Let me preface the following by saying that I have tremendous respect for Zillow and what they have accomplished. In a nutshell, they bamboozled many Realtor Associations, agents, brokers and home sellers into thinking that we need them to help sell property. On a side note, we sold real estate just fine before Zillow, but that is a topic for another day. See Zillow Inaccuracy - Part 1 if you want to know if Zestimates are correct.
Today, I just want to comment on the Zillow property search feature. As a tech-guy, I have to hand it to them as they have built a fabulous property search. Technology focused Realtors try to mimic many of these 3rd party property searches with a much smaller budget. Unfortunately though, the public is not seeing all properties for sale when searching Zillow.
Zillow Doesn't Have Them. We Do.
I was in a real estate conference last week in Denver, Colorado and one of the presenters was Stacie Staub with West + Main. She runs this Facebook ad and I wanted to do something similar. However, I wanted to make sure that my ad was accurate. Specifically, the part about, "Zillow doesn't have them all, We do." So, I decided to do a case study to see if this was true.
Case Study - Does Zillow Show All Sarasota Real Estate Listings?
34236 Properties For Sale
Below are the all of the properties for sale in the 34236 zip code in our MLS system. Realtor and 3rd party receive their property data from our MLS. It shows 343 properties for sale.
DwellingWell.com (this site) shows 341 properties for sale in 34236. The difference is most likely mobile homes (not our wheelhouse).
Zillow shows 307 properties for sale in 34236. As you can see there is a 36 or roughly 10% difference in what is for sale and what is shown on Zillow.
34211 Properties For Sale
Our MLS shows 207 properties for sale in the 34211 zip code.
Dwellingwell.com shows 203 properties for sale. Again, the difference is probably mobile homes (not our wheelhouse).
Zillow only shows 126 properties for sale or 61% of what is actually on the market in the 34211 zip code.
34212 Properties For Sale
Our MLS shows 291 properties for sale in the 34212 zip code.
Dwellingwell.com shows 285 properties for sale in the 34212 zip code.
Zillow only shows 224 properties for sale or only 77% of what is on the market.
In the above Zillow searches we queried only properties listed with an Agent.
Below is a screen shot from our MLS giving us some control over where our listings are distributed. In some cases Realtors and builders choose not to showcase them on 3rd party websites. That probably makes up the discrepancy in the examples above.
In this exercise, I did find several areas where Zillow did not show all of the properties for sale. In other areas they were accurate and in most areas they showed too many properties for sale.
Zillow is a lead company. Their goal is to get the general public to give up their contact information so they can sell the information back to us Realtors (leads). They get beat up pretty regularly from Realtors for their inaccuracies but ultimately their revenue stream comes from selling leads to agents. We regularly get calls from clients asking about a home for sale they found on Zillow only to find out that it went under contract a month ago.
After doing a little home work, I feel more comfortable running the above Facebook ad and saying "Zillow doesn't have them all, We do." ;-)