Getting To The Top Of The Directory On Zillow

Services for Real Estate Pros with Zillow

This question came in from Karen Alterson a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Surf in Rockville Centre, NY.  As it is a pretty common question, I thought I'd answer it on my blog, so multiple people can benefit from the answer. 

Dear Zillow,

How do I get my name on the list of Realtors? And how do you get to the top???


First of all, to get on the list, you simply have to create a free profile.  All profiles are included in the Directory.  To make sure you come up appropriately, make sure you completely fill out the fields like areas you specialize in and your marketing text.  In the upper right hand corner, you'll see the Register button.

Helpful videos:

How to activate your account

Creating a free profile

With regards to sort, helpfulness and contributions to the site are big factors in determining the order. 

Each listing and photo you add to the site are considered contributions.  Also, in case you don't have listings, answering questions in our advice section are contributions.  Also, once you contribute enough advice, you can be considered a Local Expert or All Star.  You can sign up to receive emails whenever there is a question in your area to answer. 

Helpful videos:

Zillow Advice overview

Becoming a Local Expert

Becoming an All Star

Hope that helps!


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Spencer Rascoff 11/19/2009 03:22 AM
  2. Trisha P Realty Group 11/21/2009 01:42 PM
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Andrew Jones
Horizon Pacific Realty - Los Angeles, CA
LA Beach Cities Homes 310-399-3740

Hi Sara, A Zillion Thank's

Nov 19, 2009 12:00 PM #27
Heather Fitzgerald
REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc. - Greenwood, IN
REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate

Sara,  Thanks for sharing this information.  It is on my list to do.

Nov 19, 2009 12:09 PM #28
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Sara - Zillow rocks !  We have the extended services to enhance our listings and so far we have been pleased with the investment.

Nov 19, 2009 12:15 PM #29
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~

Thanks for sharing all the information on Zillow.  I want to get more involved in Zillow next year.

Nov 19, 2009 12:56 PM #30
Jeran Fraser
The Approval Experts - Encinitas, CA


Great info and much appreciated. We need more people like you out there!! Thanks for the info!

Nov 19, 2009 02:26 PM #31
John Elwell
CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc. - Zephyrhills, FL
You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results

My goodness.

Nov 19, 2009 02:45 PM #32
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

It looks like you've given some good advice to move up to the top. It's like AR, contribute and move up.

Nov 19, 2009 02:54 PM #33
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

I've got the profile, I respond to questions. Guess I need to see if you have a blogging platform.

Nov 19, 2009 04:24 PM #34
Rich Cederberg
eXp Realty - Albuquerque, NM
eXp Realty Agent Albuquerque

Sara, I got a lead from Zillow last week. It was through a lead referral company. I'm assuming it was spam. Users can still contact me directly, right?

Nov 19, 2009 04:57 PM #35
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

A number of you have said something along the lines of "I need to get going on my Zillow plan" or "in 2010 I'll be more active".  If you ever have any ideas on how we can help you better do this, please feel free to email me directly.  Maybe we could do something with your brokerage, or your mls, or your association.  Maybe its a webinar?  Maybe its a series of weekly blog posts where we do one thing a week and give 'homework'.  I'd welcome your suggestions. 

Christopher and Stephanie - Thank you!  Glad to hear you are happy with the services!

Vickie- We don't have a blogging platform, we offer a Forum or Advice platform. However, you can add your Active Rain (or any blog) URL to your profile now.  Also, in your marketing text on your profile, I'd recommend linking to your blog and a couple of your favorite or most helpful posts.  We follow all those links, meaning that search engines can see them.  Finally, while I am talking about it, we also recently added the ability to add your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn information to your Zillow profile. 

RIch- Yes, functionality to email the listing agent directly on the listing defintiely exists.  To expand on that a bit, we actually send the lead where ever we are told to.  Some brokers say to send it to the agent, some say to send it to a type of call center. 

Nov 20, 2009 01:28 AM #36
Deborah Amazon
Deborah Amazon ~ Amazon Realty ~ Mount Snow, VT 05356 - Mount Snow, VT

I need to get to Zillow to see what I have done or haven't. Thank you!

Nov 20, 2009 05:01 AM #37
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Sara - talk about being helpful! Thanks. Loved Stewart's talk at N.A.R. BTW.


Nov 20, 2009 06:30 PM #38
Gary Swanson
Century 21 Harris & Taylor - Grants Pass, OR

Thanks for the post Sara.  I have a Zillow profile, but didn't know I could move up the list by contributing responses.

