Are Zillow, Trulia, HomeGain, et al Really so Bad??

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX United Real Estate

I come across very few real estate blogs or sites that will say anything nice about sites like Zillow or Trulia or HomeGain or a dozen other sites that have a reputation for data mining leads and "selling them back" to Realtors.  I think of the three, Trulia probably has the best street cred with things like Trulia Ambassadors and what have you.

In fact, I recently got a come on from Trulia about their Spoltlight and Featured ads -- something called Trulia Pro. It looks pretty legit and it's a ton lot cheaper than ,say,  But is it for real?  Is any of it for real or are these just more johnny-come-lately and wannbes that want to stick their hands in my pockets.

Probably, more to the point, even if they get a gazillion page views a day what does it matter if no one can get a mortgage anyway?

Inquiring minds want to know!


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Anthony Stokes-Pereira
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty - Nanuet, NY

Hi Ken;

Great Post!!

I use Zillow and Trulia for my listings, great websites. Thank you for sharing.

Sep 25, 2008 08:51 PM #1
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Ken~  I also use Trulia and Zillow for my listings, but I don't use Homegain.  Vickie

Sep 25, 2008 08:55 PM #2
Eric Reid
Renaissance Realty Group of Keller Williams Atlanta Partners - Lawrenceville, GA

In the last week I have had like 4 calls from asking me to join they seemed very desperate ... maybe they are losing market share. 

Sep 25, 2008 09:01 PM #3
Louis Cammarosano
Smaulgld LLC - Hampton, NH


When  considering third party listing sites, please note that HomeGain always features realtors and their content in an exclusive and advertising free environment.

Other listing sites take realtor listings and then sell ads around the listings. AND the advertisements are often those of competitors!!!

HomeGain's buyerlink product drives consumers directly to realtors' sites where THEY display the listings on THEIR sites. Its your show, we bring the audience.

HomeGain's AgentView product displays agents listings, blogs and profiles exclusively in an ad free envirornment. When you post your listing on HomeGain's AgentView ONLY your listings appear. (along side your blog and profile). If the consumer wants to see more listings they can click off to your web site.

Click here for an AgentView example



Louis Cammarosano

HomeGain,General Manager

Sep 25, 2008 09:48 PM #4
Louis Cammarosano
Smaulgld LLC - Hampton, NH


About the second part of your question. Getting a mortgage I agree is now becoming the hard part.

Forget about low interest rates and falling home prices making it attractive to buy, we are seeing many deals fall through at the last minute because of lenders getting cold feet.


Sep 25, 2008 09:54 PM #5
Carol Swain
Keller Williams Real Estate - Langhorne, PA
Realtor, Bucks County, Pa

Ken, I use Zillow and Trulia for everyone of my listings.  I do not use HomeGain.  HomeGain is just out to make money off of us.

Sep 26, 2008 05:02 AM #6
Rich Mielke
REMAX Results, Frederick MD - Frederick, MD
REALTOR, Frederick Maryland Real Estate

Ken, I push my listings out to Trulia. I have not used their premium services. As for HomeGain, I used to be on a team that used them, many times we were charged 30% referral fee for clients that we already had in our database, including past clients, who had requested a proposal.

Sep 26, 2008 08:28 AM #7
Rudy Bachraty
Director, Communications & Partner Strategies, WellcomeMat - Fort Collins, CO

Hi Ken!

Trulia provides tremendous value to real estate agents and has been and will continue to be the most industry friendly. Most of what we offer to help agents and brokers grow their business is free. For those that want to receive even more benefits, we have a very cost effectice solution as you mentioned, Trulia Pro: Only $39 per month

Unlimited featured listings - Your listings appear in the top results  - based on user search criteria

Local spotlight ads - Get your billboard to showcase your personal or corporate brand to a targeted auadience - you can select up to 20 geographic locations to display your billboard

Performance stats - monitor how many impressions (unlimited impressions) on all your listings and ads - see which one's are working best.

Here are some success stories weve had:

Home buyers and sellers are active on Trulia Voices - our real estate Q&A Community. 72% of Trulia consumers are planning to buy or sell in the next 12 months and 70% aren't working with an agent yet. By participating on Voices, you are giving yourself an opportnity to connect directly with a consumer.

With all that's happening in the financial markets and housing market, it's best to be proactive and go to where the consumers are - they need your help.



Social Media Guru at Trulia

Sep 26, 2008 12:44 PM #8
David Gibbons - Seattle, WA

Hi Ken, it's David G from Zillow,

There really are a lot of good reasons to partner with the real estate media sites. Especially those that add real value for real estate pro's. Where a partnership with Zillow makes the most sense is:

- Zillow can send you more serious buyers and sellers per click from your listings than other sites. (This study found that one visitor from Zillow is more valueable than 5 visitors from Trulia.)

- Zillow is one of few sites that assist RE professionals in their SEO

- As the second most popular keyword searched in all of online Real Estate (behind, "Zillow" is a name you're going to hear from a lot of clients and so your familiarity with the site can offer a powerful connection with a new buyer or seller.

