Profile picture for RussHatfield

Zillow Asks: How do we improve listings quality?

Hi all,

We're all very aware that Zillow, and sites like ours, must improve the the "quality" of our listings. Every day brings new reports of "My home sold back in September but still shows as For Sale on your site!", or "My house isn't for sale but Zillow says it is!", and so on.

Obviously, in order to be successful in what we're trying to accomplish and so that we can create win-win-win situations all-around, we need to figure this out. And we have and continue to invest ample resources into this. It has been and is a corporate priority. If we can't grow as a reliable source for this information there is just no way we'll be around for much longer.

We have lots of ideas, we have many plans and we have improvements in-progress every week. But I'd like to ask you for your thoughts on how we can solve this. In particular, the case of "stale" listings: Home was for sale, sold(or was taken off market), but still shows as For Sale on Zillow.

Be candid and let's just throw the ideas out there ; )

Thanks so much!
Russ
Zillow Customer Support
  • March 03 2011 - US
  • 2
    2Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

Answers (154)

Profile picture for SoCal Engr
"Each feed of Zillow has a specific tier assigned to it, which determines which source we use for the listing. We are implementing a tight hierarchy on posting listings from the various trump levels."

Interesting, a Zillow version of Google's page rank.
  • September 25 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for sunnyview
Thanks for the good information Sara. I did not know that about the 2 week email updates for agents. I would think that would really help agents and listing quality moving forward at the same time. Sounds like a win-win.
  • September 25 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Reallyfedup
The issue is with the site host, not with the REA's.  They get outdated information from numerous sites and posts it. Maybe they should verify the information before putting it out there or explain more clearly just where the info. comes from and that it may not be current and accurate.

Not all REA's have Zillow accounts, and probably don't even know that outdated listings are on Zillow. Most agents don't even associate themselves with Zillow.  A listing shows up on Zillow whether you want it to or not.  There is not enough time in the day to track down listings on every site to see if they are updated or not.

These types of sites are not MLS's and are not the most current or accurate real estate information.  They are sites that want to feed off of what REA's pay and use and profit from by claiming it to be a source of information, be it correct or not. 

These sites are not the best source of real estate out there and should make that very clear so that consumers are not upset with the information provided and with the REA's and our industry. 

This is one of the reasons why REA's don't belong to these sites.  We have to do so much damage control because of the information provided by these sites.  People associate what they read and apply it to the entire RE industry and then get upset with us because of it.

The host sites need to be responsible for making the information they provide updated and current if they are going to put it out there or at least get it from the proper sources.
  • September 25 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Jeff Grenz
Zillow - if you want good advice on listing input from agents, you need to talk to agents, not trolls.  And you need to find out (ask) why the agents who don't participate, won't.  There is a very small, almost statistically insignificant quantity of agents involved here.  So you get quality review from a very small percentage and the rest just get annoyed.

Yes, Sara, I get the 14 day updates on each listing (as long as it hasn't been hijacked I found) so if I go through each email and compare to my list, I will find it.  That would take awhile.

What I found is as soon as I take my Postlet down (due to a pending or sale) my listing pops up as someone else's as it's still floating around in databases.  FAIL.  OR a duplicate address postlet done by another agent (illegally) will post in its void. FAIL.

A lot of holes.
  • September 25 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for sunnyview
"Zillow - if you want good advice on listing input from agents, you need to talk to agents, not trolls."

I agree that Zillow should talk to agents since they are the ones with the listings. However, I am curious what "trolls" would you be referring to? No one on this thread I hope because that wouldn't be very nice.
  • September 25 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Jeff- We also survey every single premier agent; will participate in over 100 industry events this year; talk with people on facebook, twitter, and our blog; and have a Broker Advisory Board - so we are getting input from a lot of angles.  But Advice is an important communication venue too.

But with regards to the situation you describe about the reposting of listings, the system I just described certainly helps (although not perfect, if people are doing dubious things). 

