What about Zillow, Realtor.com and the Others?
Here's the deal with all of these property search sites.............first of all, we think the powerful search features of Zillow, Trulia (both now owned by Zillow Group who purchased Trulia in 2015 for $2.5 BILLION) and Realtor.com, to name the most popular, are terrific avenues for folks to get a grasp on what's available in areas they might want to move to. The consumer wins here, there is no doubt. Then there are the sites that help you find a "great" agent.
Real Estate Search Sites - There is a distinct method to the way these sites are structured and features continually evolve to gain advertisers and agents over their competitors. When audiences increase, advertising rates soar. Revenue is the bottom line. Our listings appear on all of these sites at our request to gain the best exposure possible for our listings, making it easier for potential buyers to find the right farm or country home.
What you might not know is that each and every listing on these sites are "assigned" to random agents who have nothing to do with Farms & Barns and 99.99% of the time, and have no knowledge or familiarity with the property whose page they appear on. And to be clear, if we chose to be Premier Agents, Partner Agents or whatever a site calls the agents who buy exposure from them, we would randomly be attached to listings we are not familiar with as well.
This whole setup doesn't fit our mold and, in our opinion, doesn't particularly benefit our clients all that much either except that it adds to already great online exposure. The presentation on any website is only as good as the one originally put up on line by the listing agency.
If you are buying, read on. See below for how to look for and find the actual listing office when viewing a listing. They can be very difficult to spot on most of these sites. Then, if it is one of our properties, come back to Farms & Barns to get the details that matter. At the very least, verify who you are communicating with about a property simply by asking if they are part of the listing agnecy's team of Realtors®.
Let's say you find a property of interest which happens to be a listing of ours on one of these many sites. Great! That's why we participate. You have enough interest or curiosity that you want to ask a question. Below is an overview of what happens when you do.
Zillow and Trulia are our first examples (Zillow OWNS Trulia). The examples above are our listings. On each site, four agents are listed, our agent is listed first and then 3 other agents appear who paid to be there They are "Premier" Agents. This is how Zillow structures listing pages and we thank them for identifying the listing agent first. They are the only sites that do. However, if you type a question into one of the Contact Agent boxes instead of tapping the listing agent, the inquiry will go to someone else who has, in all likelihood, never seen the property. Why does this happen? Because the "Zillow" agents paid to show up on listings in the 03046 or 03031 zip code.
Agents buy zip codes for blocks of time on these sites in an effort to gain new buyers and new business. The highlighted text in the bottom right corner in the Zillow box reads "Learn how to appear as the agent above", designed to take curious agents to a page where they can contact Zillow for a call back to learn how they can participate and get their info on the page.
Example 2 is Redfin that operates on the same premise but is a bit less obvious about which agency's listing is being viewed. We highlighted Farms & Barns' under the house photo. It's not very noticeable and there is no mention of the listing agent anywhere on the page, therefore no way to contact them. Try typing the property address into Google to find the listing agent.
Due to the large space given Redfin's "Partner Agents" (rotated one at a time), it boldly appears as if the agent shown is the listing agent. People are visual and web designs bank on that. This zip code, 03837, had 3 agents sign on. Under "Ask a Question" there are 2 more agents to choose from. Unless a buyer googles the listing agency or the property address, a question or request to see the property goes to another real estate agent - again who has never seen nor set foot on the property.
Realtor.com is Example 3. The listing agent AND agency are shown above the photos on the top left, although not very noticeable either - we highlighted them for you. On this site, there no other agents listed on the page. But, and it is a big but, the only way to contact someone is to use the 'More About This Property' form, and guess what? It goes to an agent who paid to show up in Derry's zip code. Clever. But how would you know? If you find a listing of ours on one of these sites, come back here and get the details straight from the horse's mouth!
And here you go - Realtor.com, as well as the rest of these sites, continually call and have now resorted to texting to see if we are interested in buying zip codes. No amount of explanation makes them understand that our business is statewide and zip codes are not relevant to what we do nor to the Clients and Customers we serve.
If we joined in on these sites in an effort to increase business, we'd spend untold hours fielding random calls, emails and texts from customers who inquire about city, in-town, suburban and condo listings, which we do not list or sell. About 92% of all residential sales fall into those categories. Our time is better spent working with Sellers and Buyers who need us for the services and knowledge we have to offer.
As Realtors®, we pledge to work together with all other Realtors® by sharing our listings through our mutual MLS services and we treat all Realtors® with the utmost respect. We show properties together and strive to benefit our respective clients and customers. We wouldn't have it any other way.
There are also lots of websites popping up that promise you the best area agent whether buying OR selling. Great agents thrive on their good reputation, personal and business referrals, repeat clients and buyers who contact them, meet them and enjoy working with them.
If you have an interest in buying or are ready to list a farm, horse property, facility or fine country home, you might think about enlisting the services of Farms & Barns because this is all we do!
We will never be the agent or agency that sells the most property in any one town as our listings are located all over the state and they are a minuscule portion of New Hampshire real estate sales. Our goal is to be the best at what we do in the specialty field we've chosen to serve well our farmers, equestrians and country home lovers! Get in touch!