Where’s the Listing Agent?!
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to find the actual listing broker for a property you’ve find online?
With a tactic called Premier Agent, Zillow (the parent company of Trulia, StreetEasy, NakedApartments and more) is making money by selling advertising space to brokers who can then place their photo and contact information alongside properties that are not their listings. Meaning online shoppers and potential buyers will reach out to them instead of the actual exclusive listing agent.
You might say, “So what? I don’t have to work with this person, and if he or she can get into the unit, then that’s great!” Unfortunately, this kind of misinformation starts to spread throughout the marketplace eroding value for both buyers and sellers, while making Zillow heaps of cash, according to The Real Deal, Zillow made $213M in revenue off their Premier Agent platform.
It’s one thing to have buyers working with a strong and dedicated sales agent who looks out for their best interests, performs due diligence, helps them gather information and negotiates the best deal possible. It’s something altogether different when you have an agent who bought their way into the middle of a situation they know nothing about. They’re not informed about the property that Premier Agent places them alongside. They have no information or value to add to the buyer's search. And let’s face it, a lot of the time, this is a convenient path to a bait-and-switch line like, “Sorry that property’s not available (when it actually is), but I have five more just like it! Would you like to view those?”
This service benefits no one involved in the actual property transaction. Not the seller, certainly not prospective buyers. The only entity that benefits is Zillow/Streeteasy, and they’re literally profiting off of misleading consumers both on the buyer side and the seller side.
The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the New York Residential Agent Continuum (NYRAC), and other real estate associations that advocate for fair and honest real estate practices have been trying to persuade Zillow to list the exclusive listing agent’s information more clearly. But it’s a very gray area in New York City and New York State law, so it might take years to work out.
In the meantime, below are screenshots of where to find the actual listing agent on Zillow, Trulia and StreetEasy. And remember, you can always find The Hoffman Team’s exclusive listings on our Compass website.
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