Real estate agents weigh in on Zillow’s ShowingTime+ debut

Real estate agents weigh in on Zillow's ShowingTime+ debut

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A brand new chapter in maybe probably the most polarizing story in actual property started earlier this week, when Zillow unveiled a new brand that may embrace among the trade’s most beloved instruments — and which was supposed as one thing of an olive department to brokers.

The model, dubbed ShowingTime+, is the most recent improvement in Zillow’s ongoing makes an attempt to construct a “housing tremendous app.” Because it’s identify implies, the model contains in style exhibiting administration platform ShowingTime, in addition to different choices akin to dotloop and Bridge Interactive. When the corporate introduced the transfer Monday, it framed ShowingTime+ as an effort to win over brokers.

However within the days following the announcement, the response from trade professionals has been combined at greatest.

“Simply one other manner for them to steal our purchasers’ data. No thanks,” agent Jonathan Brubaker stated within the remark part of Inman’s Fb web page.

To grasp that response, it’s a must to grasp Zillow’s typically fraught, typically fruitful historical past with brokers. It’s a historical past that goes again years through issues such because the Premier Agent lead era program, and which took a pointy left flip final yr when Zillow announced plans to buy ShowingTime — up till then the preferred exhibiting administration platform within the trade. Many brokers had been vital of the acquisition, with some voicing concerns over how Zillow might use their data.

Within the yr and a half since, the continuing friction between Zillow and a few brokers has served because the backdrop to plenty of different main trade tales; some cheered the demise of Zillow’s iBuying business, as an illustration, or rooted for CoStar in its beef with the portal because of ongoing considerations about Zillow’s relationship to trade professionals.

Finally, conversations brokers had with Inman this week counsel that the launch of ShowingTime+ has not instantly put these considerations to relaxation. In truth, some has responded critically to the information, whereas others had been confused. However whereas it’s clear that Zillow stays a polarizing drive, others recommended that each the corporate and the brokers have a possible alternative on their palms.

Skeptical reactions

In an e-mail and subsequent telephone dialog with Inman, California-based actual property agent Alan Glasband described himself as a “pioneer, a drum beater” for the Premier Agent program for a few years. However he ended up strolling away from his relationship with Zillow amid the belief “that they had been truly attempting to take over my enterprise.”

Alan Glasband

“[So in the ShowingTime+ announcement] once they stated they thought they need to have a division only for brokers. [I was] like, ‘you gotta be effing kidding me,’” he stated. “Like, you guys are calling me 5 instances per week, asking me to rejoin your Premier Agent group and telling me you’ve bought ZIP codes for me. If it wasn’t for brokers, they’d be already off the NASDAQ they usually’d have been bankrupt.”

“So, yeah,” Glasband added, “I don’t like Zillow in any respect.”

The remark highlights once more how the response to the ShowingTime+ information is coloured by a few years of historical past between Zillow and the agent group. And Glasband wasn’t alone.

“Let’s be clear, [Zillow] needs to take away brokers altogether, they need management of the info to discover ways to do precisely that,” actual property agent Matt Miller commented on Inman’s original story about ShowingTime+.

Sam Shaffer

Different brokers had been considerably extra optimistic about Zillow as an organization, however nonetheless tepid on ShowingTime+ itself. Sam Shaffer, an agent in Chicago, was amongst them. Shaffer instructed Inman he has had “a number of success with Zillow” prior to now, and continues to spend advertising and marketing cash with the corporate. However he additionally acknowledged that the ShowingTime acquisition final yr made brokers nervous, and added that the launch of ShowingTime+ this week stirred a little bit of confusion concerning the model’s objective.

“I truly reached out to my Zillow rep, simply to get additional clarification that there’s not going to be any sort of change with the person expertise now. He stated ‘no,’” Shaffer defined. “That might simply be what he’s telling me now, after which unexpectedly, Zillow tomorrow may say one thing completely completely different.”

He in the end concluded from these experiences that ShowingTime+ “is form of a nothing.”

A possibility within the making

Although the jury within the agent group continues to be out on ShowingTime+, some trade members did body Zillow’s newest transfer as a possibility.

Nick Solis

Amongst them, One80 Consulting Group Founder Nick Solis — who stated he’s prevented wholeheartedly embracing or rejecting Zillow — instructed Inman there are upsides for brokers “when information talks to one another.”

“The brokerage, the trade, the agent, the world has been clamoring for a extra built-in platform the place all the things talks to one another,” Solis added. “They’ve moved on from the times of specializing in a single sign-on as a holy grail. The trade is clamoring for this type of vertical integration, and the group that makes use of Zillow merchandise are going to profit from what they’re doing.”

Realtor Group chief Tim Collom made the same level, noting that in a slowing market brokers have a singular alternative to information tech firms’ palms — and Zillow has the chance to pay attention and enhance.

Tim Collom

“Now, the chance I believe is partnering and collaborating with a few of these firms and saying, ‘What are the brokers’ wants? What are the purchasers’ wants?’ And never, ‘How can we monetize one thing?’ he added. “Folks now are getting again to the fundamentals, and I believe expertise might help us be extra nimble.”

However as Zillow debuts the ShowingTime+ model and works win over brokers, there’s only one hitch: historical past.

Extra particularly, Solis stated the largest problem shifting ahead with the model is driving adoption amongst brokers who’re in some instances pissed off.

“Sadly, simply due to the best way that folks really feel about Zillow, it’s form of the unsuitable firm to ship a vertically built-in expertise,” he stated. “I imply, they will do it, however simply including extra merchandise to their current providing isn’t going to alter folks’s hearts and minds.”

“They’ve to alter the best way they work together with the trade,” Solis continued. “They’ve to alter the narrative.”

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