Yet another article bemoaning the trials and tribulations of the supposed David v. Goliath battle in real estate. Zillow has certainly garnered it’s share of controversy, but so does any successful company shaking up an industry (internet marketing.) With statements like “…Zillow has informed him it would reject any data feed that did not have complete data and would therefore terminate the feeds of RealTracs listings…” and “…we do not accept feeds of intentionally degraded listings, which harm agents and home sellers.” Posturing at it’s finest.
As a consumer, what does it mean to you? To start, Zillow’s claim that they have the ability to harm consumers and even real estate agents is an ideation of their own power. Second, it ultimately means that the data you search for, served by Zillow or another portal, may be incomplete at best, outdated or non-existent at worst.
The internet marketing game is estimated to be a $400 billion a year marketplace. The goal of marketers is to get data in front of as many eyes as possible. Some do a few mildly nefarious things to increase this number (collating stale and/or non existent products), to then charge accordingly on traffic. Zillow and Trulia claim 86,000,000 and 51,000,000 unique visitors, respectively per month. If these traffic stats can be maintained, that is 137,000,000 visits per month, 1,644,000,000 unique visits per year. These marketing companies are doing something right…
That said, overall home sales on a national level have remained steady in the 5,000,000 unit range annually for the last five years. Marketers are concerned with marketing, period. The websites, (let us be honest: they are websites) generate more views to generate more revenue. Having five times the entire US population in visitors for a product that sells at 0.003% of just the mentioned sites is unsustainable. Dozens of other regional portals exist as well. Point being, more data and marketing is not driving more home sales, despite exponential gains in search and visitor traffic.
Why you need to hire an agent: informed researchers need to be able to cut through the chaff and posturing. Getting access to real data, in real time is important. Hiring a well balanced and polished company that can see the forest for the trees is critical. 1850 Realty is here to help consult and guide your needs, whether you are buying or selling.
Full disclosure: we use the products mentioned in limited capacities, because we have generated positive results for our listing clients. Having first hand experience with listings using these products proves some of the pitfalls for buyers (stale info) mentioned above.