For example, with regards to the reposting of the same property but by a different agent -- we are actually blocking the ADDRESS, not a particular agent representing their listing or a mls number.  So as long as there is an address match, it should not come back in a lower order feed. 


  • September 25 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Jeff Grenz
Regarding the listing Zillow and Postlets "fixed" for me.  I do appreciate the effort.  You removed the offending party as well as my listing after I claimed it and removed the other party's postlet number and replaced it with my own.  The listing is now history.  So the damage continues.  You might do better to 

Regarding the offending party (who posted my listing - and used the incorrect price, etc.), they're conduct is being reviewed by the association shortly.  They were still finding ways to post new listings a few days ago.

Regarding other ways data is gathered for listings here.....   It really appears Z gathers information that was provided to agents/broker websites through IDX. There would be no other way to gather that quantity of listing information.  Most, if not all of the time when I see a listing on another broker's website that isn't theirs, it credits the listing broker.  Z's data gathering seems to strip away the listing brokers data in most cases, but leaves the broker/owner of the website's that the data was harvested from as the new originator  - leaving a lot of confusion. I'm not talking about the agents that pay for Zillow rankings in zip codes and/or premier agents, I'm talking about the raw data gathering. 

What I will start to do is "claim" my listings in addition to posting them in the first place -that will help me and any client impacted by my listings.

Regarding discussing with Premier agents, great.  Industry events - maybe if you put them on... as the Realtor conventions are not your typical agent user.- but you'll get some good input.

We had a room discussion about this experience with a group of 50-60 agents this morning in a regional association meeting.  The understanding of the Postlet v Zillow relationship was extremely limited.  Two agents knew how to "claim" listings on Zillow.

Good luck!





 
  • September 27 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for kmelendez
Biggest complaint is the Zestimates and the fact that homes that are not for sale show up for sale.
  • September 27 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Jeff Grenz
Missed an edit - you might do better to block their IP address(s) and the names of the company or individuals instead of the property address.
  • September 27 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
"There is a very small, almost statistically insignificant quantity of agents involved here" -

Amount of posts per user follows "zipf's law" quite well, including agents.

According to the Zillow directory, there are 348.8k Real Estate Agents registered as users on Zillow.  Considering that NAR a couple years ago indicated 1.2 million members, 29% of Realtors being registered on Zillow is not at all "insignificant".

But you don't market properties to other agents; you market them to buyers; so without consumers searching the site, the site is worth nothing.  The site has to remain consumer focused if it is to have any value at all.

As for participation on the forum?  Of the top 300 posters by # of posts, the break-down is approximately as follows:
Loan Officers: 36%
Real Estate Agents: 28%
Market Watchers: 14%
Buyers: 9%
Zillow Staff: 5%
Sellers: 4.5%
Other (contractors, inspectors, appraisers, stagers,...): 3.5%

Agents that just post "Contact a Realtor" when there is a consumer question about the website is not helpful.  Nor are they helpful when they post "prices always go up", "now is the best time to buy", "no one ever loses money on real estate", "if you rent you are paying your landlord's mortgage"....
Nor are they helpful when they plagiarize material and don't reference their sources.
Agents like that belong at Realtor.com; not Zillow.

If agents wanted to post more and respond to more issues, there is nothing stopping them from doing so except their own time.

None of the rest of us that read and post on this site get paid to be doing so either (aside from Zillow staff).
(Yes some of us read faster and type faster.. but that is a different issue).
  • September 27 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for jamiesings2
Russ, I'm delighted to find that Zillow is wanting to improve ACCURACY! Thank you for asking!

Please see my post here on Zillow Advice for a case in point. Somehow, last month's sale data is wildly inaccurate and skewing home values in an inexpensive neighborhood.

How can a home listed @ $200,000 have sold just a month ago for $1 million plus?

