computers will never phase out people.  Online tools are just that ... tools.  The Realtor of the future may have different responsibilities and values, but will always be necessary. 
Aug 03, 2007 11:29 AM #10
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value

Hi Duane,

Thank you for your comments. Welcome to Active Rain. By no means I see the impact of Zillow in negative light. It has a lot to offer to agents and education of clients and demonstrating agents what clients want are some of them.

Aug 03, 2007 05:22 PM #11
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value
Paul, I wish I could express myself so clearly! Realtors have to adapt to changing requirements but they are not  going away!
Aug 03, 2007 05:27 PM #12
Rainmaker
682,882
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate
Good post.  While not a fan of Zillow in general -- there valuations are very inaccurate at least in our market -- I just got a sale because a buyer found my listing on Zillow. It took me less than 5 minutes to post it there.  2 days later, the buyer found the listing went to my website and e-mailed me to set up an appointment to see the condo, and voila.
Aug 03, 2007 10:54 PM #13
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value

Brian,

You cannot beat that! Congratulations. 

Aug 04, 2007 08:42 AM #14
Rainmaker
24,412
Maribeth Messineo Peters
214-566-1210 - Dallas, TX
Dallas native-Preston Hollow Greenway Parks expert

I think Zillow is an interesting tool but their Zestimates are way off in Dallas, Texas. I have many of my buyers and sellers ask why their online Zestimate says one one thing but "true market value" is a completely different price range.

I ran a Zestimate on my own home and Zillow said my house is $300,000 below what I would list my own house at. Most of the "data" they had on my home was incorrect: wrong sq footage, fewer # of bedrooms and baths than I have, did not have that I have a pool/spa and of course they do not know what type of high end finish-out I have. I can of course input the correct data into the web site and that would make it a little more accurate. But what about the buyer or seller who is using my house as a "comparable" for the neighborhood...they would not know how inaccurate the data is on my home and would conclude the Zestimate was correct. Garbage in...garbage out.

So Zillow is interesting but it will not replace the agent who is the true neighborhood expert and the insight they provide.

Sep 03, 2007 12:26 AM #15
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value

Maribeth,

I entirely agree with you.  It is a good tool and useful for both clients and agents, but cannot replace, either agent, or appraiser. Thank you for your comments and have fun with Active Rain!.  There  is a lot of good information here. 

Sep 03, 2007 07:43 AM #16
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