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Archive for March, 2017

How does someone contact me… the seller?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

# 1 question we get when people call to inquire about listing a property with Congress Realty

The MLS listing has the seller phone # listed directly and instructs the other agent to call the seller directly at their phone #. It’s pretty much impossible for an agent to miss the seller phone # in the listing.

3rd party websites are a different story. Please keep in mind that this is true for ALL Listing companies. This is not specific to just Congress Realty. 3rd party websites like Realtor.com will not display an owner phone #. It’s impossible. No company can put an owner phone # on Realtor.com. What makes Congress Realty unique is our phone forwarding system. Realtor.com WILL post our forwarding #. If the seller opts for the forwarding system, the phone system will route the call to the seller directly, similar to an operator. Please keep in mind, this only applies to our phone #. Realtor.com is a for profit company for themselves. They are not there to help FSBO’s or any one specific brokerage. Thus, Realtor.com does sell leads to different parties in order to generate revenue to Realtor.com. Congress Realty, nor any brokerage, has any control over this. This is also true of Zillow. Once a property hits the MLS and Zillow pulls in this data, Zillow will not display an owner phone #. Prior to 2021, we did have a work around to place a seller phone # on the Zillow site. At the beginning of 2021, Zillow became its own brokerage, and thus, closed this loophole for everyone.

Why don’t other companies tell sellers upfront that their # will not appear on Realtor.com? Simply put, I don’t know. The rule has been in place for Realtor.com for years.

90% or more of your activity comes from the MLS directly. When a buyer goes to Zillow or Redfin, etc… typically they do their own search, find what interest them, and then contact their Realtor(R). The Realtor(R) then goes to the MLS to find the price, info, commission being paid, etc… and then the Realtor(R) schedules the showing. Inman news just reported that NAR was citing 90% of all buyers who bought a property in 2016 used a buyer’s agent. (Realtor(R)) The fact is… the MLS is the # 1 location to sell a home and the seller phone # is listed right there for the agent to call to show.

Zillow Rumors and Thoughts

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Zillow has struggled over the years with the ability to post accurate data. In addition, Zillow has also struggled with getting updated data well after sites like Realtor.com… For example, Zillow is the last to post new listings, new price updates, etc… when compared to sites like Redfin or Realtor.com.

First question… Why? Zillow doesn’t have agreements with every MLS in the United States to pull data directly from the MLS feed. Realtor.com does… This results in Realtor.com being first to post updated data. In markets where Zillow doesn’t get the information automatically, they rely upon the agents to update the Zillow site. Agents always update the MLS before they update Zillow and many simply don’t update Zillow. The reason? Real Estate still starts and finishes with the MLS for 99% of all Realtors(R).

Second Question – Why does Zillow struggle to get accurate data in markets where they DO have agreements with the MLS? The answer here is a bit more complicated. Even if your MLS syndicates data to Zillow, an agent has to authorize and “opt in” to the Zillow sharing feed. Some agents choose not to do this and other agents just simply don’t know how to go about it.

So how is Zillow going to fix this problem? They really can’t do anything that is 100% guaranteed to fix the problem but they are certainly trying. After a few weeks of rumors, Zillow finally announced they will no longer allow an agent to post a single listing directly onto the Zillow website. (as of May 1st) All listings from agents posted on Zillow must come from the MLS. The thinking behind this is that if you force agents to submit data to Zillow through the MLS, the information will be much more timely and accurate. The negative… if you force agents to opt into the Zillow syndication feed from the MLS, will this cause friction b/w agents and Zillow?

What’s next for Zillow? Zillow has a serious problem with FSBO’s and they are searching for answers on how to fix this. The rumor floating around right now is that Zillow is going to simply ban FSBO’s from posting directly to the Zillow site. The reason is that FSBO’s are much more likely to post a listing for sale and then simply forget about it.. This results in all sorts of anger directed at Zillow. Look at it this way, you just bought a FSBO home and moved in… you notice people driving by your home, looking through your windows, and possibly even knocking on your door. You discover Zillow still shows the home you just bought active for sale b/c the previous owner never updated the Zillow website, you’re going to be very upset.

Could Zillow really ban FSBO’s? I find it very unlikely but understand the reason Zillow is considering this action. Not only would it clean up the data, it would possibly build a better relationship with Realtors b/c it gives Realtors one more advantage to convince a FSBO to list with that agent…. Meaning, if you want to post your home on Zillow, you have to employ the services of an agent. Again, I’d be surprised if this really develops but the rumor is definitely floating out there.

For what it’s worth, Zillow is publicly denying that their is any truth to the rumor of no longer accepting FSBO listings as of this morning. That said, FSBO’s are finding it harder than ever to post a listing on the Zillow site. For the last week, Zillow has been giving server errors to countless homeowners’ trying to post their listing. In addition, those that do get it listed are having to wait days for Zillow to approve the listing and post it live. Zillow’s response? They review every listing for legitimacy before allowing it to go live on the Zillow website. Zillow’s claims they are simply slammed with listings to review and this is causing the delay.