How Zillow’s Big Trulia Takeover Can Help Investors Selling Houses
Zillow’s massive takeover in the online real estate dominion has the majority of real estate professionals concerned, according to a recent Inman News poll. Still, a few forward thinking real estate brokers and investors are already finding ways to make it work in their favor when it comes to selling houses.
Call it ‘Zulia,’ or ‘GodZillow,’ there is going to be a monster sized new player in the online real estate arena. There are some antitrust issues which could bounce the deal, but we’ll have to wait and see. Analysts say they don’t really see ‘GodZillow’ becoming an 800 pound gorilla in the industry. More like an 80 pound gorilla making a lot more noise than it has muscle. Still, it is a force to keep an eye on.
A recent survey showed over half of real estate professionals believing the consolidation as a bad thing, which could rocket the cost of online real estate marketing. Others, including many real estate bloggers, point to Zillow’s poor track record in quality product, accuracy, and continued failure to become profitable as storm clouds to watch, and some major red flags for stock market investors.
So how can real estate professionals, and investors in particular, compete against this new heavyweight competitor, and perhaps even use its size against it to win, and sell more houses?
‘Coming Soon’ Listings
Zillow’s new ‘Coming Soon’ feature has been highly controversial. Many consider it a waste of time, others perhaps even unethical for Realtors. However, one real estate broker in the Carolinas seems to have found an angle for using it to the benefit of both their agents, and real estate investors. Sandra Allen of Metro Broker Carolinas recently announced a seriously discounted commission rate for serious real estate investors with multiple properties for sale, who can leverage the firm’s premium broker status with Zillow to market their coming soon properties. This type of real estate marketing strategy may have some benefits for bulk buying investors and wholesalers.
Real Estate Content Marketing
While Zillow and the companies under its new umbrella may appear to hold a formidable volume of content, and be able to afford to pay for high quality copywriters and content, this can also be used to the advantage of smaller and solo real estate investors. We could see many real estate agents pulling back from blogging on Active Rain and interacting on Zillow in order to stop feeding the monster at their own expense. After all, what this really does is just make Zillow a more fearsome competitor for them and will ultimately mean their careers are held at ransom, for whatever Zillow decides to charge for access. This is a lesson that should have already been learned from Facebook.
Still this content packing giant can be leveraged as a great research tool. Check out the hottest posts for new content ideas for your own blog and real estate article marketing. Identify the most common questions consumers are asking, and even hone in on leads.
It may be difficult for most to compete with this new conglomerate on a generic, national scale. At the same time, it could be opening more doors and making it easier to stand out as the master of a given niche or local area. Focus on your niche, and become the go to resource and expert.
Become the Quality Resource
Who knows, may be the Trulia acquisition will finally enable Zillow to be profitable, or give it the necessary income and tools to actually begin delivering quality tools and features to both real estate industry professionals and consumers. However, to date, there seems to be little motivation behind the scenes to make this happen. Zillow continues to be hugely frustrating for industry pros and consumers, and many thousands keep on going through this learning process before moving on to better resources. This has created huge opportunity for real estate investors that take pride in their work, want to help the industry and consumers, and are in it for the long haul to differentiate and separate themselves as the quality, customer service driven option for those seeking niche and local real estate market information and are ready to buy (not just browse). Focus on quality and the money will follow.
Extensions of this also apply to retaining exclusivity, and offering value in having truly exclusive properties for serious, qualified buyers, and the agents that represent them.
The other major fail, or void the largest online real estate platforms continue to suffer from is further separating mass from the value of relationships. Real estate is a relationships industry, a people business. Email, social, Skype, and even Glass still haven’t become a viable substitute for this. Millions still might look on Zillow as a reference, but then will look to their ‘friends’ and trusted resources to execute on buying homes.
Collaborate to Win, Win, Win
Building on the above this big conglomeration will likely help motivate other real estate professionals from Realtors to title reps and mortgage brokers to need, and want to partner. Together you can still dominate your local market and do the real business. Done right, this will create win, win, win situations for investors, real estate vendors and home buyers, sellers and renters.