Could we survive the death of "Truzilla"? What? me Worry?

Real Estate Agent with The MJKelly Team BRE#: 0645724

"Truzilla" my moniker for the combined Trulia and Zillow, has at its core a business model dependent on OUR listings fed to them by our MLS. Remember, it is You the Realtor® or Agent’s  marketing, salesmanship, savvy interpretation of market trends, and data that makes a saleable listing. When we complete a transaction we now have a valid comparable sale for others to use for valuation and appraisal purposes--thus moving the market along.


Also, your negotiating skills ensure a suitable fee to all parties in the transaction and motivate the Realtor®/Agent to get up in the morning! These same listings FEED the monster that is  “Truzilla”.  These are the same folks who then SELL TO REALTORS® and other agents the leads GENERATED by our LISTINGS! I've never liked this relationship. In the case of Zillow, their “Zestimate” is posted below your list price. I’ve rarely seen them match so you are either a schmuck for listing the property TOO low, or incompetent because you listed it TOO high. The biggest “spread” I’ve ever experienced was a lovely vineyard estate we marketed about two years ago which was listed for $1,500,000. A listener to our weekly real estate talk show (The Real Estate Hour, Sundays 9 to 10am,pst or at ) called after I described the estate and the price. She said, “Mike, I’ve been listening to your show for years but this time you’ve gone too far.” Perplexed, I asked what did I do? She replied, “That property you just mentioned is almost $1,000,000 overpriced! Zillow has it at $585,000!” I replied, “Now you know why I never use Zillow for pricing.” We sold it in two weeks for $1,700,000 with three offers. I wonder if my listener would have enjoyed leaving over a million bucks on the table?

  On another transaction an estate attorney told me he uses Zillow for all his estate “time of death” evaluations. Unbelievable. Not using "Truzilla" means little to me or should it to our consumer/Sellers.  Our listings are now syndicated to hundreds of web sites via our virtual tours (Tour Factory and Obeo), the Keller Williams system and our own MLS let alone those MLS licensed IDX companies. Losing "Truzilla" will NOT harm us or our clients! Price it right in today's market and watch it FLY out the door. The reason they are screaming is simple--"Truzilla" without listings is a failed business plan. The “Zestimate” is not a standalone product or attraction. As a business model they need bodies visiting their site to sell their “leads”. The need new listings to feed the inventory monkey and they grab anything that resembles a home listing. These include rentals, notices of defaults, old listing, whatever, just so they can show they have a heavily populated site.

  Due to the super constrained inventory throughout the nation our buyers are looking anywhere and everywhere for a home to purchase.  I can't tell you how many times a client has called to tell me of a new listing NOT on the market. After a few questions and some research I usually find out it is either a rental, has a notice of default filled on the home or someone left out a few zeros.  One client insisted a home in a very desirable, high-end area was listed for $5,000. Median home in this area--$650,000+. I tried to reason with her saying it was either a mistake, a rental or a default notice. She had to go see herself and yep—a rental at $5,000 per month. IDX in general creates some awkward moments with prospective buyer. Many of the syndicated home sites never remove properties. One site I know is still running a property I closed over a year ago. I keep getting email from folks who see this property. They can’t understand why it is still being marketed and blame me!  I don't mind making contact with more buyers but it sets me off on the wrong foot.

  FOLKS there is NO silver bullet for finding a home. A hard-working Realtor® who is in the FLOW of business is your best bet in finding a home in a tight inventory market. A well respected, full time Realtor®/Agent actively involved in the real estate community is your best bet for finding a home.  Realtors®/Agents engage each other daily and we network furiously in your interest. Our weekly Realtor® marketing meeting has 125-150 members. We have a marketing session where we “pitch” our “Haves” or listings and our “Wants” or buyer needs. We try to “match” our respective “needs”. We have an official scribe who logs our “needs” and then sends them out to over a 1,800 other Realtor®/Agents in our market area.  We put deals together every week because of our networking and ability to bring parties together. So to all the buyers out there--remember two essential steps in the buying process:

  1. Get pre-approved NOT pre-qualified.

  2. Use your local Realtor® to find your future home and makes sure they are in the FLOW of business.

See you in escrow!


Comments (1)

Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Mike Kelly No question that we as true RE Pros need to be the messengers to the public that we are their best source for accurate valuations. For an attorney to use Z for a probate valuation is unconscionable. Great post; thanks!

Oct 11, 2016 10:40 PM