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Conscious Uncoupling with Zillow

I had a call from my sales rep at Zillow.  She said was checking in to see how I was doing.  Actually, I think she called because she was notified that I increased my “spend” on Zillow in order to capture 109% of my market—who knew there was such a thing?  This special percentage must be reserved for the Premier-est of the Premier or the most desperate.   My response to the call was rather muted—how is a hostage to respond?   As a “Premier Agent”-aka “Paying Agent,"  I am loathe to answer in words of gratitude and appreciation that she anticipates.  Actually,  I had a vision of being chained to the wall in a damp stone basement and your captor yells down from the doorway,  “Hey, how’s it going down there"?  "Great! You do know I am paying for my survival, right"? It would only be an epic case of Stockholm Syndrome that would prompt me to respond with any measure of positivity. 

Zillow recently announced it would start flipping houses.  It will probably never see the light of day in Mansfield CT.   Zillow is currently trying it out in the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets.  This announcement was accompanied by a stock plunge of 8% so there is some trepidation afoot, at least among investors.  Shortly before launching the flipping program, Zillow announced that it costs $18,342.00 to sell a house, $13,357 of which is commission and taxes, the remainder going toward projects and repairs to get ready to sell.  It is interesting timing for their vigorous R&D and includes no mention of the fees paid to Zillow which may be rolled into the dramatically reduced sales price that a seller receives. 

I might be okay with this if 71% of their income was not from the aforementioned hostage program known as “Premier Agent.  There is no free lunch.  And using a Realtor continues to have merit:   I just put a property under deposit for $185,000 that the seller was prepared to sell quickly for $150,000 cash.  

 At Home Selling Team we offer a 120 day guaranteed sale program, where we buy it if it doesn’t sell.  The program is a good one for sellers who want to just be done with it and are okay getting less than market value —they can move on and we take on the risks and expenses of the sale.  Our pockets are surely not as deep as Zillow’s but we will honor the arrangement if it makes sense for both of us. 

All this leads me to our new website and our new marketing strategy to vault our franchise-free company to anywhere near the top of the cat shit piles in the bloated sandbox of real estate marketing.   My new financial investment in boosting my own website will directly correspond with rolling back my ransom payments to Zillow and Realtor.com. I am optimistic but also recognize that with the proliferation of real estate apps, key word monopolization and market trends, I may be pleading for a return to the pay to play arena. 

Fun facts I discovered in the sandbox:  Zillow spends an amazing $18,000 a month in Mansfield to capture leads.   Weichert.com spends $4,300 a month in Mansfield.  I can’t even come close on a dollar to dollar basis.  What I can do is to promote our professional full-time professional Realtors and their incredible reviews, our office culture and team approach to assist every HST client, and our scenic, progressive and environmentally-conscious community.  All that money can’t buy.