What We’ve Been Thinking …


A Second Grader’s Guide to Listing Syndication

"How can you possibly explain to your sellers why you won't syndicate their home to Zillow?" I can't tell you how many times I've seen that question and I can't tell you how many times I've shaken my head while reading it. Online syndication isn't a must; there needs to be some leverage, some advantage to the seller (and by extension the agent) in doing it. Zillow provides the perfect example thanks to the ubiquitous Zestimate which, as we all know, is the single most important imaginary number in the known universe. (Maybe they should drop the "z" and add the "i" we all forgot about from high school math.) But even an imaginary Zestimate has value when it benefits the seller. And since it seems to be so complicated to so many, … [Read More...]


Is Syndication Interfering With Agents’ Fiduciary Duties?

Simple scenario ... a real estate licensee meets with a seller to put their home on the market. As part of the general discussion, licensee and seller discuss the concept of agency and the agents' fiduciary responsibilities to the seller - obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality and accounting. As part of the marketing discussion, licensee and seller talk about third-party advertising sites such as Trulia and Zillow and both sites' use of automated valuation models to provide an oft-inaccurate impression of the value of not just the listed property but surrounding properties as well. (Trulia's is a little less onerous as the AVMs go, as one has to dig down into the estimates on a listing to see the values while Zillow posts … [Read More...]


Why I Remain at Thompson’s Realty

As I debated this at lunch with my wife, the overwhelming conclusion was that it really wasn't anyone's business. Having said that, I fully realize it's a little odd to have one of the noisier voices railing against syndication to advertising sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.Com come from someone whose owner works for Zillow. So ... Thompson's Realty came to life about the same time I had decided to leave Century 21 Arizona Foothills for RE/MAX Desert Showcase. The basic reality is I was tired of having a hand on my wallet at all times and wanted to get a fresh start away from the relocation hamster wheel where I was making far less than everyone else involved in the listings I sold. If I hadn't already committed to RE/MAX, … [Read More...]


Maximum Exposure and What Really Sells Homes

Yesterday brought on another one of those maximum listing exposure arguments, as in ... well ... here's the quote: So what I want is simple: maximum distribution of my information as far and wide as possible. And that means no petty squabbles over ownership or control of the data. Just get it out there, and keep it out there, until it sells. Which got me thinking in two different directions. First, if selling a home simply is a matter of maximum distribution then why bother with a listing agent at all? Granted, Trulia doesn't accept listings from unrepresented sellers, but Zillow does. And as Zillow's reps are fond of telling us, one million people a day look at 10 million homes a day on Zillow. And Zillow's listings then will appear … [Read More...]


Running Some Numbers and Overcoming Objections

Long, long ago when I was with Century 21 Arizona Foothills, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Century 21 convention in Las Vegas. Since I was trying to pump up my listing business, I wandered into a session being taught by a former broker from a flat-fee commission company, which one I don't recall any longer. What I do remember is this. "When you talk about exposure at a listing appointment," he said. "you've already lost to me." This has crossed my mind many times recently during the debates on listing syndication and our alleged responsibility as listing agents to provide "maximum exposure" for our clients' listings. They expect it, we are told. And naturally, being that the sellers are the experts in this arena, we need … [Read More...]