Are all houses on zillow

Are all houses on zillow DEFAULT

Don’t Use Zillow!

Today, anyone looking to purchase a new home utilizes the internet to search for homes for sale.  The most trafficked real estate website in the world is Zillow.  Many potential home buyers and sellers will use Zillow to research a neighborhood or get property values or even to choose a real estate agent.  We will explain to you why you should NOT use Zillow when interested in real estate.

Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better

When searching online for real estate, you want to get the best information possible.  Many people are under the impression that because Zillow has become so popular, they are the best place to find homes online.  Truth is, Zillow has a ton of outdated real estate listings.

Real Estate Brokers have been complaining about this for years – but those complaints are drowned out by the massive marketing budget of the Zillow Group.   Many of the homes for sale that Zillow shows as Active, have either  been sold, expired or possibly even listed with a different real estate agent.  In addition to the tons of incorrect listings, Zillow has big holes in their listing database.  The fact that they don’t have all of the listings, means that their infamous “Zestimate” is usually woefully inaccurate for property values.

Many home sellers rely on the information provided by Zillow to price their home as well as get some insight on the level of competition that they will be up against.  Its not uncommon for a home seller to throw a Zestimate up to a potential listing agent when discussing the true value of their home.

In reality, according to Zillow themselves, their Zestimate is only accurate within 20% of the final sales price 83.1% of the time!  Wow…on a $250,000 home, that is over $40,000 off!  And that is for the properties that ARE within 20%.  Think of how inaccurate it is for the 16.9% of homes nation-wide that fall OUTSIDE of the 83.1%.  Zillow is constantly being sued and attacked by Realtors and the real estate community over their gross inaccuracy.  You can read how accurate Zillow claims they are in your area by clicking here.

How Can Zillow Be So Inaccurate?

Its important to keep in mind that Zillow is NOT a real estate broker.  Zillow is a marketing company that has chosen real estate as their vehicle. Zillow sells advertising to real estate agents and brokers based off of the traffic they receive (which is a lot).  Since they have a huge portion of buyers searching for homes for sale, they can sell the leads that they generate to local agents and brokers.

Although I am confident that Zillow would LOVE to have a more accurate listing database, truth is only local real estate brokers and agents have direct access to the MLS.  The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is the local database of ALL homes for sale by all real estate brokers.

Zillow is the devil to most real estate brokers. In some instances, national sites do get direct access to the MLS, but that is not consistent across the country and in many instances, local brokers opt out of syndicating their listings to Zillow.  Lastly, most property management real estate brokers don’t take the time to upload their rental listings to Zillow, so their database of rentals units for sale is abysmal.

Real Estate is Local

Although having one huge website that you can search all of the available properties for sale in the US is a nice idea, Zillow falls short.  Real Estate is still local.  What I mean by that is when you are ready to buy or sell real estate, you will still end up with a local REALTOR working for a local real estate broker.  Searching real estate online should be local too.

Whether you are searching for homes for sale in Granbury Tx or searching for homes in Lakeview New Orleans, you expect to see all of the listings.  Only a local real estate broker can provide that since they have direct access to the full listing database of all listings.  Even if you do search for local listings on Zillow, when you request additional information, they are simply selling your contact information back to a local agent.  Why not just start with the local agent?

How Do Local Agents & Brokers Get Listings?

As previously mentioned, local agents and broker have direct access to the MLS.  Most of the time a local agent or broker has a website, they get an IDX data feed directly from the MLS.  IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange and is an agreement between all of the local real estate brokers that allow them to display each others listings on their websites.  So when searching for properties, if you use a local real estate site, you will see every listing available.

How Does Zillow Get Listings?

Zillow gets listings on their site a variety of different ways.  Most of the time, they are relying on the individual agent or broker to send them to them.  In many instances, that may mean that an agent must manually input each filed of data for every listing.  If the property gets a price reduction or gets sold, the agent must then log back into Zillow and update the property information.

