FAQ: What happens when a buyer reaches out through Zillow and others?

Real Estate Broker/Owner CA#01772851 HI#RB21268

Although it is a boon to a listing agent when Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Homesnap.com, Movoto.com and Homes.com stream our homes for sale on their platforms, they also distribute a whole lot of other information that we never authorized when we agreed to this when we place it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

So what's up with that? What is some of the information we have no control over?

1. That the listing shows "Active" on the market even though it's really not. Very often, the listing is actually under contract and is in escrow. In my case, I have 2 listings under contract and on my MLS they show as "active-backup--but not so on these other platforms. In most cases these escrows are pretty solid. If you, the public, have a buyers agent, they usually advise you to move on after checking with us, the listing agent.

2. Zestimates: Zillow, for example, will give a home value to a listing and that can be all over the lot from day to day. One of my listings was rated quite a chunk under what I put it on the market for; yet, now, a week later, I am right on target, falling right between their high and low figure. Go figure! Sorry, I can't explain it to you.

3. "Get pre-qualified" on Trulia:  One of my clients, an investor, was looking at a fixer upper that needed cash to close. No way was a lender going to finance it in the normal fashion. But, he said, it says so right here, "get pre-qualified", why would they do that if there was not a loan that can be had on this property? This is standard on these websites, they want to capture you as a "lead", who knows, even get you pre-qualified for a loan--but not on THAT house!

4. On Movoto.com, my listing had my photos, but their "Movoto agent" headed it as "off market" and at the wrong price. Can't figure that one out, but am checking on it. Is this like a "bait and switch"? They are promoting "similar homes", all not my listings. All just want you to contact THEIR agent.

5. Homes.com - Shows my listing and others in the same price range which is great for comparison. They also show a lot of loan information, how to calculate it, etc. Pretty even handed, although they are pushing the buyer to contact their preferred agents signed up with them--who pay them good money!

6. Realtor.com - Interestingly, when I GOOGLED it, my address did not show up and I had to go to the website itself to search for my address. And then it was all there, well laid out, showing similar properties (who, I know, all pay for that position).


From my email responses, it is probably Zillow; however, the way the others present THEIR paid agents to contact for more information, it favors those agents who pay a fee to the platform. 

And that's just the beginning of the story!!!




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Hella Rothwell at Carmel Beach during Concours WeekCarmel-by-the-Sea Beach and Pebble Beach Golf Course California

Whether buying or selling oceanfront, oceanview, commercial or any type of real estate in Carmel, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Carmel Valley and Big Sur, I can help you. Call me and let's meet in my Carmel-by-the-Sea office in Su Vecino Court on Dolores between 5th & 6th.

Or we can just chat on the phone to discuss your real estate needs.

Are you out of the area? No problem, I often never even meet my clients. The whole transaction is handled long distance.

As an independent real estate broker licensed in California and Hawaii, I can represent you with residential real estate, commercial properties & investment opportunities.

For more information

www.HellaRothwell.com & www.RothwellRealty.com

& www.HellaHawaii.com

Member: National Association of REALTORS, California Association of REALTORS, Hawaii Association of REALTORS, Del Norte Association of REALTORS, Honolulu Board of REALTORS. Also MLS Listings in California.


Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

Real Estate Broker/Owner/Realtor®
Licensed in California #01772851 & Hawaii #RB-21268

Tel. 831-626-4000 

Fax 1-877-822-9332

ROTHWELL REALTY INC.: Su Vecino Court, Lincoln & Dolores between 5th & 6th, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921


MAILING: P.O. Box 4554, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921

Email: HellaRothwell@gmail.com

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Disclaimer: Hella Rothwell does not guarantee nor is in any way responsible for the accuracy of the information provided herein, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied.


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Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® - as a group we need to boycott these sites somehow.  I know the public loves them, but they are inaccurate and give people a false sense of value. And now, according to Jon Kolsky ,I hear of Zillow taking listings as well.  Before you know it, we may be considered irrelevant.  As a political group, we have a lot of power through NAR. Why are we allowing these 3rd parties to charge us for our leads or to compete directly with us?

Jun 25, 2017 04:32 PM #1
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

Lynnea, in this age of information, it is unrealistic to wish and even lobby for those sites to. disappear. In my opinion, they actually add value to our services thanks to their inaccuracies.

The serious buyers know that they have to work with a buyer agent in order to get the more updated and accurate information.

And I do agree with you Hella, that it is somewhat of an inconvenience for us to make sure that our listings info is correct. Aloha!

Jun 25, 2017 04:50 PM #2
Gayle Weiswasser

Homesnap does not charge agents for leads. Homesnap has always followed Fair Display Guidelines and sends all leads and inquiries for free to the listing agent. Also, our data is powered by a real-time feed from the MLS, so we are only displaying accurate information that has been authorized by your MLS.


Gayle Weiswasser

VP, Marketing & Communciations


Jun 26, 2017 07:40 AM #3
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Well, actually, Hella, companies can pay a fee to Zillow to arrange for premium placement and exclusivity, so even if you are not a Premier Agent at Zillow, if you work for the "right" brokerage, your listing will be exclusive to you. No other agents will advertise on your listing. Just fyi.

Jun 26, 2017 07:57 AM #4
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® ~ some agents will pay Z and some agents will adapt while they can and for both groups, it is just a matter of time before Z changes the goal post forever by replacement... And I know.... How can they ever replace agents? Trust me, through tech and AI, it's not a matter of when rather it is just a matter of time

Jun 26, 2017 09:03 AM #5
Maximillian Diez
Movoto Real Estate - San Mateo, CA
Movoto is a national licensed real estate broker.

Hi Hella, 

Movoto prides itself in making sure our site displayed photos and property statuses are accurate. In the off chance that our information is inaccurate we do accommodate requests to make alterations based on MLS rules. Movoto is a licensed real estate broker in all 50 states and takes compliance very seriously.

As to connecting a client with one of our agents, we feel that our Movoto agents are best in class. That said, our intention is give each client a seamless experience and connect the client with an agent fast and efficiently. In the cases where the client would like to speak with the listing agent directly, we will go out of our way to connect the two.



Maximillian Diez

VP of Real Estate Operations | US Managing Broker

Movoto Real Estate


Jun 27, 2017 12:56 PM #6
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Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®

Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea
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