I'm hoping you will have someone look into this and do something to fix it.  Please send me an email directly when this has been corrected. Many thanks!
  • October 01 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for colleenponeill
I'm not sure if you already have this or not. I think there should be some fraud alert on your site, for example.  I found a house I wanted to look at.  Well, I went to the house and looked around it.  I called the realtor who listed it, and he said that house had sold recently for 200K more than it was listed for, but offered to find me something else.  The listing was removed after that.  Two weeks later I see it back on there, for the same price I was interested in.  I think that realtor was using that as a bait and switch.  Is there anyway to report them?
  • October 03 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

From Jeff - Missed an edit - you might do better to block their IP address(s) and the names of the company or individuals instead of the property address.  OI 100% agree.  Hopefully we can one day. 

Colleenponeill - Are are indeed flags on each home profile on the site.  Please do flag when you see anything suspect!  That will send a message to our support team.
  • October 03 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Jeff Grenz
Hopefully we can one day?   All that computer power and you can't check IP addresses?  How about DRE license numbers?  Your largest offenders typically have 50-100 listings up.  Sample.  This is a high school intern level task.

There are plenty more listings by the company that falsely advertised mine.  Same name, same DRE, different input email is my guess.  Elementary stuff.


http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/723-Grant-Ave-Lodi-CA-95240/15265294_zpid/#{scid=hdp-site-map-bubble-address}

Of course, this one the real listing is expired, so nobody cares, but the offender's postlet allows Zillow to show it as active - EVEN IF THE REAL LISTING AGENT HAD PULLED THEIR OWN POSTLET, this would  show as active.
  • October 03 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Katy Cain
You should go in manually to your listings if they do not auto delete. but its always our job as the listings agents to make sure information and details are auto fed correctly. however, zillow should also make this pertienant to their updates seeing ast hough this is vital to agents success and worthiness in the industry
  • October 03 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Jeff Grenz
Katy, these folks are using a loophole that allows their Postlet to repost the false (expired) listing automatically once the listing agent deletes or expires their legitimate Postlet (Postlets is owned and feeds Zillow listings).  They do this to generate phone calls and divert leads.

Sunnyview mentioned above that Zillow interacts with 29% of all agents, but when I look through the local list of top 10-20 agents, I can see most of that 29% interact sparsely - so don't expect agents to police Zillow listings they had no responsibility in posting in the first place.
  • October 03 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for sunnyview
I'm sorry, but I think you may be mistaken Jeff. I did not post that 29% statistic.

Agents do have a responsibility to "police" all the listings that they put up including the ones on Zillow. I understand it is a big job to manage all the various listing sites, but it seems like the focus needs to be making it easier for agents to do that on Zillow instead of taking the responsibility to do so off the listing agent.

Zillow removes listings that are reported as expired/false/inaccurate, but as for the agents that post other agent's listings without permission on Postlets that sounds like a RE licensing Board issue and not a website issue to me. As an outsider, my question would be why don't agents report the offending agents to their local Board? Removal of those bad agents at the licensing level would seem to be an effective deterrent.
  • October 03 2011
  • 2Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
How about requesting that photos get updated every four months-to reflect the seasons. They should be anyway...and if they aren't the listing automatically gets suspended.
Personally I don't like the idea of our license numbers being out there ....it could create more problems, you already have agents posing as the listing agent on homes that are not really for sale. Lets not feed them our license numbers.
  • October 03 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Jeff Grenz
Sorry, Sunnyview, it was Pasadenan's data above here a few posts.

What I'm saying is probably 80-90% of the listings are posted here without the knowledge of the agent. They are automatic feeds.  Those agents assume they will get pulled when they pull the feed.  Those will not get policed.  Unless its brought to their attention, and they know how to interact with Zillow, they have no legal responsibility to police it.  If another agent posts their expired listing, the problem is between the property owner, the offender and the DRE and maybe Zillow.

  • October 03 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Matthew Z LS
Great feedback. We're definitely listening! Just wanted to confirm that I addressed @jamiesings2's case. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. We've updated the erroneous transaction in our database. The correction will be reflected on the site within a few days.