You can see why many of the homes on Zillow are no longer active or are priced at the incorrect price.  In some instances, they do get data feeds directly from the broker, for only that brokers listings.  That means every broker must set up a feed to Zillow, which generally doesn’t happen.

Lastly, in rare instances, the MLS may syndicate ALL of the listings in a specific area, but that is relatively rare as some brokers do not want ALL of their listings displayed on Zillow.  For instance, if an agent takes a Luxury Real Estate listing from a celebrity, its not uncommon that they wont want their private home displayed for the world to see.

Other National Real Estate Sites

There are other national real estate websites out there.  The #2 site in the country is Trulia, who is owned by…yep, you guessed it…Zillow!  Trulia comes with the same issues that Zillow has for getting all of the listings.  One of the national real estate websites that DOES get almost all of the listings is  Since they are controlled by the National Association of REALTORS, they get a direct data feed from the local board. also sells ads directly back to real estate agents and brokers to generate revenue.  One other thing worth pointing out…most of the national real estate websites will structure your property search results based upon who is paying them.  That means you may see “featured listings” first, by brokers or agents who these sites ave relationships with, before you see the homes in their natural order.


Why You Should Avoid Zillow at all Costs and Trulia and…etc

In a society obsessed with technology and social media, we are bombarded by loads of content. Today, anybody can post information online and just because something’s popular doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Now more than ever, we need to be very conscious of where our information comes from. Does the founder of this website have a motive for posting certain content? What is the real reason this website exists?

In real estate, most websites exist to extract your contact information. They’re giant traps created as a lead machine for Realtors (the ones who pay anyway). Websites such as Zillow, and Trulia are all designed with the sole purpose of creating (weak) leads for Realtors, and in turn, revenue for the websites. At the same time, these are the exact sites where buyers begin their home search and where sellers look to find the value of their current home. This creates a variety of problems due to the false advertising and inaccurate data.

Of all the online real estate databases, Zillow may be the very worst. It’s the most commonly used site despite the false advertising and information. I was first introduced to Zillow leads when I left my previous real estate team. It was my first time working entirely on commission, and I was doing whatever I could to generate leads. An agent in my brokerage told me about the Zillow leads she paid for. She offered to share a few of them as she didn’t have enough time to contact all of them in a timely manner. It seemed so easy. The first Zillow lead email she forwarded me included the name, number and email address of somebody who was interested in a South Austin home. At the time, I didn’t realize how the Zillow lead system worked. So, I called this lead, ready to give them more information on the home, happy to help and excited to talk to a potential client.

The voice on the other end of the line sounded exhausted, “You’re the 20th Realtor to call me in the past hour. Please stop calling.” Not exactly the type of response I was hoping for when following up on these “hot leads”. I instantly felt guilty and apologized. The image below shows that the potential buyer was interested in talking to somebody about the property and did inquire about it. Little did he know he’d get dozens of calls from multiple agents over the next week.

I understand sales jobs are competitive and finding good leads is key to survival, but was this even a way to obtain strong, profitable leads?

Zillow creates a lose-lose situation. The potential buyer is angry, the agent is paying way too much money to compete with way too many agents, and it’s overwhelming for a buyer who is only on Zillow to browse through the home photos. During the timeline of these first searches, many buyers are in no way ready to transact on a property. I’m sure some Realtors thrive using Zillow leads, but it puts a sour taste in my mouth. It’s not honest, and it’s not accurate. Who is winning here? Zillow.

Let’s look into this a bit more. What is the lowdown on Zillow and similar sites?

For buyers: Many of the homes listed on Zillow may not be for sale. For example, a client of mine was intrigued by a house they saw on Zillow. Zillow’s data showed the house was currently for sale, had been on the market for almost a month and was in the area and budget they wanted. What I found via the MLS is that the house had sold in three days a month prior and for over asking price.

Another way Zillow can provide inaccurate information is through the agent listed with the property. You would think this is the “listing agent” or the “seller’s agent.” Wrong. It’s usually attached to a paying Realtor client of Zillow. It’s misleading advertising, and it’s taking advantage of people. So instead of turning to a massive online real estate database like Zillow, turn to friends and family. A simple social media post asking for a great local Realtor will probably get you great results!

