One of the top REALTORS in the country has formed a non profit group with the express purpose of combating the listing inaccuracy abuse that is on syndicator websites such as Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com.
Ben Caballero is the founder and chairman of NAREP (National Association of Real Estate Professionals) the top individual real estate professional in the United States for 2010 and 2011, as measured by unit sales and dollar volume, with more than 4,500 home sales exceeding $1.2 billion in total value.
“Businesses such as Zillow and Trulia, in their effort to profit from real estate professionals, display MLS listings, yet many of them are outdated or duplicated. Some listings on their sites do not even have addresses,” said Caballero.
The WAV Group released a study last week stating that 36 percent of listings shown as active on Zillow and Trulia were no longer for sale in the local MLS, compared with zero or near-zero percent for the listings shown on brokerage firm websites. This stat alone causes a stir among many REALTORS.
“This inaccuracy on Zillow and Trulia is a rather dubious practice,” said Caballero. “They ought to remove the inactive listings as quickly as they insert them. They insert new MLS listings within days, but can take months to delete them when they are no longer available. Brokerage sites manage to purge them quickly, so why can’t Zillow and Trulia? Of course, the more pages Zillow and Trulia have on their sites, the more opportunities they have from organic search engine traffic to generate revenue. I have no doubt their slowness to purge expired listings is a deliberate strategy. If you believe they have a different reason for doing so, then I have some valuable swampland in central Florida I’d like to sell you.”
NAREP’s goal is to get at least 25% of the listings in America to become members of their organization. At that point they are set to coordinate to get their membership OFF of the major syndicators and ON to their site. At that point, their effort will be to treat Trulia, Zillow and REALTOR.com as the competitors that they are and attempt to make them irrelevant.
Will they succeed at this effort? Time will tell, but it definitely has the real estate industry talking.