Los Altos Real Estate Blog


REALTOR.COM is going to allow non-REALTOR listings and more

REALTOR.COM is going to allow non-REALTOR listings and more


In case you hadn't heard, REALTOR.com is moving ahead with plans to allow non-REALTOR listed properties to be displayed on their website along with rentals and new construction.  This move is designed to make the site more competitive with Zillow and Trulia who have both overtaken the site in recent years because they've allowed anyone to post a property.  The only thing not allowed with yesterday's decision was FSBO listings.

This is all good and fine but I'd like to remind the folks at REALTOR.com of two things while they trek off into this battle to regain the #1 consumer real estate site:




The biggest issue with the competition is that a large portion of the listings on their sites aren't accurate.  The active listings are clouded with old, invalid listings by a wide margin and their property value estimates are...laughable.  REALTOR.com has always been the most accurate source of listings because they got all their data on MLS services.  Apart from Redfin (which is a broker), nobody else's site could compare.  Consumers don't care!  They like volume and lots of options, whether they're B.S. or not.  This new plan gives consumers what they want, just as long as accuracy doesn't disappear in the process.


Let's talk about accurate property values.  The Zestimate is the best marketing con of all time in the real estate world.  It's never accurate and comes with huge disclaimers about how far off it actually is (up to 10% either way - minimum).  However, REALTOR.com has a great AVM that is, in theory, more accurate.  Why not include that in this new plan to compete?  Beat Zillow at their own game and the consumers will flock to the site.  Hey, it's just a suggestion :)


As long as REALTOR.com doesn't lose itself in this battle, they should do well.  The only thing they should watch for is Zillow and Trulia both making efforts to clean up their data.  If they get better at it, this whole game could get a lot more complicated.

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 Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: bryan@catarra-re.com | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc  | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022



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Comment balloon 51 commentsBryan Robertson • July 25 2013 07:58AM


It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Consumers like Zillow because it provides them more options than agents do;  oh, never mind, the "extra" listings are not actually ACTIVE, it serves the purpose of making people feel better.  ;-)

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 5 years ago

Thanks Bryan... I had no idea.  Very interesting to say the least.  Suggested to get the word out.

Posted by John McCormack, CRS, Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me! (Albuquerque Homes Realty) over 5 years ago

Bryan- let's hope they try to maintain what you like about them and not play the other's game. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 5 years ago

The scammers will have a field sday with a ne wplace to list the cloned listings. Buyers will see more homes that are not updated and Roealtor.com will lose users. Great decision

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 5 years ago

Bryan,  I hadn't heard this.  The first thing that comes to my mind is what benefits do we as Realtors actually have nay more.  We pay more and are supposed to have some benefits because of that.  Yes we adhere to a code of ethics and belong to a board, so why let the non-Realtors play in our pool.  Ugh

Posted by Belinda Spillman, Colorado Living! (Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado) over 5 years ago

REALTOR.com stopped being about agents a long time ago. They are simply a business trying to maximize profits.

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 5 years ago

Bryan, Maybe this will inspire the competition to get better at their game. Prior to a threat of Realtor.com competing Zillow and Trulia had no reason to clean up their acts.  Perhaps now they will.  

We pay for MLS services.  What will Realtor.com charge others for posting?  Probably nothing. We pay and Realtor.com gives it away to those competing in our space.  It is all BS in my opinion. 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 5 years ago

I don't pay Zillow or Trulia but I can change the listing information on my listings and I'm not paying for photos. 

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) over 5 years ago

I know Trulia and Zillow yelled "Cowabunga!" when they lept off the cliff, but that doesn't mean they're having fun.


Posted by Richard Arnold, Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix (Keller Williams Realty East Valley) over 5 years ago

It is ridiculous that Realtor.com ie MOVE pulling the strings of NAR. MOVE only cares about money and more money. They only care about us in the sense they can squeeze more money from us. NAR appears to have given up on working for REALTORS and is now getting in bed with MOVE and is lettting them pull some major strings that will eventually hurt us. Call NAR or email them and express your displeasure. If there were another national organization I could join instead of NAR I would pull my membership today. They don't care about me OR YOU. Call them and let them know.

Posted by John Elwell (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Wow Realtor.com may I suggest that you change your name if you are going to allow non realtors to be a part of your site. Suggestes Realtor site hmmmmm REally they are going to allow non realtors to place listings on this site. OOOOOPs thats a mistake.

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) over 5 years ago

Will we now get all the pictures we upload for free?

Are the builders going to be paying money to NAR?

Nope, MOVE makes more money, shows the Builders how much more 'free' exposure they are getting and we as the experts pay NAR more and more and have to pay to get the leads from our own blasted listings.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 5 years ago

Bryan nailed it with his #1 and #2 points. 


Data accuracy is by far one of the biggest concerns.  Extremely important that accuracy is not sacrificed.  Quantity over quality will not be a win in the long run.

Posted by Lowell Bath, Lowell (Fang Oliver International Realty) over 5 years ago

Not happy to hear this. When my Buyers shop on Zillow, I ask them to run MLS numbers through Realtor.com to ensure that they're still active listings. Yay - here I go again looking up a bunch of listings that are already under contract.

Posted by Lori Cain, Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer (eXp Realty) over 5 years ago

     Realtor.com is NOT owned by the National Association of Realtors.  NAR is not forthcoming about this; on the contrary they do everything possible to mislead the Members of the National Association of Realtors into believing that NAR owns and controls Realtor.com   It is MOVE, INC that controls Realtor.com - not NAR.