Nov 21, 2009 02:23 AM #39
Debbie Summers
Charles Rutenberg Realty - New Smyrna Beach, FL

Thanks Sara...  I've been looking at the site and was wondering how I can get into the top rankings for my areas.  I'll watch the video and be "in the know"...

Nov 23, 2009 07:14 AM #40
Chrissi Chapman

Thanks so much for the info! Many of my clients used Zillow to perform their home searches, so it is in my favorites now, too.

Nov 24, 2009 11:21 AM #41
Jerry L. Van Blaricom
King Realty Team - McKinney, TX

Zillow has some really neat tools like the widgets and iphone app.  I think "zestimates" are great for informational purposes but they are sometimes way off from reality.  I see a lot of people asking the same question about why their home value is so different from others in the area.  I understand how a zestimate is calculated but maybe the explanation should be more prominently displayed as the general public often thinks what is displayed is accurate.

Realtors: I too thought the forums and Q&A would be a good way to connect to people and try to provide useful info.  To a degree they are but I recommend looking through them before jumping in - especially the forums covering large areas like a complete state and large metro areas.  Zillow seems to be a good medium for people to bash realtors - anything from silly insults to outright attacking posts/comments made by realtors (and real estate agents in general).  A lot of this comes from people with profiles with made up names but sometimes its from others that say they are agents as well.  Zillow's policy says it won't tolerate this but I've yet to see anything done about the comments.  To be fair, sometimes agents post inaccurate answers or answers that may not be the best solution but does that justify being ridiculed in public?  Especially by someone that's hiding behind a made up name?  After a few weeks of watching the advice section and occassionally trying to help, I'm just kind of disgusted by what I see there.

Nov 30, 2009 03:02 AM #42
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Hey Jerry - Thanks for the comment. 

Here is a link to Zestimate accuracy chart, I think it is exactly what you are asking for.  You can drill down to the county level.  It is posted at the bottom of every page, and there is a link to it behind every Zestimate- note the ? button.  Also, please check out these short videos with more on the data found on Zillow, including one that you can pass along to your clients that explains what the Zestimate represents. 

With regard to Zillow Advice - great advice to look around first.  We delete comments all the time (especially those that are obscene or that violate our good neighbor policy).  If you ever think we should take a look at something, please click the gray flag that you'll see all over the site, our customer service will take a look. 

After watching the forums for almost a year now, I have seen wonderful things happen and I have seen what you describe.  The wonderful things seem to happen when the user's question is directly answered with helpful information.  No hard sales, no upsales - maybe even just a yes/no answer.  Just geniune helpfulness.  The negatives can happen with generic information (ex- is now a good time to buy? yes!  low rates, buyer's market, etc) and hard sells slip into the answers. 

Also, a common mistake I see is agents not understanding the difference between a forum platform and a blog platform.  One is more responsive, and the other is pushing informaiton out.  So I'll see agents ask a question and then cut and paste an answer to their own question from a blog post.  You're right, this does not sit well with users, as this just isn't typically how forums work.  It is much different than a blog network, like here on Active Rain. 

Thanks for the helpful advice for Advice!  And remember to use those flag if you see something anywhere on the site you want us to look at.

Nov 30, 2009 03:27 AM #43
Jerry L. Van Blaricom
King Realty Team - McKinney, TX

Thanks for the additional info Sara.  What you've said about about the hard sales and misunderstanding the platform is also unfortunately true about some agents.  I've refrained from doing that as it's simply not helpful and you do stand out from others by providing useful info - I'm actually working with a potential client now from answering their question on Zillow. So, in that aspect, we have an opportunity to be a great source of info. 

But, there's still the other problem I've described.  I welcome a civilized debate/discussion if someone doesn't agree with what I've said but I often see insulting, childish replies (it's happened once to me).  I've clicked the flag on posts that are rude, insulting, and have no value whatsoever. However, there's one individual that has almost 7000 posts with a large number of them disparaging to our profession - sure some may be appropriate for the discussion, but some are attacking.  That's a lot of posts to flag!  And, that's just one example.

I'm not trying to deter people from using Zillow, but check things out beforehand so that you're prepared for what may come your way...

Nov 30, 2009 04:06 AM #44
Rudi Hofmann

This question came up on Mortgage Advice today. What you have blogged for realtors is not true for lenders. What criteria is used for lenders? .... Thank you, Rudi

Jan 18, 2010 12:46 PM #45
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Rudi - You are correct, sorry about my 'Realtor' tilt in this article. When it comes to Lenders, they interact with the Zillow site in a different way.  The Lenders at the top of the Directory are those with the most and best ratings.  So you need to be an active, successful, confirmed lender in the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace to show up at the top. 

Jan 18, 2010 01:32 PM #46
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