HomeBuyer: Are you an "Online Lead"?

Written by Posted On Saturday, 14 March 2015 05:30

The current (March 2015) turmoil in online home listing syndication is likely pretty much transparent to the potential homebuyer/consumer. This doesn't mean they are unaffected. In fact, the money chasing their clicks could well increase in both the immediate and long term. Zillow and Trulia have merged into "The Zillow Group" but will likely remain to be two major listing syndicators chasing consumer clicks with Realtor dollars. Realtor.com is the other major listing syndicator. The listings of course come from hundreds of local MLS systems. As of April 7 2015 The Zillow Group will lose many of those listings leaving Realtor.com with the most complete data set. Whether or not consumers will notice depends on where they are. Realtor.com won't be affected - they get virtually all the listing from the local MLS systems. Many MLS systems have not (yet) decided to send their listings to "The Zillow Group" so some consumers serching Trulia or Zillow will be searching for something that isn't there. They will likely find it at www.realtor.com though.

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Whereever they search for homes, consumers will find agents advertising "Pick ME" "Pick ME". OK, sooner or later they will need an agent. Unfortunately, to entice listing agents to send them their listings, some syndicators cave to pressure to put the listing agents contact information front and center. These listing agents are hoping to be  dual-agents collecting both sides of the commission pie. In those jurisdictions where dual-agency is still illegal (because you really can NOT serve 2 masters) they still want the whole pie with NEITHER side getting representation.

It is up to consumers to educate themselves. The listing agent can process the transaction but a buyers agent can do that and more. A buyer agent can be an advocate (generally at no cost) and tell the consumer things about the home - and even the seller - that the listing agent would be prohibited from telling. Ideally, potential home buyers will select a real "buyer's agent" (Someone not working for the listing company) prior to looking at homes and will direct their questions to that agent. If they don't - buyer beware.

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