It is flat out guaranteed that if you Google any property address or real estate topic, Zillow will show near the top of the results. Arguably, Zillow.com has become the biggest name in real estate. Actually, many buyers start their home shopping process here or other sites such as Realtor.com, Trulia, or Homes.com. Over the years, Realtors had a love – hate relationship with the real estate behemoth. The leads provided from the website can provide a significant stream of income for real estate agents. Yet, the increasing cost and the duplication of leads is a big source of pain among many agents.
Although, a recent update we share in this article has provided a way for smart, proactive Realtors to gain leads for FREE! Although, there are some naysayers out there, real estate should continue to be strong. Some fear higher interest rates or the recent tax law changes could hurt real estate sales. Check out a recent article “Will new tax law be the death of real estate?”.
Create Zillow Leads for FREE!
In conversations over the last couple of weeks, we have noticed many have not realized this change yet. In this article we breakdown the following areas in detail so that Realtors may take advantage of this change.
- What Zillow changes happened?
- Tips for more leads
- How to have a strong profile
Zillow Change Explained
Many Realtors complain about the escalating costs of buyer leads, plus the fact that these leads are shared with other Realtors. While paying top dollar for leads, leads being duplicated to other Realtors, and that fewer leads are coming in, many Realtors are cancelling their investment into this real estate marketing site.
But there is a change that can help Realtors take advantage of Zillow’s popularity at no cost!
Before this change, any property would prominently advertise several premier agents. Premier agents are Realtors who pay for leads. Then, if you scroll to the VERY bottom of the property listing, there is the listing agent’s contact information in small gray print. No gold stars, nothing in bold, and no picture. The agent who put the listing on the site received the worst advertising! How fair is that?
But now, rather than displaying the listing agent’s contact information at the very bottom of the page, the agent is now prominently displayed in first position on top of the paid “premier agents” list for each property! You may think this is pretty cool, but let me tell you that this is huge! Now, there do seem to be some variations for this but for the most part this is true.
So, How Do I Get Free Leads?
Ok, they now show the listing agent at the top. That’s cool. But, how do you get free leads right? Well, Zillow charges top dollar for the leads. But, they do not charge agents to have a profile. So there are two main keys: Get more listings and have a top notch profile. Again, both of these are free! As the listing agent, you are in the top spot ABOVE the top paying Realtors!
Get More Listings
Most Realtors know how to do this, although it does take initiative to implement a successful portfolio of listings. Use your abilities as a Realtor to call on expired listings, communicate and educate your business sources, be a resource to your sellers, work open houses, plus perfect your listing presentation. Gaining the seller’s trust is huge and being able to show a seller the tools and knowledge being used to sell their home is key. The more listings you have, then the more opportunities for top placement on property pages. As the top agent listed, it improves your chances of being called over the other paying agents. It is a dramatic difference compared to being listed at the very bottom of the webpage!
Online listings automatically flow onto a Realtor’s Zillow.com profile. So that part is easy once you have listings.
Have a Strong Zillow Realtor Profile
Ok, you have listings and you are on top of the paid premier agents. That is not all there is! You still need to market to site visitors. Who wants to call a blank profile with no reviews? Sure, the Realtor looks like he/she has a head. But that is about all you can tell of this agent. Buyers and sellers are looking for top reviewed and recommended Realtors who are experts in their market. This key part is also free of charge.
Profile Tips for Getting More Leads
- Lots of 5 star reviews – minimum of 5
- Always input closed sales
- Fully complete your file
- All contact information, social media links
- Complete ALL service areas (not just one)
- Write a great bio
- Include a professional photo and video
Not only should a Realtor have a complete profile, but it should also grab the viewers’ attention. Think about it. If you are the listing agent and have one review, no recent closed sales, and an incomplete bio (like the “Alan Agent” profile above). If there are much stronger looking agents below your name, there is a good chance one of those agents will be contacted. Reviews not only help ranking on Zillow.com, but they also tell third party stories about your service. Also, reporting all of your buyer and seller side closings demonstrates your ability to close in your geographic areas. Finally, fully complete your profile. Not only should it be complete, but it should also be interesting, informative, and have a call to action. Remember, the goal is for buyers and sellers to contact you.
“I Only Work With Sellers, So This Does Not Help Me”
Let’s say a Realtor only works with sellers. A listing agent strictly working with sellers would still have many advantages to following these tips. Here are just a few…
- Sellers unsatisfied with current agent & looking to change
- Seller buying another home, maybe yours
- Refer to a team member that works with buyers
- Refer to an outside relationship
- Use as part of listing presentation
Hopefully this has provided some helpful insight into the workings of Zillow, but also something that will motivate you in your business. Of course, this could change in the future. But, we feel that not matter what, these are great practices to use in your business. Plus, if you still want to buy leads from Zillow.com, great!
Be Proactive in Getting Leads Rather Than Reactive! The Best Realtors Create Leads!
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Author: Russell Smith
Team Move OVM Financial loan officer success is Russell’s primary focus. He provides the tools and techniques he used as a top producing loan officer. Additionally he offers the Team Move OVM Financial Agent Training Program. Sharing is so important to Russell so he works diligently to be a resource to loan originators and Realtors.