Every day like clockwork, someone comes to my website looking for information on how to list their home for sale on Zillow. (The irony of someone who doesn’t want to use an agent using an agent’s website to find out how to use a free platform amuses me, but that’s another story.)
It’s a rather simple process:
- Go to Zillow
- Set up an account
- Type in your address and claim your home
- Click on “post for sale”
That’s all there is to it.
But – and you knew there had to be a but – now that I’ve told you how, let me tell you why it’s really not all that it’s cracked up to be compared to using an experienced real estate professional to sell your home.
You Don’t Need Traffic – You Need the RIGHT Traffic
Zillow is fond of talking about how many million people look at the site on a daily basis. The thing is, if you’re selling your home in Glendale Arizona, does it really make any difference how many people are looking for homes in Glendale Colorado? Or Glendale Illinois? Or Glendale California?
What you need are people who are looking for a home just like yours in this area and what you’ll find is the number of people running searches specific to your home’s general characteristics are but a small, small fraction of those millions of which Zillow boasts. How many of them are qualified to buy … that’s another story.
By the way … when you do list your home, Zillow attaches a Zestimate – an estimated value. In our fast-moving market, the Zestimate more often than not is far behind the real market value. Do you really want to market your home as seemlingly overpriced?
Act Like You’ve Done This Before
Most people have little experience in marketing a home for sale. This isn’t like listing a couch for sale on craigslist. It takes a bit of work to get a home in the right condition to attract the highest possible sales price – staging, professional photography, proper pricing (which often turns out to be a reason people go it alone.)
Realistically, no matter how many homes you’ve bought and sold in your lifetime, the total’s going to be less than what I’ve helped people buy and sell this year. When you are talking about six figures, it’s better to let a professional do what they do best rather than giving it the ol’ college try.
Handling the Contract Itself
Now, if you happen to get a buyer without an agent to search for your home … and they like the home … and they’re qualified … you can get one of those do-it-yourself contracts at Office Max and fumble through things together like a couple of teenagers in the back of a Malibu.
But keep the following in mind …
- Those contracts are generic to multiple states, not specific to Arizona law
- Many of the items taken for granted in the AAR contract, including basic items like what personal property conveys and what doesn’t, aren’t stated clearly
- Inspection periods aren’t written in statute; neither are the remedies should things go sideways.
Which brings me to my next point. If you are working with a buyer who has an agent and using the AAR form, there’s one thing you ought to know:
As a seller in Arizona using the AAR Purchase Contract, once the contract is executed, you have ZERO contractual outs. End of story.
Buyers have contingencies for inspections, appraisals, loan qualifications … in fact, it’s almost impossible for a buyer to lose his or her earnest deposit without waking up on the day of closing and saying “screw it, I changed my mind.”
Sellers? You’ve got nothing. Just troll the Q&A areas on Zillow and Trulia Voices to see how many times sellers are surprised to learn they can’t cancel a contract and/or that they don’t get the earnest deposit.
The Bottom Line
An experienced real estate is going to earn the commission he charges in the extra dollars the majority of sellers receive in terms of a higher sales price and lower carrying costs caused by a shorter marketing period. And all the up-front expenses, at least in my case, are borne by me – the admin expense, MLS entry, photography, color flyers, sign installation, etc.
Yeah, it’s definitely easy to list a home for sale on Zillow. But it’s one hell of a lot harder to sell a home.
And that’s kinda the point, isn’t it? Getting it sold?