Hi folks. This post is about “disintermediation”. I have a whole bunch of stuff I could write about this topic but today I want to concentrate on Real Estate portals, specifically Trulia, Zillow and Cyberhomes.
First, in a nutshell, “disintermediation” is defined as “getting rid of the middleman”. The idea is that Sellers and Buyers no longer need agents and can just log on to Trulia, Zillow, Cyberhomes or any of the other real estate portals and buy and sell real estate without the help of the middleman or REALTORS® specifically. Now folks I don’t want to debate the value of a REALTOR®. Been there done that.
I want to talk about this disintermediation thing. Here’s what I think.
The real estate portals, that supposedly will make the MLS no longer necessary, are actually creating another level of middleman.
- We are a real estate search engine that helps you find homes for sale and provides real estate information at the local level to help you make better decisions in the process.(From trulia.com about us page)
The consumer can now log onto Trulia, find a house and THEN contact either their own REALTOR® or the listing broker. Better yet, maybe they will all have to go through Prudential, one of Trulia’s new partners. A FSBO cannot place a property on Trulia. Only agents can. So Trulia has NOTHING to do with disintermediation. So if the consumer wants to purchase one of my listings, by using Trulia, they will have to go through me. My listings are on Trulia.
What is Zillow.com?
Zillow.com is an online real estate service dedicated to helping you get an edge in real estate by providing you with valuable tools and information. (from zillow.com about us)
Now I concede that the consumer could very well go to Zillow.com and attempt to buy and sell real estate without the REALTOR® being involved. But if they want to purchase a property listed with me….they will have to go through me. Why? Because my listings are on Zillow.
Cyberhomes.com is the portal to watch:
Expert tools. First-hand knowledge. CyberhomesTM valuations give you access to most of the same information that real estate professionals use to evaluate homes. (from cyberhomes about us)
Cyberhomes is owned by Fidelity National Title. They have 100 million property records!! Keep an eye on Cyberhomes. They also have reliable sold information on these properties. The consumer CAN log on to Cyberhomes and get information. BUT if they want to purchase one of my listings…they will have to go through me. My listings are on Cyberhomes.
Now let me state that I use these portals quite a bit. Just yesterday, one of my Sellers contacted me wanting to do some research on her own, to see what her house is really worth. She wanted to know if she could do this by visiting the tax records online. I said she could. I also said her best bet is for me to update the CMA. BUT if she wanted to do some research on her own….here are the links to Zillow and Cyberhomes.
Also yesterday, I had a buyer contact me through my blog http://brokerbryant.com. He sent me an MLS# and wanted some info. It was not one of my listings and I had already logged out of the MLS so I just put the MLS# into the “search properties” feature on my site http://brokerbryant.com and pulled up the property.
I got the address and then located the property on Trulia and sent it over to him. I thought Trulia’s presentation was a little better than my IDX. No biggie. The buyer emailed me back and I will be showing him the property next week when he arrives from Bogota Columbia to buy in Poinciana FL.
My point is, the real estate portals are not disintermediating my business in the least. They are actually giving me some tools I can use in my business.
Being a listing Broker, as I am, I OWN the listings. No matter where the are syndicated you can’t buy one without going through me. I control the inventory and I control the commission. This is the advantage of being a listing Broker. Whether or not your Buyer decides to cut out the middleman, you, they aren’t able to cut me out. They have to go through me no matter where they find the information.
To take this a step further. If the MLS disappeared tomorrow, I would still OWN the listing. I don’t care where the Buyer comes from. They can’t purchase one of my listings without me getting paid. Think about that.
And for the consumer. Why waste your time going through the “middleman”? Why not go straight to the source? You don’t need Trulia, Zillow or Cyberhomes. In fact, you probably haven’t heard of these places anyway. So just do a Google (I bet you’ve heard of them) search for the area you want to live in. Want to buy or sell in Poinciana FL? Try Googling these.
Then just contact the guy at the top……Broker Bryant. Google me….that’s all you get for free.
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Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
***The content of this blog is solely my opinion***