What happens when you click Contact Agent on Zillow?
(Image from Zillow.com)
How often do you find yourself on Zillow?
You likely get email alerts, from Zillow, about homes that hit the market. After clicking on the email, you find yourself endlessly scrolling through a list of homes in and around your town. Sometimes, you even find yourself researching home prices in different States. The crazy part is you may not even be in the market to buy a home!
The fact is, many of us lose ourselves on Zillow and its photos of homes we aspire to one day own–
Zillow is the top ranked real estate website globally based on unique monthly visits.
135 million homes are in the Zillow database (source).
Even Saturday Night Live did a skit that portrays Zillow as a place where you can satisfy your sexiest real estate fantasies: https://youtu.be/yEfsaXDX0UQ.
Whether you're in the market to buy a home or are casually looking, Zillow is a great home finding tool, but what happens next may surprise you.
What happens when you click "Contact Agent"?
When you click on "Contact Agent," you get a popup to enter your contact information:
After submitting, your contact information is captured by Zillow, and soon after they reach out to you. They ask you additional questions to build your buyer profile which they pass on to a local agent.
So, what does Zillow do with your information? - They get paid!
It's good to understand how Zillow makes its money. Zillow is a lead generation website that sells leads to real estate agents, this it’s primary revenue generator. When you submit a form like "Contact Agent" or "Take a tour", a real estate agent is paying Zillow for your information.
You’ve clicked one button, and now Zillow has connected you to a local agent at random who is likely paying top dollar for your information. Then you end up in the agent's marketing funnel. This agent will call, text, and email you regularly (and sometimes too many times) to try and assist with your home buying needs.
Here is the problem with this:
1) You don't get to choose your agent.
When you get matched to an agent through Zillow, you don't get to choose your agent. How do you know they will be a good fit for you?
It's essential to have a real estate agent who has your best interest and helps you navigate everything that may come up in your journey to buy a home. The reality is, not all agents are created equal. In Massachusetts, there are a mind boggling 10,000-20,000 active agents. To become a licensed real estate agent, you only need 40 hours of real estate education before taking an exam. Being licensed doesn't ensure an agent will provide good customer service or give you the attention you deserve as a buyer.
But if you can choose an agent, consider someone who:
Is local and knows the market you are buying in
Understands your needs and wants
Sets the right expectations and gives you an overview of the process
Is not a salesperson and doesn’t regularly pressure you when you’re not ready
Communicates effectively and keeps you informed on progress without you asking
Doesn't make you sign a contract just to work with them
Is transparent about how they work, what commissions are being paid out, and lets you see what they see about the homes you're interested in
A real estate agent is your quarterback. If they are not a good fit, buying a home can feel like a losing experience.
2) You think you're getting a tour, but you're actually getting a full agent
If you do end up using a Zillow recommended agent to see a property, they become your de facto agent. Giving you a tour leads to them wanting to be your agent for the entire home buying experience. Keep in mind, today agents only get paid if they complete a home purchase with you. The agents are incentivized to assist you until that happens.
Also, here is a scenario to consider: What if you toured a home with an agent and then decided to buy the home with another agent? While it’s possible to work with another agent, there may be what’s known as procuring cause in this case. Meaning the original agent who provided the tour may want a fee for showing you the property or more likely part of the ultimate commission. The tension could create turmoil among the agents involved and could put your home purchase in jeopardy. All this is to underline what could happen by simply clicking a ‘Contact Agent’ button on Zillow. You should know this upfront!
There may be a better option for you
At Nuhom, we are redefining how real estate is bought. We take the guesswork out of choosing an agent, and believe home buyers should be more in control of their home buying journey. So we've streamlined the home buying process, with you, the buyer, at the center of the experience and brought everything online.
When you get connected to us you get all the tools at your fingertips and a dedicated local Home Advisor who works with a team of agents to help you navigate your home buying journey from tour to close. We put you in the driver’s seat, and when you’re ready to take a step, you can do so on our website. We have no contracts for you to work with us, there is zero pressure, we are 100% transparent, and last but not least, we save you money.
So if you found a home on Zillow, don't click on "Contact Agent.” Instead, get started here.