Trulia & Zillow Explained
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Trulia & Zillow Explained

There’s an Internet adage that goes
something like, “if you’re not paying for the service, then you’re what’s for sale.”
So what does that mean? And how does it apply to real estate titans Trulia and
Zillow? My name is Jason Allen-Rouman, and I’m a real estate agent in Palm Springs,
California. Zillow and Trulia are great services. If you’re looking for a home,
You get all sorts of information that you can’t seem to find anywhere else on
the web. Oh by the way, they’re both owned by the Zillow Group, so although they may
present different websites, they’re really the same outfit. As a buyer, you
get to search for homes almost anywhere in the country. As a homeowner, you can
“claim your house” and see a computer-generated estimate of the
property’s current market value according to them. So for all of this,
have you ever wondered about their business model? I mean, how do they make
any money? For example, I’m a real estate agent, and it’s pretty transparent how I
make my living. I earn my income as a commission when one of my clients sells
or buys his or her home. If you want to learn more about real estate commissions,
watch my video on the subject. The same level of transparency can’t be said for
every business out there. Consider for a moment those shopping mall giveaways
where you write your name, address, and phone number on a slip of paper for a
chance to win a car or a trip or something like that. What’s in it for
them? I mean, it’s not a true raffle where you are buying an entry ticket. So how
are they making any money? Well, it’s you, or more specifically, your valuable data.
When you fill out that slip of paper, you give them your name, current home address,
phone number, which is probably your cell number, and an email address. And you
maybe even giving them your household income, if they ask. Well that’s gold to
hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing companies around the country. Let me make
that clear; many of those so-called giveaways are a system of collecting
valuable data and then selling it to the highest
bidder. YOU are the profit center and in exchange for that data you willingly, if
not innocently, provide you might find yourself on hundreds of new mailing
lists. Both U.S. Mail and email lists targeting you with products for your age,
income, and gender. So how’s all of this relate to those house search engines?
Well, first they sell ads. The more visitors to a given zip code, the more
money they can charge real estate agents, lenders, and anyone else who wants to be
seen within that marketplace. Just look around the page and you’ll see lots of
agents vying for your attention. As Trulia’s privacy policy states, they will add
cookies to your computer, track you, monitor your social media accounts, if
you connect with those services, and then send you what they deem as relevant
advertisements. For the homeowner, once you “claim your address” and sign up for
notifications, well, you’re on the radar. With these two powerful data points– your
home address and your email address– they can funnel that information to all of
their advertisers, because they know that home owners concerned about their
property value are more likely to want to sell in the near future. Have you done
this and seen an uptick in mailings from real estate agents, movers, or handyman? As
a home buyer or homeowner, just by logging-on and interacting with either
Trulia or Zillow you send up a BIG red flag saying you’re in the housing market,
one way or the other. YOU are the data. Now, there’s nothing WRONG with that, and
you’re under no obligation to buy anything, as long as you understand what
you’re signing up for, well, then I suppose all’s fair in love, war, and
business. And, obviously, both of these massive home search sites are successful,
and my point isn’t sour grapes. In fact, more power to them. My issue lies in the
often half-baked information presented by them to consumers based on inaccurate
or incomplete sales data. There are often so many holes in what they put out there,
it makes the Titanic look water tight. I’ll explore my specific issues with
Zillow and Trulia data in another one of my videos, but let me just say the
housing data they used isn’t from the Multiple Listing Service. Now, I hope you
found this video useful and that it shed some light on these engines. I’m
obviously biased in believing that a human real estate professional can
deliver better information to a consumer than any robotic company. As always, if
you have questions about this video ask your REALTOR. And if you don’t have
someone you can trust in your market, feel free to ask me, and I’ll do my best
to help. If I can’t, I likely have a referral for you to someone in my
network. Don’t forget to LIKE this video and SUBSCRIBE to our channel to hear
more about future videos as we publish them. That’s all for now. Thanks for
watching, and I hope to see you again soon.

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