Why Real Estate Agents Hate Zillow

Before Zillow and Realtor.com came into existence, there was no way for a buyer to know which properties were on the market for sale and for how much. 

Due to Zillow, many buyers and sellers can now browse homes on the market. However, there are several issues with Zillow that many aren’t aware of. 

Real Estate agents hate Zillow because it gives inaccurate home appraisal values, contains outdated and misleading listings, and provides zero value for its paid leads. 

Let’s elaborate.

Misleading Home Value

Zillow has a feature that shows the current market value of a home. Zillow calls it Zestimate. However, Zillow’s home appraisal value is exaggeratedly wrong and misleads many home buyers and sellers.

Home value depends on the house condition, roof, floor, heating, cooling, appliances, yards, location, etc. An algorithm will always fail to assess a house price without looking at the property. Only local realtors know the local market firsthand. 

Many sellers or buyers think Zestimate is accurate and mistrusts local realtors. Therefore, Zillow is creating friction between realtors and customers. 

Home sellers want to sell their houses at the highest value possible. If a real estate agent tells the owner that they are overestimating their home value, many don’t believe it. They think these realtors aren’t working for the owner or against them. This type of scenario far too often happens throughout the US. It’s why many realtors don’t like Zillow.

Fewer Listings

It’s expected that every real estate website should have a similar amount of listings. However, the reality is different. Compared to Realtor.com, Zillow has fewer listings. Thus, those who are solely relying on Zillow will miss many properties. Sometimes, Zillow surfaces properties depending on customers.

If a realtor lists a house, land, or apartment, it often doesn’t show up on Zillow. It creates confusion and frustrates many sellers. Even though it’s Zillows fault, it gives many realtors a bad impression.

Zillow also limits its viewings and steers a user’s choices. The software and algorithm detect whether a user uses a phone, tablet, or computer. It also tracks users’ location, how many times they visit the website, and which houses they look at. The algorithm uses this information and stops or limits showing homes and steers potential home buyers to look at specific ones Zillow wants you to buy.

Outdated Listing

Zillow’s listing updates are slow. It will often show a property for sale but, in reality, has a pending offer. It frustrates many would-be buyers and realtors. 

The listings aren’t updated consistently. Many local MLS updates their listing every 15 minutes. However, Zillow may take up to 7 days to surface that listing. So, the moment Zillow shows a house on their platform, it could be the property is already sold. Therefore, realtors can’t rely on this platform’s information. It’s why many hate Zillow.

Inaccurate Foreclosure Listing

Zillow’s foreclosure listings are inaccurate and inconsistent. Auction.com and Realtor.com are better for pre foreclosure, short sale, and foreclosure listings.  

Realtors use professional tools and various MLS listing websites that give them real-time property information. These tools cost money and have yearly dues. In contrast, consumer websites like Zillow may be free but often provide erroneous, outdated, or misleading information.

Worthless Zillow Leads

Under every property, Zillow lists some realtors. These are ads, and a real estate agent has to pay excessive money to get listed there. Even though Zillow promises that getting listed there would generate leads and bring more business, the reality is different. The majority of realtors don’t see a return on their investment in Zillow ads.

The mindset and lifespan of an internet lead are 100% different than that of a walk-in, open house, or referral lead. They require a different follow-up plan, information, and a different time frame from lead to a transaction.

Zillow only gives buyers leads, not sellers leads. Those who browse properties on Zillow are sometimes not serious buyers. Proof of funds, mortgage eligibility, etc., are necessary to weed out many. Thus these leads are worthless in most cases. It’s why realtors hate Zillow.

Advertising Business

Zillow is a publicly-traded company. It doesn’t charge customers money. There’s a saying that if a product is free, then you are the product. Zillow sells customers’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, and locations to third parties. 

Because of these reasons, as outlined above, real estate agents hate Zillow. 

However, Zillow can be a fantastic place for those who are researching the market. But for serious buyers, visiting a local real estate agent is the best choice because these agents have the best local property information.