Zillow Adds Pre-Market Foreclosures to Home Search Tool
Whether you love or hate Zillow as a Real Estate Agent (I think you should embrace it and Trulia), they are pressing forward with their overall business model which is to become the #1 Real Estate Website in the country. Zillow plans to retain their current number one position by improving the tools and information made available to both buyers and sellers in the real estate market. Last week Zillow announced a new property search capability for properties currently at some stage of foreclosure but not listed for sale. Zillow added 1.2 million per-foreclosure and foreclosed properties on their website. Zillow is trying to use this feature to not only help buyers and sellers easily access public information more freely and easily, but also use this to help connect buyers with a Local Foreclosure Specialist who can then help them in the process of locating a foreclosure property to purchase or sell.
I expect to see Zillow continue to add more features and tools to assist buyers and sellers currently in the housing market and finding new ways to help them connect with local Realtors. This strategy is key to Zillow remaining the No. 1 Real Estate Website in the country and to stay ahead of Trulia which is also aggressively improving it’s website’s tools and features. Together, Zillow and Trulia are dominate forces in the search for real estate online and the remaining real estate websites, such as, Realtor.com, Homes.com, and Zip Realty are all playing catch-up.
So what will this mean for Realtors? It’s simple, Zillow and Trulia are changing the way buyers and sellers access real estate information to better inform them on pricing and availability of properties for sale in the market. There is no doubt this is placing more power in the hands of the consumer because “information is power”. Just 10 years ago the pendulum was very much in the other direction where Real Estate Agents controlled the flow of information via the MLS and the supplied that to their clients in the form of Listings Reports, CMA’s and/or Sales Data for a given area. Buyers and Sellers had no choice but to use a Real Estate Agent to access this data.
From a consumer standpoint this is a good thing. A better informed consumer is able to make a more quality informed decision on purchasing or selling a property based on their own research. In today’s world where consumers go online first for many other types of products and services it was only a matter of time until this became the case in Real Estate Searches.
Zillow & Trulia dominate Online Property Searches
From a Realtor standpoint this is still a good thing. Realtors in today’s market can take advantage of the information shift by focusing on Value-Added Services and showcasing their direct knowledge and experience in the home buying/selling process. A real estate transaction cannot completely take place by simply entering in your credit card information and then purchasing the property! There are property viewings, price negotiations, property inspections, contracts, etc…. all of which are more helpful to a buyer or seller when a quality real estate agent(s) are part of the transaction.
In training Realtors across the country I am often asked why do you promote or talk so well of Zillow and Trulia for Realtors? Well the answer is simple, they have changed real estate searches and how consumers conduct them and use the information to make their purchasing or selling decisions. This is not going to change. In fact, consumers will continue to be offered more information online than they are currently getting. We cannot stop that from happening nor should we. Real Estate Agents should embrace the trend and focus on how to capitalize on it.
Please let me know what you think of this article and if you have more questions on my Zillow and/or Trulia Training for Real Estate Agents please feel free to contact me.
Zillow & Trulia Training for Real Estate Agents by George Cuevas