Z. That will be the ticker symbol when Zillow’s IPO takes place today.
The street is excited. In fact Zillow is the IPO pick of the week on many financial websites. Below are a few bullet points as to why from Seeking Alpha.
Sounds great. But does it really matter to YOU?
I would argue that unless you are actually planning on purchasing their stock for your portfolio, your life will not be any different once Zillow is officially a publicly traded company than it was while they were privately held..
For this article I have decided to pull together the things that are happening with Zillow right now that CAN help your business immediately. I have been really impressed with the free tools Zillow has rolled out for real estate agents over the last year and feel like it will be valuable for you to add some, if not all, to your online marketing efforts.
Think of it as if they owe you one for all of those tough conversations they created for you around values.
Here are my 5 must use Zillow items currently available to agents:
You Need A Zestimate Objection Script
I have had conversations with 1000’s of real estate agents who really dislike Zillow. They say it comes up in conversation with clients a lot. Here is typically how the talk unfolds:
“Zillow said my home was worth A and you say Mr. Agent that it is worth B. Zillow’s Zestimate is higher than your expert opinion and thus must be correct. My home is the most special home in the neighborhood I mean did you see the new countertops we put in? You are a car salesman Mr. REALTOR bother someone else.” Sound familiar?
So here is my advice on this point. Below is a screen shot of the chart where Zillow publicly displays their accuracy by national, state, county and city levels. I put a link over to this specific page on their site inside the chart below so you can see how they fair in your backyard.
If you have not been keeping track Zillow has gotten a lot better at their guessing, tweaking the algorithm recently. Currently they are at an overall margin of error nationally of 8.5%. Appraisers often admit that they can not be more accurate than within 5%.
I would highly advise that when you get the Zestimate objection you are armed with this knowledge and present it in a fashion that makes you appear more trusted advisor and less Buddy King.
My response to the Z topic would include “Oh Zillow? I love that site as well. Did you see the page where they actually refer to our county? The margin of error is currently X. It can be helpful for US to factor that in as we move towards pricing your home strategically. I am sending you the link to check it out right now.”
I am no Mike Ferry, but when there is a common question/objection that surfaces in ANY sales position it just makes sense to be prepared.
Stop letting it bother you and instead start using the information Zillow provides. Data can assist with building trust. Trust me.
They Are Winning The Mobile Arms Race So Leverage Their Apps
I came across this video of Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco this year. The guy really gets how important mobile is and will be to the real estate industry going forward as is evident in his talk which I encourage you take a moment and watch. Mobile has truly impacted Zillow’s entire business model. In fact, they are taking design elements from their mobile apps and making their desktop website less clunky and more streamlined as a testament to the feedback they have gotten, specifically around their iPad app.
Zillow is on more mobile devices and in front of more consumers via mobile than anyone else in the space. That to me says a lot. A takeaway for me was the way Rascoff explained why it was so important for them to even be on the Blackberry while everyone else is hyper focused on iPhone, Android and iPad. Imagine if your website was not compatible with Firefox? Would you be okay with that? Really a valid point that many are not making. Below is a screenshot of their mobile product line. Get the Zillow apps on your device ASAP so the consumer is not beating you to the punch (all of them are free to download). Per Sara Bonert, director of Broker relations for Zillow, consumers used Zillow apps more than 8.8 million times in May of this year viewing more than 1.7 million homes per day or 21 per second!
Zillow Ratings System Quickly Becoming The Yelp Of Real Estate
Zillow’s Bonert announced on ActiveRain back in December of 2010 that they would be adding a ratings element to their site. Because they were not the first large site to do this, the Houston Association of Realtors or HAR usually gets the pioneer badge on this subject, I feel many overlooked the impact this has had on our industry.
We are living in a peer recommendation world (think Yelp, Google Places, Facebook, Twitter) where reviews are necessary online. Not having reviews from past clients for yourself on Zillow RIGHT NOW is a big mistake and should be corrected immediately. I can prove the importance of this subject matter with one image which I have inserted below. Who would you call?
Widgets That Work
If your website or social media presence is not generating any leads right now (no data but that would encompass a lot of people if I had to guess) then you may want to look at some of the really useful widgets that Zillow offers to agents for free.
Options include contact forms, reputation/reviews, maps of your specific listings, rentals, Zestimate charts, mortgage calculators and many more. All widgets can be added to your site for free here with just a few clicks. There are even easy to install WordPress and Facebook specific options that can really improve your overall web presence quickly. Below are a few of my favorites:
Zillow Is Helping You Reach More Than Just Zillow Eyeballs
There is a battle happening right now regarding data rights and usage. We will be covering it in depth in the coming weeks and months from a variety of perspectives.
As an agent, it is surely important to get as much quality exposure as possible for your listings.
Many REALTORS have used the services of Postlets to accomplish just that. There was also a Postlets Pro paid option that provided additional features many based around analytics and tracking. Zillow recently acquired Postlets and have removed all costs to agents for usage of the full capabilities of this powerful syndication software.
While you may have an opinion around listing data rights I can assure you that your clients could not care less. They want their home exposed to as many people as possible, as professionally as possible. The Zillow/Postlets relationship makes that easy and free for agents to do.
I for one can say I am really proud that a real estate technology company is getting this much buzz from Wall Street and the mainstream media. Groupon, LinkedIn and Facebook have dominated the IPO buzz. Now we have our player. Zillow CEO Rascoff is even ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ.
IPO talk makes for great headlines, just not sure it really matters to most agents. I would like to think the tips and tools in this article do.
Using any of the Zillow options mentioned?
Buying their stock?
Let us know in the comments below.