This morning, Zillow (www.zillow.com) announced it would allow homeowners and agents to upload photos and information about homes that are for sale.
“To date Zillow has created a Web page for almost every home in the country – close to 70 million – on which we’ve placed public records data and our Zestimate(TM)home valuations,” said Rich Barton, Zillow’s co-founder and CEO. “With today’s new release we are opening up every home’s Web page on Zillow.com for owners and their real estate agents to plant virtual ‘For Sale’ signs in their Zillow front yards for free.”
Homeowners and agents can upload unlimited numbers of photos (Barton told me that the company would soon be working on adding video to those pages) and information about the home, including free-form prose.
A quick check on the site showed several thousand “for sale” signs in just the first few hours the site offered the service, Barton said.
In an interesting twist, the company added another new feature: A Make Me Move Price.
“For a lot of people, selling a home is binary. It’s either “for sale” or it’s not,” he explained. “But in reality, that’s not really the case. There are a lot of people who would move if they got the right price for their property. We’re trying to probe that and reach into the supply side and see what dream prices are. We think some of those will be very high but others not much higher than the Zillow Zestimates.”
I asked Barton why he thought agents would upload information. He said that while many people thought the site wanted to be a listing site or an sales agent-type site, it only plans to derive revenue from advertising.
“We believe most of the postings will come through agents. What we’re doing is offering agents who post homes for sales the ability to market these homes for free. They can post their own agent photo and contact information and link to their site for free as well, and become a contributing part of the Zillow community,” Barton explained.
“We’re not an agent and we’re not going to be an agent. I started Expedia and the Realtors knew that. But I have no interest in being an agent. It’s a different business than travel. We’re making money off of advertising. We want a big audience and we’re selling national advertising all around it,” he added.
Barton said that sellers who don’t use the Internet to help market their homes for sale are missing the boat. It isn’t just about Zillow, he said, but Google, Craig’s List, EBay and many other websites that offer sellers assistance in selling their homes.
Dec. 7, 2006