In recent months, Zillow has been in a huge fight for its right of online real estate listing services. While the battle rages on, certain brokers in Albany, New York are feeling the effects and experiencing major challenges because of the debacle.
Online Home Listings Affect Brokers
As an example, listings for homes on the Capital Region Multiple Listing Service are not automatically provided to Zillow and Trulia, two of the most popular real estate websites. This past February, the two companies combined have close to 80 million visits, which accounted for approximately 25 percent of online searches done for homes.
In spite of the restrictions, independent brokers can still market listings through their own sites and on various other portals for real estate. However, because the available homes will not show up on Zillow or Trulia, fewer possible homebuyers will be able to see listings for properties online.
At this time, no one knows for certain the number of local brokers that will be affected. What is known is that there are upwards of 300 independent brokers who are members of the Greater Capital Association of Realtors (GCAR), with the rest being franchise owners. The Capital Region MLS is operated by GCAR.
According to Al Picchi, vice president and general manager of Realty USA, which is independently owned and the largest broker in the region, will not be affected. On the other hand, some listings online were jeopardized, forcing some brokers to make different arrangements for sending listings at no cost to Zillow and/or Trulia.
Justin White, managing director of Equitas Realty, explained they were forced to come up with a quick solution. He also stated that having talked to different GCAR members, most are extremely upset and also trying to find a viable solution in a short amount of time.
As stated by chief executive officer of GCAR, Laura Burns, the company has been working hard to find a solution that will help brokers. As part of this, the goal is to make it so they have an option of sending listings directly to Zillow and/or Trulia.
Dealing with the Impact
As a result of the long dispute, Capital Region MLS, which is just one of about 800 in the country, has been heavily impacted. The dispute continues between the Zillow Group, which owns both Zillow and Trulia, and Move, Inc., which owns the third most popular real estate website in existence.
The problem started last fall when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. purchased Move, Inc. for $950 million. Very soon after, the battle for who reigns supreme when it comes to online real estate listings began with Zillow and Trulia.
Unfortunately, a subsidiary of Move, Inc. called ListHub became a casualty of the war. That company was responsible for providing Zillow with listings coming from Capital Region MLS, among others. Just this past April 7, the agreement between Zillow and ListHub came to an end.