Dealing with Listing Services
Let’s admit that it is difficult to compete online with the likes of giant real estate related websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. These big three real estate portals capture a large majority of traffic to online real estate sites. Consumer marketing campaigns encapsulate large budgets that basically no other real estate related company can even touch. Together, these three main listing sites make up a large portion of all real estate related searches on the internet.
The house hunt has virtually gone digital as more and more home buyers today are finding homes online compared to any other form such as a newspaper ad or yard sign. Real estate listing websites dominate the online real estate consumer space and they won’t be going anywhere soon.
The real estate industry has changed since the advent of the internet and listing websites. Prior to the big listing portals being so successful, real estate agents had the upper hand in working with clients. However, now the power has transferred to the buyer since they can conduct research online and easily find listings that match their search criteria. Zillow has become the most heavily trafficked real estate listing website and primarily generates revenue by selling leads to realtors.
Contrary to popular belief, realtors can utilize the large real estate portals to their advantage. A realtor can gain more business through paid advertising that often results in well-qualified leads. Advertising on these online real estate marketplaces does come at a price, and a lot of agents can’t afford to have online real estate portals in their marketing budget. While the online real estate listing portals can help realtors, they can also hurt agents and brokerages because they take online traffic away from the realtor and broker websites. Realtors also utilize online listing portals for leads, market data, and to advertise listings. To give clients, the best possible service realtors are making use of the information provided by online listing services. This includes the use of the “Make me Move” feature on Zillow and the For Sale by Owner listings as many postings advertise that they will work with a buyer’s agent.
Online dissemination of real estate information is now commonplace but with the larger real estate portals they affect not only realtor and broker websites but also multiple-listing services. As a real estate professional, it's important that you remain competitive and differentiate your services from online real estate marketplaces. By utilizing online real estate sites such as Zillow, it allows for targeting of buyers and sellers online as well as increasing listing visibility. Online ad spending has increased dramatically over the past few years, and traditional marketing (think direct mail and newspaper advertising) spending has continued to decline.