Big news of the week – Zillow Sued for “Cartel-like” behavior
CNBC’s Eamon Javers reports on Zillow’s response to the REX’s lawsuit alleging Zillow has participated in ‘cartel-like’ behavior with the the way it displays agent-backed listings on its website.
Zillow announced a new feature it’s adding to its platform called Builder Ratings and Reviews.
Zillow said this week it’s planning to hire more than 2,000 employees nationwide in 2021, increasing its total workforce by approximately 40%.
The company’s significant hiring goal was sparked by a year of impressive growth across the business and a historic year in the real estate industry, it said in a press release.
The majority of the new or coming-soon roles in tech, mortgage and loans, product and software development and more are categorized as remote and hybrid positions, open to applicants across the country. New roles also include a mix of in-office and field roles. Many of these positions are now open and accepting applicants through the Zillow Careers site.
Zillow was an early leader in the future of work as one of the first companies to announce an extended work-from-home option for thousands of employees last year. Zillow has since officially launched its Distributed Workforce Model, which offers current and prospective employees roles in an office, field, remote or hybrid format. This model provides employees myriad benefits, including the flexibility to more easily balance personal and professional responsibilities and to work where they are most comfortable and productive, whether that is in one of Zillow’s offices or remotely.
Zillow’s Distributed Workforce Model also incited a transformation of traditional onboarding practices, which resulted in Zillow successfully onboarding close to 1,500 employees remotely since March 2020, roughly 28% of its current workforce.
The new information will be displayed on builder’s profiles, community pages and paid new construction listings on Zillow. The reviews will come from homeowners surveyed shortly after they move in to a new home, who will be asked to rate their overall experience, the quality of their home, builder responsiveness, the confidence they have in a builder and whether or not they would recommend that builder to other home buyers, Zillow said.
The new feature addresses a common desire among new construction home shoppers interested in learning more about the company building their home. According to the latest Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report, 76% of new construction buyers say that reputation is very or extremely important.
“Zillow was founded on the core value of ‘turning on the lights,’ arming consumers with the information they need to make what will likely be the biggest purchase decision of their life,” said Lucy Wohltman, Vice President of Zillow New Construction. “Builder Ratings and Reviews provides our customers with the confidence to pursue the home of their dreams, and gives our partners the tools they need to manage their reputation.”
The new feature is free to builders already partnering with Zillow through its Promoted Communities listing product, and provides builders the opportunity to enhance their reputation, and influence customer decisions during a critical time in the home shopping journey.
“The feedback we collect from our new buyer surveys provides us with insightful data, helping us work toward delivering the best possible homebuyer experience,” said Ashely Hoyt Director of Market and Consumer Research at Stanley Martin Homes. “Through our partnership with Zillow, we are able to promote our brand to a broader homebuyer audience and show our commitment to quality and service.”
The Builder Ratings and Reviews program will be facilitated by Avid Ratings, who already work with more than 25% of the top home builders in the U.S. and Canada. While Builder Reviews and Ratings cannot be edited or deleted, builders are encouraged to respond publicly to any reviews and those responses are displayed directly below a corresponding review on Zillow. All reviews are verified and closely monitored by Avid for inappropriate and discriminatory content.
“We are always looking for better ways to help our customers improve homebuyer loyalty and increase company profitability. The Zillow partnership enables new and existing customers to increase their brand, strengthen their reputation, and increase sales by reaching millions of shoppers visiting Zillow websites each month. Surveying homeowners and displaying those reviews on Zillow is complimentary for Avid and Zillow customers,” said Aaron Everson, CEO, Avid Ratings.
Pageviews for paid new construction listings increased dramatically during the spring and summer, with greater than 34% year-over-year growth over the last for 4 months, and were up 81% in July, as shoppers continue to show an interest in designing a new home. Builder Ratings and Reviews are available on all participating builders’ paid new construction listings on Zillow.
Below is the original Boston real estate blog post
It’d break down, within hours of starting it up.
That’s what happened earlier this week, with the brand-spanking-new website, Zillow.com.
It’s up, now.
I’ve taken a spin through the website, and found it somewhat useful. I think it gave me a fair assessment of what my own home is worth (but I think it’s way off on the unit, just two floors above, with the same layout).
I’m not sure whether it would work better or worse for single-family homes. There’s less density, so less product to use to make value comparisons.
What is Zillow?
Zillow.com is an online real estate service dedicated to helping you get an edge in real estate by providing you with valuable tools and information.
It empowers consumers by giving them access to the same kinds of information and tools agents use. It equip consumers with information about their most important investment â€” their home.
How does it do this?
Use home valuation tools to arrive at the right selling price
1. Zestimateâ„¢ – Enter your address to get an idea of what your home is worth.
2. My Zestimatorâ„¢ – Use this 5-step tool to further refine the estimated market value of your home.
3. Comps – Review comps of nearby homes to arrive at a fair selling price. See what your agent sees.
1. Maps – Scope out neighborhoods of interest and look at home values
2. Comps – Review recently sold homes to get a sense of neighborhood trends
3. Zestimate – Compare the homes estimated value to the asking price. Take the Zestimate with you to open houses.
3. See what your agent sees.
Track the value of your most important asset
1. Zestimate – Look at the current estimated market value and other data about your home.
2. My Zestimator – Update changes you’ve made to your home to arrive at a revised value.
3. Zindexâ„¢- Find out how your home stacks up compared to others in your ZIP code.
So far, it’s of limited use. Great to use if you’re going the FSBO route.
I assume more products will be rolled out, over the coming months, and that Zillow won’t be focused on the sellers’ side, as much. I presume the company plans on having listings on their site, either FSBOs, or, in states where they can, MLS listings. And/or a third source – real estate agents.
The question for a buyer is, do you have time to visit all of these news sites – Zillow, Trulia, craigslist, FSBO, Isoldmyhouse.com, etc.? Do you want your agent to do it? Your agent has been going to one source – MLS. In that way, MLS is a good thing. Having one single source is good because it can be maintained and monitored.
In the new paradigm, how does a seller make sure he/she is hitting all the websites? Updating all the FSBO websites, will require a lot more time, on the part of the seller. Does the average seller want to take all that time? Will the seller hire an agent, on a flat-fee basis, to enter and maintain listings on all the websites?
Buyers might not benefit, from the creation of all these new property sales websites – it’s more difficult and time-consuming to check out all the listings – how can you be sure you’re not missing a listing? Plus, FSBO sellers aren’t necessarily that great – if you like buying a used-car from some stranger you meet on the street, then you’ll probably be okay buying a home from someone you just met. If you use a real estate agent, however, there is at least a procedure for dealing with any unforeseen problems.
Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line
New practices like a “Virtual New Hire Open House” and a New Hire Slack channel are among some of the many initiatives Zillow has put in place to support new employees. Zillow is committed to reimagining traditional recruiting and working norms and being a leader in the future of flexible work to meet its ambitious hiring goal for 202
Review of Zillow.com: A New Website For Real Estate Voyeurs – by Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, The Real Estate Journal
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