Industry Insights: My Take On The Latest News

I spend a good part of my day researching and reading to understand the latest trends, industry news and innovations to see what could impact our local market and our brokerages.  We do this to protect your best interests and keep abreast of the lightning speed of changes in the real estate landscape.  Here is what I’ve read that might spark some interest:

Last week, Zillow announced it was setting out to test out ‘Instant Offers’.  It is a system where a homeowner can ask Zillow Investors for instant offers on their property before listing it with a real estate firm.  Those discounted offers will come from affiliated investment firms (currently testing in major metro markets), along with a CMA showing market value if actively listed, (provided courtesy of a Zillow premier real estate agent, of course).  Follow the link above to see the full details.  You should know that this is the same type of service provided by ‘Open Door’ for a year or more now. Zillow has shown they can master seller lead generation – that is what the Zestimate was all about.  So what does this mean for you?

For sure, it is their way to get more seller leads. The concept could divert SOME listings away from agents …it could shave off a little business with potentially a LOT of business if we (collectively as an industry) are not careful and conscientious.  Will your seller take less money to sell TODAY?  Maybe some.  But the bigger issue is that you are competing with a software company to provide client based services – if we can’t articulate your value in a transaction and we collectively as an industry aren’t provided outstanding client level services, that’s a surefire way to make the consumer think a computer is a better option.

Look at this revealing stat from NAR: (Thanks Notorious Rob for the reference)

  • 64% of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents through a referral by friends or family
  • 25% used the agent they previously worked with to buy or sell a home.
  • 70% of Sellers would definitely use same agent again.

It is critical that we (1) are able to articulate the value Realtors bring to a transactions (2) remember that most business is based on past clients – so serving them well and staying in touch is the #1 key to longevity. (3) every action we take, big and small, shine a light on our industry and each other.  Consumers judge our worth and capability based on small things like calls back, professionalism, caring – and big things like negotiation skills, industry /market knowledge and problem solving abilities.  We must learn, master, cooperate and work successfully together so that all are fulfilling our value proposition. Or else a computer can do it.

By the way, you might have heard that Zillow has been sued for an inaccurate Zestimate, and in response,  launched a competition with a $1 million reward to improve it. Perfect time to remind your sellers that YOU are more accurate than an algorithm that needs to pay $1 million to be fixed. It’s about knowing your value in the transaction and articulating your value to the consumer — and having the power of the R.

Here is a sampling of the wide variety of the opinions out there: