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Category Archive: ‘Zillow’

Zillow and Sandicor Partnership

Sandicor had said that the Zillow demands were unacceptable. Who caved?  Zillow is still working out the bugs, but this should guarantee that they are as accurate as the MLS:

SEATTLE, April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Zillow Group, which houses a portfolio of the largest and most vibrant real estate and home-related brands on mobile and Web, today announced partnerships with the following four new multiple listing services (MLSs):

  • SANDICOR, Inc., in San Diego. SANDICOR represents all of San Diego County, including East San Diego County and Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS®, the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS®, and the North San Diego County Association of REALTORS®, with nearly 20,000 members representing more than 8,000 listings.
  • The Austin Board of REALTORS® in Austin, Texas. ABoR represents nearly 11,500 members and more than 5,000 listings in Central Texas.
  • The New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS. NOMAR is comprised of three organizations, the REALTORS® Association, which serves over 4,000 REALTORS®, the Commercial Investment Division (CID), which provides commercial brokers and agents benefits targeted to their specialized needs and Gulf South Real Estate Information Network, Inc., which provides MLS services to over 5,000 members.
  • Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors represents 2,700 members and nearly 3,000 listings.

“We are pleased to be working with these leading MLSs to ensure that the millions of home buyers and sellers using Zillow Group sites and mobile apps see the highest quality listings information,” said Errol Samuelson, Zillow Group chief industry development officer. “Now, the members of these MLSs and associations can rest assured their listings are coming to Zillow and Trulia in less than 10 minutes with the same high quality standards that MLS data ensures.”

Zillow Group now partners with more than 570 MLSs around the country, covering 95 percent of active listings in the U.S. marketplace.

Through the Zillow Partnership Platform, real estate agents are prominently displayed as the listing agent on all of their listings and can receive leads directly from Zillow and Trulia, all at no cost. Brokerages receive attribution, branding, a link back directly to their websites and daily reporting access.

Posted by on Apr 27, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 0 comments

The Transparency Crossroads?

Our Zillow rep mentioned that they are investing heavily into virtual reality. (He’s reading the blog now – hey Jason!)

I’m a big proponent of video tours – there is no better way to help remind buyers of what they are thinking of purchasing.  We have seen the 3D tours hit the mainstream, and the virtual reality experience can’t be far behind.

Will we see an evolution of how homes are sold?

For that to happen, we would need a sea change in the realtor community.

Currently, the whole real estate industry is focused on representing sellers, and making buyers comply with their every wish.  There would need to be a buyer revolution for it to change.

I’ve already had sellers object to their home being so transparent. They don’t want buyers to see every nook and cranny, especially if their house is less than perfect.

While the virtual reality devices may provide some whiz-bang effect, don’t be surprised if they are slow to take hold.  Sellers and listing agents would rather tempt you with a select group of photos, and disappoint you with the truth once you arrive.

Zillow and others will push the virtual reality toys, and try to convince buyers that those who possess them are superior agents. But there won’t be widespread use, and it will end up just being another gimmick.

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, The Future, Zillow | 0 comments

Zestimate Accuracy – Wack!

Did you notice that the zestimate wasn’t listed in the Real Estate Online Tools?

It is wackier than ever!

Last year, we saw the zestimate be hundreds of thousands of dollars too high on a custom home west of the I-5 in Leucadia – and once I inputted the listing on Zillow, their zestimate went higher:


They claim to always be improving their algorithms, but this new example is hard to explain.  On my latest listing in a very normal tract neighborhood in NE Carlsbad, I gave them the benefit of the doubt.  I just sold the exact same model for $810,000 in December, but maybe they are slow to update?  The zestimate of my new listing was $744,222:

But once I inputted the listing on Zillow last Friday, the zestimate zoomed to $851,243!

Does it mean that Zillow has finally jumped on the bandwagon and are supporting their Premier Agents with zestimates that come in around the list prices!!!  If their primary concern was placating their paying customers, the Premier Agents, this would be a good way to do it!

Here is today’s zestimate – back where we started, with 5s instead of 2s – how can it fluctuate up and down 14% over five days??

I guess when you look at a zestimate, you can only hope you are looking on the right day!  14% swings over 5 days? Could it be any more unpredictable?


Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Tips, Advice & Links, Zillow | 6 comments

Zillow Auto-Feed

Jay Thompson is an ex-realtor, and currently on Zillow’s staff.  He responded earlier today to our previous questions about Zillow stopping manual uploads:

Jay from Zillow Group here. To answer your questions:

1)  What about the Coming Soons?  If only MLS-fed listings are allowed, then that should be the end of the Coming Soon feature.  Or will Zillow allow their Premier Agents to use it?

Coming Soon listings will still be able to be manually entered. Some MLSs have a “Coming Soon” status and feed that to us, most do not. Coming Soon is limited to Premier Agents and those in the Zillow Pro for Brokers program.

2) Will they still allow for-sale-by-owners to manually feed?

Yes. Since there isn’t a feed source for FSBOs, they can still be manually entered.

3) Zillow gives preference to their high-paying Premier Agents.  Will this eventually lead to more limits on the properties seen on Zillow – perhaps to those listed by Premier Agents only?  Or is Zillow just rattling their sabres?

There is no saber-rattling. Manually entered listings are a huge source of data errors and stale data. Eliminating manual entry helps provide more accurate data for everyone — consumers, and paying and non-paying agents a like. Listings aren’t and won’t be limited to Premier Agents only.

