If the Zillow purchase of Trulia comes together, and Zillow wants to further their dominance without creating a standard brokerage, how could they do it?
There are 17,488 dues-paying agents who are members of the MLS in San Diego County. There are at least another 5,000 assistants, admin people, supervisors, managers, escrow and title people, inspectors, appraisers, etc.
Let’s round it off and say there are 23,000 real estate people in San Diego.
Last month there were 3,111 closed sales of all residential types in the MLS.
Do we need 23,000 people to close 3,111 sales?
No, and the inefficiencies in the real estate selling business are everywhere you look, and most are related to inexperience – realtors don’t sell enough to be really efficient at it.
This is where Zillow could politely commandeer the industry.
In Part One we saw how the agent-rating feature would help to weed out those who don’t sell much. Zillow would partner with the higher-producing agents and sell them advertising. It will work great for all, and if that’s as far as it goes then it’ll be better than it is today.
Kill Shot 2
But what if Zillow wants total dominance? Here’s how to do it.
Hire the best 100-200 of the 23,000 people involved with selling SD real estate every day, and set up the Zillow Sales Desk.
Those on the front lines would be experienced realtors who have closed hundreds of sales in the last few years. They would be taking inquiries from 7am to 11pm, and the rest of the staff will do ‘transaction coordinating’; which gets the sales to the finish line.
The Zillow Sales Desk could be positioned as a help desk for realtors and consumers alike – a place to get answers, and put deals together. A non-threatening place to fill in the holes skipped over by the high-producing agents (the do-it-yourselfers, and low-cost properties).
Today’s realtors accept that you don’t need a realtor to buy or sell. We offer convenience, and we’re the only place you can get good help.
The Zillow Sales Desk would provide an alternative place to get good help. If the Sales Desk charges flat-fees and/or fee+small percentage, it would be even more attractive.
After a couple of years of providing great help, the Zillow Sales Desk could grow into the best alternative for the money.
In Australia, there are no buyer agents, and the transactional brokers get around 2%. If the market here goes the same way, then the agents could just hand over the buyer and seller to the Zillow Sales Desk for completion.
The general public doesn’t realize the difficulties of closing sales – it’s part of the mysterious cabal. But once there is a competent solution to the back end, all buyers have to do is find the right house, and they will have somewhere to go to get it done.
Having great agents handling the initial inquiries is the key. When the buyer finds the right house, they want to get quality help to clinch the deal.
It would bring a predictable solution to the equation, which is also part of the existing cabal – consumers don’t know what to expect from the other parties involved, and are hesitant about how to proceed.
Call the Zillow Sales Desk to get good help!
It’s a long shot, and I don’t think they will do it because the profit vs. hassle is questionable. But if Zillow’s goal is domination, then this idea gets them on the path without being a regular brokerage.