I Didn’t Hire FOUR Listing Agents!

by Marilyn Wilson on March 16, 2016

Four SalesThere’s nothing like becoming an ACTUAL customer of a product to give you a different perspective. I have looked at Zillow and other third party sites a gazillion times in my career as a consultant, but it took actually selling a home to really open my eyes.

We held onto our home in Buffalo, New York for a long time after moving to California. This year we finally decided to sell it. Once the home was live on third party sites, I became very interested in the agents who were featured on the property. I called each one to experience what a potential buyer might.

Here’s what happened:

First, every one of the premiere agents and my listing agent called me back within minutes. This is not the normal response time I have experience in the past, so I was very pleased. Checkmark for all of them on responsiveness.

Now let’s get to the area that was very troublesome to me. I asked each agent to tell me a bit more about the house. I wanted to see how much they actually knew about the property. Had they visited it? Were they familiar with the neighborhood? The town? The Street?

I was very disappointed to find out that NONE of the premiere agents had been in the house or even in the neighborhood recently. They knew nothing about the property. They were simply using my property to troll for potential buyers. They were not experts in any way regarding the community or property they were representing.

Now all of us in the industry know that agents simply buy zip codes, towns or price points but the average consumer doesn’t know that. I believe that a consumer could think that everyone who is represented on a listing would have at least some cursory knowledge of the property and of the area. That was NOT the case.

I came away very angry. I signed a listing agreement with ONE agent, NOT four agents? How dare the other three pretend to know my property when they didn’t have a clue? Once I brought the emotion and personal pride that homeowners feel about their listing, my perspective of the site completely changed.

Then I took it another step. I called Zillow and asked for the three non-expert agents on my listing to be removed. I believe you know the answer I received to that question. Our industry loves to talk about how consumer-centric we are, but in fact, it’s just the opposite. A consumer-centric site would only allow the listing agent, the expert on the property to represent it to the buying public. They would be focused on providing an educated resource to help consumers with the purchase of their most expensive and arguably most valuable asset.

No wonder consumers don’t believe all agents are knowledgeable or provide the best counsel. The truth is, we expose them REGULARLY to agents who know nothing about the properties they are trying to sell them.

Next time you’re thinking about adding a feature to your website or technology, ask consumers first. They will steer you to the logical and prudent answer.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Nora March 16, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Wow, that is something to think about since I am just now considering becoming a “Premier Agent”. Now I am thinking more about how I would represent myself to buyers in that zip code which is not the zip I live in. Thanks for the perspective!!!


patricia ellis March 16, 2016 at 2:27 pm

I am a Keller Williams agent. I am a premiere Zillow agent. When my listings are showcased on Zillow, only my name/info is shown as an agent to contact. That is a great perk of being a KW agent!


Tom March 26, 2016 at 11:32 am

Connie, Check that program to see if it’s actually promoting the Premier Agent. If it puts your contact info and photo on top of a big “get information about this listing” box. Those leads go to the Premier Agent. You’re being used to drive even more traffic to the Premier Agent. Also, check to see how many portals that program covers. You need to cover the top 9, not just one or two.


Jeff Fagan March 18, 2016 at 7:05 pm

Interesting comment Patricia. I just went to your site, copied the address of one of your “new listings” pasted it in Zillow…4 Agent names appeared under the contact agent section. Marilyn is dead on correct in her commentary. We as an industry need to realize the consumer demands service. Being a premier agent requires more than writing a big check.


Gerry Burchard March 20, 2016 at 8:57 am


I totally agree with you. As agent hardest part of my job is dealing with agency don’t show up, don’t answer the phone, leave a voicemail that says for a faster response text me, don’t know anything about the properties are selling etc. what I find tragic is somehow they convince somebody to give them the listing and yet they’re not doing their client service. I can assure you as a premier agent I know my market intimately. That knowledge of the market does not come naturally comes by putting in a lot of time and work. I’m glad you did what you did and if gain a new perspective.

Gerry Burchard


Angela Whiteway March 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

It seems your agent is not a Premier Agent. I’m not saying that’s bad, just saying that is why your agent doesn’t show up exclusively on the listing. I am a Premiere Agent and when my listing pops up I am there, exclusively. I’m with a boutique office, Seville Properties in Inglewood, Ca so it doesn’t matter what office you are with, it only matters that you pay for premier status in order to show solely with your own listings. I also pull the property up first before reaching out to the client so I can answer questions and also only advertise in areas I work so I have knowledge of the area.


Phil March 22, 2016 at 4:28 am

The mistake you’re making is thinking that what you see is the listing agents representation of you’re property, it’s not. Zillow is a marketing tool. Speak to YOUR listing agent for clarification and a better understanding


Melanie Pritchard March 22, 2016 at 4:32 am

That is a great perspective, Marilyn. I couldn’t agree with you more. Zillow and other 3rd party sites present a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario for Realtors. I can just hear their argument, though, that a listing on the MLS also opens up the possibility of non-listing agents to present a property to their prospective clients. Not to mention IDX feeds that make a listing “appear” to be another company/agent’s listing when you search the address on Google. Very frustrating.


Corinne Guest March 22, 2016 at 9:07 am

My listings are manually input into the site and the words listing agent then show next to me and I should be at the top. It takes more effort but thats our responsibility as listings agents – to work. I hate the fact that 3 other agents buy the leads, in fact I don’t like the site at all but consumers expect their homes to be there.


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