Episode 8: Pros and Cons of Zillow for the For Sale By Owner

Rob and Steve pull back the curtain a bit to share observations on the Pros and Cons of Zillow as it relates to the For Sale By Owner.

When it comes to selling your home, exposure is key. For the families that choose for sale by owner over a professional, reaching the same level of exposure can be not only challenging, but daunting. Enter in Zillow. Zillow provides the For Sale by Owner a free solution to the marketing and exposure game by allowing them to “list” their home online, complete with descriptions and photos. Zillow gathers information about the home from public records and posts that on behalf of the owner as well. These are all very much Pros.

The Cons might cast a shadow, however. Understand first that Zillow’s business model, and it is brilliant, is to sell advertising. Specifically to real estate agents. Typically, the average real estate agent is eager to spend money on anything out of fear. Fear that if they don’t, they will loose business. (Make sure if you are working with a real estate agent, that your agent is NOT just average.) Therefore, selling advertising comes easily to Zillow. Secondly, Zillow spends a ton on advertising themselves. Anything to make the real estate consumer to think they are the absolute best source is their game. So now, they gain the traffic. The agents know they have high traffic, so that’s why the agent spends a boat load on Zillow on the off change that they get the information of a potential buyer.

“But wait… how does the agent get the buyer’s information and why does that matter to me since I am a For Sale By Owner… I’m not working with and agent, and I am not willing to pay a commission.” … I’m glad you asked.

Because you have elected to put your home on Zillow, you have surrounded and inundated your potential buyer with advertising of local real estate professionals agents whom pay lots of money to take your buyers. (I can’t speak to all who advertise on Zillow and their professional qualities or lack thereof.) When your potential buyer visits your home on Zillow, they have had to received education on how to click this, then click that in order to contact you, the For Sale By Owner, directly. Fact is, most don’t because they never see those options. Instead, that buyer most likely clicks on “get more information” or “call now” or something like that. The result: they are connected with an agent who is advertising on Zillow. Yes, your chances of paying a commission just went up, and your free advertising on Zillow might be costing you more than you prefer; and to have that agent, and their skilled practice in the art of negotiation, manage to take more money from you. … Don’t freak out. Really, it’s ok.. you can take your home off Zillow at anytime. (Statistically, you’ll gain 12-15% more in equity when listing with a professional… maybe now you see why. Just maybe!?)

Secondly, price is key. Before you list with Zillow, take a look at their “zestimate” they have come up with for your home. I’ll make this short. If it is less than what you intend to list your home for, then don’t put it on Zillow. Think you are going to get traffic for you $300,000 home when they have is at $150000? (No lie, this happens.) I’ll save you the time… no traffic. Besides, that buyer who sees that number vs yours… if they write an offer, which number do you think they would prefer to have the home for?

Don’t be afraid of a professional real estate agent. They do not exist to take your money. Rather, they exist to provide professional guidance… and… believe it or not, to maximize your profit. Fact. (But make sure you are working with a “true professional,” but that’s for another day!)

Hosted by Steve Shuff, along with Rob St John. This Episode is sponsored by Bello Dimora Real Estate Professional of Keller Williams Louisville East (bellodimora.com) and Audible. Start your free trial of Audible by visiting www.audibletrial.com/realestateradionow.

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