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Category Archive: ‘Zillow’

Economists: Appreciation to Continue

Home values continue to climb, passing $200,000 in June for the first time ever. A panel of more than 100 real estate economists and experts expect that trend will continue – while they say, on average, that there’s a 52 percent probability of the next recession starting by the end of 2019.

  • On average, real estate economists and experts say there’s a 52 percent probability of next recession starting by the end of 2019.
  • Most experts expect a geopolitical crisis will trigger the next recession, which a majority believe will have only a moderate impact on U.S. housing.
  • Home values will climb 5.08 percent by the end of 2017, the group said.

The probability jumps to 73 percent for a recession starting by the end of 2020, according to the Q3 2017 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey (ZHPE), a quarterly survey sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLC. The latest survey was conducted in late July and early August.

Most of the panel’s experts (67) think a geopolitical crisis is likely to be a major trigger for the next recession. That would be a rare occurrence. Although the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, prolonged a recession, most sustained downturns – including that one – have not started with a geopolitical crisis.

The panel ranked likely triggers as 1, 2 and 3 – and with that weighting, a geopolitical crisis also came out ahead, with a score of 138. It was higher than a score of 111 for monetary policy, 101 for a stock market correction and 55 for political gridlock as other possible recession triggers.

On average, the group expects the next recession to have only a moderate impact on U.S. housing. The group said San Francisco and Miami would be the most affected, followed by Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and Seattle.

https://www.zillow.com/research/experts-recession-late-2019-16334/

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 0 comments

Zillow vs. Redfin?

Spencer took a crack at Redfin yesterday, and more:

LINK

An excerpt:

Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff isn’t worried about the threat of newly-public Redfin — but he thinks the rest of the real estate industry should be.

He made that clear during a conference call associated with Zillow’s second-quarter earnings Tuesday in which he went so far as to say that Redfin is a “threat” to the traditional real estate industry.

“Undoubtedly, one of Redfin’s goals is to obviate the buyer’s agent,” Rascoff said on the call. “I think they have stated, quite publicly, that they aim to acquire more listings inventory in given markets, and then have no buyers’ agents on the other side of those listings. And that is a threat to organized real estate, and that’s one of the many reasons why brokerages are so concerned about Redfin.”

With N.A.R. on the sidelines, traditional realtors won’t mind somebody taking up the fight against Redfin – and Spencer could wind up being the hero!’

In this era of fake news, we can expect both sides to continue their bending of the facts too, which could get ugly.  Who will consumers believe?

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, The Future, Zillow | 0 comments

Zillow/Sandicor Breakdown 2

Zillow has uploaded my Caminito Vasto listing!  The MLS remarks didn’t pull through – but the photos did, go figure. They also called me a Premier Agent, and eliminated the three-headed monster.

We had two offers on Vasto, and I marked it pending on Monday, but they still show it as an active listing – but at least it’s on their website.

They are still having trouble with the listings that go pending, like the one below where they remove the list price and listing agent and just call it off-market, which isn’t accurate either for people who may have seen the for-sale sign or who are checking out the listing agents.  I added the first couple of sentences in the remarks to help:

When my Caminito Vasto seller saw her listing finally appear on Zillow today, she said, “I used to use Zillow all the time but I never realized how crappy and slow they were until now….”.

It doesn’t take much to lose your stature in the marketplace when there are plenty of similar alternatives available!

Posted by on Jul 6, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Zillow | 0 comments

Zillow/Sandicor Breakdown

For those of you who use Zillow as their go-to real estate portal, you may have noticed that we had a wild and wacky weekend – and the party is still going!

It was on May 1st that Zillow started uploading our listings directly from our MLS, Sandicor.  The new system prevents agents from inputting new listings, or marking our existing listings as pending.

On Friday there was a breakdown in the uploading process, but it wasn’t across the board.  Here are the real estate companies and the effects:

Coldwell and Berkshire – they both had their corporate direct feeds set up before May 1st, and it looks like they are running fine.

Sotheby’s – some new listings have been uploaded since Friday, and some haven’t. No rhyme or reason as to who was affected.

