You Want Your Home on Realtor.com, Right? Duh.

 

Loudoun homes for saleThere’s been quite a dustup taking place within the real estate industry this week. A brokerage out in San Diego, ARG Abbot Realty Group, declared that effective immediately, they are pulling all of their listings off of third party syndication sites Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow, via an impassioned video posted on YouTube (a video syndication site, natch). The argument was that the evil syndicators were not displaying data correctly and thus muddying the water of the market really looks like.  That particular company seems to feel it’s not in the best interests of their consumer to permit their listings to be displayed there. All three of those sites are in the top five trafficked real estate sites nationally.

As a potential home seller, if your agent can’t explain what listing syndication is, please get another agent. Seriously. As the person hired to sell your home, it is most advantageous to not only put your listing on as many sites where there are buyer eyeballs as I can, but also to ensure that the photos display correctly, the open house information is there, the links to the virtual tours work, etc.  The blunt truth is that consumers flock to Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow because they are easy to use, and they all have slick mobile apps, too. Would you want your listing hidden from the consumers searching there?

That San Diego brokerage was arguing, in part, that the consumer needs to be able to contact the listing agent for information, and not whichever agent paid to put advertising on the page next to the listing. Honestly, when I’m trying to sell your house, I’m just as happy to answer questions from a buyer’s agent as I am from a potential buyer: I don’t want to represent the buyer, I just want to get the house sold, as I was hired to do. I don’t care where the buyer comes from as long as we can get them in the front door of the home.

 

I don’t list your home to fish for buyers. I list your home to sell it. 

 

Not only that, I refuse to double-side a deal; I decided several years ago that I would no longer represent a buyer and a seller in the same deal.  In my opinion, there is no way to completely represent each of your clients interests in the best way possible while working both sides of the deal.

I’m sure, as a consumer, that you could care less about what goes on in the real estate kitchen, you only need the results. So I want you to know that when I list your home, you will continue to have a featured listing on the big three syndication sites, and I will ensure that the information displays correctly. And you won’t ever have to worry about my company removing your home listing from a place where your potential buyer can find it. 🙂

Cheers,
Heather

(If you would like to read a full rebuttal explanation of how that video is full of misinformation, please read my friend Jay’s post here. He explains it eloquently.)

Also, here’s how one of my listings renders on each of those sites:



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22 Responses to “You Want Your Home on Realtor.com, Right? Duh.”

  • Justine Kneeland via Facebook

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    The only problem I have with Zillow is that it still lists my house as “Make Me An Offer”, when we’re not selling or even looking to sell. I have no idea who listed it that way, but I can’t get them to take down since the original lister has to do it. It IS fun to look and see what my neighbors houses are on the market for though.

    Reply
  • John Coley via Facebook

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    I have to respectfully disagree here. In my market those 3 services just want to take a realtor’s money by upselling more advertising. I go with the free 5 pics on realtor.com and leave it at that. My own blog performs much better SEO wise and local traffic wise so in their current form I just can’t see why I should pay them to take traffic from me. Maybe it will all change in the future but right now I’m better off without them.

    Reply
  • Paul Gaddes via Facebook

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    I agree with you. I have tried to understand this issue for a while and don’t quite get the reasoning about pulling out. The data accuracy argument is pretty weak as well; I just spent about a half hour reviewing listing data for an upcoming listing (comps) and I know that over 25% of what was on our MLS is simply incorrect (ranging from number of rooms, HOA rates, utilities available, Green certifications, and so on)

    Reply
  • Heather Elias via Facebook

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    Hi John , you are still allowing your listings to be posted there, right? If you read my blog post, I’m not talking about paying to enhance listings, I’m commenting on allowing them to appear on the site in the first place.

    Reply
  • Heather Elias via Facebook

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    Justine ..there’s no reason the prior owner’s “make me move” should still show up after the property changed hands. I will reach out to my contacts at Zillow and get that fixed.

