MLS, Zillow, Trulia and

5:17 am – Tuesday 2-24-2015

Recently there has been a lot of hype about the merging of Zillow and Trulia and integrating the MLS into some very popular websites. Here is the reaction of some Realtors from different cities all over the world (Taken from

  • Joshua Hunt · Denver, Colorado

    This industry is about to go through major disruption!! AND I MEAN MAJOR

    Everyone has been running around getting crazy over Trulia, Zillow, and the competition for search…. I have news for everyone, search is now a commodity.
    The change that is coming is not going to be another new fangled app the you can download or a new service for agents to help them “lead generate”. The last thing this industry needs is someone selling another whatchamawhozit to agents simply to fragment this mess even further and stick another hand in the ridiculously large pot of cash

    What you will see over the next 3-5 years is a true focus on service provided to the consumer in a very “new” way….

    Mark my words… This will be the fastest tipping industry in history!

  • Demon Of Marketing

    A thought on BRANDS, and correct me if I am wrong. I believe it was the 2013 NAR survey asking buyers what the important qualifications of their broker was for determining whether to hire them or not. Only 3% stated an affiliation with any particular company. Therefore, if the buyers don’t care about brand, then sellers do not need to concern themselves with brand. If the house is great and in a hot area, the seller (or broker) could write “for sale” on a paper-plate and post it in the ground with a popsicle stick, and the buyers would still buy it.
    • Marc Davison · · Top Commenter · Partner at 1000watt Consulting · 1,311 followers


      That’s often occurred to me and not to debate you but more to lend context, survey results are all guided by the questions and can easily produce completely different responses based on what is being asked and how the questions are phrased.

      My findings (based on how I scripted the questions) is that brand can and does matter.


      The Sotheby’s brand has huge mind share and is often contacted by sellers who are not otherwise represented. In many markets where Sotheby’s does not have a presence there are a host of independent brokerages who are immediately associated with luxury – Michael Saunders in Sarasota, Turpin in Central Jersey, etc., who regularly receive consumer requests for services. In these places, brand matters.

      Corporate relocation:
      Given my work with many of the brokerages associat See More

    • Demon Of Marketing

      Mr. Davidson No debate? Feels more like a duel and I’m staring down both barrels 🙂

      Good points. I guess my concern was the typical yearly posturing by the franchises with images (not to be confused with identities as you demonstrated above) of stuff with no benefit to the sellers and buyers–you know the “we’re bigger, faster, better” slogans… And let’s face it, there’s a lot of that presented by franchises in the marketplace–mostly on TV it seems.

      The first franchise to kick ZG or in the teeth by offering a vastly superior AVM or search tools not based on bedroom count and puts some fear in the portals will gain my full respect. With 43% of buyers finding the home they actually purchase all by themselves on the internet, either the franchises will step it up, dare I say innovate, or their relevance in the market will melt away.

      Oh, yea, I know what you mean on bias and error in surveys, particularly NARs. I scrape for stuff having some kind of non-skewed potential as best I can. Thanks for your response.

    • James Stanczak · Top Commenter · Texas Agency at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene The Woodlands

      Big multi million/billion dollar corporations destroying Small businesses. Realtors are not exception. Same thing happened to Mom and pop music stores restaurants etc…
  • Paul Johnston · University of Oregon

    These companies are not in the real estate business. They are in the real estate AGENT business. Keller understands this. Do the rest?
  • Teresa Fisher Boardman · · Top Commenter · Realtor Saint Paul Home Realty at Self-Employed · 157 followers

    The company with the most agents wins the brand war and when they do the rest of us will just keep selling real estate which is what we are doing now. We do care who wins but not enough to give up our independence and join them.
  • Tom Horvath · Top Commenter · Skyline Senior High

    I’m not sure if this is up to date but last I heard 81% of agents work for independent offices. While large brands have buying power and distinct cultures that can help agents on their path to success, an experienced agent in an indie office need not fear the giants. Why? Because even at the big firms agents are independent contractors competing against each other. The indie agent who builds and maintains working relationships with other agents is at no disadvantage by being an indie, AND, the MLS is the great equalizer for brokerages large and small…its a business where every agent is part of a huge team of agents cooperating to do deals, irrespective of brand. I think experience, track record, success and proven sales ability can all overcome brand in a selling pitch. It’s never been about what a company can do for a buyer or seller, its always been about what the agent can do. Btw, technology will be integral to future success and small and nimble indies can adapt faster than the bigger platforms. With resources like RPR (which is pretty amazing) Realtors get great tools as part of their NAR dues which allows indies to compete with the big budget brands. As more and more lower cost tools are introduced it will allow smaller firms to compete more and better with the big firms.
  • Bob Miglioratti · Broker/Partner at RE/MAX Plus

