July 8th, 2017 2:16 PM by Robin Bain
95% of Realtors that have responded so far have said NAR isn't doing enough to protect them from Zillow.
On today's National Real Estate Post (http://thenationalrealestatepost.com/where-is-nar-with-respect-to-zillow/) hosts Frank Garay and Brian Stevens ask Realtors across the country - What is NAR (National Association of Realtors) doing to protect their interests when it comes to Zillow. So far NAR's lack of response or action to this speaks volumes. Meanwhile Zillow continues to gather all of the housing data from Realtors and their MLS then they turn around and use the information provided and sell that leads back to the realtors.
Then there is the NEW "Instant Offers" from Zillow. Instant offers allows sellers to list their homes on Zillow for FREE and sell directly to investors. Where does this leave the realtor? Eventually Zillow will sell this lead to one of their Premier advertising Realtors. The realtor will provide a CMA to the seller and IF the seller chooses to work with the Realtor - then and only then - will the sellers contact information be provided to the realtor. If the seller likes the CMA provided and feels like they can handle the transaction they will proceed WITHOUT A REALTOR. Or they can hire any Realtor they choose to help facilitate the transaction. So picture this, the seller has an agreed upon price based on a CMA from a realtor. They choose to hire a Realtor but the seller wants to pay the realtor a nominal fee ($500?) to facilitate the transaction, after all, the seller and the investor have already agreed upon price and there won't be any need for advertising or marketing services like a normal realtor transaction. How long will it be before this is mainstream? This is only the first step for Zillow. Maybe it's me but I think NAR should get off the sidelines and use some of the $200MM it receives annually from it's members and... I don't know..maybe...protect them? What say you?-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In select markets today, the competition isn’t just from other neighborhood brokerages. It’s also from companies like OpenDoor.com and OfferPad.com, with attractive online platforms that promise sellers a quick, hassle-free, cash sale. This week, Zillow joined the fray, introducing its “Instant Offers” platform in two test markets, Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla. The platform enables sellers to receive and compare cash offers from selected investors, as well as obtain a CMA from one of Zillow’s paying customers, a Zillow Premier Agent.
For many real estate agents, these online marketplaces feel like a threat to their role in the transaction and their livelihood. Zillow, which makes a significant share of its revenue providing tools and services to real estate agents, has moved to dispel that concern, saying it will encourage, but not require, sellers to connect with an agent to close the transaction.
It remains to be seen whether Zillow will be successful enough to expand Instant Offers to more markets. If it does, the promise of a quick sale may capture some consumers’ attention. But many professionals say they relish the opportunity to compete and communicate their value as a real estate professional.
Read more: Zillow Offers $1 Million to Improve Zestimate
What would you say to sellers who are considering the option of a direct, cash sale? Here are six talking points.
If past performance is any indicator of the future, sellers will continue to gravitate your way. The National Association of REALTORS®’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showed that 89 percent of sellers worked with a real estate professional to sell their homes. Only 8 percent of home sales in 2016 were FSBOs, a form of which is direct sales.
Still, direct sales may pose other challenges to the industry.
In addition to competing for sellers’ attention, these online investor sales may exacerbate the already tight inventory situation many of your buyer clients are facing. Instant Offers, for example, connects sellers with a small group of investors who are partnering with Zillow. Sellers who go that route are taking their home out of the inventory for the average buyer.
Also, sellers who choose direct sales aren’t listing their property on the MLS. How will that affect the reliability of MLS data? Not just real estate professionals but also economists and governments use that data to spot market trends, determine fair market values, and make plans.
John Mosey, president of NorthstarMLS, which serves more than 16,000 real estate professionals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, sees no cause for concern on that front. “We’ve dealt with things like the ‘coming soon’ phenomenon and off-MLS activity, and we’re seeing that these trends aren’t shifting FSBO numbers,” he says. “Our transaction volume in 2016 was $19 billion, and we’re in the Midwest, where market values don’t come close to the coasts. So you don’t need the off-market activity to get a true picture of what’s going on. I think the potential harm with these off-market listings is that a lot of them have never been market-tested, so it’s hard to get an accurate appraisal.”
If nothing else, Mosey adds, direct-sale platforms are yet another innovation that should make both MLSs and practitioners think more deeply about how to communicate their value.
Denee Evans, CEO of the Council of Multiple Listing Services, lives in Las Vegas where Instant Offers is being tested. She draws a correlation between real estate and her previous work in the financial industry. “Even when people began doing their own online trading, there was a healthy industry for financial planners. You need a professional to help you with that. There are too many little things to keep track of,” she says.
“Even with my real estate knowledge, I don’t buy and sell houses myself,” Evans says. “There’s no replacement for a professional who does this every day and knows the ins and outs of the market.”