Is Zillow the best place to search for a home?
So, what's the deal with Zillow? Is it the best way to shop for a new home? Yes, it is a cool website with lots of features, however here are some things you should know.
After 35+ years of selling homes, I have seen and heard a lot. Lately, one of the things I hear most is "Zillow says its for sale, why are you saying it's not?".
First, we need to understand Zillow's business model. They do not post all this information for free. Yes, you as a consumer do not pay for it, but it is paid for. It may look like a clean website with little adversting, but don't be fooled. Every home you see on Zillow is paid for...by a real estate agent. When you pull up a listing, the agents you see are paying to play. They pay Zillow a monthly fee to be there, and Zillow makes millions upon millions from these agents so the public will click on their name. When you view a home on Zillow, the agent photos you see may not be the actual agent who is selling the home, it's likely they know nothing about that particular home.
Second, while they are fairly quick to post new listings, they're never as fast as a direct MLS search an agent can set up for you. Also, they are slow to change status on listings that go under contract. That means you can be looking at homes that are not actually for sale anymore! You may think, why would they do that? Well, think about it, they make money by keeping their paying agents happy. More homes "For Sale" on their site equals more clicks for their agents and thus, more money for Zillow. So, while their site is cool, in our current market of low inventory (available homes) and a flood of buyers searching, this can truly hinder you as a consumer. If you are a serious buyer, your very best bet is to get with a quality Realtor to set up your search. They need to be available, responsive, and knowedgeable about the current market in your area. An agent selling 5-10 homes a year is not your agent in this market. Interview several agents, get referrals, and do your due diligence. Or...just call us!!