If you have ever searched for real estate in Sacramento or other cities in California and beyond, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of Zillow. Look for properties for sale in any market, including the Sacramento real estate market, and you will inevitably see Trulia and Zillow dominating Google search results. Should real estate agents use Zillow or just compete with the site?
These search portals are, without a doubt, helpful for growing families and investors. Whether you want to sell or buy real estate in the United States, they can make things a whole lot easier for you. Yet, very few people read the small print when using Zillow for selling their homes.
Zillow is becoming a significant player in the real estate world, and as a real estate agent, that means serious competition. But what about brokers and agents? As it turns out, they don’t share the same love for real estate agents as they do for consumers.
So, how can realtors compete with Zillow? Keep reading for our best tips on how a real estate agent can overcome the obstacles of sharing the spotlight when selling homes online.
Top 5 Tips For Agents Competing With Zillow
Contending with Zillow as a real estate agent is incredibly challenging. Some people say, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’ But we don’t necessarily agree. Instead, we think agents and brokers should never give up their passion and find a way to beat them at their own game.
There are ways you can compete with them on the same level. Below are our top tips on how to contend with Zillow and attract more clients.
Tip 1: Become a Local Expert
One of the biggest downsides of search websites like Zillow and Realtor.com is the national databases they use with thousands of houses for sale. As a real estate agent, you should get down to the nitty-gritty of the local market.
In fact, you need to become a neighborhood expert who will make the selling and buying process easier for your customers. Let’s say you focus on the Sacramento real estate market. With so many neighborhoods to live in, this beautiful city provides a wide range of house prices, community amenities, and architectural styles.
From quaint bungalows to old Victorian-style houses and newer luxurious mansions in the eastern part of the city, your clients have various options to choose from. While some prefer to live in an established family-friendly suburb like Natomas and Folsom, others are interested in purchasing a home in downtown Sacramento.
So, how do you become a local real estate expert?
You are supposed to help your clients make the right choice. Also, you need to make the selling/purchasing procedure seamless for them. To do this, you must be a local expert and stay up to date with the local housing market.
This involves following activity and pricing trends every week and checking out the newest houses on the market, including sold properties, and price changes regularly.
In addition, it is essential to share information with your Sphere of Influence (SOI) and keep your SOI database organized. Provide your sphere of influence with a CMA at least once every four months to keep them engaged and informed.
The best local real estate experts know how to convey their message using email and social media marketing strategies.
Tip 2: Be Better at Marketing
Let’s face it, Zillow is genuinely good at marketing properties and getting more leads online than their competitors. If you want to do it better as an agent, you should find out where each prospect you provide hangs out on the Internet.
Don’t hesitate to ask for referrals. Still, do it without being pushy or looking desperate. Use your sphere of influence and past customers to maximize your advantage for referrals. Before your past and potential clients even start typing “houses for sale,” try nurturing these relationships the right way.
Tip 3: Leverage Hyperlocal Search Features and Community Storytelling
Research shows that about 75 percent of millennials prefer working with local real estate agents, which is not good news for online agents. This displays a significant demand for a more personable experience with local insights.
Zillow only provides basic info such as the number of baths and beds as well as the average value of homes and the current price range. On the other hand, the websites of local brokers and realtors can also offer:
- Market-specific, hyperlocal search features such as property styles and drive time
- Virtual community storytelling utilizing engaging videos and pictures
- Familiarity with the history and future trends of the local market
The buyer guides offered by Zillow are pretty generic. They are not capable of drilling down to produce local guides for every possible situation in each market. This is where you’ll come in!
Simply provide helpful tips and insightful data on the specific home buying/selling process through customer stories that prove you are familiar with the local market and an expert in your field.
Tip 4: Provide a Personalized Experience
Remember that many people seek recommendations online. They are looking for personalization. With that in mind, your site should offer curated niche-specific searches that meet specific needs if you want to increase traffic and get more customers.
Do not force people to do all the work by overwhelming them with dull advertisements. They can already get a lot of this on websites like Zillow, Netflix, Amazon, etc. Instead, you should provide your prospective clients with a personalized experience to make them go back to your website.
The key to success is offering an experience tailored for every single client!
Tip 5: Don’t Pay Them for Leads and Inform Your Users About Inaccuracy of Zillow’s Zestimate
Many agents pay Zillow for leads. The cost of this advertising depends mainly on how many agents compete for space simultaneously and the sale price of homes in a selected ZIP code.
Are these leads worth it? We don’t think so!
If you decide to pay for Zillow Premier Agent, you are essentially funding the marketing plan of your biggest competitor. Furthermore, you should let your clients know more details about Zestimate accuracy, actually inaccuracy.
These estimates aren’t as accurate as many people think, and you can’t trust them as a reliable source when making offers. What’s more, if you check their website, you will see a disclaimer stating that Zestimate isn’t an actual appraisal service.
For accurate price analysis, real estate agents must enter the property physically. This is the best way to check if any major home repair is required and whether it is worth remodeling the house.
Also, this will enable you to check whether the property is overvalued or undervalued. These are facts your clients will want to know before buying a home.
Once you’ve learned how to contend with Zillow and other prominent real estate corporations, you’ll excel at adapting to an ever-changing landscape. There will always be plenty of changes during your real estate career.
Moreover, the competition will always be fierce. This is especially true for the Sacramento real estate market. If you want to survive the game, you will have to keep up with industry trends and find innovative ways to beat Zillow at its own game.