Zillow.com Now Posting Homes For Sale in Austin

by Steve Crossland, REALTOR in Austin TX on December 8, 2006 · 9 comments

Zillow.com, the website that provides “Zestimates” of home values for properties in the U.S. has now enabled new features that allow homes to be listed for sale. This is the next logical step for Zillow as they try to gain a foothold as the place to go for home information. More on that later.

For Sale listings can be entered both by home owners and also by Listing Agents. Oddly, there is also something called “Make Me Move”, where owners can “tell others the price you’d be willing to sell your home for, without actually putting it on the market. It’s that magical number you just can’t refuse.” Zillow says, “Once you set your Make Me Move price, potential buyers can contact you anonymously via e-mail. Then it’s up to you whether or not to sell your home.”

I predict the “Make Me Move” feature won’t last long. Every kook in the Country will be placing a MMM price of triple the value of the home and it will eventually turn out that nobody will take it seriously. Also, once Owners realize that 9 out of 10 emails they receive are from people saying “please provide your absolute bottom dollar price and email more pictures”, owners will pull their MMM listings pretty fast. Zillow should just stick to posting homes either for sale or not, and leave out this weird “Make Me Move” category.

But with regard to the For Sale part of it, I decide to enter a listing to see how it works. Here’s how it went.


First, I had to get set up an Agent Profile with Zillow. This took about ten minutes total. Next, I had to find the property I wanted to list. Once I located it, I clicked a tab on the top menu that said “Post For Sale”. Then I followed the prompts to upload some photos, add info about the listing, and agree to some terms and conditions including a pledge that I am in fact the Listing Agent for this property. It also provided a spot to enter the MLS number. This one won’t go into the MLS until next week when the virtual tour and final photos are ready, so I left that blank.

Oh yeah, since the condo I’m listing was shown about 1/2 block from it’s actual location on the Zillow map, I needed to relocate it. Zillow offers this option during the posting process. This turned into an arduous task as each time I “moved” the small “house” icon to its proper location on the map, it would take me right back to where I started at the next screen, showing the location in the original wrong spot and an error message. Eventually, on the 4th try, it worked though. This is a nice feature (I’m sure they’ll iron out the kinks), since I was able to place the icon using an aerial view and locate the icon precisely in the rear building of the complex, where this condo is located.

All together it took about 30 minutes to enter the listing. Quite a long time compared to other places we post listings. It takes about 15 minutes to enter all the data and photos into our MLS system. It takes me about 5 minutes on my own website. I’m sure the next one will go quicker on Zillow though.

At present, there are 4,886 listings posted for sale on Zillow, and now one of them is mine. I don’t think the format presents the data in the most elegant way. I think most people prefer to see all the info in a “flyer” or “listing” type format where your eyes can easily scan a page-sized area for the details of the home without having to hunt and click. Zillow has the data all spread out and you have to click around a bit to find all the info. They do have it right with the pictures though – up top and easy to see and browse.

Will Zillow someday become a primary place where buyers go to look for homes? Will it compete with Realtor.com? Maybe. Eventually. Who knows? Will Zillow help us sell this condo? Well, it can’t hurt. It’s certainly easy to locate.

Go to Zillow.com, type in 78704 on the home page and poof! There are red, blue and yellow flags showing the For Sale, Make Me Move, and Recently Sold homes in and around the 78704 zip code area. Currently, doing a search just for 78704 shows 4 For Sale, 3 Make Me Move, and 160 Recently Sold properties.

For now, Zillow.com is just an interesting place to keep an eye on. Agents will always be needed in many if not most types of real estate transactions. But sites like Zillow, that seek to match Buyers and Sellers for free, are no doubt going to carve a niche for themselves while the slug-footed Real Estate industry and our MLS Organizations try to keep their claim on the ownership of listing data (that us agents provide) and their outdated concepts of doing business. It really irks me that the listings we agents work hard to obtain result in “data” that the MLS then owns and sells to others once we enter it into the MLS system. But that’s another topic for another day.

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