For sellers: Zestimates are Zillow’s algorithm-produced appraisals. They provide people with a basic estimate of what a particular property is worth. Are Zestimates ever accurate? Rarely. According to economist John Wake, the typical Zillow Zestimate error is $14,000. “You don’t know if it’s $14,000 too high or $14,000 too low. And it gets worse because HALF the time Zillow Zestimates are off by a lot more than $14,000”.How can they be accurate when there are so many factors to determine how much a house is worth. No two houses are the same which makes it impossible for a computer to determine it’s value. Zillow uses a computer generated algorithm based on what has sold in the area, the square footage and the number of bedrooms. The basics. They don’t have inspectors checking out each property making sure their data is accurate. That’s the only way to determine a property’s worth. Yet, many sellers will only look to Zillow when they start thinking about putting their house on the market.

If you enter your information into online real estate databases, expect your phone to start buzzing. A consumer’s information will potentially be shared with hundreds of agents. The house you were simply curious about has now caused you hours of annoying calls, texts, and emails from different Realtors. If an agent is persistent…this could last for months.

If you’re working with a Realtor, they’ve probably set you up with a home search. I know it’s still tempting to look on Zillow. You may see homes that fit your exact criteria, and the price is great! But why hasn’t your Realtor sent you these?Unfortunately, the listing is probably not accurate or available at all. Realtors set you up with home searches which are directly from the MLS (Multiple Listings Service). The MLS will be the most up to date home search you can get, and it will come directly from a Realtor. With an MLS search set up via a Realtor, you will know the homes in your search will be on the market. Also, if you set up your search with a Realtor, they will be the only one contacting you.

But what if you’re merely curious and not ready to buy? You don’t want to waste anyone’s time!

Realtors work on commission, so I realize you may not want to waste their time. Most Realtors won’t mind helping you with a simple automatic home search. It takes almost no time! Realtors work in a competitive field and by going out of their way to help somebody now, they are slowly building a connection. A new client may use this Realtor in the future or even recommend them to a friend. If not? They’ve wasted almost no time. Not to mention saved somebody the headache of sifting through false material and dodging a million sales calls!

Kristina is the co-founder of Open House Austin, a real estate education company. Contact our team for any real estate related questions or to start the home buying or selling process. Don’t live in Austin? We can also connect you with a great Realtor in your area.

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The real estate transaction is broken. Tech companies want to fix it

Imagine everything you need to do to buy a new home. If you already own a property, you’ll probably need a broker to sell it. You may also need a broker to find you a new place. You’ll need a mortgage lender to finance the purchase. You’ll have to buy title insurance and home insurance, and then find a moving company to haul all your stuff to the new digs.

Now imagine being able to get all of these services from one company. And better yet, imagine that this company will coordinate the timing of each stage of the transaction so that moving from one place to another becomes virtually seamless. Several real estate tech companies are racing to make this dream a reality.

Has tech-world “disruption” finally come for the cumbersome process of buying and selling a home? Algorithm-driven home-flipping companies like Opendoor, along with strategic shifts by major companies like Zillow and consolidations across the industry, seem to say yes.

“A lot of people are out there trying to build this end-to-end consumer ecosystem where consumers can do everything in one space,” said academic and real estate tech consultant Mike DelPrete. “You look at the leaders in the field doing that, like Opendoor, it’s just about reducing that friction in the whole process.”

How algorithm-powered home flippers called “iBuyers” are shaping real estate

One of the most inconvenient aspects of buying a new home—and offloading the old one—is lining up move-out and move-in dates. Typically, people need to sell their old place before buying the new one because they simply need the money from their existing home to pay for the new one. But doing so can result in a gap between moving dates, requiring temporary housing.

In the last five years, multiple venture capital-funded tech startups—the most notable of which are Opendoor and Offerpad—have launched with the goal of solving this pain point in the homebuying process.

