NEW YORK — Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, during a presentation today at the Real Estate Connect conference, made a case for why the real estate industry should feed real estate listings to popular search sites — including Zillow.com, Realtor.com and Trulia.com.
In the speech, which mirrored a Monday blog post by Rascoff at the ActiveRain.com online real estate community, titled, "The Importance of Strategic Distribution," he said it’s important to have a strategic approach vs. a shotgun approach to sending out listings, and he noted that discussion about real estate listings distribution isn’t likely to go away any time soon.
Minnesota-based Edina Realty, a subsidiary of HomeServices of America, reignited a heated debate on the issue of listings syndication when the company announced plans in November to pull listings from major real estate search portals Realtor.com and Trulia, with Edina Realty President and CEO Bob Peltier expecting the brokerage’s website to gain market share as a result.
Rascoff and other execs for major portal sites have questioned, though, whether any gain in market share is worth the overall loss in traffic and exposure to the online audience of homebuyers.
He encouraged the real estate industry to consider the importance of mobile consumption of real estate information by consumers, in particular, noting that about 30 percent of Zillow’s overall traffic is from mobile apps on weekdays, and that share grows to 40 percent on weekends.
"A decision not to put listings onto Zillow, Realtor.com or Trulia, or any other national major media sites, is tantamount to abandoning any hope of having a home shopper, a buyer, who uses a mobile device see your seller’s listing," Rascoff said.
The company’s research of its own site statistics also found that homes that received the most page views (in the top 10 percentile) tended to sell one month sooner than those in the bottom 10 percent for page views, and also sold closer to the list price.
Those brokers who worry about data quality should consider being the source for data feeds to third-party sites rather than allow agents to individually feed listings data to those sites, he also said.
And he said real estate brokers should consider which third-party sites provide the most exposure for listings and which ones have the most acceptable business rules in making choices about listings data distribution.
He said that, ultimately, the seller hired the listing agent and broker "to get that listing in front of as many buyers as possible so the home can sell at the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time."
And portal sites such as Zillow definitely draw lots of online consumers, he noted: "We bring this traffic to the table in these syndication discussions. It’s not like we showed up to the potluck with just a fork."