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Zillow Hack- How to Get Around the New $9.95 Per Listing Charge

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A major sticking point for agents

moneyYesterday, we reported news from Zillow that they added lease listings to their offering but don’t have MLS feeds pulling yet, so they’ll be charging $9.95 per manually uploaded listing, giving it 180 days as a featured listing on the site.

While the hack we’re about to show you will not give you featured listing status, it will keep $9.95 in your pocket for all of the other vendors who like to say “it’s only $25 per listing” or “it’s only $29.99 per month” (with the ultimate implication being you aren’t paying 20 vendors per listing).

What the charge REALLY means

Zillow notes that only 3% of their listings are manually uploaded, but if you do the math on home sales only (we’re not even talking about lease listings that will be flooding their site), they’ll pull in nearly $1.2 million for the first 180 days, then another $1.2 million for the next 180 days and so on and so forth, putting $2.4 million annually into the Zillow bank. That’s no chump change.

But I’ll give you a hint: Zillow’s smart and they know as a tech savvy Realtor that you’ll read Agent Genius and learn the hack, so this measure of charging manually is not to punish all lease and sale listings by agents, the $9.95 charge has two fuctions: to have a featured listing status and to pick up coin from the unsuspecting FSBO.

Okay, so here’s the hack:

As Zillow gears up to compete more closely with sites like RPR, Realtor.com, Apartments.com, Rent.com, Craigslist and others, we thought it might be cool to show you how to still have your listing appear on Zillow.com without having to pay yet another fee.

Here is how you get around the $9.95 charge: upload your listing to a syndication site (a few are listed here) and tell it to syndicate to Zillow. That’s not a manual upload and it will not charge you any additional money to list on Zillow. It’s not only more efficient to go the syndication route, it saves you money. Some sites to try out for syndicating your listings to Zillow among other sites are vFlyer, Postlets, Real Estate Shows, and I’m not sure, but Real Bird and PostYourListings, might work with Zillow as well (some of these I’ve used, others I haven’t).

And voila, you’ve hacked the Zillow charges!

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    December 15, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Sweet! Thanks for the “hack” 😉

  2. Missy Caulk

    December 15, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Mine go in from RealEstateShows and Vflyer.

    Glad they are adding rentals…we have so so many in my area right now.

    • Jim Duncan

      December 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm

      An issue we have in the Charlottesville area is that a lot of the homes are for sale or rent … not sure how Z’s able to address this either/or.

  3. Robert Drummer

    December 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

    The $2.4 million you cite assumes that everyone currently loading listings at $0.00 will continue to do so when faced with $9.95.

    My guess is that those listings will be cut by 80%.

    • Lani Rosales

      December 15, 2009 at 12:03 pm

      Robert, you’re probably right. But even so, many dollars from agents’ pockets is more than no dollars from agents’ pockets! Even if it’s cut by 80%, you’re still looking at half a million dollars each year whereas it was zero dollars before this announcement.

  4. ines

    December 15, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Lani,
    You crack me up – that’s why my question to David and Drew about syndication and which system overrides the information. David explained that the closest feed to the MLS will win meaning those of us that syndicate from v-flyer, for example, may start competing with our own broker syndication.

    Question now is if I am syndicating both a rental and sale listing from one of these systems, which will zillow take if they can only show either sale or rental listing of a property. I agree with Jim Duncan that thay may be a major flaw.

  5. Joe Loomer

    December 15, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Ok, maybe I need to go back and read yesterday’s post – is Zillow going to charge for non-lease listings now?

    Horrible thing to hear on “Bill of Rights” Day!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  6. David G from Zillow.com

    December 15, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Hi, Lani, it’s David from Zillow,

    I also recommend syndicating your listings to Zillow via a listing feed (and it is free) but I must clarify that if you do, your listing will not be featured on Zillow. The $9.95 (for 180 days) buys you a FEATURED listing which will be sorted to the top of search results. Featured listings enjoy 6X the traffic of listings posted via listing feeds so it’s worth going the featured route in a competitive market. There are now 4 million listings on Zillow; if a listing agent wants to win a sellers’ business, featuring their listings is a good way to differentiate yourself from the other “hacks.” 😉

  7. Charles McDonald - Charlottesville Real Estate

    December 16, 2009 at 8:00 am

    It seems that a fee per listing is not the best strategy for Zillow. Especially for rentals. May be that they are looking to get revenue from the home owners vs agents.
    Funny think I just checked and Zillow still has a couple of my sold homes in the Charlottesville area as active…

    To many sites out there going after the same fish

  8. David G from Zillow.com

    December 16, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Thanks Lani – you rock!

    Charles – email me an address or two (davidg@zillow) and we’ll figure out what’s up with that! I read (somewhere) that (something like) 80% of the online activity in Real Estate relates to listings yet no one site has even double-digit market share so that will explain the ubiquity of listings on the web. The implication for agents is that (well controlled) listing syndication is essential to marketing homes these days.

  9. Shuki from Lofts.com

    December 16, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    David G,

    Does Zillow offer a feed base or bulk system to list featured listings both for sale or rent. I just read above that you take a feed for free but those are not going to be featured listings. Is there another field in the feed that you can check off to say “featured” and have it setup to bill a credit card etc?

    Can you point me in the right direction to read up more on the feed documentation.

    Thanks in advance!

  10. Kevin Tomlinson

    December 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    God, that makes me feels so good….deep, deep down.

  11. Pete

    July 14, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I use Postlets all the time and my last two listings are not on Zillow but on all the other websites. The other sites you mentioned are also pay sites. (RealEstateShows, RealBird and PostYourListings). Thanks for the info.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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