10 Things You Should Do On Zillow Today

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Zillow

(Since this post I have written a more updated list.  You can find the updated post here.  Zillow is now reaching 9 million people a month.  Double that of when this post was written!)

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In my job at Zillow I meet with a lot of Realtors and have heard many creative ways that agents are using Zillow to further their business.  Based on these comments, I have typed up the top 10 ways agents can get involved with the Zillow website and reach out to our 4 million monthly users. 

1.  Look up the home you are selling on Zillow.  Know the Zestimate so you can be prepared if buyers want to discuss this number with you. 

2.  Edit the home's facts.  Was there recently do a kitchen remodel?  Do public records say that it is a three bedroom house, when really there are four bedrooms?  Edit the home's facts to arrive at your own Zestimate which will be published next to Zillow's automated estimate. 

3.  Post your listings for sale for FREE.  When a home's status changes to "for sale" on Zillow, traffic for that home increases over 200%.  Post your listings (and as many photos as you'd like) for free on Zillow. 

4.  Create a personal profile for FREE  This is your persona on Zillow-when you post a listing for sale, report a home for sale, ask a question or post an answer, or edit a Wiki page,.  On your profile page, you can add a photo, self-description, contact information, web site address, company name and location.  Any contact the Zillow community makes with you through this page is free.

5.  Report homes for sale.  Zillow is opening up the site to the entire community to tell us which homes are for sale and for how much.  This is a great way to appear as an expert in a particular area of town.

6.  Ask and answer Questions on home detail pages.  On every home detail page users can "ask a question," or, if a question is already posed, you can "write an answer."  To do this, you must just be registered with Zillow.  All questions and answers link to your profile page.  Home Q&A is about enabling real estate conversations online where they are useful and helpful for everyone, and lets you have an opportunity to showcase your knowledge and experience.  If you're a listing agent and post your listing on Zillow, you will be automatically updated each time there's a new question or answer on one of your listings.

7.  Contribute to the Real Estate Wiki.  The wiki is a place to find up-to-date and relevant information on home buying, selling and financing, written for and by Zillow's community of users.  Any registered Zillow user can add, edit, remove and change the content in the wiki, and you'll receive links back to your profile.

8.  Look up For Sale By Owner listings and Make Me Moves (MMM) prices.  Agents should spend time on the site to learn about the "Make Me Move" market that is available to them, whether their intentions are to prospect or expand the pool of homes a client could consider for sale.  In competitive markets Make Me Move homes can be an alternative stream of available homes for clients.    

9.  Incorporate Zillow into your listing presentation.  While a private home owner can post their own home for sale, there is value in an agent doing it for them and maintaining the copy, photos, and public inquiries.  Show the home owner that you know how to maximize Zillow's marketing tools and that you will handle the process for them.

10.  Buy an EZ Ad.  Want even more exposure on Zillow?  EZ Ads are a low-cost, self-service way for real estate professionals to reach local buyers and sellers on Zillow.  EZ Ads will show up throughout Zillow, on our map and home details pages, in the particular zip codes the advertiser chooses.  Advertisers are able to promote themselves, their company or a specific home in a specific zip code.  You can see the performance of your ad in real time, including the number of times it has been clicked on and the number of times it has have been shown.

Please find an updated version of this post at:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/977541/10-Ways-Real-Estate-Professionals-Can-Use-Zillow-v20

 

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Rainmaker
182,157
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Amy- I haven't deleted any comments from this post. 

May 18, 2007 06:03 AM #49
Rainmaker
182,157
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

I looked up what it would cost to buy "west hartford, ct real estate" on Google, and they are charging approx $1.60 per click, so $2 is in the same ballpark.  However we made the decision not to go with pay-per-click (like Google), and instead went with pay-per-view because agents told us that advertising their phone number and getting calls was important to them.  By charging per view, it enables someone to advertise their number on their ad, whereas Google does not allow this to cause the click.  EZ ads also has the benefit of branding, as your picture and information are prominently displayed and it is important for the public to see your face over and over again to cause action.  

Finally, (and I don't have any facts to back this up at this time since we are still working through the feedback we are receiving) when people search on real estate sites, they are typically looking for houses, not people.  I wonder if the click-thru rate would have been better if you advertised a home verses a personal ad?  Just a thought.     