As always, please continue to Flag homes where you see a discrepancy. Please include specifics so we can research the issue and make the necessary corrections.

Thanks for using Zillow!

Matthew
Zillow Customer Support
  • October 04 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
Jeff -

It is true that many agents post to syndicating websites without any clue what sites that get syndicated to, or if syndicating links can or do get broken.

Normally, taking something off a syndicating site does also remove it from sites like Zillow, but there are numerous exceptions.

And it still appears that the worst offenders for the syndicating sites not being properly updated are the brokers' and agents' own sites.  Zillow has tried to lower the polling priority of those to minimize those being the primary source of data.

As for the "registered users" on Zillow... that doesn't happen from just an autofeed; the agent actually has to register as a user on the site intentionally.

Sure, some of those are redundant.  Zillow provides no limits on how many user accounts anyone has, nor any means to link between multiple accounts of the same user.  But they are supposed to be by E-mail address, and the E-mail addresses have to be unique.

And even if the public doesn't see the DRE number posted; I think it is important for that number to be given during registration to get an agent tag, to reduce misuse of that status, and to help provide some discipline for those stealing other's numbers, or for agents that are not complying with the law or proper standard of care.

  • October 04 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Not to change the subject here, but what about the system updating a price reduction. Since their feed picks up the listing in the first place, perhaps a followup method to promp any changes, either manually or automatic. Anyhow happy selling out there in S. Florida.
  • October 05 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
It is supposed to pick up price changes from the syndicating sites!  The exceptions are 1) when the link it intentionally broken, such as manually making changes after it syndicated on sites it was syndicated too, and 2) when the agent is only making changes on the MLS and not the site that actually did the syndication.
  • October 05 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for 40Sunset
It would be nice to see an option for wood flooring, not just hardwood... some people have pine floors, etc and "hard wood" is misleading.

Also, being able to purchase a virtual tour package might be nice.

-FSBO home seller
  • October 17 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Jeff Grenz
Emailed to a previous Zillow contact a returning source of 4000+ bogus listings.... an broker and programmer who found another opening.  If you didn't receive my email (Zillow) please contact me.
  • November 18 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Agover
Lets start with bringing back the map functionality you had two months ago; that is what really drew me to Zillow in the first place.  I used to be able to click from town to town, and Zillow would only display homes for sale in the town you clicked on.  Now, when I click on a town different from the original town I searched for, it displays ALL houses for sale within the map view.  This is highly unproductive for my home search.  I have tried on several different computers.  For an example of what I'm referring to, search for Colchester, VT and then click to a nearby town.

Also, why is there no contact information for Zillow?  
  • November 19 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for wetdawgs
Contact information for Zillow:

E-mail customer service = click here.

Phone number for customer service - 1-877-661-3170

Please be aware that customer service is only lightly staffed at weekends (most active weekdays Pacific time)
  • November 19 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

I am just a person looking for a house, BUT your filtering system is awful. The keyword search is the only way you have to look for a house that has a specific feature, like a pool. Yet when I put in "pool" in the keyword search it often filters out houses that do have the word pool in their text, and I get tons of houses that say something like "community pool" or that the house is "near the city pool."

Zillow is one of the few sites I've used that doesn't include this feature.

I agree the issue of having houses that have sold continue to post is a problem. Also, I think you need a better way to contact Zillow. It seems like a  lot of customer service issues end up on the forums.
  • December 19 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for sunbeater1
royparis@sbcglobal.net

You are sending me Menonomee, MI and Marinette, WI listings
in triplicate - I get three notices. 
  • February 08 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Neil R
  • Neil RZillow
  • 4728 contributions
Hi sunbeater1 -

Our apologies for the inconvenience.

I sent this for further investigation. I'll follow up with you once I get a feedback.

Thank you.

Neil
Zillow Customer Support
  • February 09 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6