It looks like all other companies are NOT having their listings uploaded to Zillow, nor are they being marked pending automatically like they were previously – and you can’t do it manually either.

I did open house in La Jolla both Saturday and Sunday, and I had visitors on both days asking why my listing wasn’t on Zillow.

It’s a mess, and let’s add these extras too:

  1. The problem previously reported here about how listings get deleted on Zillow once they are marked pending in the MLS has not been resolved.
  2. More and more people are inputting their listings on CRMLS (the SoCal alternative MLS), which leads to duplicate listings which screw up the MLS stats but at least the listings are accurate on Zillow.

The mix-up is isolated to the San Diego market, and could be part of the uneasy union between Zillow and Sandicor, who was a reluctant partner in the past.

But both entities stated publicly that this auto-upload package was good for all, and a big step towards accuracy on Zillow.  We’ll see how long it takes them to fix it – today is Day 6.

For those who think this might be an opportunity for a competitor to take advantage, read this:

http://www.notorious-rob.com/2017/07/random-thoughts-on-redfin-going-public/

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Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Train Wrecks, Zillow | 2 comments

Zbully

From the seattletimes.com – hat tip SM:

LINK

Excerpts:

Zillow is dealing with a PR fiasco and a potential legal fight for going after a small, popular blog that makes fun of McMansions.

Kate Wagner — who spotlights large, ugly-looking houses on McMansionHell.com — received a cease-and-desist letter from the Seattle company this week, telling her to stop using Zillow photos on her site. She often makes memes out of Zillow home listing photos, pointing out features of home exteriors and rooms that are not exactly likely to win architecture awards.

Wagner said Tuesday she received emails from about 200 lawyers, and has retained the Electronic Frontier Foundation to represent her, pro bono. They plan to respond to Zillow soon.Outside Zillow’s headquarters in downtown Seattle on Tuesday morning, someone plastered the walls with many colorful signs reading “MCMANSION HELL FOREVER.”

“First of all, I was petrified,” said Wagner, a 23-year-old master’s student in Baltimore, who is working on a thesis on architectural acoustics. Zillow’s letter said Wagner ran afoul of Zillow’s terms of use and may violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and state laws. “It’s pretty terrifying when someone issues you a letter saying you’re a criminal and you’re going to jail.”

Zillow was clearly taken aback by the PR backlash to the saga, which has been making the rounds on national and local news sites for the last 24 hours.

Zillow’s top public affairs person, vice president Katie Curnutte, sent Wagner an email Tuesday morning that struck a much friendlier tone. She started by acknowledging Zillow has received several questions from journalists about the initial letter from Zillow’s legal team.

The company is already in the middle of a legal battle on another photo copyright issue and may owe millions of dollars in damages to a real estate photography firm.

Zillow spokeswoman Emily Heffter said that if other sites start publishing photos from Zillow, it could become harder for Zillow to obtain listings from realtors, which provide them under an agreement that only Zillow can use them.

“If we were to back off this, and everyone started taking photos off our site and using them, we’d have a lot of trouble getting photos for our site,” Heffter said. “When you make a deal with someone, you have to hold up your end of it.”

“It’s nothing personal,” she added.

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Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 4 comments

Zillow Threatens McMansion Hell

I think Rob Dawg might have started this one – his blog is where I heard of the McMansion Hell on Friday, and now Zillow is chasing her around like a felon:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/26/15876602/zillow-threatens-sue-mcmansion-hell-tumblr-blog

McMansion Hell is a Tumblr blog that highlights the absurdity of giant real estate properties and the ridiculous staging and photography that are omnipresent in their sales listings. The blog, started by 23-year-old Johns Hopkins graduate student Kate Wagner, began in July 2016 as a way to poke fun at pretentious architecture. It has since gone viral, but now she’s facing potential legal charges by real estate site Zillow for allegedly violating the site’s terms of service by reproducing the images on her blog.

A typical McMansion Hell blog post will have a professional photo of a home and/or its interior, along with captions scattered throughout by Wagner. She also adds information about the history and characteristics of various architecture styles, and uses photos from the likes of Zillow and Redfin to illustrate how so many real estate listings inaccurately use the terms.

