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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

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.

When do I upload my photos to my MLS listing

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

The best time to upload your MLS photos is before the MLS listing goes active. The easiest way to do this is to upload the photos to our pre listing manager at http://www.congressrealty.com/Flat-Fee-MLS-Listings/PreListing/default.aspx. (From this same interface you can also add your remarks.) An ideal MLS photo is approximately 480×640 in size. If you prefer, you can also email your photos prior to returning your listing paperwork to info@congressrealty.com. If you do not upload your photos prior to the MLS listing going active, you can upload your photos anytime after the MLS listing is active by visiting the private client area of our website and logging into your account.

Why do I want to include my photos at the start of my listing?   MLS listings with photos get more views from Realtors(R) and the public. It’s a fact. When your listing originally goes live, you want the photos to be there with the initial data. Secondly, 3rd party sites like Zillow and Trulia are notorious for only pulling one feed from the data source. As a result, if you do not upload photos with the original post, sites like Zillow can make it difficult to upload photos at a later time.

 

Uploading Photos – Timing is everything

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, October 8th, 2010

It is almost always in your best interest as a seller to upload your photos at the same time your listing goes active. The reason for this is simple, many 3rd party sites pull data from the MLS the moment the property first goes active. If photos are missing, you run the risk of multiple 3rd party sites displaying your listing without photos. How do you avoid this problem? Simple, use our prelisting manager to upload remarks before faxing or emailing your paperwork. If you have any trouble with our prelisting manager, email your photos to info@congressrealty.com prior to sending in your listing documents.

I’m coming around on Virtual Tours

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, July 30th, 2010

In the past, I’ve never been a real fan of virtual tours for most properties. My thought process was that plenty of well lit photos from the homeowner will do the job and give the viewer what they are looking for. 2 things are changing my stance on this. The first is that the overall quality of virtual tour production is going up. I must admit, these tours are starting to consistently look really really good. 2nd, sellers occassionally take and submit awful photos. 

I’ve gotten to the point where if a seller doesn’t own a quality digital camera or they have difficulty emailing photos, I almost always recommend a virtual tour. The advantage here is not just the virtual tour itself, but also the photographer will take your still shots for you and email them to us for uploading to the MLS.  The difference in a listing with quality well lit photos and dim grainy photos is night and day. Many times you can talk the photographer into taking addtl photos for you or even tip them a few bucks and ask them to take a plethora of extra shots.

Realtor.com Searches Up

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, August 25th, 2008

http://www.inman.com/news/2008/08/22/realtorcom-sees-search-surge-in-some-markets

This is a great read for those interested in potential future trends. As expected, buyers are beginning to show more and more interest in distressed markets. Las Vegas, Oakland, etc… are seeing a surge in buyer activity and will most likely continue to do so. Certainly many online lookers are not qualified buyers looking to purchase today, however, the article does show us that there are many people out there on the fence or at least interested in getting back into the market in the future. Looking at the other side of the coin, Realtor.com just released their new search feature and they are planning on publishing their Beta Search in the upcoming months. With competition high between Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Craigslist, etc.. Realtor.com will take advantage of every opportunity for press coverage.

Private Client cont

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, July 7th, 2008

In addition to having access to your state specific forms, the private client area acts as a portal for the seller to manage their listing. From this interface, the seller can change their price, add photos, add remarks, even add Realtor.com enhancements. Furthermore, the seller has the ability to submit specific questions through our customer service tab. Open houses can be added, including tag lines, refreshments being served, etc… The private client area serves as a one stop resource for the seller to fully manage their listing from activation to close of escrow.

When a seller lists a property with Congress Realty, they receive an email entitled “Listing is Active”. This email will have the seller’s MLS #, as well as the seller’s login and password to the private client area.

Private Client Area

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, July 4th, 2008

The Congress Realty Private Client area gives our sellers access to the forms they need to complete their transaction. These forms are available for download anytime of day, any day of the year. This service is included with our basic listing package. Let’s say a buyer walks up to your door Saturday night wanting to make an offer. You simply log into our account and print off the docs you need from your home computer. Any form you could need will be uploaded to the private client area for your benefit. Purchase contracts, disclosures, counter offers, etc… it’s all right there for you. The wonderful thing about the private client area is that it is accessible at anytime for your convenience. If you ever have any questions concerning how to download or print these documents, just let us know and we will walk you through it.

The forms in the private client area are state specific to you and your property. Thus, if you are an Arizona seller, your account will automatically have the AZ docs uploaded to your login area, on the other hand, TX sellers will automatically have the TX docs uploaded to their login area….. and so on for all sellers in various states.

How do I attract more Realtor.com hits to my listing?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, March 28th, 2008

2 things to remember: Viewers will always click on what they see first. Secondly, those enhanced listings w/ more photos will receive more click throughs than those w/out photos. Realtor.com displays enhanced listings first on search results. As a result, these listings will receive twice as much traffic as non enhanced listings. If you visit Realtor.com, run any search on your preferred area. You will notice in the search results that those properties on the 1st page have yellow tag lines, additional photos, etc… These are enhanced listings. As a seller, to maximize your page views, you want to be right here on the first few pages w/ the yellow border and additional information.

http://www.congressrealty.com/p2.jpg

Congress Realty now on Technorati

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, January 28th, 2008

Congress Realty’s blog now appears on Technorati, a major blog search engine.  If you are a member, we encourage you to add us to your favorites at: www.technorati.com/faves

Our goal is to provide our customers, prospective customers, and others with valuable real estate information and news, in a much more candid tone than competing Realtor sites and publications.  Feel free to post comments.