Why Zillow is NOT your agent!

by Colin Mullane  |  March 30, 2017

As a professional Real Estate Agent, I am constantly reminded of what a powerhouse in the real estate industry Zillow has become. As powerful and recognizable as Zillow is, there is one thing it is not, and I predict, never will be….your Agent!

It’s important for me to state that I personally believe Zillow holds an important role in our industry and does several things very well, and some not so well, which I will touch on in a moment, but I don’t have the fear or loathing so many of my fellow professionals seem to have for the big Z.

Why don’t I suffer these things? For me it’s simple. Lets start with one absolute fact. Zillow has NEVER been in your home, and never will be. As I view Zillow’s latest TV commercials, I am reminded of just how good they are at marketing themselves by creating a warm and fuzzy connection with the consumer, it really is quite impressive…I want to look at Zillow! However, as the commercials progress and the friendly voice says, …..”find your way home…” there is one gaping absence in each and every commercial…..the Agent that shows them the home, spends the time with them, prepares an offer, discusses the “REAL” value of the home, works through the negotiations, schedules the inspections, coordinates the lenders…….you get my point right? Nobody buys a home the way it looks on Zillow….heck, even buying a car takes hours….a house? Weeks and even months, it’s one of the most stressful events in peoples lives, and no website can ease that stress, not even the soothing sound of the Zillow guy’s voice.

As a Real Estate Professional, I get to see first hand the emotions of buyers and sellers. I take it as my responsibility to provide them with facts and information that help them make “Informed” decisions. Zillow claims their “Zestimate” provides comfort in offer prices….I say, look at the fine print. In this February’s Estimate accuracy rating, they, self report a median Inaccuracy level of between 3.1% and 5.7% in 30 cities that they are tracking. If I was to be off by 5.7% in valuing your home for sale…..you should fire me, seriously!

So why does Zillow seem to get such a Pass from the consumer? Well, they don’t have to talk to you the way I do, they aren’t in the meeting where we are discussing what your house might sell for. They aren’t using the comparative homes that make the most sense in determining value (In fact you don’t even get to see the homes they DID use) Inevitably, we as the professionals get to deliver the “bad news” that your home is not indeed worth $450,000, but $420,000….and lets be honest, that’s not what you were wanting to hear. So yes, it’s sometimes way easier to be Zillow with the soothing voice.

With that said, Zillow does a great job at delivering listings to consumers in a timely manner with a very friendly user interface. Is it as good as the MLS I get access to? Or realtor.com? the simple answer is no, but then, as I mentioned earlier, Zillow is not your agent, and won’t work for you the way I will. Consumers who work with agents are better prepared for success in todays market where speed and accuracy of information is key.

If buying or selling a home is in your future, remember we are your advocate, dedicated to serving you with a mind towards your success in the process. Sure, use Zillow, but just like Words with Friends or Angry Birds on your phone….it’s just an app, and won’t be in your home anytime soon!

Submitted with humor and sincerity all at once…
Colin Mullane, Principal Broker, Full Circle Real Estate, Ashland OR 97520.