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If you use Zillow.com to search for homes and it matters who contacts you back when asking for property information read this. It will better help you win the game of Realtor Roulette that Zillow.com plays.

More and more people shop for a home online. The real estate website visited more than any other is Zillow.com. I refer to them as the Amazon.com of real estate.


Zillow.com excels at offering home shoppers comprehensive information on properties for sale, school districts, mortgages and just about everything real estate related in between. One of those “in between” things Zillow.com offers customers is information about Realtors® that serve the areas that interest them. Zillow.com displays things like how many properties the Realtor® has sold and how many customer reviews they have accumulated.

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While all the Realtor information may be helpful, home buyers and sellers dominantly visit Zillow.com to see which homes are for sale or assess the value of their present home.


So you visit Zillow.com to look for homes, and You find one that sparks your interest. You want more information or maybe desire to see the property. There is a box on the property page that says “Contact Agent.” Four agents are prominently displayed just below with the Listing Agent right on top followed by three “Premier Agents." Below the agent list is three boxes that ask for your name, phone number, and email address along with a box that already has the question Zillow.com thinks you want to ask, “I am interested in (the address of the home).” You enter your personal information and click the blue “Contact Agent” button.


So what happens next? Which of the four real estate agents on display will contact you back? All of them, any of them, none of them???


Here is where the Realtor Roulette part comes to play. Per my understanding, from Zillow.com, the only agent who gets your request will be the Premier Agent right under the Listing Agent or position #2. Consequently, If you refresh your web page that is displaying the property, it is likely that all the Premier Agents previously shown will change (either position on the list or a new batch of agents entirely), which means there will be a new Premier Agent in the #2 position of importance. The Listing Agent will remain on top no matter how many times you refresh or visit the property page. The part I found intriguing is that the Listing Agent, who may know more about the property than anyone, NEVER gets the information request.


The more you refresh or visit the property page, the more the Premier Agent in position #2 will change...Realtor Roulette!!!


The Zillonians (people who work for Zillow.com) told me that the company believes all customers looking for information on a home do not, or should not, speak to the Listing Agent. They assert that home buyers are better off contacting a Premier (or Buyer) Agent. Do they honestly believe this or does it only fit their narrative of selling marketing space in the form of ZIP-codes to the Premier Agents? I report, you decide.


Want to beat the Realtor Roulette game. Zillow.com does provide a way for its customers to choose an agent to provide information regardless of where the agent shows up on the list. If you look hard, you will notice there is a box to the left of each agent on the list, including the Listing Agent. If you click one of the boxes next to the agent, a checkmark shows up. The agent you chose will then be the agent who receives your information request. Whether that real estate agent contacts you back is another matter.


Don't gamble on your next real estate agent. There is too much at stake!


Knowledge is Power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue