Zillow is now tying agents’ transaction histories to their Zillow profiles, bringing the real estate industry another step closer to transparent agent productivity metrics.
“By reviewing an agent’s past sales, consumers are empowered with even more information to choose the right agent and research homes,” explained Zillow’s national outreach manager, Brad Andersohn, in a YouTube video introducing the new feature.
Trulia began allowing agents to add their past sales to their profiles in early 2012. Zillow’s latest initiative comes on the heels of realtor.com’s introduction this month of an AgentMatch tool that ranks agents in two test markets by city, ZIP codes and neighborhoods based on their transaction histories using MLS sold data and other info.
Many agents are skeptical of realtor.com’s experiment with AgentMatch and similar tools that attempt to use statistics to rank agents, saying that statistics can be inaccurate, and difficult for a person or algorithm to interpret.
The emergence of Zillow’s new past sales feature could give weight to realtor.com President Errol Samuelson’s pitch to agents — that consumers are demanding agent transaction info and realtor.com, the official site of the National Association of Realtors, should be leading the charge.
Unlike Trulia’s past sales feature, Zillow automatically adds an agent’s past sales to their profiles from those it surfaces by cross-checking an agent’s active listings on Zillow with county transaction records.
Agents have the ability to add past sales to their profiles as well, and can edit, delete, and change the price or date of any home sale linked with them on the site.
Rolled out earlier this fall, Zillow’s new feature automatically adds past sales it detects to an agent’s profile, revealing its address and a link to its detail page, whether the agent represented the buyer or seller, the date of the sale and, in states that allow it, the home’s sale price. In these cases, Zillow sends the agent an email that lists the home sales it suspects the agent handled and gives the agent 30 days to respond, to either change the sale’s details or remove the agent’s name from its record, keeping it from showing up on the agent’s profile.
If the agent takes no action in the the allotted 30 days, Zillow begins displaying the home sales on the agent’s profile, which also includes a map marking the location of the agent’s past sales (and their current active listings).
Zillow highlights the number of recent sales tied to the agent — those within the last 12 months — in the agent’s profile and shows the count under their names in the ads agents may have on the site.
Each home can be claimed by agents only twice, once by the agent who represented the buyer and once by the agent who represented the seller, noted Jay Thompson, Zillow’s director of industry outreach, in a lengthy discussion about the new feature in the “Raise The Bar” Facebook Group.
“A transaction side could be posted under either a “team profile” or an individual agent profile, but not both,” Thompson noted.
Agents can dispute inaccuracies in past sales by “flagging” the sale in an agent’s profile, which prompts Zillow to look into the potential inaccuracy.
Zillow, Thompson said, is working on making the tool accurate for all agents, including teams, which sometime report sold listings to one person even though several agents contributed to the sale.