Get ready for it - Zillow is coming to Canada and already it’s creating controversy. If you have never heard of Zillow, that is completely understandable, so let's start from the very beginning of what exactly Zillow is.
What is Zillow?
Zillow describes itself as "a home and real estate marketplace that is dedicated to helping homeowners, buyers, sellers, renters, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, landlords, and property managers find and share vital information about homes, real estate, and mortgages.” Created in 2006, it emerged to transfer the way consumers make home decisions and to also allow them to connect to real estate professionals. Currently, it is a massive search engine tool in the United States. Here are some current stats about the platform:
100 million homes in their database
188 monthly users
6.3 billion visits in 2017
How does Zillow worK?
Zillow does technically compete with the MLS system and the current public search tool realtor.ca. The whole concept of Zillow is to streamline every property listing in Canada into one easy-to-access platform by accessing all the sales data from the various MLS feeds throughout Canada. Although we already have something very similar with realtor.ca, Zillow goes a few steps further by adding some additional features such as Zestimate, which is an algorithm they claim can assess the value of any property accurately. Anyone can upload their listings as well and they make money by charging fees to real estate agents that want to advertise.
Why Zillow not currently available in Canada?
The way Zillow is set-up is still very controversial in Canada, as many brokerages and agents are having a hard time understanding its necessity. Many real estate professionals do not feel comfortable with having another platform and feel it is not right that agents should have to pay to advertise themselves on it when it is taking data from their listings. As well, all realtors in Canada belong to the Canadian Real Estate Association, otherwise known as CREA. CREA runs realtor.ca which is causing a lot of red tape for Zillow to currently be fully operational in Canada. There is also a concern with a big American company overhauling how Canadians search homes and how much private information could become public. Many people do not want the sale price or value of their homes to be known.
Working through the red tape, Zillow hopes to be up and fully running in Canada in the next year or so. At the moment, they are doing a fantastic job creating an infrastructure here and working through all the legal and legislative kinks such as how to handle the publication of sold prices that the Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled on.
Why I am a fan of Zillow
I personally feel that Zillow is fantastic and have been patiently waiting for it to arrive in Canada. I attend a lot of conferences in the U.S. and talk with a lot of American agents about how much it impacts their business in a positive way. Real Estate agents on Zillow are rated by their clients; meaning, you can research Agents you may want to work with as a neighbourhood specialist and see what kind of feedback they have received from their previous clients. As an agent, I love the idea of using Zillow as a marketing tool to fully advertise my client's homes to local AND international buyers.
I truly believe that Zillow is the way the market is going, yet as with anything, with something new many people are scared of change and how it will impact. I am welcoming Zillow to Canada with open arms and if you want to learn more about this platform please reach out anytime with questions to firstname.lastname@example.org