About Harken









A different kind of real estate brokerage.

How Brokers Market Themselves On Zillow

How many of you browse Zillow for home information?
Are you aware that Zillow is a paid media site?

The agents you see listed on the homes you have searched for are rarely the actual listing broker. I was at a Zillow event where the company was explaining how to buy zip codes. Some brokers are paying $5000 - $7000 per month in order to be the realtor advertised for every home in that zip code even when it is not their listing in the NWMLS. The only way to have your picture on the right hand side of the home you've listed is to pay for Premier status. Oh, let me add that not all real estate brokers are successful enough to pay that much - instead, their preferred lenders can put up 90% of the cost, then pass the expense along to the buyers via lender fees when they purchase.

Here's another way to market yourself on Zillow: if you are a team leader, you can take credit for every sale of all of your members. When Harken Realty opened in mid-February 2014, I had 2 sales on my free profile within 3 months. A team leader with 5 team members whom have each sold 2 homes in the last 12 months will be showing 10 recent sales on their profile which makes them appear to be more successful than I am without them working with a single client.

When I purchased my home (prior to being an active broker), I clicked on a home that I liked, and sent my contact information to the broker to the right of the page via Zillow. I did not get to work with Jim. Instead, I was contacted by one of his team members named Rick. It was not Jim's listing. I did not buy that home. Jim had over 20 recent sales and a 4.5 star rating. I don't know what Rick had sold or what he was rated. I was in a hurry to move, so I gave Rick a chance. He was ok, but I wouldn't use him as my broker in the future or refer clients to him. I don't know if Jim is really good or not because I never met him.

I do like Zillow because you can search NWMLS listed homes without having to give them your email address. The drawback is that the site can take weeks to update and those homes you fall in love with are often sold while you are browsing through the site.

The Zillow reps even admitted that the "Zestimates" are often incorrect because there is not enough data. They advise brokers to use this as a selling point of why to use an actual live person (broker) rather than relying on a computer model.

I posted a NWMLS graph on Facebook and Twitter that showed, on average, 25% of licensed real estate brokers are inactive because they were unable to make sales. When I asked the Zillow rep how many brokers pay for advertising on their site and are unable to produce income within the 2 year licensing period, he said "That data is probably out there somewhere; just not released to the public."

When you are doing your research, remember the statistics of success on the internet can be bought and manipulated. I have relied on FREE advertising via referrals from happy customers for over 20 years!

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Although Harken Realty is based in Everett, and I prefer to work from Seattle to Arlington,
special consideration will be given to all western Washington buyers and sellers
from Puyallup to Mt Vernon on a case by case basis.

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