Thanks for asking!

Rudy -

Wow! The most industry friendly? What I hear from Realtors is that Trulia is at war with listing agents to outrank them in google. How friendly is that?

Sep 26, 2008 02:55 PM #9
Ken Montville
RE/MAX United Real Estate - College Park, MD
The MD Suburbs of DC

Fellow Rainers -- To the REALTORS (Rich, Carol, Eric, Vicky and Anthony) -- Thanks so much for your input.  I appreciate your opinions. 

To David, Rudy and Louis (the Triumvirate) -- Thank you also for your comments and links to more info about your services.

Sep 26, 2008 03:20 PM #10
Richard Stabile
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Bergen County New Homes Builder Realtor

My opinion you should do your own sitwe and owe your own data.


Sep 26, 2008 09:17 PM #11
Not Yet Licensed

In fact, I recently got a come on from Trulia about their Spoltlight and Featured ads -- something called Trulia Pro. It looks pretty legit and it's a ton lot cheaper than ,say,  But is it for real?  Is any of it for real or are these just more johnny-come-lately and wannbes that want to stick their hands in my pockets.

Hi Ken,

Did you get your question answered?  When you ask "is any of it for real?" I would have to answer this way.  Yes.  Some, not all, internet marketing for real estate agents is for real.  This is a time of big changes which means it is also a time of big opportunities.  You must carefully conduct your own due diligence.  My estimate is that 90% of my clients have had unsatisfactory experiences with at least one company that was supposed to bring them buyer leads.  Invest wisely.  Don't buy the hype. 



Sep 27, 2008 05:48 AM #12
Brett Shaw
Coldwell Banker Kaiser - Carmel, IN

Brett Shaw from Cyberhomes: also has a marketing platform called CyberhomesPro that is worth looking at.  Now for the real issue of mortgages.  It is going to be very difficult to obtain a mortgage in the next couple of years.  While it is stressful now, it will be a good thing in the future. After all of the bailouts and forclosures are finished, consumer education on finances will lead to stronger candidates and more QUALITY home buying.  We just need to stick it out.

Sep 29, 2008 10:20 AM #13
Paul S. Henderson, Realtor, Tacoma Washington
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & area authority!

They are all tools that we can spin to fit our point of view. I use all manners of exposure to sell the product...

Sep 29, 2008 11:02 AM #14
Nakia Evans
Urban Living Realty LLC - Baltimore, MD
Baltimore MD, Flat Fee MLS Services & HUD Homes

This was the first post I've come across with comments from vendors with an agent seeking advice. I agree w/pp....each would have to think their co. is the best.

Oct 12, 2008 06:33 PM #15
Ken Montville
RE/MAX United Real Estate - College Park, MD
The MD Suburbs of DC

Nakia -- I think these vendors have their names on Google Alerts to see when and where they're mentioned. I've seen it with other vendors as well.

Oct 12, 2008 08:50 PM #17
Michael Hege
Beach Villa Realty,LLC - Kapolei, HI

I'm in the midst of an experiment with Zillow where i bought my Zipcode by the month at a reasonable price. I track it on google analytics and find those clicks to be of longer duration. What I do have a beef with them about is the count they say was clicked versus the google tracking... and I believe google. It isn't a pay per click, so it's just data versus money... but then again, data is money. Thanks for the post.

Feb 21, 2009 02:19 AM #18
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I think HomeGain is too expensive / not worth it. I did explore it earlier in 2009 and decided it's not for me.

I prefer TRULIA both as a consumer and an agent. I will be testing Trulia Pro.

I don't like how Zillow navigates and find it less friendly to find stuff.

Mar 15, 2009 04:12 PM #19
Amy Berman - Baltimore, MD

There are so many sites out there.  My husband and I just launched  a real estate website for that very reason.  My husband is an agent/ broker and when he and I started looking for a home we searched every site and still felt as though there was no one site that had it all.  Our site is for agents, for sale by owners, auction companies and builders as well as a place to search for mortgage brokers and contractors.  We are a free site to post and search.  We do not sell leads.  We started our site to expand on what is already out there.  We also have a link to results by brokers which provides MLS listings.  We are launching in Maryland now and plan to advertise and market our company now that our site is up (just up last week).  We offer several features that other sites don't offer.  Feel free to post on it and check it out.  I would love to hear the feedback!


Amy Berman

Apr 10, 2009 01:36 PM #20
Carlton Mitchell
Silver Spring, MD

Take the time to develop your own statistical model.   Averages and median stats are very limited when compiled from large geographical areas with many market segments.  Break down your data into several search types isolating physical features like basement verses no basement and search similar house styles ect....... than put the data into 3 main condition categories.  Compile the "stacks" of data for low/high, avg and median. The data will speak for itself.

Agent should have similar data research in every work file.

Carlton Mitchell  Maryland & Virginia Certified Appraiser

Jan 11, 2010 07:26 PM #21
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Ken Montville

The MD Suburbs of DC
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