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The folks at Inman News asked people in the business how they thought the ZT merger would affect brokers and agents:

http://www.inman.com/2014/08/01/the-bottom-line-of-the-zillow-trulia-deal-for-brokers-and-agents/

I was one of the agents invited – here are my thoughts:

Realtor.com should be the pre-eminent real estate website on the planet, but instead it just got ran over by Zillow-Trulia.  The people at Move, Inc. and the N.A.R. leadership have failed you miserably, but it is too late now.

Get over it.

What does the merger mean?  It means that Godzillow will be doing more to drive consumers to their websites.  Transparency will increase, and consumers, armed with more knowledge, will be empowered to make better decisions.

At least that’s what the consumers will think.

Have you noticed how consumers can recite the comps off the top of their head now?  Can you do that?  You better hope so, because consumers will expect their agent to know more than they do.

The agents who stay ahead of consumers by immersing themselves in their craft should enjoy a healthy business for years to come.

Other things the merger will cause, and agents should embrace:

1. Agent Rankings – Zillow already allows each agent to list their past sales, and testimonials from past clients.  It is inevitable that they or someone will create a place for consumers to check on individual agents.  Don’t like it?  Increase your production and you will like it more.

2.  Big Real Estate Corporations To Partner with Zillow-Trulia – It will be easier and more cost-effective for the big franchisors to ride on the Z-T coattails, than to fight it.  Their ‘strategic partnerships’ will solidify the legitimacy of Zillow-Trulia in the consumer’s mind.  Realtor.com should join the Zillow-Trulia team while we still have leverage!

3.  Accurate Enough – Agents need to quit bashing Zillow with the ‘wildly inaccurate’ claims.  They are much closer than they used to be, and Zillow is accurate with their other vital information, like the nearby listings and comps, schools, maps, mortgage payments, etc.  The consumers take a zestimate with a grain of salt, and are tired of hearing agents harp on it so much.

4. Transparency – The merger is just the beginning.  Other outsiders are taking direct aim at realtors, hoping to create a fancy internet website to replace us.  Everything about the properties, realtors, and how we do business will be under scrutiny – get used to it.

The merger is just another press release.  The bottom line is that Zillow-Trulia is another place for agents to farm for prospects.  Agents can either get leads from your listings (which are still advertised for free) or they can choose to pay for advertising packages.  Or you can ignore Zillow-Trulia, but at least know that the consumers love their websites.

Agents should acknowledge the existence and benefits of Zillow-Trulia, and keep providing better and more powerful information – that is what consumers want and need.  Realtors who work harder and smarter will keep providing the critical part of the equation – expert help in the moment of need.

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