There has been a movement within the industry to create a broker-owned MLS to compete with Zillow/Trulia. I’m not sure they see it as competing with Zillow/Trulia – but that will be the eventual contest, unless they can co-exist.
The cost to create and maintain such a website is one issue. But the other is the advertising of other agents on my listings. Unlike Zillow, the new National Broker MLS website will only allow the listing agents to be displayed on each listing – see the discussion here:
Whether the big brokerages recognize it or not, buyer representation is being elbowed out, and we are barreling towards single agency.
Eventually there will just be the big listing teams that dominate the portals, and buyer inquiries directed to the in-house ‘buyer agents’. But with those being mostly newer agents who work for the listing agent, there won’t be much actual ‘representation’ delivered to the buyer.
Buyers will be instructed to pay the seller’s price, or hit the road. The end result isn’t much different than it is now, with so many sellers today willing to wait for their price.
With less-rigorous pricing and agents pulling for the sellers only, buyers will be left to their own devices. Will the National MLS, Zillow, HGTV, or other sources give buyers enough to be comfortable without representation? Probably, because buyers don’t know what they don’t know.
Zillow and the other portals are helping to take the place of real buyer agents. As a result, buyers will just hunt for houses that make them feel good, confirm online that the price is within a reasonable distance of the last comp, and place their order with the listing team.
The environment will favor the flippers, and anyone else who pours fix-up money into their house before selling. How many times do you see a flipper or a turn-key property get an extra bump in price just because they look so good? It happens a lot today, and it should keep going in that direction.
In the meantime, the buyers will be under-represented, if at all.