I don’t get it. Why do real estate agents fear Zillow?
Zillow.com provides an “AVM” (Automated Valuation Method). Punch in an address, and it will spit out a “Zestimate” — an ESTIMATED home value.
A plethora of posts have been penned all across the blogiverse about Zillow. It’s been analyzed and vilified ad nausem.
I posted here last week that the Arizona Board of Appraisal (AZBoA) had issued two cease and desist letters to Zillow, basically telling them they can’t do what they do in the state of Arizona. My response could be summarized as, “This is just plain idiotic and asinine.” In fact, you can quote me on that — BusinessWeek did.
I’ve said several times on this blog and commented on others that I have no fear of Zillow. And I don’t. In fact, I love it when a client whips out a printout of a Zestimate. It’s a golden opportunity to display my expertise. If I can’t provide a better estimate of a home’s market value than a bunch of code, then I’m in the wrong business.
Why then, do so many agents fear Zillow? I just don’t get it. Someone please explain! How do I know other agents fear Zillow? Look at these comments left over the last few days on an industry community blog about the AZBoA attempt to stop Zillow. I’m not going to link to it because the intent isn’t to single out specific agents. It’s this overall fear of Zillow that I’ve always struggled to grasp. Fear of Zillow is rampant across the real estate world. The comments on this post just provided a handy place to gather a few examples:
“I’m all for sticking it to that Z site”
“Good news as far as I’m concerned.”
“This is a fantastic response in Arizona”
“I hope this does catch on with other state”
“I think this is great news for the folks in Arizona.”
“No more random guesstamits on homes!!!”:
“Thats great news for Arizona realtors.”
“It’s about time something was done about Zillow’s off-base “zestimates.”
And my favorite: “Zillow needs to be state supervised!”
If that’s not fear, it is at best a complete lack of understanding of two things: 1) how Zillow calculates its Zestimates and; 2) just how many other AVMs are out there. Whatever you chose to label it — fear or misunderstanding — it is past time for agents to get over it, accept it, and learn to use it as a tool to help you.
Zillow and other AVM’s are not going away. AVM’s, and the sites that provide them, aren’t going to disintermediate real estate agents — unless you let them.
Interesting to note that the real estate bloggers general (though certainly not unanimous) consensus aligns roughly with mine, though maybe they weren’t quite as blunt in expressing their opinion. Yet read deeper, particularly into some of the comments, and you’ll see many out there that feel the AZBoA is a savior to all.
I don’t get it.