Under each post, Wagner adds a disclaimer that credits the original source of the images and cites Fair Use for the parody, which allows for use of copyrighted material for “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” In a cease and desist letter to Wagner, Zillow claims Wagner’s reproduction of these images do not apply under the Copyright Act. Additionally, the company claims McMansion Hell may “[interfere] with Zillow’s business expectations and interests.”

Zillow got sued for using photos without authorization, so now they are going after the little people with a vengeance?  Where will they stop?

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Posted by on Jun 26, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Zillow | 5 comments

Zillow Hardball?

On May 1st, Sandicor, our MLS for San Diego, began automatically uploading our listings to Zillow in an effort to improve accuracy.

This is how Zillow advertises the pending sales in Orange County, which is how they were presented in San Diego prior to May 1st:

They leave the list price at the top, which is helpful for searchers who knew the house was for sale but didn’t know the how much.

They make it clear that that the home is pending, which is good for their accuracy, and they mention the listing agent, with a phone number, along with the three-headed monster on the right.

Here is how Zillow has been marking our pending sales since May 1st:

If you were a casual observer, you wouldn’t learn much about this home.

  • No list price.
  • No ‘pending’ banner (or anything about it being for sale or not).
  • No listing-agent info (except I’ve learned to put my name in the first line of the remarks).
  • No three-headed monster (three agents who pay for advertising).

If you were told about a new listing on this street and checked Zillow for more info, they now give you nothing!  What’s worse is they have captured my photos and remarks, but now prevent me from editing.

It’s not just me – I checked some of highest-spending Zillow agents, and they are getting the same treatment.

Is it just an oversight in the transition?

After a couple of inquiries, a Zillow rep did respond today, and said I should probably check with my MLS to fix it.  Thanks a million.

There is a work-around. Join the CRMLS (which provides the MLS for the rest of Southern California), input your listings there, and then Zillow will reflect them when pending.

Until then, our listing accuracy has gone backwards in San Diego!

It may not seem like much, but listing agents are judged by their online presence. When potential sellers see our listings without prices, for-sale status, or even the listing agent mentioned, they will think that we won’t be doing much for them either.  But it is out of our control – Sandicor and Zillow are running this circus!

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Zillow | 3 comments

C.A.R. and Instant Offers

He says C.A.R. would “oppose any such development that eliminates many consumer protections”. Well, are you opposing the Zillow Instant Offers? It doesn’t sound like it. As usual, the leaders of the realtor business are comatose while outsiders strip us down for spare parts.

There is an easy solution. Everyone provide ‘instant offers’.

I have regular buyers for North San Diego’s coastal region that will happily pay 10% under value, and investors that will pay 20% to 30% under value. Both will close in 5-10 days. Contact me today!

June 7, 2017

Fellow REALTOR®,

C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh

No doubt you’ve heard about Zillow Group’s “Instant Offers” pilot program for home sellers where, with or without an agent, homeowners can entertain instant offers and sell their home quickly. This program – which is essentially a new take on another “I’ll buy your house for all cash, below market value” business – is a small segment of the marketplace. The reactions we have received so far falls into either the camp of strong opposition or strong support. For those who are opposed, the pilot has been the subject of much consternation by REALTORS® since its announcement because it creates a path that eliminates the critical role an agent plays in the transaction – another step toward disintermediation.

Many see this as an antagonistic step against the very industry that fuels the site with listing content and premier advertising money, only to promote the prospect of excluding REALTORS® from the transaction. For those who see it that way, they have the option of rethinking their participation with the site. Those holding the other opinion have reported that they see business opportunities to enhance their work through this program. No matter how you look at it, we can all agree it’s bad for consumers who need to get sage advice, excellent customer experience, and top dollar when they’re selling their home, especially when consumers have to pay an exorbitant cost to participate in the program.

