Posts Tagged as zillow

Realtor.com Vows to Beat Zillow as Market Share Wars Start

Finding The Best Homes For you
Finding The Best Homes For you

Are we on the verge of a major power shift in the online real estate world? Zillow, once the young upstart overtaking the veteran Realtor.com, may be on the way to losing its crown to the former market share champ.

In 2011, Seattle-based Zillow surpassed Realtor.com in San Jose as the most valuable real estate site. The former still dominates market share, with an average of 141 million unique viewers per month compared to 48 million for the latter. Over the years, intense competition between the two even led to Realtor.com filing suit against Zillow when they lured away some key personnel.

However, Realtor.com received an influx of reserves when parent company Move, Inc. was acquired by News Corporation in November 2014. Since that time its user base has grown by 70 percent. Last quarter its average monthly users increased by 42 percent over the same time in 2014, compared to 22 percent for Zillow.

While speaking at last month’s Inman Connect conference in California, Realtor.com’s CEO Ryan O’Hara attributed the growth to leveraging the synergy between the site and News Corporation’s holdings, which include the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Fox. According to O’Hara, Realtor.com now has widgets or ads on 500 million pages, giving the site enviable visibility.

Move is attempting to capitalize on the momentum with a new look and national ad campaign launched in May. Realtor.com is being marketed as “the best – and truest – provider of real estate information.” For its part, Zillow plans to spend upwards of $100 million on advertising for 2015, with the bulk of it coming during the second half of the year.

Looking to make your own marketing efforts stand head and shoulders above the competition? At Properties Online we have all the tools you need to grow your own digital “empire.”

Should You Be Advertising Your Listings on Zillow? Part One

In the months following its merger with Trulia, Zillow Group is looking to cash in on the benefits of its former rival. Currently, 63 percent of new real estate listings are from existing Zillow advertisers, but the megalithic realty site wants more. Over the next several years, it will be making its play for your real estate listing advertising dollars job number one – to the tune of spending about $100 million this year to grow its audience. Are you game?

The benefits:
Unlike most broker sites which feature only local MLS listings, Zillow has close to complete coverage in most markets, including every property – not just those for sale or rent. This is a huge boon to buyers searching by neighborhood, giving them access to nearly 100 percent of property data versus the roughly 3 percent of homes listed on the MLS. With the addition of Trulia, the benefits are even greater, including consumer – not agent driven – information such as neighborhood crime maps and crime density as well as a far more robust offering of data on schools, market trends, past sales, and more.

The drawbacks:
Aside from the most obvious, including inaccurate ‘Zestimates,’ incorrect data, and paying for the leads garnered from your own Zillow listings, Zillow is far from a real estate listing advertising utopia. Barclays sites slowing web traffic growth resulting from market saturation as a long-term concern, and Zillow’s termination of agreement with ListHub in April hasn’t helped matters, resulting in declined listings following the dissolution, putting Zillow behind Realtor.com as it attempts to duplicate ListHub’s comprehensive and accurate real estate listing advertising database. The merger itself has also sent customers on the hunt for alternatives.

Make sure to check back Thursday as we continue “Should You Be Advertising Your Listings on Zillow?”

The Zillow-Trulia Merger & Your Real Estate Business

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will a Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will the Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

On July 28th, Zillow announced via a press release that “it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia, Inc. … in a stock-for-stock transaction. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.”

Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow, stated: “Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals. Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships, but it’s still early days in the world of real estate advertising on mobile and Web. This is a tremendous opportunity to combine our resources and achieve even more impressive innovation that will benefit consumers and the real estate industry.”

Pete Flint, Trulia’s CEO, then commented: “Trulia and Zillow have a shared mission and vision of empowering consumers while helping real estate agents, brokerages and franchisors benefit from technological innovation. By working together, we will be able to create even more value for home buyers, sellers, and renters, as well as create a robust marketing platform that will help our industry partners connect with potential clients and grow their businesses even more efficiently. Our two companies share complementary employee cultures with innovative, consumer-first philosophies and a deep commitment to create the best products and services for our industry partners.”

