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coming soon

Zillow’s new feature has been out for a couple of weeks, and currently there are seven ‘Coming Soon’ listings in San Diego County:

http://www.zillow.com/san-diego-ca/#/homes/coming_soon/San-Diego-CA/

Two of the seven are new-builds listed by the developer, so with five resale listings, we can say that realtors aren’t flocking to the opportunity yet.

The ‘Coming Soon’ listings are getting some good exposure though – the seven have been featured for an average of 8 days each, and are averaging 341 views each!

There are those who poo-poo the whole idea, but this is just the beginning – Zillow is looking to dominate the real estate industry.  For starters, they are spending $65 million in advertising in 2014, and already have 82 million unique viewers per month.  After a few more years, they will be the go-to website in the consumer’s mind.

They can empower those consumers with new features that are complete – and that’s the problem with the ‘Coming Soon’ listings, they don’t ask enough questions.  As a result, the same tactics used with the fraudulent short sales will be in play – buyers who have agents will be told to wait around, and buyers without agents will be rushed to the front of the line.

Zillow could go a little further to making this feature less sleazy in appearance by adding a mandatory questionaire to the Coming Soon agent-inputs. Here are questions to be answered on each listing:

1.  Can I see the house today? If not, when?

2.  Can I buy the house today?  If no, when?

3.  Will you pay a commission to a buyer’s agent? How much?

4.  If you have multiple offers, when and how will you decide?

We should have the same questions on MLS listings!

It would be helpful if Zillow would also keep a record of how each agent performed, compared to their answers on the questionaire.  Yes, Zillow allows agents a testimonial category for clients to leave glowing recommendations, but a timeline log for ‘Coming Soon’ listings would keep agents more honest.

We don’t have to debate whether every new Zillow feature is good or bad, right or wrong – they are what they are.  Let’s try to use them in a way that we forward the business at hand.

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