I have always wondered why Zillow is used by so many home buyers. What is their magic allure? Why do so many people use it over the local real estate portal HAR.com? Maybe in other cities where the local MLS site sucks, but in Houston? I thought it made no sense.
The Houston Association of Realtor website HAR.com has absolutely the best search site in the country. It wins awards every year. When I talk to agents in other cities or states they always tell me how lucky we are to have HAR. I use it exclusively, but as a Realtor it gives data not available to the public…most notably “sold” data. Realtor.com would be my choice outside of Houston. It’s data is more up to date.
So, why do people use Zillow? Inman just published Love it or Hate it, Zillow is Here to Stay. They listed the top 5 reasons people love Zillow. Even though consumers know that “Zestimates” can be horrible; even though listings may be out of date, or sold. Here are the Top 5 reasons they use it:
- Zillow doesn’t try to sell you, they just present data
- Zillow has a strong brand. I don’t need to explain what a Zestimate is…everyone knows what it is.
- They give great content
- Zillow educates
- They don’t act like used car salesmen and keeping pushing to “sign up”, etc.
It’s hard to argue against that. Realtors are sales people. That’s what we do…we sell.
I hope though that I provide more content than sales pitch in my blog.
My suggestion though for Houston buyers. Use Zillow (or Trulia or Realtor.com), but verify the listing actually exists on HAR.com.
One other point in Zillow’s favor. It lists FSBO’s “for sale by owners”. Just yesterday I had someone in the Heights ask about using Zillow to sell her own house. Definitely use it…the more exposure the better.
Use whatever makes your house hunting easier and gives the most info.