Inman events are the best way to connect, learn and grow. Join us this week for Inman Connect New York, in person or virtually. Then, continue to gain insights and build your network in August at Inman Connect Las Vegas. Reserve your ticket now, prices will go up!
Zillow President Susan Daimler on Tuesday praised the “essentialism” of real agents, while also subtly knocking rival CoStar.
Daimler made the comments during a session of Inman Connect dubbed “Is It Time for the Real Estate Super App?” The session did touch on the concept of an all-in-one phone app that combines various Zillow offerings such as home tours and financing, with Daimler ultimately saying the goal is to put “together a bunch of solutions in the same ecosystem.”
But much of the session focused instead on the state of the industry. Early on, for instance, Daimler said that Zillow is “listening to brokers.” And, speaking to the audience that was mostly made up of agents and brokers, she said the company believes in “the essentialism of you.”
“Zillow at this moment in time is more bullish on its partnership with the industry,” she also said.
The comments are significant because Zillow has, at times, had something of a contentious relationship with segments of the agent community. That conflict has flared up recently as Zillow has made major acquisitions, such as of ShowingTime last year, with agents sometimes expressing concern about Zillow’s influence and control over the industry.
Daimler’s comments Tuesday are unlikely to put that conflict permanently to rest, but she did repeatedly argue that the existing agent model is likely to stick around. That point again came up when moderator Brad Inman asked her about rival CoStar, which is directly taking on Zillow in New York City with a new home listing portal. CoStar itself has stoked a rivalry with Zillow, for example at a previous Inman Connect when CoStar CEO Andy Florance implied the company “hijacks” listings and “blackmails” agents over listings.
When Inman asked Daimler about CoStar’s challenges to Zillow, she replied by asking what CoStar’s Zillow rival is called.
“I don’t know the name, do you?” she asked Brad Inman.
She went on to say that “competition is great” and that it “keeps us all on our toes.” She never mentioned CoStar by name, but did say that “we feel really great about our philosophy.”
“We believe buyers should be represented by a separate agent than the sellers,” Daimler continued. “That is a very different philosophy than other platforms.”
Daimler went on to say that Zillow does not believe that the “double dipping agent” — or in other words dual agency in which the same person represents both a buyer and a seller — is the future.
“We don’t believe in that philosophy and we don’t believe that’s where the industry is going,” she added.
Daimler also weighed in on Zillow’s exit from iBuying, which the company announced last fall. She explained that Zillow leadership was ultimately unified in its conclusion that iBuying “was not for us,” and that in the end dropping iBuying was “the right decision.” However, she also said that being a part of an innovative company means taking risks.
“If you’re not swinging then you’re not going to hit,” she added, “and sometimes you’re going to miss.”