C.A.R. has been asked for its take. First of all, there is no substitute for the tremendous value REALTORS® bring to what is usually the largest, and often the most complicated, transaction a consumer will ever make. The program seems to be geared toward investors or investment groups who are willing to make more speculative investments. Any move which promotes eliminating REALTORS® from their role as a trusted navigator in this complex undertaking would ultimately harm most consumers, leaving them without a duty-bound advisor just when they need one most. C.A.R would oppose any such development that eliminates many consumer protections and will ALWAYS advocate for the unparalled value of using a REALTOR®.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to discuss with your clients the value proposition that a REALTOR® brings to the table and look at expanding the services you are uniquely able to offer investors and investment groups.

Sincerely,

Geoff McIntosh
Geoff McIntosh
2017 President
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Posted by on Jun 7, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtors Talking Shop, Zillow | 0 comments

Petition NAR to Stop Zillow?

The author doesn’t mention that the investor-bought homes will be resold, giving realtors ample opportunity to sell a renovated home….for higher commissions.  If you ever hear me leading any national effort as a 50-year real estate veteran, stick a fork in me.

https://stopzillow.com/

INSTANT OFFERS is a new program by Zillow that leverages the credibility of Zillow to help sophisticated investors buy homes from unsuspecting consumers at thousands below market value.

For years, Realtors and consumers have tolerated inaccurate Zillow “zestimates.” This was Zillow’s entry into the actual real estate business and should have been stopped cold at the time. These online valuations (no one sees the home) consistently mislead consumers about home values, making it harder for Realtors to help buyers and sellers make good decisions.

Now Zillow’s “Instant Offers” encourages unknowledgeable home sellers to sell directly to profit-driven investors at below market value. This program mesmerizes home sellers into acting without consulting a Realtor, attorney or appraiser.

Instant Offers is a costly, misleading program for the public and a stab in the back to Realtors who fund Zillow. It’s a lose-lose program for everyone (except greedy investors). It reduces home seller equity while diminishing Realtor income.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand. Years ago when Zillow introduced “zestimates” NAR should have demanded that Zillow stay out of brokerage services or risk losing MLS IDX feeds and Realtor advertising.

Now Instant Offers is a clear intrusion by Zillow into real estate brokerage, a move that needs to be stopped before it gains traction.

The StopZillow.com petition website and Stop Zillow LinkedIn Group were formed by real estate attorney, Huffington Post writer and 50-year real estate veteran Greg Hague to insist NAR keep Zillow out of brokerage to protect Realtors and the public.

The first petition is simple and clear: warn Zillow to discontinue Instant Offers or risk losing the MLS IDX listing feeds and Realtor advertising.

Read the petition to NAR. If you agree, please sign online. That’s it.

Your information will not be shared or used for any other purpose.

After signing the petition you will receive a weekly email update about the progress with NAR and Zillow.

Greg Hague, The Real Estate Maverick

https://stopzillow.com/

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Posted by on Jun 5, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 5 comments

Do We Need A List Price?

There was quite a bit of hubbub this week about the Zillow Instant Offers program being tested in two cities. Seller inquiries are sent to as many as 15 investors plus a Premier Agent, who gets to make their own pitch for the business – and one realtor reported that she has already received 48 inquiries!

LINK

If that is behind the paywall, the article can be summed up by saying that the agent has submitted proposals to the seller leads, but none have responded. She will knock on some doors to see if she can drum up some business, and she is willing to shepherd the sellers through an investor deal for $1,500.

But why restrict the offers to just 15 investors and one agent?

Let’s let everyone have a shot at it!

Everyone could make an offer if Zillow had a ‘Submit Your Offer Here’ button.

They have the Make Me Move feature already, but that’s where the seller states the price they want. If their was no list price, like some of the commercial brokers do (see image at top), sellers could conduct their own price discovery.  Who knows, maybe they would receive an appealing deal or two?

Our list price gives potential buyers some guidance.  But do they need guidance?  And if there was no list price, might they be willing to pay more than the sellers expected?

The result would be a slow-moving auction, with agents having plenty of opportunities to plug in and provide value to buyers and sellers.

Posted by on May 27, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, The Future, Zillow | 0 comments