You find a great-looking property on a “big box” website like Zillow or Trulia and click the button for more information. What happens next? Many people think that button is the key to hidden information and the start of a happy client-agent relationship. However, these sites monetize their business by selling your information to real estate agents that pay big money, so clicking that button releases your personal contact info to the big box machine. Whether by hocus-pocus or simple round-robin, Zillow will then pass your contact info off to a real estate agent in the local market where you are inquiring.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – a local real estate agent can really help you in your property search. The problem is you may be paired with an agent you are incompatible with, and quite frankly, the agent may or may not be skilled in the type of property you are looking at. Further, if you are already working with an agent, opening an inquiry with a new agent could introduce a serious conflict of interest.
We aren’t saying this isn’t the right path to go down, after all we are Zillow Premier agents ourselves. We just think it’s important to understand that the expediency and convenience of the internet can never outweigh the power of a good relationship. So, go ahead and use the tools at your disposal, but know how they work and have the right expectations. And, never discount the power of friends and colleagues as references to great real estate agents like us!