Most buyers and sellers do not realize that Zillow busts agent marketing budgets. Let’s explain what Zillow is and what they do.
What is Zillow?
Zillow is an online portal that collects leads from buyers and sellers by displaying property information from the MLS. They made their mark by offering the Zestimate which was an online value generator for homes across America. Homeowners were intrigued by the Zestimate because it was a way for them to track their home value over time. It wasn’t always accurate, but that didn’t matter. It was exciting.
Later on Zillow got into the homebuying business and bought homes to flip. They later discarded this business because they admitted they were unable to accurately predict a home’s value, nor the future direction of a home’s value. So now they pretty much stick to selling leads to agents.
How Zillow Busts Agent Marketing Budgets
Zillow collects a fee on every transaction for agents in their Flex program. The fee in the Cape Coral/Fort Myers area is 40% on homes over $300,000. It is 35% between $225,000-$299,000. Most home sales in Lee County are above $300k. What this means is the agent or team pays 40% of the listing side commission to Zillow first. Then, they must split with their broker. If there is money left over, they may have money to pay employees, rent, signs, phone, internet, gas, car, etc. Then there is advertising. If an agent is paying 40% off the top to Zillow, and another 10-50% to their broker, this isn’t much money left for advertising a home, or for buyers.
Agents become dependent on Zillow for everything. They receive buyer and seller leads, and they have little to no money left over to acquire leads or advertise in other places. Zillow has another program called Zillow Premier which allows agents to pay a monthly fee. I know some agents paying $20,000/Mo for this program. They avoid the high referral fee on each transaction, but again the money is sucked up by the monthly spend. The agents become dependent on Zillow for leads because so much of their budget is tied to one source. To be fair, there are other agents paying $5,000/Mo or less, but they get even fewer leads that way.
In the Way
All Zillow does is get between the agent and the transaction. Zillow is not alone, there are other online portals like Homes.com, Realtor.com. etc. Each of these charges leads back to agents in some form or fashion. What if that money went to advertising a home instead of online portals like Zillow?
Who is to Blame?
Zillow is in business to make a profit. Some agents like the easy button where they acquire leads to work on for a price. Some agents don’t have or maintain a client database. They are transactional agents. They love working the deal, but then that’s it. Relational agents like to keep in touch or hold client events. It’s more of an ongoing relationship versus a one and done transaction. Consumers do not know the business and they like some of the features of Zillow. They don’t realize many of those features are available in other places. Other sites may have even better features, but Zillow spends so much advertising themselves that consumers find their way there. Zillow bids up the keywords and consumers click on the first link they see in some cases. So, nobody is to blame, and yet look at who benefits.
We Do Not Advertise on Zillow
The Ellis Team quit advertising on Zillow years ago. Our website has some better features www.LeeCountyOnline.com and www.SWFLhomevalues.com and we prefer to spend our advertising dollars on our clients and our clients homes. I am sure there are some very successful agents who still advertise on Zillow. We choose not to. Zillow’s success makes no difference to us as we do not use them. We do not blame other agents who do. We just want consumers to realize where their commission dollars are going and decide for themselves whish way is best for them to buy or sell.
Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 We’d love to talk to you about how we advertise your home and get Top Dollar. We’ve been voted the Best in Real Estate for 11 straight years by News Press readers.
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