If you’re looking to sell your home or purchase a home the easiest way possible, you might be tempted to look into a company like Zillow. Zillow claims to offer a stress-free, all virtual process that allows you to get an estimate online. You can get your mortgage online, and never have to deal with a bank in person or a traditional realtor. However, this might be too good to be true. Should you use a platform like Zillow to buy or sell a home in Colorado Springs? Here’s why you may want to reconsider choosing to make the biggest purchase of your life with a company like Zillow.
What is Zillow?
The Seattle-born company Zillow is a platform for online real estate. They are a database that users can access for free at any time, and they claim to provide up to the minute market listings across North America. Zillow also suggests that they can support homeowners throughout the selling phase, and those who are looking to buy a home through the buying process. They say that they can assist through the full real estate cycle, buying or selling. They can even help renters find available rental properties, help homeowners with financing for renovations, and more.
Their featured product is called “Zestimates.” This is an online appraisal system that provides you with an accurate appraisal of your home with a couple of clicks of a mouse. This is the product that allows Zillow to offer all the services they do. From providing listings to financing the purchase, they are intended to be the only place you need to go to buy or sell a home in Colorado Springs.
How do they offer free services?
Anyone can use Zillow, so that means they need to find other ways to make a profit to continue advancing their products and services.
They have three primary avenues for bringing in funds, which are iBuying, Advertising, and their Premier Realtor Service.
iBuying is the real estate lifecycle online. The ability to purchase or sell a home all virtually through an automated system that makes the process extremely straightforward and quick.
Zillow has a full network of sites that helps them bring in big advertising dollars. AOL Real Estate, MSN Real Estate, Hot Pads, Trulia, and MyNewPlace, to name a few. Because they have a clearly defined audience and can provide analytics that shows how much traffic they can generate, this can be very attractive to companies in the real estate industry. Companies like insurance brokers, mortgage companies, banks, telecommunications companies, and others will pay top dollar for access to Zillows audience.
The Premier Realtor Service is a partnership program between Zillow and interested realtors. It’s a subscription service where the realtor pays a fee to Zillow, and they become boosted above the rest. They receive access to Zillow’s leads, they are promoted, and they are given preference for advertisements. There are plenty of realtors who subscribe to Zillow’s program, so when a user enters their information to continue browsing online, all of the premium realtors receive their information. They can then choose if they want to follow up. They are also recommended during the iBuying process.
Should you use Zillow or a Traditional Realtor?
If you could really purchase or sell your Colorado Springs home online without a hitch, that would be a fantastic concept. However, Zillow does not live up to its claims. Their reputation isn’t very great, either.
The main product Zillow offers, which is Zestimates, is highly criticized among past users. It’s almost always wrong, which can be frustrating for individuals who are serious about selling their homes. An online system can’t see the condition of your home, so it would be impossible to provide a truly accurate estimate for a property. Providing very inaccurate information to clients in this way is highly irresponsible.
Another criticism of Zillow is that they often have listings that are marked as current that are actually sold. Sometimes these listings are even advertised or promoted. They aren’t diligent enough to claim to have up to the minute listing information. This is another frustration for interested clients, as they may fall in love with a Colorado Springs home that is no longer available.
Zillow is an online platform, which means it’s only interaction is with interested users. It doesn’t provide a very personal or excellent customer experience. Dealing with a traditional realtor has a significant benefit in this area, as they work to provide you with an experience. A sale or purchase of your Colorado Springs home takes time, and you will need to have open communication. A seasoned realtor will have excellent skills to help you through the process. Buying or selling a home can be a bit of a stressful and exciting time, and there can be a lot of emotions that come along with it, and a realtor can help ease your mind.
When you’re browsing Zillow, eventually, you will have to give the site your necessary information to continue browsing. Even if you’re not ready to buy or sell your home right now, you’re just looking for fun, or whatever your situation may be, your information is shared with all of the premier realtors that are eager to help you. Some past users have noted that they’ve received over 15 different realtors contact them immediately to see if they want to see a home or are interested in working with them. Treating any lead this way isn’t a great way for Zillow to conduct business.
If you do happen to be interested in a Colorado Springs home, you’ll put in your information and can anticipate being contacted by a realtor. You likely won’t be contacted by the listing agent. This available realtor that contacts you probably won’t be knowledgeable about the home, and might not be able to answer any questions you may have about the property. In fact, if you decide to use Zillow, you will probably deal with a different agent at every step of the process, never seeing the same one twice.
Why a traditional realtor is better
When you’re ready to buy or sell your Colorado Springs home, the last thing you want are the glaring issues that Zillow brings to the table. When you hire a traditional realtor, you’re immediately eliminating all of those glaring issues.
The first step in finding a great realtor is research. Whether you choose a referral from your family member or friend, or you find a neighborhood expert in your desired Colorado Springs communities, a realtor with a lot of experience will be a massive asset to the process.
When you’re selling your home in Colorado Springs, an experienced realtor will know a rough idea of what your home is worth in comparison to the other houses around yours. They will also have a good idea of what it can sell for. They will have a network of photographers, marketing resources, and tips to stage your home, so it’s new owner will be willing to put in an offer. Zillow does not have the ability to do any of this, and you will be competing with others for ad space solely on Zillow and its network of affiliate sites. A realtor is not limited to where they try to advertise your home.
A realtor will be motivated to sell your home or help you purchase because they are paid by commission. Their livelihood depends on your happiness with their work and getting you the right price. They will put in the effort to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for.
Zillow can merely provide data, show you listings, and pass on your information. An experienced realtor is always a phone call away, and they are your partner in completing a sale or purchase. A realtor is an invaluable asset to have on your side.
Stick with what you know
There is a good reason why realtors will not be made obsolete by an online system. Companies like Zillow have been emerging over the last decade, and they are supposed to be beneficial to a large number of people. But, they don’t deliver on their promises. They are highly criticized, and many people are left with a bad taste in their mouth after using their services.
There are countless reviews from frustrated Zillow users, and some even wish they had just hired a traditional realtor. Don’t take a chance on an online system, and stick with what you know. Realtors are still prevalent for a reason, and it’s because they add so much value that can’t be replaced by an online system.