If there’s something that almost all real estate agents agree on, it’s the fact that Zillow sucks. Most real estate agents have one or two reasons for not liking the platform and its competitors, such as Redfin, Realtor.com, UpNest, etc. So, why do realtors hate Zillow?
There are several reasons for realtors to hate Zillow. These include its inaccurate values, business practices, outdated information, lack of accountability, high cost for agents with little results, the vulnerability of users to scams, and its failure to protect the seller’s intellectual property.
However, Zillow and similar platforms have their purpose, and buyers will keep using them. Here, we discuss why realtors hate Zillow.
1. Inaccurate Values
When buyers are looking to buy a house, they’ll likely check online platforms such as Zillow and its competitors. This lets them get an idea of the price of a property in the area they want. However, these values are rarely correct. Home values usually depend on several factors, which a simple algorithm like that of Zillow will rarely get right. That’s why professional appraisals are always important.
But many buyers rely on the wrong value on Zillow. This leaves realtors working extra hard to convince them that homes aren’t as cheap as they thought. It also affects buyers who base their budgets on the estimate they find on Zillow.
2. Businesses Practices
Zillow isn’t just a real estate information platform. It’s a business that wants to sell ad spaces to real estate agents. Realtors who pay for ad spaces on Zillow can be connected to homes available for sale. The platform sells the ad positions next to listed homes in many cases. When buyers click on the house, it directs them to the agent who paid for the promotion instead of the person who listed the house.
The agent may have never seen the house. So, they can’t provide adequate information about it. Platforms like Zillow and its competitors may help to ensure fast sales. But they don’t encourage relationships which are important for realtors. While some sellers and buyers may prefer fast sales, many want to enjoy the expertise of a realtor.
Agents and owners don’t have to pay to list an available property on Zillow. But that doesn’t mean it’s free. Once an owner lists on the platform, Zillow has access to the data, and Zillow local affiliated realtors will soon be reaching out to you to sell the house on your behalf. Zillow will also advertise whoever wants to buy to the agents on its paid premier network. Even if a realtor pays to list on Zillow, the platform could still prioritize another agent above you on the listing even though you’re the direct agent.
3. Outdated Information
Information is the currency in real estate, and it’s constantly changing. Platforms like Zillow rarely have current information. For example, important listing information can be outdated. So, it’s common for prospective buyers to call about a home that’s already off the market. It’s not only listings that are outdated. Other important information could be incorrect or no longer relevant.
Zillow doesn’t always get its information directly from the source. Instead, it gets the information from various publicly available records. Zillow and other real estate marketing companies get their data from For Sale, Pre-foreclosure, For sale by owner, REO, foreclosure, etc.
Some realtors believe that Zillow deliberately failed to update the information so it could have more listings. The more listings it has, the more realtors want to use it. However, this might not be completely accurate. But the truth is that outdated information hurts realtors. They’re the ones who have to deal with angry buyers who discover that their dream home is off the market.
4. High Cost for Agents with Little Results
Another reason realtors don’t like Zillow is the high cost of using it. It’s one of the most popular real estate platforms, which means several potential customers use it. Zillow milk this opportunity with expensive advertisement fees. It’s also possible for one listing to have multiple agents. This is because the platform promotes multiple agents. Multiple agents may compete to sell one property even after paying ad fees. The platform doesn’t usually confirm listing information before advertising.
5. No Accountability
Realtors and property managers have standards they must comply with when listing properties. These same rules don’t apply to Zillow. So, it doesn’t pay so much attention to regulations. When they post inaccurate information or allow misuse of information on their site, they don’t have any liability. This lack of accountability allows the platform and its competitors to continue similar acts.
Zillow also doesn’t operate like a local MLS listing service. There are no strict rules on what it can publish on its website. Instead of collecting accurate listing information directly, it extracts information from available public records. This information isn’t always correct. It combines all the data to promote listings on its website.
6. Users are Vulnerable to Scams
Zillow is a public platform with an open-door policy; anyone can post on it. It doesn’t verify information also means that anyone can post fraudulent information on it. Over the years, it has become a place for fraudsters who pretend to be realtors. Many people have been scammed on the platform.
7. Lax Attitude towards Intellectual Property
Creating a real estate website usually costs a lot of money and effort. Realtors invest a lot into content creation to promote their business. But Zillow gathers content from various platforms and uses it. It also fails to properly protect the content of others that it’s using. So, the same videos and pictures you spent hours creating end up on other less reliable platforms like Craigslist.
Most of the content contains detailed information about a property that others can use to scam people. But since Zillow doesn’t take any responsibility for the content on its platform, the realtors get the blame. This has led many realtors to get negative reviews for what’s not their fault.
Most real estate agents hate Zillow and other real estate marketing sites. This is because of the various reasons, all of which can be summed up by the low quality of its service and how it exploits realtors.