The reasons that Boston real estate buyers using Zillow miss new listing opportunities has more to do with the home buyers than the public real estate sites. Many markets in the greater downtown Boston area continue to experience a significant shortage of inventory resulting in highly competitive environment. Mortgage rates continue to be very low; buyers are stacked up looking to exploit this. Many have hair triggers; they’ve lost homes before and are in the “whatever it takes mode”. When something pops, they are determined to snatch it. In this exceptionally fast market, speed is often the difference between success and failure.
The public home sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor .com and the many others update their sites via feeds from the local MLS. This happens many times over 24 hours as the sites crawl the MLS for new listings. This is fast but not instantaneous; it can take a few hours or more for pictures and all details to be uploaded. Within the “public sites” arena, some are faster than others. None however, are as fast as a direct feed off the MLS. Highly specific and structured searches can quickly be set up with auto emails; these can be set to update daily or the minute that a new listing hits or is modified. This is how Boston real estate brokers ensure they keep track of the most current inventory – and it’s readily available to home buyers.
Home Buyers Using Zillow May Not Receive an Agent Response
The public real estate sites make money selling “leads” to agents; every click is pitched to agents as a “potential client”. Users see a home they like, click to request more info and the inquiry is sent to a subscribed “featured” agent. From that point, everything depends on how responsive that agent is; the vast majority of agents are not full time pros and are unlikely to respond quickly. Inquiries to listing agents often meet the same time delay fate. Inexplicably, the vast majority of agents are lackadaisical about answering or returning calls…even those that pay for “leads”. A few hours can and often does, cost a buyer a home. While common sense indicates that agents would be taking these calls immediately, a significant number either fail to respond or do so hours to days later. All to the detriment of the buyer.
Prospective home buyers can’t sit on the public sites all day staring at the screen. Home buyers using Zillow can create an “alert”, but an alert for something listed yesterday is often useless. If emails can’t be regularly checked, say twice an hour, opportunity may be lost. In some markets, listings last a few hours before going under contract. Of late, the “coming soon” variable has been introduced which adds more to the mix. These often appear but cannot be accessed, when they are put as active the alert arrives too late. And even if the buyer responds immediately, will the agent respond in kind?
A full time professional agent engages a myriad of tools designed to keep their buyer clients informed. Quality listings attract a lot of attention and team work between the agent and buyer is critical to secure that coveted home. Home buyers using Zillow and other real estate sites may be viewing the home after it is already contracted.
Successful home buyers leverage full time professional agents. Not a “hobby agent”; a full time, go to work every day professional agent. Specific auto emails can be set up directly off the MLS; buyers and agents are notified instantly when a new listing hits. Instead of reacting late, buyers are out front and able to determine if this is a home to chase. The agent is notified – knowing that this list fits the buyer’s criteria. In multiple offer situations everything is considered, including the skills and ability of the buyer’s agent. Hobby, part time and hack agents do not render the same level of service; that’s not an opinion that is demonstrated in production levels. In this market, successful home buyers are aligned with agents that answer the phone when called. The 9-5 during the week, no weekends, return messages the next day or full voice mail agents don’t cut it. Experience matters.
There’s no logical reason to not use an experienced buyer’s agent; the cost is borne by the seller, not the buyer. Buying a home is a massive financial commitment; the 22 minute happy endings on HGTV are not always the real world. It takes a significant amount of effort and immersion to make a transaction appear boring. Give us a call, we’ll help you find that perfect home and get it closed.
Every Boston condo shopper looks on Realtor.com, Zillow.com and perhaps one of my websites to find their next Boston condo for sale. That’s a great way to get a feel for what’s for sale and there and the prices. But if you know what you want and would like the opportunity to buy it before all the other lookers out there please let me know. I know how to find owners of the Boston high rise condo your looking for and often can engage them to let you take a look at it to see if you want to make an offer. Having lived and worked in the downtown Boston neighborhood for over 20 years I know a lot of agents that have pocket listings where the Seller is just not ready to go live online yet.
Please do us both a favor and let me know what your looking for in a downtown Boston condo, the more specific the better and I’ll put my experience and connections to work to try and get you an opportunity no one else know about. In 2018, at least seven of my clients purchased properties that were not in the MLS/Zillow.