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 2 comments

Market-Rate Sellers

Marc Davison suggested here that we re-brand the word ‘realtor’:

He was met with the usual drivel from agents, some of whom mentioned the big difference between a real estate licensee and a Realtor is that we subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics.

But if we’re going to re-brand the name Realtor, then let’s stop the charade about ethics.  Realtors have stood by idly while their fellow agents have fleeced the banking industry with fraudulent short sales.  We intentionally deceive consumers by re-inputting our listings to make them appear like hot new offerings.  We make off-market deals and boast about them in the MLS that they were ‘sold before processing’, when every realtor has signed an agreement to share their listings with each other.

None of that is ethical, and if you participate – or stand by and watch others participate and do nothing about it – then you’re not an ethical agent.

Let’s put an end to it.

Either be ethical, or let’s stop saying we’re ethical, when we’re not.

Because the industry is so fragmented and independent, we’re not going to get a million agents to be ethical when you can double your commission by telling sweet little lies.

But we could educate sellers on the truth, and save our jobs.

The auction format would help to drain the murky cesspool of home selling.  Buyers and sellers would enjoy full transparency, and everyone would have a shot at paying what they think a property is worth.

Auctions would invigorate the marketplace!

But sellers are leery of the idea, and they don’t want to give it away.

Here’s my idea:

The MLS is a dinosaur, and has been complicit in the fraud.  Instead, let’s take this idea straight to Zillow – they already have different categories of listings on their website: Pre-foreclosures, Coming Soons, Make Me Move, etc.

Let’s add a new category: Market-Rate Sellers.

First, we properly educate a seller by having them read and understand the definition of a property’s value.  We give them this disclosure:

A property’s value is defined by how much a ready, willing, and able buyer will pay for it.  After proper marketing, I am willing to sell my property for what the market will bear.  Signed, Seller.

Why don’t we already have this piece of education?  Because sellers think they determine the value, and agents do nothing to convince them otherwise.  Instead, we encourage the idea just to get the listing.  Is that ethical?

If a seller is stuck on his price, then they go into the Make Me Move category.  No problem, I take listings like that – and I might get lucky some day.

But for the sellers who want to control the entire process and move promptly, we will have a solid game plan to get them top dollar now:

The Slow-Motion Auction:

  1. Tune-up house.
  2. Open house for 5-10 days.
  3. Buyers engage in open bidding at the house on X date.

Sellers and buyers deserve to have this full transparency, and the ethics it would impose on agents will save our jobs.

Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 in Auctions, Ethics, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Zillow | 11 comments

More on Broker Public Portal

Realtors are mounting an effort to participate in the real estate portal business.  The Broker Public Portal will be the national collection of listings, much like was designed to be.

To those who thought Zillow had already won, this was welcome news.

All we have to do is build a consumer-facing website with more bells and whistles than Zillow or Trulia, and advertise it coast to coast!  Yahtzee!

Not so fast.

Here is the link to what the Chairman thinks about the Broker Public Portal after two years of work:

An excerpt:

There has been a lot of discussion about the Broker Public Portal’s ability to compete with the existing national portals. Someday we may get there, but that is not our short-term goal today. Our goal is to join in the development of the best national MLS consumer search experience. Some believe we are competing against local MLS consumer websites. but we think that the BPP offers a national reach that is complementary and unprecedented, and that will help brokers and agents dramatically increase their connections with online consumers.

Great – maybe if we don’t mention them by name, and don’t compete with existing national portals, they will just go away!

Zillow is wagging the dog now, and they will determine our destiny.


Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 0 comments

Zillow Ending Manual Uploads

Zillow sent out this email today regarding the uploading of listings:

We wanted to let you know that Zillow Group will no longer accept manually entered listings from agents and brokers as of May 1, 2017We are taking this step to provide buyers and sellers with the highest-quality listings data possible, and to provide agents and brokers with a simple way to market their listings. Broker and MLS feeds are the best way to achieve this.

Sandicor, our MLS, refuses to upload every listing.  Instead, each brokerage has to sign a separate agreement between them and Sandicor to authorize the Zillow feed.  There are already plenty of agents who don’t know that the Zillow auto-feed was terminated, and now there will be other brokerages who refuse to comply, and/or don’t realize that their listings aren’t on Zillow/Trulia.

Oh well.

There are other questions though:

  1.  What about the Coming Soons?  If only MLS-fed listings are allowed, then that should be the end of the Coming Soon feature.  Or will Zillow allow their Premier Agents to use it?
  2.  Will they still allow for-sale-by-owners to manually feed?
  3.  Zillow gives preference to their high-paying Premier Agents.  Will this eventually lead to more limits on the properties seen on Zillow – perhaps to those listed by Premier Agents only?  Or is Zillow just rattling their sabres?

Zillow has their foot on the neck of the real estate industry, and they can do whatever they want.  Who would stop them?  They are beholden to the high-paying Premier Agents, so expect more favoritism in that direction.

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 17 comments

Zestimate Accuracy

Have the zestimates gotten any better?

We were surprised how bad they were last year.  Let’s see if they’ve improved once a custom house has been sold for a while:

This was the zestimate before the listing was inputted – way off:


Here’s what it was after the listing was inputted on Zillow.  Even though the list price was entered as $2,199,000, the zestimate INCREASED!


The sale closed for $1,900,000 on September 7th.  How about that – five months later, and the zestimate has adjusted accordingly!


Zillow says they have improved their zestimates.  The median error rate is 5.1% in San Diego, which means half of the zestimates are within 5.1% of being right, and the rest are worse than that – you just have to figure out which is which!

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 5 comments