Zillow, it’s been a big word in our industry for quite some time now and I don’t think that will be changing unless it's Zillow continuing to grow and be an even bigger impact on our industry. I say this in the most positive way, I am a premier agent with Zillow and strongly support their business model and what’s it’s brought to our industry.
I am writing this post to clarify a few things so consumers have a better understanding of the basics of Zillow. So when you see a home for sale or for rent on Zillow and you see an agent listed beside it, this is not always in fact rarely is it the listing agent of the property.
Zillow is set up so that it rotates agents that show up on the home based on various factors. So when you’re reaching out to an agent about a home you saw on Zillow don’t assume it’s the listing agent of that particular property. The good news for you is the agent you contact can still get you all the information on the home and even show you the home in person even if it’s not their listing. At least this is the case in my market which is Roanoke Virginia.
A couple of issues that seem to arise fairly often for consumers are homes they find on Zillow but their agent didn’t send it to them. This could happen for a number of reasons. One is that the home may not meet the specific criteria you discussed with your agent. For instance, if you asked your agent to send homes with 4+ bedrooms and the home you’re seeing on Zillow only has 3 bedrooms it would not have come up in the search results for your agent. Another example; if you told your agent to search say up to $175,000 and the price of the home you’re seeing on Zillow is $179,950 it would not have come up in the search results for your agent because they asked the MLS to send everything under $175,000 so if a home is priced at $175,100 even it would be eliminated. Another is the home may already be sold but be reflected yet as sold on Zillow. It takes a little time for a home to formally go under contract with all the necessary paperwork back and forth between buyer, seller, listing agent, and in many cases buyer’s agent.
So what’s the difference between MLS and Zillow? That’s a great question and MLS stands for multiple listing service which is a platform where licensed Realtors list their homes for sale for other Realtors and now the public to be able to see. I think it’s fair to say that MLS updates first and then the public sites like Zillow update as a result so it may take a tad longer for a home to come off Zillow once it’s sold or taken off the market.
Another thing many consumers wonder about is the Zestimate. I honestly cannot answer for Zillow about the Zestimate but as an agent, I can say that it’s just like any other statistical data it’s subject to debate. It doesn’t reflect what your home’s value is and can range from being low to high and sometimes within the range of value. There is certainly no crystal ball for determining the exact value of any home. I think Zillow has done a phenomenal job of collecting and distributing data.
In order to determine your home’s value, the best thing you can do is look at what homes you’ll be in competition with as well as those that have sold within the last six months that are comparable to your home in bedrooms, baths, sqft., age, style, and location. This is basically how the appraiser goes about determining the value and is ultimately the one to determine what the bank loans on the property if the buyer is obtaining a loan. Of course, you have to take into account the different features, benefits, upgrades, etc and this is where having a professional real estate agent can benefit you to make sure you don’t make the mistake of overpricing your home or what’s worse underpricing and leaving money on the table.
If you are thinking about buying or selling a home our team would love to help you get successfully from one door to the next. Speaking of Zillow, please check out what our past customers and clients had to say about their experience with our team on Zillow here: