When it comes to Zillow Group, there seems to be a lot of fear and anger in our industry and it has been this way since the company launched in 2004. I experienced this first hand while working on the portal side of the business, starting with Realtor.com in 2003 and leaving Trulia in 2014. What I learned during these years has provided me insight into what the consumer needs and demands, as well as the fears of real estate professionals across the country.
Fear in business can be dangerous and detrimental. Some of us pull old quotes from Zillow executives and use them today to justify our concerns. Have we never changed course in our business or personal lives? Is it wrong for Zillow to shift direction? If the plan is not working, then perhaps the plan should change but not the goal.
One thing is certain: Zillow has never been shy about their goal of giving power to the people when it comes to making the best decision on the single greatest investment of their life. It’s not as complicated as we have made it over the last several decades. Instead of seeing them as a threat, why not look at Zillow Group as a way to learn and adopt what is working?
Yes, you could ignore them or pull your data as a way to fight against them. The reality is Zillow Group has captured over two-thirds of the total market share of online real estate shoppers and has more than double the audience of Realtor.com, the official site of the National Association of REALTORS®. We used to pay at least five times more for this kind of reach in print advertising without any guarantees readers would even flip to the real estate section. And don’t even get me started on TV or Super Bowl commercials.
NextHome’s leadership team understands that change is inevitable, but transformation is optional. And we choose transformation.
We are focused on transforming the franchise model into something fun and desirable; our franchise owners and their offices into a profitable and enticing place to work; and our agents into the most valuable part of the transaction, so there are no objections at closing time when the commission is paid.
We are also focused on transforming our relationship with industry partners, such as Zillow Group, so our agents and franchise owners are one of the first to be called upon when our partners want to try something new.
Especially if it means we can hold Zillow accountable for providing a service that will need to be successful if they want to get paid. And why shouldn’t they? After all, they are consuming all the financial risk to position themselves as the most visited real estate site in the world. How is it any different than hiring Cartus or paying another broker for a referral, except in this case the referring company is Zillow?
Is this a risky move? Of course! But it becomes a shared risk and without risk, there would be no progress. And without progress, we will not transform into the best version of ourselves.