They work like this: These companies, dubbed “iBuyers,” make cash offers for your current home at an algorithmically determined “fair market price,” allowing you to take the money, buy your next home, and move out at whatever date works best for you. The transaction closes in a matter of days.

The companies then clean and fix up your old house and sell it on the open market, collecting a fee from the seller. And because the price at which iBuyers buy the house is usually not the maximum the house would fetch if it was sold traditionally, they likely make a small gain on the sale price.

iBuyers resist being labeled “home flippers” because of the negative connotation (the practice has been shown to diminish cities’ affordable housing stock). And as real estate consultant Victor Lund notes, the service iBuyers provide boils down to a financing instrument. The companies essentially extend a line of credit to a homebuyer using the existing property as the collateral. Customers then use that line of credit to buy a home.

“That’s how a mortgage brokerage works today,” Lund said. “It’s just being marketed differently.”

The key difference is that iBuyers don’t collect on the loan through monthly mortgage payments or by selling the loan. Instead, they collect on the loan after the move-out by liquidating the collateral—the old house—for more than they paid for it.

Other startups have popped up with their own spin on the process.

Atlanta-based Knock, for example, buys you a new house and then sells your old house on the open market. They call it a trade-in program. This allows a seller to let homebuyers bid up the price of the home like they usually would and thus collect the full value on their existing house; Opendoor’s and Offerpad’s offers typically represent a minor discount on the house’s full, open-market value.

Charlotte-based startup Ribbon also buys your new home for you, and you can move in and pay rent until your old house sells.

As the concept becomes more mainstream, more variations on iBuying are likely to follow.

A drop in the real estate ocean, but is the tide turning?

With glossy marketing, aggressive PR campaigns, and billions in VC cashto burn, iBuyers have been expanding steadily. Since launching in 2014, Opendoor has spread to 20 major real estate markets in the United States. Offerpad entered its 13th and 14th markets—San Antonio and Austin—just this week.

Still, iBuyer transactions currently represent a tiny fraction of all home sales; Curbed sources estimated that roughly 5 percent of sales in the markets where they operate were completed through iBuyers. Opendoor, the largest of the iBuyer companies, flipped 10,130 homes in 2018, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider. There were 5.3 million existing home sales in 2018 and 622,000 new home sales.

Traditional realtors have, of course, started fielding questions from home sellers wanting to know more about Opendoor and Offerpad. Traditional realtors argue that going through iBuyers risks leaving a significant amount of money on the table, compared to letting potential buyers bid up the price through realtors.

Moreover, the half-decade-old iBuyer business model has not yet had a chance to prove that it can weather a shift in the housing market, much less a downturn, as home prices and sales have steadily risen with an economy rebounding since the 2008 financial crisis.

But that may be changing. Since the summer of 2018, home price appreciation has slowed dramatically, particularly on the West Coast, and home sales—both new and existing—have tumbled along with it. With wages rising considerably slower than home prices over the last 10 years, the latter appears to have plateaued. That’s a problem if your business model is selling homes for slightly more than you paid for them.

Even just shifts in the housing market could pose a challenge for iBuyers. The value of iBuyers is in expediting the home sale process. If the average number of days homes stay on the market shrinks considerably, there’s less need for an expedited sale. Conversely, if homes start taking longer to sell, iBuyers have to hold onto houses longer, and that results in more they have to pay in taxes, homeowners association fees, and other holding costs.

Despite their relatively small operating volume and the uncertainty around their business model, iBuyers have raised so much money and attracted enough attention that some of the biggest players in real estate have begun feeling compelled or forced to follow suit.

Listings giant Zillow launched a home-flipping service called Zillow Offers in April 2018, and Redfin began testing Redfin Now in June 2017. Zillow has been more aggressive and now operates Zillow Offers in eight markets. Redfin has been more cautious, currently operating only in Orange County, San Diego, the Inland Empire region of Southern California, and most recently Dallas.

