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"Follow the Crowds to Zillow!"


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Sara Bonert Photo
7/3/09 Interview with Sara Bonert

Zillow.com
999 3rd Ave Suite 4600
Seattle, WA 98104
Biography

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Accuracy of Zillow
  1. Zillow is transparent about the accuracy of its numbers; nationally, the median error rate for Zillow Zestimates® is about 11.5%, but local results vary based on how good the data is from local markets;.
  2. Next to each Zestimate and at the bottom of each page is a link to a page that gives the median error rate down to the county level and the percentage of times Zestimates are within 5%, 10%, 20% of the sale price; Zillow also puts value ranges on many properties.

Zillow Tips for Agents
  1. Agents who get questions about Zestimates should share the accuracy information and point out that a Zillow Zestimate is not a substitute for a professional opinion.
  2. Agents should create an in-depth profile on Zillow; include a lot of keywords to increase your chance of coming up in directory searches.
  3. Zillow follows all of its links so that search engines are alerted to your site as the origin; this practice helps with your search engine optimization.
  4. It is free to market your listings on Zillow.
  5. The Q&A forum on Zillow (Zillow Advice) allows you to market your expertise by answering people’s questions; your answers link back to your profile so that people can get in touch with you.

More Zillow Information
  1. Zillow lists about 80–90 million houses in the US, most with Zestimates; approximately 3–4 million listings are designated as For Sale;.
  2. At the time of the interview, about 8.4 million people per month were coming into the site—a 70% increase in traffic year to year; Zillow is one of the 3 or 4 most visited real estate sites.
  3. The Mortgage and Advice sections are the newest parts of the web site; some of the biggest questions on Zillow Advice now are whether this is the time to buy, and what the $8,000 tax credit means; by volunteering answers, agents give themselves a soft-sell.
  4. Mobile marketing is a growing trend as more people acquire smart phones; Zillow’s iPhone application layers all the Zillow data onto GPS capability so that people can search information on locations as they travel around—not just on homes for sale, but public records on most homes.
  5. If iPhone users are interested in a home that is for sale, they can contact the listing agent immediately—an amazingly well-qualified lead.
  6. Applications for other smart phones have to be built from scratch, so no others are available, though plans for a Blackberry app are on the radar.

Social Networking for RE Agents
  1. Any effort a RE pro puts into social media—which for the most part are free—should pay off; spend research time reading blogs and watching twit streams to get a feeling for what is going on—begin by commenting to other people.
  2. You definitely need a social networking plan; once you start, everything you post is out there forever; without a plan, you are likely to waste time and effort.
  3. The plan must identify why you are engaging in social networking and whom you want to reach; select your social media resources and target your messages to do that.

Learning Resources for Online Marketing
  1. The Real Estate CyberSpace Network is a valuable business-to-business resource; another network is ActiveRain.
  2. Real Estate Bar Camp events around the country offer a brainstorming-style learning environment for free.
  3. A variety of free social media classes can be found through networks; use Twitter to search for topics that interest you—Twitter has the most current information.

Favorite Web Sites
  1. AgentGenius is another of Bonert’s favorite blogsites because it presents viewpoints from many different authors.
  2. For technology information, visit GeekEstateBlog.com.
  3. Examples of good local blogs are Kris Berg’s The San Diego Home Blog and Jay Thompson’s Phoenix Real Estate Guy.
  4. The Carnival of Real Estate rounds up some of the best RE posts of the week.
Contact Information for Sara Bonert:

(v) 678 641 7997
(e) sarab@zillow.com
(w)www.zillow.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Zillow: www.zillow.com
Learning networks: http://REcybernetwork.ning.com http://ActiveRain.com
RE Bar Camps: http://rebarcamp.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com
AgentGenius: http://agentgenius.com
GeekEstateBlog: www.geekestateblog.com
Good local blogs: http://SanDiegoHomeBlog.com www.PhoenixRealEstateGuy.com
Carnival of Real Estate: www.carnivalofrealestate.com