Zillow announced “Coming Soon” as a listing status on its site and apps this week.
Some people think this is a problem.
I do not.
Shutting down cities across Europe because the rug has been pulled out from under your industry (and livelihood) by a three-year-old company with a phone app is a problem.
Is Zillow’s move a little edgy? Does it make some people uncomfortable? Does it introduce ways for new bad actors to do new bad things? Does it upset some peoples’ notions of propriety?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
I know brokers and agents who abhor dual agency, but nonetheless choose a more focused marketing approach than that afforded by their MLS.
I know brokers and agents who have been putting their listings on Zillow before they place them in the MLS for years because that’s what their sellers ask them to do.
I know brokers and agents who aren’t into doing the cooperation and compensation thing with bozos watering at the cistern of mediocrity.
I also know brokers and agents who view the MLS as the ethical and commercial cornerstone of the industry.
I know brokers and agents who frolic on the level playing field created by the MLS.
I know brokers and agents who will always view pocket listings as sleazy.
I know, in short, that there are a wide range of opinions on this issue. But I believe it would be useless to try to reconcile them. When does a listing become a listing? Does organized real estate really want to regulate and argue its way to an answer to that question? If it continues to try, will it even matter given the reality that the MLS is no longer a silo, but a sieve?
I think it’s a fool’s errand. Because, while the argument rages inside the industry, the world moves on. Do we believe that at a time when Twitter topples governments and our deepest secrets end up in someone’s jeans pocket that we can control the manner in which homes are marketed?
It seems kind of crazy to think we can.
This is a big industry, and there have always been lots of ways to broker real estate. That complexity is growing. It’s like the transition from a world of three bulletproof TV networks 40 years ago to a world where Joel can livestream the World Cup to a screen next to his desk while simultaneously receiving real-time score updates from other games on his phone and listening to commentary through ESPN.com on the desktop (all while still getting work done!).
So much of the energy in our industry right now feels retrograde to me. People trying to push the world back ‘round to yesterday.
I know some, though, who are moving ahead amongst the uncertainty, complexity and fear.
These are the brokerages, agents (and MLSs) that will take note of the news from Zillow this week and move on, forward.