Perhaps the most striking evidence of iBuyers’ influence on the real estate industry came from Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller in January. When discussing the company’s intent to launch an iBuyer program later this year, Keller told Inman “I feel like I have no choice now.”

“I can’t allow Opendoor or Zillow to go out and be the only player in the iBuyer space and then begin to dictate terms and build brand around ‘they buy houses,’” he said.

Zillow, Redfin, and the race to become a one-stop shop

Zillow’s earnings call with investors in February caused a bit of stir in the real estate world because it offered a startling glimpse into how an industry giant plans to remake itself, with the Zillow Offers program at the center of that transformation.

After posting $1.33 billion in revenue in 2018, Zillow announced a three- to five-year revenue target of a whopping $22 billion, $20 billion of which was projected to come from buying and selling homes.

Historically, the vast majority of Zillow’s revenue has come from selling advertising space to real estate agents through its Premiere Agents program; 67.5 percent of its 2018 revenue was in its Premiere Agents segment, but growth of that revenue has come to a sudden standstill. After years of double-digit year-over-year growth, Premiere Agent revenue is projected to grow just 2 percent in 2019.

“We obviously think Zillow Offers is going to be a massive business,” Zillow president Jeremy Wacksman told Curbed. “What we really know about it is regardless of how you go, it’s just a great place to start thinking about how you want to sell and how to remove some of the friction, whether you sell to us or sell with one of our agent partners.”

Zillow’s seemingly monumental shift in strategy comes as part of an industrywide trend of tech-driven real estate companies aligning their business models around solving pain points in the real estate transaction, whether that’s through launching new products or acquiring other companies.

In addition to launching Zillow Offers, Zillow jumped into the mortgage business in November 2018 with the acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America, adding another piece of the transaction to the company. Factor in its existing listings sites and Zillow is currently the closest to providing an end-to-end customer experience for real estate.

Redfin, the discount brokerage that competes with Zillow, began quietly testing its homebuying program in early 2017 and has since launched and expanded it. In early 2017, Redfin also launched its mortgage division, Redfin Mortgage, and the company has long sold title insurance through its subsidiary Title Forward.

“Our long-term goal is to combine brokerage, mortgage, title services, and instant offers into one solution,” Redfin stated in its 2018 financial filings. “As we integrate these services more closely over time, we believe we can help consumers move much more efficiently than a combination of stand-alone brokerages, mortgage lenders, and title companies ever could.”

Meanwhile, Opendoor has also made moves in the direction of becoming a one-stop shop. In August 2017, it launched mortgage and title insurance divisions, and a year later it acquired OpenListings, a listings site that TechCrunch says automates much of what a realtor does so you don’t have to pay for one. It also reportedly began co-listing some homes in Phoenix, Arizona, with traditional real estate agents, which puts Opendoor “squarely at parity with Zillow in terms of agent involvement and the value proposition for agents,” according to an analysis by DelPrete.

So... who will win?

As the lines start to blur between the Zillows and the Opendoors, each player will lean on competitive advantages rooted in its original business. For the latter, having been set up around iBuying gives them operational efficiencies that companies just jumping into the space don’t have, according to DelPrete. They’re in the most markets and could use their first-mover advantage to become synonymous with the instant-offers concept.

For Zillow, which now operates Zillow Offers in eight markets, listings sites brought in more than seven billion visits in 2018, a huge portal through which it can market Zillow Offers. The Zillow Offers program can also feed its existing business of selling leads to real estate agents; if a home seller declines an Zillow Offer, it can sell the lead to traditional agents. And with $658 million in cash on hand at the end of 2018, Zillow also has the financial capacity to buy thousands of homes without having to raise investor funding like Opendoor and Offerpad do.

But as more players jump into the space and markets are saturated with various competing platforms, profit margins that are already paper thin get squeezed even more. Zillow says it’s making $1,723 per home flip at a minuscule 0.6 percent profit, which leads one to wonder if this space is really worth getting into if you don’t have multiple modes of monetization.

