Is Syndication Making the Agent & Broker Less Relevant?

I read a nice post today by Brad Blumberg from SmarterAgent.com and thought I’d throw my 2 cents in… As the debate about whether brokers should or should not syndicate their listings rages on, I thought it would be a good idea to weigh the Pros and Cons.

For the Consumer:

Pros:

  • Have more ways to search for properties online (how many ways do we really need to access the same information?).
  • Prospects do not need to contact a broker or agent to view the available homes.
  • Prospects don’t need to login or register with a local Broker to view MLS data.

 

Cons:

  • Data is not always accurate or up to date.
  • Property Value sites are not very accurate giving misleading information to consumers.

A few of the above mentioned “Pros” might sound like “Cons” if you are an agent or broker …

For the Brokers and Agents:

Pros:

  • Listing gets more exposure (But this information is the same in the MLS so if you are a buyer, wouldn’t you get the same information from your local agent?).

 

Cons:

  • Brokers have less control over where their listings appear and the accuracy of the information provided.
  • Buyers do not need to contact a local agent or broker to get property information.
  • Syndication sites will showcase other agents next to your listing – for a fee.
  • Local Agent and Broker sites have to compete with syndication sites AND now their own BRAND websites (see The Real Estate Network brought to you by MOVE).
  • Prospects do not need to contact a broker or agent to view the available homes.
  • Prospects don’t need to login or register with a local Broker to view MLS data.
  • If you want to get the leads that your listing generates, you will probably have to pay the syndication site a “Featured” Fee.

So what is the next step for Syndication Websites?

I wonder if sites like Zillow have considered charging a referral fee yet. Or, if they can claim they “found” the buyer, why not charge a referral fee or could they simply refer the buyer to a Zillow agent? Have the big brands or brokers considered this possibility?

 

2 comments
Brad Blumberg
Brad Blumberg

I think your pro's and con's are fair. My mom owned a brokerage so I always tend to think of things from the owner's perspective. I believe discussing the pro's and con's of being on Zillow could be handled on a client by client basis. I would love to hear how brokers and their agents do this, now. I think the valuations on Zillow should be discussed as that's why many consumers go there. Also I have never seen real data on the type of leads that come from the aggregators, do 1 out of 20 close, etc...do you get a lot of leads or only if you pay more for exposure.

Amanda
Amanda

Brad. I too have a broker mother so I can understand your point of view. We started syndicating our listing data to the large property portals a few years ago. Back then, the thought for us is that they would be sending traffic back to our sites. For a time this was the case, but lately they seem to be sending less ad less traffic back. We do get some leads but far less than we get from our company website and IDX.