For much of April 21, Zillow.com was down. When one visited the site, he or she got the message:
Sprucing and Fixing
Our hammers are out Fixing important details Adding shim for trim
(We’ll be back online as soon as possible, but for updates, please check the Zillow Facebook Page.)
Is it “World War Z” or “Zapocalypse?” This message was some comfort, yet the Facebook page just showed lighthearted posts with photos to pick from entitled, “Which sunroom would you spend time in?” The question during these dark hours for many was more like,”Would the sun even dare to come out again if Zillow is gone?”
Was it the North Koreans, again? Maybe Rupert Murdoch?
Would real estate be bought and sold ever again?
OK, sure — I am having some fun with this, but though Zillow.com was down and out for much of the day, MLSs worked just fine. Trulia even worked well, even though the juggernaut competition (Zillow) was not functioning while their engineers hastily worked on the problems.
I still got referral phone calls from clients who had given my name out the old-fashioned way — thank you, Brian Buffini, for a better way of life and business. We still did business.
Why? Because real estate agents and brokers sell real estate. Zillow doesn’t sell homes — we do. It is one of many portals online where we agents market homes. But as a professional in the real estate industry, I have a long list of all the places where I market a listing for sale on my website, and Zillow is just one of them.
Yes, Zillow is at the top and has a lot of Google love, but it is just one among many. It markets, but I sell. The key here is that when a “website” is down, I was still doing what I normally do most days because I’m an agent. Making calls, following up, showing houses to homebuyers and working for my clients to help them achieve their goals.
I can’t tell you how many times I was told by one client, “You just don’t know what the house is going to be like until you see it in person.” No matter what it “shows” like online, buying a home is a personal experience, and buyers benefit the most when seeing homes in person. That’s where homes are bought and sold.
Hank Bailey is an associate broker with Re/Max Legends and a Realtor for more than a decade who provides buyer’s agent representation and seller listing services related to residential real estate.