May 18, 2007 06:19 AM #50
Rainer
16,823
Amy Bergquist
RE/MAX Premier, REALTORS - West Hartford, CT
ABR, GRI
Sara- thanks for researching the comparative cost with Google in my area, I agree they are somewhat in the same ballpark.  I understand the point of advertising a listing rather than me, but none of my clients have authorized me to use Zillow to post their listing.
May 18, 2007 09:06 AM #51
Rainer
4,999
Bill Cook
Los Alamitos, CA

Zillow - needs a lot of work.. dated information, omitting a pool whenit is there. sq ft records updated at public records but not at Zilow...etc,.etc.. time is money and driving people to a website with so much inaccurate data is irresponsible as it misleads the consumer. Agents may be able to deal with the growing pains, but this is just one more obstacle to overcome when meeting with buyers and sellers.

I will continue to use my trusted Title companies for public record info , the MLS and an appraiser.

May 20, 2007 04:54 PM #52
Ambassador
566,489
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Title companies are not always updated quick enough but I'd rather trust their information first, since it their business to be on top of things.  I am have written a couple of blogs on some of the things that title companies offer and they are useful tools.

Zillow.com is another source and it is pretty good.  I just don't like that there are so many opportunities for a potential buyer to go to my website and then click on zillow and end up going with another agent that is right there on my page!  So it does have it drawback.  But FREE is just that, getting what you pay for.

 

Happy Tuesday!

May 21, 2007 11:03 PM #53
Rainer
79,029
Gary Smith
Agent Marketing Today - Commerce Township, MI

Sara, good points, especially about being prepared at the listing presentation.

I have a question. Some homes with Realtors have the zestimate removed, do you know how to do this? My home still has the zestimate.

Jun 09, 2007 02:19 AM #54
Rainer
48,426
Robert Ratliff
Ratliff Realty Group RE/MAX Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV
RE/MAX Realtor Las Vegas

great information....will use some of your ideas....thanks for sharing

 

bob

Jun 09, 2007 03:01 PM #55
Ambassador
566,489
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Gary I'd like to know how to remove that zestimate too.  Especially since it is lower than what I have my property listed for and less than the comps I pulled.  If you find out before I do, please let me know.

 

Jun 09, 2007 08:12 PM #56
Rainmaker
182,157
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Gary/Rosemary-  Thanks for commenting.  Zestimates can not be removed from a home detail page.  If one is not on the page, it is simply because we didn't have enough information to create one.  There are some states where information is very rich, and some where it is very light, so that can make a difference. 

As an owner of a home, you can create an "owner's estimate" which will appear along side the automated one, and include more details about your home.  As the realtor, obviously you can publish whatever details needed to describe the home. 

Jun 10, 2007 03:34 AM #57
Rainer
79,029
Gary Smith
Agent Marketing Today - Commerce Township, MI

Sara,

not very smart of Zillow, not to remove zestimate from homes listed with an agent.

Jun 10, 2007 10:26 AM #58
Rainmaker
182,157
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing
Gary- When an agent posts a home that they have listed, their sales price replaces the Zestimate as the most prominent information on Zillow. Smart listing agents are taking that opportunity to set the record straight on the site (even when the Zestimate is lower than list price) ... and they realize that by posting the home on Zillow they're telling buyers that they know what the Zestimate is and that it's incorrect.

Zestimate values are a starting point in researching a house's value but they're not the final word. We do not allow owners or listing agents to remove the Zestimate because Zillow's goal is to be a consumer-centric real estate destination and that requires treating buyers and sellers equally, and not giving more power to one or the other. The 4+ million buyers and sellers who visit Zillow each month do so because of the transparent access to information on Zillow.com. We think the smart thing to do is to publish Zestimates ... on every home ... and then provide a forum for sellers and buyers to discuss them.

Jun 12, 2007 06:57 AM #59
Ambassador
566,489
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team
When I see the zestimate I have mixed feelings.  One is opps maybe no one will even bother to take a look at my listing because it is higher than the zestimate and the other is why is it there!  I can see if it was a button with the option of showing the zestimate with a disclaimer stating it is not a guaranteed figure, but it is the first number you see when you pull up the property - at least for me it was.
Jun 12, 2007 07:27 AM #60
Rainer
79,029
Gary Smith
Agent Marketing Today - Commerce Township, MI

Sara,  I understand Zillows stance to provide consumers information.

