The Whissel Way Podcast Ep 002: Should MLS Synchronize with 3rd Party Companies like Zillow?
Recently, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors decided NOT to share the listings on their MLS with 3rd party companies like Zillow, Realtor, & Trulia. Kyle and Jason break it down and discuss the pros and cons of sharing with these platforms.
At Whissel Realty, our biggest asset is our team and our culture. We consistently get together to brainstorm ideas, discuss solutions to issues, and come up with systems that have led us to earn the honor of being the #1 Real Estate team in San Diego per The Wall Street Journal. Welcome to the Whissel Way.
– Welcome, welcome. You are listening to The Whissel Way Podcast. My name is Kyle Whissel. I am your host with Whissel Realty Group. Also got my co-host Mr. Jason Hall with Team Home Loans here in the studio today. Jason, you ready to do this?
– I’m ready man. This is our second.
– Second episode, yeah.
– Second episode.
– So our goal with The Whissel Way Podcast is to give you the tools that you need to grow your business, specifically your real estate business. And one of the big topics that’s been going around in the industry this week is Zillow, and the idea of whether or not real estate agents or real estate boards should share information with sites like Zillow and some of the other ones that are out there. And so, it’s been a really, really hotly debated topic recently where the board in Las Vegas, I believe it is G-L-V-A-R, Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.
– But the board of Las Vegas–
– Yes, decided that, you know what? Screw all these other guys. We’re no longer going to send them information about the homes that our real estate agents are listing. Now, the agents did not decide this. The leadership of the association, which the agents are a part of–
– So the agents have a voice in it. But they just straight up said like, “Hey, we’re done. “We’re not going to send our listings “to these websites anymore.” And so there’s two schools of thoughts here. There’s one school of thought that, hey, these are our listings, we should be able to decide if we want to send our listings to these other websites. And the reason being is that these websites like Zillow and like Trulia and Realtor.com and all these big websites, if you want to receive the inquiries, so when a consumer searches on that website and says, “Hey, I have a question about 123 Main St,” if you want to have received that inquiry, you’ve got to be paying them money.
– And it’s usually like a couple hundred dollars.
– Yeah! And if you’re not paying them money, they’re going to take that inquiry or that lead
– and give it to somebody else who is.
– and give it to somebody else. Which is kind of crazy. So it’s your listing,
– but they’re selling the leads to other people, and so that’s where some people have said, “This is nonsense, this isn’t fair, “we’re just not going to send our listings “to these websites anymore.” And so I get that, right? Like, if it’s your listing, in theory, it should be your lead, right? You’re the one who paid the money to generate, like without your listing they wouldn’t have that lead. So, that’s one of the schools of thought. But then the other school of thought is well if you don’t put the listing on these websites are you really doing what’s best for your client?
– Right cause you’re taking eyeballs away.
– Cause you’re taking their property off of some of the most searched websites there are. I mean, Zillow being number one. I don’t know how number two through four shake out but it’s some combination thereof, of Trulia, Realtor.com, and Homes.com. Some combination thereof, but those are the top websites. So, are you doing what’s best for your client, if you take their properties off of these websites? So, it’s a very interesting argument, ’cause again one side of it is arguing that, well, let’s not let them make money off of our listings and so the leads that come from our listings to other agents, but then the other side of it is, but if you don’t put your listing on these websites, you’re not doing what’s best for your seller. So, it’s kind of interesting, where do you fall on that?
– You know, I still got to do more research. I mean, I remember when Zillow first popped up and you know, you could put in your address and you could see the Zestiment, you know, years ago, somewhere in the, even early 2000s. I mean, I don’t remember the exact year but I remember when it came up and people, you know, consumers started looking at it. And reason people develop sites is to get eyeballs on those sites and now everybody’s trying to monetize their site and how I can make money, from Facebook to, you know, all the different sites but we’re talking about Zillow and, you know, the agents are now concerned because now Zillow’s trying to get into real estate and they’re trying to actually bypass the real estate agents. You know, they’re saying, “Hey consumers don’t list with an agent: “list on our site, we have more eyeballs “and, you know, we are going to save you “some type of commission.” and, “Hey, buyer go to this lending company “in somewhere.com world and do your loan”. So, you know, part of me again being a local business person, I’m concerned about that. I wish maybe the, the real estate boards would have done this sooner because now they’re so big.
– Right, and that’s what you’re saying, Are you doing the best job for your client by not getting the full exposure? And so, we’ll have to see, ’cause we are seeing a market slow already and, you know, you’re already talking to sellers like, “Hey look we’ve only had a few showings “maybe we have to adjust the price.” But if someone comes to you and goes, “Well I don’t see my house on Zillow.” You know? And, “You told me that’s the number one site “and you can google and everybody’ll tell you “that’s the number one site “and why not?”
– Yeah. So what happened is, it took about a week and they completely 180-ed and reversed course and said you know what, we are going to keep syndicating our listings to all of these websites because there was so much resistance from the realtors that the association as a whole decided as a whole, okay, if we don’t change this, we are going to lose a lot of people. So, they have now come out, approximately a week later, and completely 180 and said, “You know what? “We were just kidding, we are going to send all our listings “to all these websites.” And so what I would argue is that you have to. You’ve got to put your clients’ properties in as many places as possible. That is what we are hired to do. When I get hired by a seller to list their home for sale, my job is to expose the property to as many people as possible because the more people I expose that home to the more eyeballs that are going to be on it, and the more eyeballs that are on it, the more likely I’m going to to be to get them a solid offer they are going to be satisfied with.
– Right. And the more people the higher the price typically, right?
