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Question_markRecently an old friend asked me why some Realtors are on Zillow but not all Realtors are found there.  She was wondering if perhaps they weren’t really Realtors if they weren’t on that site. This is a very smart lady, and I thought if she was confused about it, anyone could be.  So today I wanted to go over that question.

When you see a real estate agent’s name and image on Zillow, it’s either because that person is the listing agent of the property being viewed, meaning that he or she represents the seller of that home, or is someone advertising on Zillow in that zip code.   The same applies with Trulia and nearly all online real estate portals or websites.

Why do some Realtors or real estate licensees choose to spend their advertising dollars on Zillow, Trulia Yelp, Angie’s List, FindTheHome, Movoto, Redfin, etc., and others do not?

Simple: it is how they decide to run their business, and how they expect to see a return on investment.

Often consumers believe that Realtors just help peopole to buy and sell homes.  It is true that we do that, but we are also business owners.  We spend time “on” the business, planning its growth, creating what should be future business, paying our work related bills.  We need to budget carefully and allocate our marketing and advertising dollars wisely or we end up with little to show for our hard work. Real estate is an expensive business – agents (usually) split income with a broker, pay business fees (thousands of dollars per year) to that company, pay dues for the MLS and Realtor associations, and many other things.    It is not uncommon for real estate agents to spend 20-40% of their net (after splitting with their broker) on marketing costs (fliers for listings, postcards, the for sale signs, photography, print ads, online ads and so on).

For some people, having an ad on the San Jose Mercury’s website, or Facebook, or any online site seems like a good idea and will help clients to remember that Realtor.  For others, their main marketing is print advertising, open house work (more time than money), or door knocking, or cold calling, email marketing, video email marketing, blogging, social media marketing, contacting for sale by owners or expired listing home owners, or simply keeping in touch with their sphere of influence and requesting referrals from them.  For most, a solid business plan includes several sources of new clients at all times, so most agents do some sort of combination of these or other avenues to grow their business.

Zillow is a very popular real estate site for home buyers and sellers all across the U.S.  Many real estate agents have decided that advertising there will bring them business.  Others would rather spend marketing dollars elsewhere.   It is neither to their credit nor to their discredit if they advertise on that site or any other.  It’s simply a business owner aiming for a good return on dollars spent.   There are good agents found on those sites and there are good agents who will not spend their money on those sites. Don’t be fooled into thinking that being on them makes a Realtor better, or that being off them makes a Realtor worse.  They are just agents who spend their money differently to grow their business.