By the (self-reported) numbers:
• Zillow reported a record 83 million unique users across mobile and Web in June 2014.
• Trulia reported a record 54 million monthly unique users across its sites and mobile apps in June 2014.
• Approximately half of Trulia.com’s monthly visitors do not visit Zillow.com
• Approximately two-thirds of Zillow.com’s monthly visitors across all devices do not use Trulia.com.
• “Maintaining the two distinct consumer brands will allow the combined company to continue to offer differentiated products and user experiences, attract more users and maximize the distribution of free content across multiple platforms, apps and channels.”

The Zillow-Trulia merger might not create the “pricing power” juggernaut that many people fear. We’ve been reading comments by agents and brokers all over the web, and the fact is that many MLS boards and independent agents are starting to pull their listings – they simply don’t want to have to pay to advertise next to their own listings. There are also frequent rumblings about the data and Zestimates on Zillow being inaccurate.

Citron Research cites a deal struck between Realogy and Zillow/Trulia. Realogy—the world’s largest real estate agency, comprising Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s, ERA, Century 21 and Better Homes—secured a lucrative deal for its agents that “prohibits all other agencies from advertising on their listings” at a cost of less than 95% what any other agency pays. What’s more, Realogy is aggressively pursuing their own online offering that will compete head-to-head with Zillow-Trulia in the consumer-focused online real estate space, with a new product expected sometime in 2015.

“We believe that there is a space in there that we can compete in. It will have features like Zillow and Trulia. It will have features that you wouldn’t put on a real estate brokerage website. An example of that would be Zestimate that Zillow uses. There are certain features that we believe we can effectively do and be able to cast a net outcome, a consumer-oriented facing website arena and be able to capture leads, reviewing [scrub then] as I described, and then put them in the hands of our sales associates so we create the business opportunity,” NRT CEO and President Bruce Zipf is quoted as saying on May 9th during a Realogy Investor Day Q&A.

Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, has been quoted as saying, “It ought to be quite clear to a listing agent or a broker that it behooves their seller to have their listing displayed on Zillow and Trulia or sites that Zillow powers.”

Indeed, Zillow powers some of the internet’s major property search engines, and together with Trulia will indeed have a massive reach. But for how long, with competitors like Realogy making such significant strides, technologically and on behalf of its agents at the bargaining table? And how long before Keller Williams, Remax, Berkshire Hathaway, or other agencies demand and negotiate the same deals Zillow-Trulia have granted Realogy?

Many real estate professionals feel a loss of power in the face of the deal, which cements a growing resentment at having to pay Zillow to advertise their listings. Online forums reveal many of these agents calling for boycotts, while still others agree there isn’t another viable option.

Inman News contributing writer Joseph Rand writes in his Op-ed “Why Zulia doesn’t mean checkmate,” that: “The bottom line is that Zillow needs listings more than listings need Zillow. Which means that Zillow needs the people (brokers and agents) who take those listings more than they need Zillow.” I’d venture that he is bang on with that assessment.

Where does your business fit in? Do you use Zillow to obtain leads? One thing I can say with certainty is that this isn’t over, and we’ll be talking about the Zillow-Trulia merger for some time to come. How do you feel about all of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts from the proverbial trenches.

Build Your Professional Brand Through Question & Answer Sites

If you are ready to build your professional brand as a leading expert in real estate, one way to do so is through question and answer sites. These sites allow people to freely ask and answer questions on a particular topic. By doing this, you will demonstrate your expertise in your industry and ultimately become a recognized leader. This type of recognition can help you build the kind of authority that will ring in new clients, leads, referrals, partners, job offers, and any other goal you are trying to achieve online.

Need another reason to check out question and answer sites? If you create content for a real estate blog, question and answer sites can be a hotbed of potential topic ideas. One review of the top questions and answers can help your mind come up with great article ideas that could last you weeks or even months into your editorial calendar.

So what are the best question and answer sites for real estate professionals to take advantage of? Here are the top networks you should check out, follow, and participate in.

