Is using Zillow as a platform to source for deals a good idea?

14 Replies

I am wondering if I should advertise my real estate business on Zillow. I would like to know if someone have had success through this platform. It is not cheap and it requires six months contract. I don't want to jump on it until I have some positive feed back.  Please help.....

@Lanis Olanisa , can I ask you what type of advertising you would be buying from Zillow (impressions, pay per click, etc.), and what business would you be advertising?  Also, do they provide any statistics on successful clients they have had in the past who are advertising the same business as you?

Originally posted by @Lanis Olanisa :

@Michael Hastings , Its the advert where you appear on their website as a premier agent with your picture. It mainly for people to see your profile when they go on zillow searching for a property.

 SoCal may be different from NorCal or the Bay Area, but up here the quality of most of the folks that find their real estate professionals on Zillow is... meh, at best. 

Hi @Lanis Olanisa , that is understood.  I have heard a lot of mix opinions about this.  Some agents swear by it to bring them buyer leads in addition to other lead generation techniques they may be using, but many agents (and coaches and brokers) state that it is a waste of time, too expensive and gets you a lot of "tire kickers".  I would ask that the Zillow Lead Sales team provide you with some references who are local to you, so you can gauge their success and check with a few agents not using it in your market to see what their opinion is about this.  Also, they should be able to pinpoint for you what the expected return is on your spend (Every $1 spent on leads SHOULD bring you back $x).

Like @Chris Mason stated, the overall consensus seems to be that using this as a lead gen source is lackluster.  

I haven't tried Zillow, but my wife and I have done Realtor.com. My suggestion about Realtor.com - don't touch them with a 10 foot pole. They put us in a 12 month contract for $400/month (I hear most people pay a lot more) for a zip code that is supposed to produce an "average of $757,000 leads" due to the average property price there. We've been in it now for 4 months, paid $1,600, received 27 of our contractual 48 leads and the highest lead we've got was $120,000. Most people already had agents, some were just browsing, others owned the property they were inquiring about and wanted to test the site. All of these leads came out of our 48-50 leads we are promised a year.

We tried to cancel our contract due to it not being anything as advertised and $1,600 is a lot to us. We have two toddlers and another due in December. We thought it would be doable if it gave us business, but so far we have flushed that money away. We called to cancel and they said short of death, we can't get out of the contract. The "customer service rep" laughed at my wife when she complained about our service we were getting.

I understand that lead quality can't be guaranteed, but don't sell us something, put an average number on it, we get no where near that number, and not let us back out. We filed a complaint with the BBB. We've requested our contract for us to send to our lawyer 4 times. They've yet to send it. Realtor.com feels like a business ran by the mob.

Anyways, sorry for the rant... just be wary. If Zillow is anything like that, God help you. I've heard better things about Zillow though.

@Derek Wheeler , thanks for sharing this.  Your experience is most of what I have heard about both realtor.com and Zillow leads.  As someone who is studying to become an associate broker in Colorado, I am designing a business plan for lead gen and would like to count these as a source into my marketing plan.  The moment I get hell bent on not accepting that using these sites as a source of leads, instead looking to more telemarketing, door knocking, social media and mailing to obtain business, I see a youtube video or hear a podcast where an agent went all in with these lead sources (online) and is hitting it out of the park.  I know there are a lot of variables to account for when attempting to make these sources convert (quality of leads, volume of leads, area, follow up techniques, etc.), but the opinions vary so widely and the amount you spend (as you demonstrated) can be expensive, when compared to using other methods to generate leads.

Wish I could find better statistics on expected success with these online sources, when worked through.

@Lanis Olanisa I don't buy leads online. I just can't see the ROI for it in my area at all. It's so expensive and oversaturated. I go after listings, not buyers. If you have a listing, the buyers come to you especially in my market (Bay Area). I get my business the old fashioned way with mailers, door knocking, open houses, cold calling, networking and referrals.

@Lanis Olanisa It's going to be hard to say, every area is different. Zillow now allows you to browse each zip code, see how much it costs, how many leads it gets on average and even estimates the ROI. Find lower cost zip codes where the cost per lead makes sense for you and maybe you can have success. I know people in San Fran and Sacramento absolutely killing in on Zillow and Realtor.com, spending $10-$20K per month on it. It just depends on your area and the money you can spend.

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