Use caution with, Zillow

“I’m sorry sir. You don’t want to sell your home in an auction? You already paid to have your home put into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but it hasn’t had a single showing? You are tired of getting phone calls from real estate agents and your phone number is on the ‘Do Not Call List’ “?
The above was the beginning of a conversation that I recently had with a rather irate person trying to sell their home themselves. I was the eleventh Realtor® to call him in the last hour.
It turns out that the poor fellow was simply trying to gather information about how to best sell his home himself, without a Realtor®. He had been researching the subject on the Internet and had clicked numerous requests for information.
What he, and many other people don’t understand, is that when you fill out that short form and click “Send me more information”, your information is immediately given out to numerous Realtors®. If you visit various other sites, your information is again given out to even more Realtors®.
The Internet has spawned a whole industry based upon Buyers and Sellers requesting information, and Realtors® paying for your information. Sites like, Zillow, and Trulia depend upon this income to exist.
It can be worse if you are a Seller trying to sell your home without a Realtor®. Dozens of For Sale by Owner (FSBO) type sites exist. Each promises that you can sell your home yourself and save thousands in commissions. All you have to do is pay a fee in advance.
After the person mentioned above calmed down, we researched his home. Yes, it was in a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but not one that Realtors® in his area would have access to. Yes, his “listing” did offer a commission to Realtors® that procured a Buyer, but was only 2-percent and every other Seller was offering 3-percent. The other problem was that it was dramatically overpriced. All of the above was the reason that no Realtors® were showing it.
The key to selling a property yourself is to know what you are doing. First you must price it properly. Your best bet is to pay for an actual appraisal or have a Realtor® do a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA).
If you are determined to sign up with a FSBO company, then research them thoroughly. Find out exactly which MLS your home will be in. You would also be wise to offer a compensation to Realtors® that will encourage them to try and sell your property.
Whether you are a Seller or Buyer, my best advice is to not provide your email and phone number to any Internet sites. Most FSBO sites will have a phone number to call. Call them and only give out your information only after you are satisfied with their program.
If you are a Buyer, researching properties, you can either contact a local Realtor® or look to see who the property that you like is listed with. It will usually be in small type at the bottom of the property page. Don’t click the “Send me more information” button, unless you like getting dozens of phone calls.
Jim Weix, is the Broker/Owner of The Real Estate Company, Inc., with offices in Stuart and Port Saint Lucie. Jim can be reached at 772-288-1900 or