My House is Pending!
I’m sure thousands of you have been following the saga of my attempts to sell my house in Seattle (OK, maybe not thousands, but it certainly feels that way). Even the Wall Street Journal got involved in ribbing me, highlighting the fact that even the CEO of Zillow can’t seem to price and sell his own house with an article recently entitled, “The Boss’s Product Test.” (Sorry, only a snippet of the article is in front of a subscription wall).
The first paragraph reads:
“Zillow.com, a Web site with free estimates of home values, bills itself as “your edge in real estate.” But Rich Barton, chief executive of the Seattle company, is finding that the edge can cut both ways.”
Well, I’m happy to report that my house recently went “Pending.” This means we have signed papers, but the closing doesn’t happen for a few weeks. Hopefully, I’m not jinxing the closing with this post. I recall something about not counting chickens before they hatch.
Anyway, I used a variety of Zillow tools over the past 9 months my home was on the market, which I’m sure had a huge impact on the transaction. First, my agent, Gordon, posted the house for sale. He uploaded a bunch of terrific photos, including this one that he took with a “toy” helicopter with an attached camera.
I then created my own estimate using the My Estimator tool on Zillow, to explain why I thought the house was worth more than the Zestimate (basement and bathroom remodels), and I published that information publicly. Then, with Zillow’s launch of EZ Ads, I started buying localized ads for my house to run only in several ZIP codes in Seattle. My EZ Ads showed thousands of times for only a penny per showing. I had good click-through rates and the page views — as seen by the page counter at the bottom of my house’s Zillow page — really started to crank. Lots of people were coming to look at my house on Zillow.
My house ended up with over 4,500 page views. Pretty cool.
I also put a link to my home’s “For Sale page” on Zillow in the auto-signature of every email I sent. I know it was slightly spammy, but it was an effective way to get the word out. It looked something like this:
Of course, Gordon worked the system hard, as well. So, in the end, who is buying my house, and how did they find out about it? Well, it turns out that good friends of ours, who had always admired our house, simply waited for the second price drop, and then they swooped in with an offer. I think what really pushed them over the edge, though, was when I sent them the page counter, telling them they needed to ACT NOW DUE TO THE STAMPEDE OF VISITORS!
Please feel free to share your Zillow stories. We love hearing them.