As a real estate agent for over 7 years, I have seen the triumphant building and domination of both Trulia and Zillow from the beginning. They have both given the buyer and seller population an unbelievable amount of information absolutely free of charge. However, both companies posed their own advantages and disadvantages. “But Zillow says my house is worth $250,000 more then you said its worth.” Could this merger represent the end of companies like homes.com and realtor.com?
Real estate professionals will always be an integral part of buying and/or selling a home regardless of what the minority think. Over 88% of people use an agent at some point in their buying or selling process, so what makes these two portals so important? Quite simply; access. They both were a single place where people could go to get a plethora of information extremely quickly, and nowadays, it’s all about information and speed. If I can’t find the information quickly and easily, I’ll find someone who can deliver it to me. Companies like Trulia and Zillow have long provided important factors to home buyers such as neighborhoods, demographic information, and competitive sales for a specified property. While values for these properties, especially in my area, tend to be off significantly, it does give the user some great information to draw their own conclusions. Additionally, this enables them to get a good grasp on the market and arm themselves with as much, or more information than their “local” agent has. By doing so, it enables the buyer or seller to choose the right real estate agent to make sure they actually understand the current market and the area in which they are looking. It also allows the buyer or seller to be specific and knowledgeable when talking about market conditions or specific areas that used to be information you would “need” your real estate agent for.
The combination of these two giants is long overdue. They both cater to the general population while making the majority of their money off real estate agents, myself included. Throughout the years, I have been a subscriber when I wanted/needed more business or tried to break into a different area of the market. While they were each “expensive,” they always did deliver plenty of leads and kept me busy when other parts of my business had gotten slow.
With the looming SEC approval and $3.5 billion in stock changing hands, what does this mean for me and my fellow realtors? Honestly, nothing. They will continue to operate independently while cutting their own costs and hopefully keeping real estate agents costs the same. With that comes the ability for cross promotions and to be seen across both avenues for the same or less money.
So, what does this mean for their competition? It means closing their doors…eventually. You cannot compete with nearly 100 million unique views per month, no matter who you are. Together, Trulia and Zillow put themselves in a league like Facebook and Twitter for social media, and like HBO and Showtime for TV. People want to use them, and they will continue to do so unless a better, cheaper, faster, and more efficient alternative becomes available. For now, if you want the content, maybe you should help decide which sounds better…Trillow or Zulia.