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The dirty secret of major real estate websites

The dirty secret of major real estate websites: This may come as a surprise. When  you complete your contact information when accessing real estate web sites such as and Zillow you generally aren’t getting in touch with the actual listing agent. Most likely you are providing your information to a Realtor or real estate broker who is buying your contact information (leads).

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As the listing agent I believe I should be the main point person for my listings. After all, I am the one who knows most of the details about my listing. The dirty secret of  major real estate websites, is that they direct inquiries to paid advertisers. How these real estate web sites work is that when completing your contact information you must check the box for the listing agent. Otherwise, your information is provided to one of the three Realtors below (me) the listing agent.  These are agents that pay Zillow for your contact information. Misleading? The world has become more money driven and less consumer driven.

As the seller’s listing agent, I have typically acquired this client in several different ways. Generally a past client or referral from a satisfied client. Or perhaps it’s someone I met at an open house, or responded to an ad in the paper which I have paid for. But my point, is that it’s my client. These real estate websites are using my relations and hard work to sell consumer’s contact information to the highest bidder. This is not in the seller’s best interest either.

Years ago, real estate offices would tour the new office listings as a group (office caravan). Then Realtors would sign up for floor time. During floor time, any consumer inquiries would go to the agent assigned to floor time. Although, not the listing agent, but generally a real estate agent who had at least seen the home. The real estate world has changed and is now internet driven.  I receive very few calls from my for sale sign.

Note that twenty percent of Realtors haven’t been in the business for a single year, and a third have been in it less than three years. When contacting any real estate agent, be certain to check their qualifications.

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