– Exactly, and so if you’re a realtor out there and you’re debating whether or not you want to syndicate… Again, syndication is what spreads it all over the place, so you’re debating whether or not you should syndicate your listings, 100% you should. Because if you’re not, then you’re not doing what is best for your client and your client is the one who’s paying you. Now, I get like you want to, well screw Zillow they’re making money off me. I don’t give a damn if Zillow is making money off me or not. I’m doing my job which is to expose my client’s property to as many people as possible. So I get the other side of the argument: you don’t want the man making the money off of your listings but, without them would your listings still be selling? I mean, I know we can attribute, close to 50 sells this year just to Zillow and we’ve got sells with Realtor and with Trulia and all these other websites, so, I mean, we can prove these sites are working, that there’s eyeballs on these sites and consumers are going to these sites to find homes for sale. So, if we’re not putting out properties on those websites, we’re really not doing what’s in their best interest. And in reality, if that’s, but… Here’s the fun thing that funny is, that’s kind of where a lot of realtors stop. So we make fun of a lot of other realtors and the fact that their marketing plan… I should say not make fun of but we, ah… That’s a bad thing. I don’t think you’re suppose to talk bad about other realtors, but we’ll say that there’s some realtors that are out there that their marketing plan is just that they, do what we refer to as the three P’s. And that’s, post a sign in the yard, press enter to put it on the MLS which syndicates to all these websites and then just pray and just wait for offers to fall from the sky. And there’s a lot of realtors out there, that, that’s their marketing plan. That is it: the three P’s. That’s it. They don’t do anything else. They literally just sit around and expect these things to just fall out of the sky, ah, but that’s not going to happen, you know? If you’re a realtor out there, you’ve got to be looking for as many ways as possible to expose your client’s home for sale. And some of you guys are arguing, well we don’t want this website to have our property. Really? I want every website on Earth to have my clients’ properties. I want every website where there are eyeballs of people who are searching for homes for sale, to have my clients’ properties. Because that’s my job. That’s what I’m getting hired to do. So, I think that people are losing sight of what their job is, which is to sell homes. Don’t worry about other people. I think far too often, people get too concerned with other people and if they’re making money or not. I mean, agents do that, you know, in a real estate office when they are part of a team. “Well I don’t want this commission split. “You shouldn’t get that much money.” Would you make any money if it weren’t for me? You know if I gave a lead?
– I provide you the lead?
– Yeah, like I mean, we get leads from a lot of different websites that are out there. There’s a lot of websites where consumers go on and then they pair them up with an agent and that company takes a percentage of the deal when it closes. I don’t care how much money they make, like, if it weren’t for them sending me that consumer, that client, I would have made zero dollars from that client ’cause I didn’t even know them. So, they made that introduction for me. By all means, I’ll gladly pay them a cut off of that deal. And, I don’t really care if they made $1,000 or $10,000. It doesn’t really matter to me as long as I’m making money, right, on my end.
– As long as you’ve made enough to cover your cost.
– As long as, right, as long as after expenses, I’m making money. And so far too often, in this industry, people are far too worried about everybody else. Oh well, they made money, they made… You know, Zillow’s making money selling my leads. Or, this company made money, you know, connecting me with this client or you made too much money as my team leader or as my broker. Like, would you have had that business without that other entity or that other person? That’s what you need to look at as a realtor is: are you paying money, sure. But what are you getting for it, right? Or would you have even made anything without that other person?
– Right. Now if you’re getting nothing then maybe you’re in the wrong company, the wrong broker, and you need to take a look, right? But, your company should be providing you value. And, I know one of the values you provide is not only coaching, and you got a full team, you got a video team, you know, you’ve got a listing team. But, in addition, you provide leads.
– You do. We do, we do provide a lot of leads and that’s important. Um, and I want to just circle back again to where I was going and I totally went down a rabbit hole. But, exposing your property, right? The three p’s is where a lot of people stop but you’ve got to keep going. You know, if you’re a realtor and you want to, you know, get top dollar, you want to earn, you know, whatever that commission is that you’re charging your client, you’ve got to go earn it. Don’t just be lazy, put a sign up, put it on the MLS, and pray for offers. That’s not enough. What else are you doing to expose your client’s home? Are you doing direct mail? Are you utilizing social media? Are you doing open houses? What are you doing? Because at the end of the day, that’s what our job is. So, I want to do anything and everything possible to expose these homes to as many people as possible. The more people I expose it to, the better off I’m going to be. A prime example would be something like a garage sale. Right? If I’m going to go to a garage sale, how many people know about the garage sale around the corner from me? A very, very small amount of people, right? And so naturally when I go to a garage sale, what price am I…? You know, lets say that there’s a, ah, a Tag Heuer watch right?
– And I see that at a garage sale. And now, conversely I walk into a mall and I walk into a Ben Bridge. Where am I expecting to pay more money? This could be the same exact watch but at that garage sale I’m expecting a discount, right? Because not as many people know about it. It’s not exposed. Where Ben Bridges is running commercials on TV all the time. Therefore, they can command a premium for that product. It’s the same thing with real estate: you need to expose your property to as many people as possible, ’cause that is your job when somebody hires you to sell their home. So make sure you’re doing anything and everything in your power to do that and stay focused on the task at hand. That’s the end of the show, guys. This is the second episode ever of The Whissel Way Podcast. We hope you guys liked it. If you want to stay engaged and learn more about what we are doing with The Whissel Realty Group at EXP, hop on TheWhisselWay.com. It’s a Facebook group. We love to share on there. We’ll connect with you guys there. Thanks so much.