Over this blog’s 11-year history, different posts have attracted more attention at different points in time. Over the past several years, however, I have as many visitors coming here looking for details on how to list your home on Zillow than anything else.
Here is what Zillow will do for you independent of hiring a licensed real estate professional …
- You can advertise your home online for free
- Depending on your list price, Zillow’s automated Zestimate will work for or against you
Basically, as a seller, you are taking your case directly to the buying population of the world, most of whom now see Zillow as synonymous with the MLS though there remain some considerable gaps in data depending on where you are. (And that doesn’t include this historic doozie.)
Now, here’s what Zillow isn’t going to do for you …
- Get your home in front of agents searching on behalf of clients. As a general rule, real estate agents search the MLS where the data is more reliable, than Zillow.
- Represent you in your transaction. There are two parts to this. First, there is having a listing agent as an emotional barrier to assist with negotiation and completion of the transaction. I’ll write more about this in a day or two but it’s hard for anyone who has ever sold a house to argue it’s an emotional, stressful situation. Working as your own agent adds to that. Second, there is a small mountain of case law regarding disclosure, some of which a seller may know, much they may not but all of which applies to their sale. Having a professional helps CYA.
- You may not necessarily save yourself a commission. Many of the buyers looking on Zillow are represented by agents. Yes, you absolutely can decline to cooperate with real estate agents and pay a commission but you absolutely may lost some buyers in the process. And if you do pay the commission, you’re essentially paying for someone to have better representation than you in the transaction because you don’t have an experienced professional on your side.
What’s the moral of this story? Every day, sellers successfully sell homes on Zillow. In many cases, nothing goes wrong along the way. Real estate is an easy process when all goes smoothly. But when it doesn’t … hold on to your hats. So before you list your home on Zillow, send an e-mail to an agent just to see what might be.