LinkedIn Answers

LinkedIn is the top social network for professionals, so if you aren’t already on LinkedIn, you should be! If you are on LinkedIn, then you can participate in the LinkedIn Answers section. Here, professionals come to get advice from others about topics ranging from administration to technology. For real estate professionals, there are categories for both Personal Real Estate and Commercial Real Estate

To answer questions, simply browse the open questions for each section, click on the bright yellow Answer button, and submit the best answer possible. You will also be able to include relevant website links with your answer. If you have a blog post or article on your website that further supports your answer, feel free to add the link to it in the Web Resources box.

The best part is the Experts section. Whenever someone visits these categories on LinkedIn Answers, anyone who has been voted to give the best answers will be listed as experts in that category.

This is definitely somewhere you will want your name to be!

Quora

The next stop for professional question and answer networks is Quora. You can create a profile simply by signing in with Facebook or Twitter. Then you can start following topics that fit your business, including the following real estate topics.

Quora allows you to add links to your answers. If you are including a link to an article on your own blog or website, be sure that you have sufficiently answered the question and offer the link only as support.

Also, be sure to completely fill out your profile, including a link to your website in the bio information. Also, after you’ve followed applicable topics, go to the topics section of your profile and add a biography for each topic. This can be your professional title or your website URL. It is important because it will show up next to your name when you answer a question. Just be sure that it is less than 35 characters long, as the rest will be truncated.

Yahoo Answers

While Yahoo Answers is probably the most popular question and answer site, it is also the one where you might encounter the least professional content. Nonetheless, they have a section on Renting & Real Estate.

You will need to create a Yahoo account, or sign in using your Yahoo account to begin. In order to include live links with your answers, you will need to accrue at least 250 points on the Yahoo Answers network. These points can be earned through answering questions, signing in to the network daily,and getting voted as the best answer to someone’s question.

Zillow Advice

In addition to searching for homes for sale in the US, Zillow offers their own question and answer site called Zillow Advice. Here, you can find questions on topics including Home Buying, Home Selling, Mortgages, and more.

Before you start to answer questions, you will need to register with their site if you do not have a profile there already. If you do, be sure to complete your profile, including a photo plus links to your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other social profiles (which might require a paid account).

Do you participate on question and answer websites to build your professional brand? What other sites do you use, and what have been your experiences? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Listing Syndication: a Good Idea?

Listing syndication makes a lot of sense for agents. You obviously want your listings to reach as wide an audience as possible, and placing the listing on your site and social media accounts and in the local newspaper, while definitely useful, will likely not reach a huge audience.

Benefits of Listing Syndication

Listing syndication allows you to reach a much wider audience, and spread your listing all over the Internet, including major search engines, and high-profile, high-traffic sites such as Zillow, Trulia, and of course Craigslist.

Zillow and Trulia: Supporting Agents or Potentially Undermining Them?

But while sites such as Zillow and Trulia are excellent for buyers and sellers, are they really that great for agents? We need to remember that these sites are focusing on increasing their own traffic, not necessarily on sending traffic to agent sites. Their goal is to keep visitors on their site. Which begs the question, are these sites great partners for agents – or are they a possible threat?

Recent features added to Zillow make it pretty clear that the site’s ultimate goal might be to become a real estate marketplace, independent of real estate agents, that charges a fee for transactions completed through the site. Zillow now enables homeowners to upload information about their homes, it has the “Make me an offer” feature where homeowners can get direct offers on their homes, and it has also added a Wiki where buyers and sellers can learn about the complexities of handling a real estate transaction.

Listing Syndication Still Useful

So, is listing syndication a good idea? We think it is. You should definitely syndicate to major search engines and to Craigslist. As for property website portals such as Zillow and Trulia, we believe you SHOULD take advantage of the huge traffic these sites receive. After all, you can post your listing on these sites along with your information and a link back to your agent website. But you also need to make it very clear to buyers and sellers that your knowledge and expertise are invaluable, and that going into such a huge, complex transaction without the help of an agent is extremely risky.