From a consumers point of view, if I was interested in the home priced at let's say 200K and a zestimate of 180K. I doubt the consumer would ever offer more than 180K for the home. That's because we are conditioned to want a DEAL. I personally use Zillow and two other consumer sites to justify my lower price at the listing presentation, just for this reason.

As such, the Code of Ethics might prevent an agent from marketing the home on Zillow, even when the information indicates an update. It would not be beneficial to the home seller.

Jun 12, 2007 08:05 AM #61
Ambassador
566,489
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team
question: where do the zestimates come from.  We as agents pull comps before we do the pricing and I have not seen many that hit the mark of the listed price.  Does zestimate take into consideration upgrades and other plus (es) or is this just dry bone?  And how would the consumer know what this figure is based on?  Is this a drawback or what? Sara, I'd interested in your stand on this question.
Jun 12, 2007 08:53 AM #62
Rainmaker
182,157
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Rosemary- If you really want to know everything about Zestimates, we have a "what is a zestimate" reference page on the site at http://www.zillow.com/howto/Zestimate.htm.  But yes, basically it comes from raw numbers (transactional data, tax assessor data, etc) and then fed into an algorithm.  No, we would not know that someone upgraded a kitchen or built a new porch.  This is why we let home owners and agents post any relevant data to the site and create their own estimates.  We consider the zestimate a starting point, and then let the experts build on top of this.  How would consumers know this?  We post a link to the above link whenever we display a zestimate, and on the homepage right under the search box we link to a page that very transparently shows our accuracy across the country, http://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracy.htm (this is a good tool for an agent to use when talking to someone about why the zestimate is off).  Zestimates get people to the site and keep them coming back.  The more users that are on the site, the bigger the audience that we can expose your for-sale to, working out good for both parties. 

Jun 12, 2007 09:08 AM #63
Rainer
15,700
Sharon Brehm
Gloria Nilson & Co. Real Estate - Middletown, NJ
Many of the agents in our company are unwilling to listen to information on Zillow. Inaccuracies of Zestimates really turned them off. I have futilely explained that any data that is based on public records will not be accurate...no "machine" works in real time or understands the subtleties of the market. It  takes human beings to assess the value of the property and decide if the Zestimate does or does not fall inline with their expectations. That in itself holds value. Open and frank discussion - as an Realtor you bring professional expertise to dispute the result or to show sellers that their expectations are unrealistic. Zillow has enormous value if you are willing to take the time to understand how it functions.
Jun 13, 2007 11:16 AM #64
Rainer
27,572
Chris Prescott - Minnesota
Coldwell Banker Burnet - Edina, MN

Sara -

Is there a Zillow contact person/rep in Minnesota?

Chris

Jun 13, 2007 12:45 PM #65
Ambassador
566,489
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Sara: Got ya.  I like zillow listing but I wasn't too hot on the zestimate because it always appears lower than the listed price and I wonder why.  I probably would have asked the question if I had not read the post.  But it is a good point.  I have had sellers and buyers ask me about that zestimate.  I understand that the data is only as good as what you gather but it does make it a little harder seeing the lower estimates on the property that you list.  I learned something that my remarks must be beefed up so show the difference.

Thanks for your answer. 

Jun 13, 2007 01:21 PM #66
Rainmaker
182,157
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Hey all, Wanted to let you know I revisited the concept of this post and wrote an updated list.  We have had a lot more cool stuff launch since this post was written a year and a half ago. 

10 Ways Real Estate Professionals Can Use Zillow, version 2.0

Apr 27, 2009 07:49 AM #67
Rainer
82,757
Arpad Racz
Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
408-252-0976 - www.aracz.com - Cupertino and Bay A

Hi Sara,

 

How do I do #5 please?

 

5.  Report homes for sale.  Zillow is opening up the site to the entire community to tell us which homes are for sale and for how much.  This is a great way to appear as an expert in a particular area of town.

 

Thank you,

 

Arpad

Oct 22, 2011 01:28 PM #68
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