It was the call you never want to get: “I’m going to lose the listing.”
We see it over and over again; many homes sell quickly. But when they don’t, the client often wonders if the home is being showcased adequately online. This is when the scramble begins. Even the most comprehensive of brokerage seller reports might not account for all of the activity on listings or capture every link.
Reports from the MLS organizations are similar, and a service such as ListHub don’t capture the full breadth of everywhere the property has been exposed or how it has been responded to. Keeping track of your listing’s journey online takes a bit work, and it’s crucial that you know your syndication.
Although you might know how syndication works, your client likely will not. They know about Zillow or realtor.com or other sites that have been advertised to them, but they likely don’t know which sites have more listings and about the issues of accuracy and speed that continue to plague our industry.
The more you can speak to the complexities of how the property will be syndicated, the more confident they will feel.
Before the listing
Many agents might not even know where to begin to answer this question, which is why it’s important to know ahead of time where your listing is appearing.
Most listing presentations have a page that details all the places a property is syndicated, but it makes sense to review these sites in advance and know how your listings are displayed and marketed.
Are your brokerage listings distributed from the MLS, through ListHub, using direct feeds to Zillow or any referral networks or through IDX? It’s important to understand not just the where but the how of your distribution network.
It’s also a good idea to Google the address ahead of time and see if there are any existing materials from a previous listing and what the off-market Zestimate and automated valuation models (AVMs) are displaying. Many clients look at this before calling real estate agent, and some set up their own “Make Me Move” price on Zillow before deciding to opt for a traditional sale.
When the listing goes live
Once the listing has been live in your MLS 24 hours, it makes sense to check a few sites and make sure that the information is showing correctly.
Your sellers will likely check Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com. So make sure the listing is live and that bedroom, bath, square footage, HOA fees, local schools, etc., are all accurate. That way you can correct them before your client notices anything amiss, and you can make sure your contact information is listed.
Also, do a Google search for the address on another computer or browser to check results and see which listings show up first. Your client might be concerned if another brokerage’s IDX feed is showing first but you can explain that this is a way that you are providing maximum exposure for their listing.
Each week, as part of an update to the sellers, review the main sites, make sure the data is still correct, and review any details on traffic, views and favorites that is available.
Sometimes a lot of views and a small number of favorites can mean that people are seeing the home but that something about the listing isn’t prompting additional inquiry. This can help provide data for explaining if additional action needs to be taken. Sometimes even changing the lead image can have a significant impact.
If changes are made, it’s important to explain to clients that they don’t happen instantly across all networks. It can take 24 to 48 hours for changes to syndicate out, and they can linger longer than that in cached search results.
After the listing transacts
Make sure that the listing shows as sold across all portals and is appearing correctly with your profile. In some cases, buyers might ask to have interior photos of the home removed or all marketing materials including videos and property websites taken down.
A nice gesture (if you don’t plan to use the URL for future marketing) is to offer to transfer the property web domain to the new owner.
The world of syndication and distribution is always changing. MLS and association rules on how listings display vary greatly.
The coming of Upstream and the National Association of Realtors’ Advanced Multilist Platform (AMP) might end up simplifying some of the data issues that confuse the industry. It’s a vastly complicated universe but one that your clients rely on you for help in navigating.