Real Estate News with Terri Taydus, GRI, CNA

What's All The Chatter About Syndication, and How Does it Affect YOU?

February 24th, 2015 5:25 PM by Taydus Taydus

Some listing agents are upset that “their” listings are being syndicated to various online websites that sell leads to other buyer agents. They feel as though since it their listing they should be reaping the benefits of any potential buyers leads that are generated from the listing.  There has been a LOT of uproar about this in the local market with a lot of foot stomping and complaining to the real estate powers to be to stop syndicating “their” listings to these websites.  Seems like a valid argument right?  Well I guess that depends on your perspective; if you are the listing agent then it makes perfect sense…but does it make sense if you are the homeowner trying to sell your home?  After all who’s listing is it really?  Is it the listing agent’s listing or is it the homeowner’s listing?  My money is on the homeowner.


Let’s define the word “Agent”, defines agent as “a person or business authorized to act on another’s behalf”.  If this is the case shouldn’t the needs of the client (i.e. the homeowner / seller) be first and foremost vs. the needs of the agent?


When I work for either a home buyer or seller, their needs come first.  I am an “agent” for them and I work from the perspective of what is in my client’s best interest and in the case of marketing and selling a home seller’s home, that means gaining as much exposure as possible to potential buyers.  Now before I say more, I need to disclose that I also pay to advertise on Zillow – Zillow seems to be the biggest source of contention in regards to this whole syndication fuss (perhaps that is because they are the biggest threat and reach such a large audience of home buyers and sellers).   Sure other agents could advertise on Zillow as well (and many do), but the ones that don’t, argue that they are not going to pay to get leads that should be rightfully theirs.  Well, then that is their choice.  I do not see real estate giants such as Zillow disappearing into the shadows anytime soon – my thoughts; embrace the change in a rapidly changing industry!

So how exactly does syndication help you as a potential seller?  It exposes your home to as many potential buyers as possible.  Most potential buyers start their search online.  Many of them start by looking at sites such as Zillow, Trulia (now owned by Zillow),, etc.  If your agent is limiting your exposure as a home seller by syndicating your listing to only a few select sites, exactly how does that benefit you?  They may have charts and figures to show that one site (the ones they are using) is better than others, but think about it, if you were looking to buy a home what sites would  you frequent?  Is your listing agent going to put your listing on those sites?  If you are looking there so are other buyers!


There are a lot of rumblings about Zillow terminating its engagement with ListHub effective April 7, 2015.  ListHub is a syndication service used by many brokerages that automatically pushes your listing out to a variety of online sites (such as Zillow and Trulia) – all the listing agent has to do is enter your listing into the local MLS and it is “syndicated” to multiple online sites with a push of a button.   Here is a paragraph of what was recently posted on the local MLS in regards to the Zillow / ListHub situation:  “However, the agreement between Zillow and ListHub ends effective April 7th. After April 7th, the ListHub Dashboard will still give Brokers the ability to send listings to many other sites, but not to Zillow.  (Renewal negotiations with Zillow broke off with Listhub over “terms that reflect the best interest of the brokerage industry”.)”  This is going to make a lot of listing agents happy, but what about the home sellers?  Will it make them happy?  The article then went on to say that the local MLS is working on a way to assist brokers in sending listings to Zillow and Trulia (without the use of ListHub). I believe that the local MLS is doing this because they too work with the public’s best interest in mind and they know that absence from these online giants would not be beneficial to sellers.


When I read this I inquired with Zillow – mostly I wanted to see if my advertising dollars would still be yielding the same result or if Zillow felt that by exiting from ListHub it would greatly reduce the amount of listings that would appear on the site (which I guess from a home seller’s perspective, this wouldn’t be a bad thing…less homes to compete with on Zillow with the same amount of buyers shopping the site!)  However my rep at Zillow assured me that most of the listings Zillow receives from ListHub are redundant and that they receive listings from a wide variety of sources, and that they are constantly adding on.  They anticipate that by the time April 7th rolls around, Zillow anticipates that the overwhelming majority of listings in all of the major markets will be coming through other sources.


As a listing agent I can still manually list your home for sale in Zillow and Trulia – and because I feel that it is in your best interest that I do so, I will continue to place my listings on these sites and any other online site that may draw potential buyers to your home.


As an agent that also works with a lot of home buyers, MANY of my buyers come from my advertising on Zillow…so if the buyers are looking on Zillow and inquiring with me about a home that they have found on Zillow, why would I not want my home sellers to have that exposure for their listing?  I have buyers that have found me on Zillow from all walks of life; investors, first-time buyers, million dollar buyers, and everything in between.  There is no one class of buyer that uses Zillow!


If you are a potential home buyer, this is something for you to also take note of (at least for the near future) as this only further confirms that although your online searching for a new home may yield some results, you will need to partner with a buyer’s agent to have access to all results via the local MLS.


So when you are interviewing potential listing agents, you may want to ask the question; “What online websites will my home appear on? Will it be on Zillow? Trulia?” If the answer is “no” (regardless of the reasons given), you may want to keep interviewing to find a good agent that will put your needs first.

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Posted by Taydus Taydus on February 24th, 2015 5:25 PM


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