That’s where the concept of a one-stop shop for home buying and selling becomes especially attractive. If one company can seamlessly integrate each individual component of the real estate transaction—buying, renovating, insuring, and selling—and optimize operational efficiencies along the way, there’s a path to becoming the truly dominant real estate company.

“The people that [add services] as a money grab are going to lose,” DelPrete said. “It’s not about, ‘Oh, if I sell this guy a mortgage or title insurance, I’ll make tons of money.’ It’s about, ‘Hey, work with us, we have this great dashboard we’ll give you. You can see where you’re at at all times. You can ask questions and it’s all captured transparently online.’”

Zillow Has Stopped Buying Homes to Flip

6 Things to Know About Houses Not Listed on Zillow

If you’re relying on Zillow to show you available properties during your home search, you could be missing out. Find out where Zillow gets its listings and why you still might need a real estate agent.

6 Things to Know About Houses Not Listed on Zillow

Zillow dominates the online real estate market, with roughly 36 million unique monthly visitors. It’s the go-to site for home buyers who want to search the MLS without signing up for a realtor’s services, but does that mean it’s the best site?

Before you limit your house-hunting search to one website, talk with a top, local agent about the buying options in your area. Having a realtor gets you access to all the great homes, listed or not.

>Interview top agents.

In the meantime, find out the facts about Zillow.

How does Zillow get its listings?

Zillow’s listings come from other real estate professionals or an MLS feed. An agent — or their broker — submits the listing to Zillow. Zillow also receives listings from third-party feed providers and the MLS.

The downside is there’s a delay between when the MLS is updated and when changes appear on Zillow. You could fall in love with a property on Zillow only to find out it went under contractor earlier in the day.

Sometimes it’s better to let your real estate agent find your dream home rather than be disappointed when searching for yourself.

Are all listings on Zillow?

No, not all listings are on Zillow.

There could be a lag between when a house goes on the market and when Zillow’s feed pulls it in. If the agent is doing well, they may not sign up for Zillow’s services or upload their listings.

In some sensitive situations, such as a divorce or death in the family, the owners may not want the home publicly listed. They could ask their agent to sell it to buyers as an off-market deal. Agents find out about these listings through their network, which is why it pays to work with an experienced agent.

Why do brokerage websites show properties not on Zillow?

Agents submit their listings to the brokerage first. The listing goes up on the brokerage’s website, and then appear on Zillow when the broker or agent submits it to them, or it appears on the MLS feed.

Get access to new listings first.

Partner Agents offer on demand showings so you can snag your dream home.

What are pocket listings?

A pocket listing is one that a broker or agent is holding in their back pocket, so to speak. They have a signed agreement with the seller, but the house isn’t advertised or put on the MLS.

Sellers may choose to list their home as a pocket listing to test the market. They don’t want to list publicly but do want to see what they could get for their house.

Another reason to keep their home off the MLS would be if they’re unwilling to negotiate on the price. Buyers often assume that negotiation is a given, or that a seller whose home has been on the market for a while would be open to a lower offer. To avoid that ticking “days on market” counter, the seller may choose to use a pocket listing.

A pocket listing also helps them maintain their privacy. Licensed real estate agents have access to these listings, and can hear about them through word of mouth. These can often be quite desirable properties, so ask your agent if they know of any during your house hunt.

What is an off-market property?

An off-market property is one that isn’t listed, period. Its owners might not have any intention of selling. Buyers often find these homes by driving around neighborhoods they like and seeking them out. Then, they write offer letters or call the owners to see if they’d be willing to sell.

While this can help buyers in a seller’s market buy a home, it also reduced a home buyer’s bargaining power. The current owner knows that you want their property and will have to be incentivized to sell and move even though they hadn’t been planning on it.

Clever Partner Agents are experienced in their markets and know about homes on Zillow, the MLS, and pocket listings. Plus, if you work with a Clever Agent, you may also qualify for Clever Cash Back, earning you a bonus check worth 0.5% of the purchase price. To find out more, reach out to get connected with a Clever Partner Agent today.

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