Unpopular Opinion: We Don’t Like Zillow… Gasp!
If you, at any time, have searched for properties for sale personally or as a Realtor, you have probably visited Zillow.com or at the very least, heard of it. Can I share a secret with you? We actually do not like it. Why? Well, take a seat and I’ll fill you in…
- 1. Zillow does not have current and accurate information. We receive many calls from prospective Buyers asking for more information on a listing of ours they saw on Zillow. Sadly, or sometimes frustratingly (for them), we have to let them know that listing is no longer available, it has old information, or old maps, etc. We update our website on a daily basis as well as the MLS sites we exclusively list on. Yes, some of those sites syndicate to Zillow but do not ask me why the information does not get updated on Zillow’s site as quickly… or ever.
- 2. The Listing Agent is not explicitly shown. There is a ‘form’ to fill out to “Contact Agent” but it does not show who that Agent is. They show the Brokerage as the “Listing Agent.” You can scroll to the near end of the listing to find the “Listing provided by.”
- 3. Anyone can list on Zillow. Yes, anyone. You do not have to be a Realtor to list a property for sale on Zillow. I sure do hope the listing you find has a trustworthy Seller and that he/she knows what he/she is doing!
- 4. Not everything shown is actually for sale (see #1). You can search ANY address on Zillow and it will come up. If you don’t know what to look for, you might think it is actually for sale because that “Off market” status is not very obvious. It will even show inside photos of the address you searched if it has ever previously been listed on an MLS site.
- 5. Zillow recently acquired DotLoop. Why is that concerning? DotLoop is a transaction platform and digital signature program that many Realtors have utilized for some time. All that data that is in the DotLoop platform now belongs to… Zillow. And now, Zillow is able to utilize that data however it sees fit AND share it with any third party. (https://www.landbrokermls.com/blog/data-coup-no-this-isnt-co-op-misspelled/)
- 6. More local MLS sites are severing their relationship with Zillow. One of the local MLS sites we utilize sent all of its members notice of their “decision not to renew its contract with Zillow,” stating, “this decision was carefully considered based on the information we had available to us and research conducted over several months.” The Chairman of that board commented, “I believe that Zillow’s ultimate mission is to take over our profession, eliminating the tremendous local expertise and value that we provide from the real estate ownership equations.”
In summation, Zillow is not the most reliable, trustworthy site to search for your next home or recreational property. Ask your local Realtor which website they use and trust. For us, we utilize our own website A LOT. Our website contains only our listings, which is a vast inventory all its own. If we are searching for listings of other Brokerages, we might try to search the corresponding local MLS site first before searching a national site, depending on the property type and if we have a membership to that MLS. Otherwise, Realtor.com would be an appropriate alternative since it is a product of the National Association of Realtors. However, if you are searching for land, I would recommend a few other sites such as Landbrokermls.com, Landsoftexas.com, Landhub.com, or even Landflip.com.