Third-party listing syndicators, like Zillow and Trulia first appeared on the web just as the housing market hit its peak, and Realtors around the nation have been both happy and wary about sharing their listings with these national sites as a way to help sales. Today, there seems to be a growing backlash from Realtors who say that the service is neither helping their company nor their buyers and sellers, citing inaccuracy of data as a major complaint.
In the video below, San Diego broker, Jim Abbott argues that inaccurate listing details, along with contact information for agents not associated with a particular property, often frustrate potential buyers and may actually drive them elsewhere. He studied three years of his firm’s sales data and compared listings that were not shared on these national sites versus those they were. “Time after time,” he says, “the listings that we did syndicate compared with the listings that we didn’t had no better outcomes. In fact the ones we didn’t syndicate often sold faster.”
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff asserts that their company “invests massive resources in making our listings as accurate as possible, and it all starts with what’s provided to us by our partners. Complaining about accuracy while providing us with a less than stellar feed or no feed at all does none of us or our industry any favors. Those who decide to pull listings from sites like ours due to their own business reasons have the right to do so.”
Others say that pulling their listings from sites like Trulia and Zillow does more harm than good. Fred Glick, real estate and mortgage broker, has a great video rebuttal to comment on much of Abbott’s issues:
Now it may be true that these sites are teeming with inaccurate information, but we must remember the human element behind the data. Rascoff states, “…to take that step and then say a key reason was listing accuracy feels disingenuous when they have removed the very direct feed that is the most accurate, often leaving their agents to rely on less reliable options.” In reality, all sites have flawed data in one way or another. For instance, agents may forget they’ve posted twice, or they don’t enter the right information.
To pull a listing off Zillow or Trulia may be a disservice to both buyer and seller. Sellers are looking to reach the largest possible audience by having their homes listed on multiple, highly trafficked sites. They’re not necessarily interested in the politics of placing listings online. It’s also important to let buyers know that just because they see a listing on the Internet, doesn’t mean it’s 100% correct and up-to-date.