    Reply
  • Mike Lefebvre

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    The more I read about this “issue” Heather, the less I understand why this isn’t as crystal clear as it is to you and me. Listing agents are hired to sell homes and hiding their clients’ listings from three of the most highly trafficked consumer real estate websites just doesn’t make any sense to me. Still waiting to hear a home seller say, “Yes, I agree. Please keep my home off Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow”. Data inaccuracies? Accidents happen. Do you work and make sure mistakes are corrected on your listings. Our clients don’t care about our industry insider BS. They want their homes sold. I’m just not buying that keeping the listings off the Big 3 helps the home sellers in any way, shape or form.

    Reply
  • John Coley via Facebook

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    Thanks Heather, I just re read your post more carefully. I would add here that just because they claim higher #s doesn’t necessarily make it a good decision for every single agent in every single market. A parallel I can make would be to think the best local pizza joint in your hometown – the one owned by the same family for 3 generations, etc. What if Domino’s came in to “syndicate” their advertising? Put a sign out front that said, e.g., “Old Pizza Joint – now featuring Domino’s” – Domino’s could make all the same marketing pitches: they can make pies cheaper with scale, their web site is the biggest nationally, they have a better app than Old Pizza Joint, and may even rank higher for the search {Anytown} Pizza. If Old Pizza Joint went for this idea, how long would they stay in business? Again, my stance is that nothing is a slam dunk decision and that every marketing move must be made with a cost / benefit approach. Maybe if I were in a different market, or a different time in my market, I would be all over the syndicators. Plenty of agents that I know and respect use them elsewhere.

    Reply
  • Rich Jacobson via Facebook

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    I couldn’t agree more, Heather. The logic here just eludes me. Obviously this CEO is a smart guy, at least one would think. Unfortunately, there’s more misleading and false information in his claims than there is in a Zestimate!

    Reply
  • Antoinette Arsic via Facebook

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    Interesting. Just got the stats from my mother’s house. Most views were from Trulia (which I have never heard of), then Zillo, and others and Realtor.com was last. What does this mean? I hope I don’t need to worry because we have 2 contracts and go to close on Feb 23.

    Reply
  • Antoinette Arsic via Facebook

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    What I HATE about Realtor.com is that I just want to browse and use a parametric search. Then, when it comes to the results of the search based on area or whether or not it is a foreclosure depending on the criteria I choose, it then matches me up with an agency! I want a non-agency-related search result that I can browse with no pressure. It used to be that you could do that at another site mls or something.com, but not any more.

    Reply
  • Heather Elias via Facebook

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    John my main point is that the decision should belong to the *consumer* where his/her listing is placed, not the agent. Pizzas are a horrible example because they are not co-broked through two competing companies. That is strictly product delivery.

    Reply
  • Heather Elias via Facebook

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    Antoinette, well, I’m guessing if your mom’s home is under contract, the stats don’t matter. 🙂 And if you want the non-agency related search, use Trulia or Zillow, that’s part of why home buyers like to use them.

    Reply
  • Antoinette Arsic via Facebook

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    Yeah, I don’t get why realtor.com will assign, say “Reston,” to one agency and another locale to another. Then you don’t get to see all the listings. I think it has changed for the worse in the last 5 to 7 years. Good point about consumer choice – I’m not complaining because we got good traffic and 2 contracts right away, but I wasn’t consulted about where to list. But I would hope that since I don’t live in Va Beach and the realtor does I could trust his choices. But, you’re right, stats don’t matter with a contract or 2.

    Reply
  • Heather Elias via Facebook

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    Antoinette ,are you talking about the advertising that displays in the sidebars? Because you aren’t assigned to a company when you search there; and Realtor.com displays all of the listings directly from the multiple listing service feed.

    Reply
  • Antoinette Arsic via Facebook

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    No, it’s like you have to fill in information to see results of foreclosures in that area, but only from one realtor. It was weird but a couple of months ago.

    Reply

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Michael and Heather Elias are full time real estate professionals and licensed REALTORS at Century 21 Redwood Realty. They sincerely hope you enjoy reading this blog, and would love the opportunity to work with you.



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