Zillow is an awesome platform to search for homes and there is no denying the reach it has on potential buyers, but when it comes to listing as a For Sale By Owner, does the Pros outweigh the Cons? Based on our personal experience and research, we have identified several drawbacks, that may hinder, more than help, and should seriously be considered before simply slapping up a listing and waiting for buyers to beat down your door with offers.
Zestimate Values are usually off by 10% or more.
Among real estate professionals, it’s a well-known fact that Zillow’s Zestimates are commonly inaccurate and are rarely taken seriously. For FSBO sellers, this can be very damaging as buyer’s trust Zillow and believe the estimates they see are true. If your home’s Zestimate is significantly lower than what your home is listed for, this can be a major turn-off for potential buyers, or if they do decide to offer, it will be closer to the Zestimate than your actual listing price or value of your home. Inaccurate Zestimates are the number one complaint from homeowners about Zillow.
Inaccurate listing information can hurt in more ways than one.
In addition to inaccurate Zestimates, other important information tends to be inaccurate as well, such as neighborhood comps, listing info, and map locations. These inaccuracies are less common than those of the Zestimate, but it does happen from time to time. Just like Zestimates, inaccurate comps can mislead homeowners and potential buyers to support a value that isn’t correct. Plus the comps provided are solely based on distance, which does not account for all of the other details and factors considered when determining value.
Listing details, such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage etc, can also be inaccurate, due to the fact that this info is pulled from Public Records, which is original information from when the home was built, and typically not updated when a home has been renovated. The map locations are provided via Bing, which is not the most reliable, as it does not automatically update to new streets or improvements, which could possibly send buyers to the wrong place.
Listings are not updated regularly which can be very frustrating for potential buyers.
Oftentimes buyers get frustrated with Zillow because they find several homes they would love to purchase but quickly discover that the home is actually already Under Contract, Sold, or Off- Market, this frustration can lead to eventually hiring an agent to do the searching for them.
There is no real customer support if you have an issue, you're on your own.
Sure you can email and await a response with a solution to your problem, but it’s highly unlikely that you will receive the help you're looking for. Non-responsive customer support is a another top complaint from Zillow users, especially in regards to inaccurate listing details.
Window Shoppers aka “Looky-Loos” love to start their search on Zillow.
It’s common for buyers to start searching for a home before they are pre-approved for a mortgage or they plan to buy with cash they don’t actually have yet. They tend to waste the seller’s time because either their “Just Looking” or they aren’t in the financial position to buy.
Majority of your buyer leads will go to Zillow’s Premier Agents.
If you actually get a serious buyer, interested in your home, your buyer may not come directly to you, but rather to Zillow’s Premier Agents, who pay a monthly fee to receive those types of leads. On the Zillow app, when a buyer uses the call feature it goes directly to a Zillow Premier Agent, not the owner. On a web browser, there are usually three Premier Agents listed above the contact info of the property owner.
This can lead to a significant decrease in the amount of contact you recieve on your listing, as the majority of Zillow buyers are using the app instead of a web browser, and the others using the contact form on the web browser, are contacting the pre-selected Zillow Premier Agent instead of the property owner.
Most Buyer’s Agents do not use Zillow to find homes for their clients.
FSBO sellers usually don’t want to work with a Buyer’s Agent, however majority of serious homebuyers are represented by an agent. If your home is not listed on the MLS, it’s highly unlikely that Buyer’s Agents will show your home to their clients, because they rarely look outside of the MLS for listings and there’s no guarantee of a commission from the seller.
If a buyer interested in your home, contacts a Zillow Premier Agent first, that agent will show your home, and you will pay them a commission, for doing very little work and basically piggybacking off of your FSBO listing.
Zillow is “Free” to use but at what cost?
Zillow makes money by selling ads and providing contact info of its users, to real estate industry providers, which includes agents, property managers, lenders, contractors etc. As a result, both sellers and buyers are typically bombarded with calls from these providers. Oftentimes when buyers show interest in a home they are contacted by premier agents or lenders, which causes them to be reluctant to contact other listings and eventually hire an agent to do the searching for them.
FSBO sellers are typically contacted by not only agents who seek to list their property, but also from repair contractors, offering services such as painting, roofing, landscaping, plumbing, etc. This constant contact, from non-buyers, can be extremely time consuming and frustrating, leading some FSBOs to hire an agent to list their home for them.
The truth is…
All of the reasons mentioned above may not be an issue for you and you may actually be able to sell your home through Zillow, however the vast majority of FSBO sellers end up sitting on the market for months, sometimes years, only to employ some other method to sell their home, such as hiring an agent.
Don’t just take our word for it, check out what other Zillow users are saying:
We get it…
You want to to save money and your confident in your ability to sell your home by yourself, which is why we provide the necessary tools to do so. We also know the time, energy, and expertise that’s required to complete the transaction, which is why we offer a Full Service Traditional Listing at nearly half the typical commission rate. For more information on how we can help you, Click Here