What You Need To Know When You Use The Internet To Search For Listings

Dated: 05/08/2018

Views: 46

While the majority of agents all over the country wish it wasn't true, the fact is Zillow.com has positioned itself to be the leading choice of real estate websites for buyers searching for property listings.

The issues agent have with the site is that users don't know what is going on "behind the screen".  But, why should they care?  They want information about their favorite listings, and they want it quickly.

Real estate agents get it.  There is informative, demographic data on the site.

The important request of agents is that they would rather buyers hire one agent as their go-to person for everything related to their home search.  Use Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, etc., for research, but when it comes to asking questions, inquiring about a listing or an area, or requesting a showing, don't submit your information on that site.  Call/text/email YOUR agent.  Believe it, your agent want to help.  Your agent wants to hear from you.  Your agent wants to know that he/she is the only person you interact with when it comes to your home search.

According to Wikipedia, Zillow.com has stated that is is a media company that generates revenue by selling advertising on its website.  Zillow is NOT a real estate company.  Zillow has agreements with third party data providers (the companies that provide listings platforms for realtor associations and county organizations).  These agreements allow them to access and stream data through what is called an IDX or Internet Data Exchange.

So, when an agent uploads a listing to their local realtor association's MLS database, it automatically gets uploaded on all of the websites that have agreements with the providers.  Zillow's business model being that of a media company that sells advertising, then charges agents for leads.   If you call a number on the site, or submit your name and email/phone for more information, you are considered a lead.

Leads are not directed to the listing agent for a listing unless the listing agent is a Premier Agent and has paid extra fees to be listed as the only contact person on their listing details page.  The use of the word "Premier" should indicate to you that agents pay a lot for this status.

Other benefits of being a Premier Agent is local placement.  You may have noticed that when you are on a detail page for a listing, there are usually four agents' photos and contact info.  If you choose one of them to call or submit your contact info, you are more than likely reaching an "Inside Sales Agent" or ISA.  That person is not local to you, they work for Zillow.  It's the ISA's job to make contact with you, do a quick consult, and transfer you to the agent or agent's team member.  That agent is NOT the listing agent.

That agent has paid a premium price (more than you want to imagine) to get that phone call from the ISA with you on the other end.

Leads are purchased by zip code.  The more desirable the zip code, the higher the lead costs.

Real estate agents are bound by a Code of Ethics to not interfere with the relationship between another agent and his/her client.  It's disappointing to agents that purchase leads to find out that the lead already has an agent or is not a serious buyer in the market to buy, but is just looking.

the goal of an agent that purchases leads from the real estate listing sites is to gain clients and eventually, sell them a home.  All real estate agents have access to the same listings.  There is no reason to speak to a different agent for each property, in Texas, at least.  Other states have different MO's when it comes to relationships between agents and clients.

Deferring all of your real estate related questions and inquiries to one agent that you hire to represent you allows for several things:

1.  To build a rapport so each person is comfortable with the other

2.  For the agent to better understand your wants and needs so he/she can provide exceptional service

3.  For you to only have to explain your situation and plans once instead of multiple times to multiple agents who are trying to "convert" you into a client

4.  Gives you the benefit of a trained professional who knows how to have your best interests in mind instead of relying on a listing agent that is hired by a seller and has that seller's best interest in mind ahead of all others.

It's a little know fact that Texas law states that agents are "Sub-Agents" of sellers' agents unless they become a client of another agent.   This means that unless an exclusive representation relationship is formed between a buyer and an agent, that agent actually represents, and owes "fiduciary duty" to the seller.  In order to have an agent work for you and have your best interests in mind, you must enter into an exclusive buyer agency agreement.  The best way to do this is to sign an Residential Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement.  This agreement protect both parties.  Want to change agents?  While there should be a good, valid reason, a rep agreement can be easily terminated, by either party, with an amendment.

What do agents want buyers to remember?

--Their service is free

--It doesn't matter to them if you are buying now or later.

--Communication is a two-way street.  Agents struggle with knowing how much communication is just right.  If they contact you too often, they're a bother.  If they don't contact you enough, then they are "too busy" for you or "not working hard enough" for you.  Keep your agent in the loop with your plans, timeframe, pre-approval status, and wants and needs.  How will agents know if you will now consider 2-story homes if all you ever had told them is that you want 1 1-story?

--Market Value is what a buyer will offer and a seller will accept.  A real estate transaction is a negotiation between a buyer and a seller.  Agent wish they could, but they can't be expect to win every negotiation in your favor.

--Be reasonable and be ready to compromise.  If you can't find what you are looking for in your price range on a search website (hopefully, it's your agent's website), let you agent know what you really want/prefer and what you will consider.  It may be out there, but due to human error when a listing was entered, it may not show up in your search results.  Your agent knows how to utilize their agent MLS system to know for certain.  Plus, if it doesn't exist, your agent will have an idea of similar listings that you may be willing to consider.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog post.  I love educating people about real estate.  Have questions or need me to represent you?

I can be reached at:

Sherry Hamm, REALTOR®

Clayton Nash Real Estate




FB:  @SherryHammRealtor

Blog author image

Sherry Hamm

Sherry Hamm obtained her Texas Real Estate License in 1999. Sherry is a devoted full time residential Real Estate Professional focusing primarily on Houston's Westside, Katy, Northwest/Southwest Harri....

Latest Blog Posts

What It Takes To Apply For A Mortgage

Congratulations!  You've decided to become a homeowner for the first (or maybe, not) time!It can be a daunting experience, but with the proper knowledge and guidance, it can be stress free

Read More

Table Of Contents

Back to Table of ContentsTable of ContentsGlossary of TermsHome BuyersA Guide for 1st Home BuyersHome buying tips before you visit Houses!Buying your first home without regrets: 24 mistakes to

Read More

Getting From For Sale To Sold A How To Guide

Getting from "For Sale" to "Sold": A How-To GuideBack to Table of ContentsSelling your home doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, there are three phases to the process that are essential for a

Read More

10 Plants Thatll Help You Sleep Better

Back to Table of Content10 Plants That’ll Help You Sleep BetterThey are the best roommates. By Megan Cahn PHOTOGRAPHY BY: REBECCA BOSTRÖM/EYEEM/GETTY Filling your bedroom with

Read More