    Brands matter to agents…more than ever in my opinion. If a broker cannot deliver the latest, best software and equipment situated in a good looking environment managed by competent, experienced leaders, they will feel that they are not getting a bang for the 20-30-40% that is the broker’s share of a fee. One can no longer expect that the MLS is enough to get and retain business. The public wants the agents who can deliver from a wide array of services…..many of which they cannot afford on their own. Agents want fair commission splits to insure the ability to acquire leads. Clients wants agent who are connected. Connected to a network that accepts and delivers quality leads, connected to efficient communications systems, connected to a brand that has a wide range of acceptance, etc
    Of course the public chooses agents but agents need tools and the ability to use them to deliver! And agents are demanding higher splits for higher production. Name brands deliver support services. The day of the boutique office is about to be end.
    • Maine Home Connection

      So, small companies cannot provide these services…..really?
    • Lance R King · CEO & Founder at King Realty Group

      As the owner of a boutique firm in San Francisco, I couldn’t disagree more. What matters is what services you offer, what your connections are to off market properties are, and your reputation in the agent community. We routinely get offers accepted just because it’s coming from our company because other agents know we do things the right way, and often those offers aren’t even the highest priced. Additionally, smaller firms frequently offer a higher level of service because they get more attention, and at our firm since we work as a team they are never going to miss out on a property or getting an offer because their agent was out of town.
    • Maine Home Connection

      Lance R King you are so right! The large agencies are filled with agents who hardly do any business – how is that a benefit to the client? I believe that “brand” can mean many things – and just being “small” does not mean that your brand cannot compete. In local markets many small companies carry much more weight than large franchise organizations, when it comes to agent skills and experience.
  • Kenneth Jenny · Top Commenter

    Remember this important point. Homes for sale all come with a brand (Indy or other), a broker (franchised or not), an office (somewhere) and an agent. In search the only product that is being searched is the property and NOTHING else. So we’re all consumers. Would you as a consumer search homes by brand or any other of the other categories of industry branding noted above? Who would type in “show me all the Coldwell Banker listings”? Answer. No one of course. So as it relates to the value of brands today in real estate, I rest my case.
  • Matt Templeton · · Real Estate Broker at Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

    Great article, Brad. Brands matter because of what they provide to the broker not necessarily what the consumer thinks about it. There are consumers that care though.
  • John J Arquette · Owner at Broker/Owner of John Arquette Properties

    The main goal of any franchise is to sell more franchises which they do by leveraging their own agents personal brand and SOI. The most powerful brand in real estate is the agents name.
  • James Stanczak · Top Commenter · Texas Agency at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene The Woodlands

    Uggg I actually like Zillow. Trulia not so much. Existing-home sales slow to 9-month low in January…..Still, Brand wars, well ….yeah…so we have all the corporate and currency wars going on too, might as well have broker and brand wars. Sesh.,, .. its all going to make things more complicated for us realtors in the long run. I honestly hope for the best though. The current business cycle is 67-month-old, prompting worries that it is soon to expire and lead to a recession or depression. But given that the U.S. economy is still performing at below potential and the typical signs of imbalances… Who knows what will happen in the markets, they make absolutely no sense to me economically what-so-ever, at this point predictions are about as good as $3 dollar bills.
  • Sue Christoph Thiel · Top Commenter

    The brand no longer matters to a consumer, they just want to be able to search for homes, view them and buy it quickly or list their home and get it sold as fast as possible. The agent who finds out how to do this quickly for their clients will be the winner , and it won’t matter the brokerage. BUT agents may become extinct once there is another way to buy and sell homes without using and having to pay for an agent, which may come at some point in the future. I’ve already read many blogs where consumers say they are tired of paying the 6% on the sellers side and the buyer’s agent is becoming irrelevant to the process as they can find a home online and don’t need someone running them around-they just need someone to let them into the door, which could be replaced with video technology…
  • Linda DeVlieg · Top Commenter · Associate Broker at Coldwell Banker Legacy

    In my market, the real estate wars are much like West Side Story….and the customer repeatedly could care less – with the small number who have a brand recognition in their memory. The brokers run around waiving their flags and acting like fraternity/sorority members….as if that is what makes an individual broker succeed. Meanwhile somehow we end up selling a house or two.
  • Cindy Knight · · Owner/Realtor at Realty TECS

    Glad to change the subject because I put enough money in the jar today. In the 80’s and 90’s your brand made a difference but today the consumer whats to know WIIFM not how great thou art or how big you are. As long as they’re getting great local service they’ll work with you. In late 2013 we dropped our franchise and didn’t miss a beat coming out of 2014 with our beat year ever.

About robertjrussellcompanies

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