      Also, Realtor dot com is the only Entity authorized to use the name "Realtor", that does NOT have to abide by the Code of Ethics.


Posted by Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 5 years ago

My clients were upset when, even through a property showed up as "active", it was actually under contract. When potential buyers go on these sites, they should at least have accurate information or they shoot themselves in the foot.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 5 years ago

I was under the impression that all listings on Realtor.com were auto populated from the mls and accurante.  How can a FSBO be accurate and autopopulated.  What is a FSBO to do with Realtors that want to show their listings and is a mls number assigned?  This will be a big fat mess.

Posted by Christine OShea (Christine E O'Shea Real Estate Broker) over 5 years ago

Hi Bryan,

Good points all around.  The accuracy thing is so important.  The search tools are great for the cinsumer to play around with but something that says Realtor in the name ought to be THE MOST Accurate. Otherewise they are wasting all that money telling the public how important it is to use a Realtor.

Thanks for the post. I had not heard this information.


Posted by Michael Layton, Michael Layton 7604085300 (nook real estate) over 5 years ago

What is the difference between new construction from a builder and a FSBO? I assume that by allowing new construction they mean builders will be able to directly put their listings on R.com (or they will be fed there from some other service) without being represented by an agent.

So R.com has decided that large quantities of listings from unrepresented sellers is alright, but hosting a listing from one person trying to sell is not alright. How does this make sense?

The reality is, Z&T are aiming for a larger market than R.com is. Z&T want to target people during the entire life of their home owning, buying and selling experience. The majority of this experience is when someone is just owning a home. R.com, as it currently is only targets someone when they are buying (or maybe selling.....but really not even then). R.com has absolutely no hope of regaining the #1 spot without a plan for how they generate traffic from someone that isn't looking to buy. Z has their Z Digs, mortgage market place, estimates. These are all things that people are interested in even when not buying their next place. 

By playing catch up, R.com will always be behind. This move was simply catch up (and it doesn't even catch them up). They need to do something totally outside the box and different. I don't know what that move is, and neither do they.......or they would have made it already. 

Posted by Bob Stewart, ActiveRain Ambassador (ActiveRain) over 5 years ago

Certainly some spirited discussion. This looks like a wait and see proposition, since it will likely not be popular with realtors but could be a mild win with sellers.


Trying to close the gap on Zillow and Trulia is not easy, but it certainly seems like this will have some tongues wagging for a while.

Perhaps they could try a different approach by asking realtors for their input on ways to make them more competitive and user friendly?

Posted by Eric Nelson, III, Eric O. Nelson, III (Silicon Valley Capital Funding) over 5 years ago

One would think there is an ethics issue with them doing this and using the name "Realtor.com".  I was always of the notion that you can not use that word "Realtor" unless you actually are one..  That being said though, there are more players lining up behind these 3 and they are coming fast. Let's face it, it's just a matter of time before MLS's will become extinct. Will it be in the next 5 years? 10? 15? However, there will always be a need for the "agent" in our industry. Notice I did not say "Realtor". (I "am" a Realtor Btw)

Posted by Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate, Certified Residential Specialist (ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS SRES mitch@prostead.com) over 5 years ago

Hi Bryan...Mitch makes a good point. NAR puts such an emphasis on the proper use of REALTOR(R) how do they justify non-Realtors using the realtor.com.

All I know is I don't think this will help us build our business.


Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 5 years ago

I read about this earlier today, Bryan. You have to wonder if they can really do it right and be accurate, especially given the name on this site. Next will be the TVs ads.

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) over 5 years ago

Why don't you want consumers to go to your site?  I don't care about any of them, I just want to have something online that will make consumers click on my site, and then connect with me for their accurate information.  Realtor.com is just a site. I'm an ACTUAL Realtor not a dot com.  Same with Z & T ;-)

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 5 years ago

Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com are the scouge of our industry. They profit directly by the work we listing agents do by selling leads back to Buyer's Agents. The only reason they do well is because we sell out to them and play their game.

Posted by John Mosier, Prescott's Patriot Agent 928 533-8142 (Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert) over 5 years ago

Agree Zillow is a joke and is about as accurate as the price you paid to use it NOTHING ZERO NADA

Posted by David Shamansky, Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg (US Mortgages - David Shamansky) over 5 years ago

I do not trust Realtor .com because it arose through NAR and politics formed it so the results are just like you get from the government. They will never be competitive because NAR will always  be there. Just like Fannie Mae.

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) over 5 years ago




I think this is great advice.  We will see how this all shakes out.  The most inportant thing is to drive traffic to the REALTORS who pay their dues and they should not have to pay a fortune to buy zip codes etc. for their own maketing efforts.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 5 years ago

If we as Realtors would allow the feeds to Z& T their model would dry up. People for right now go to Realtors to list their homes etc but it won't be long if this keeps up it will be over for agents.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) over 5 years ago

The others were getting more and more eyeballs.  I agree, if we can become the most accurate site, people will discover that and search Realtor.com more and more.

Posted by Signature Homes & Estates, "Our Performance Will Move You!" (Signature Homes & Estates) over 5 years ago

Bob is right, and this is the first step in a battle. Certainly the arrogance of companbies like Zillow may end up being their own worst enemy. Finally NAR and realtor.com are working together. Rest assured that this is the first step but not the last. There is a gap and the wider the gap the greater the risk. As a director who voted for this in Chicago and as a memebr of the NAR MLS committee I will constantly be advocating for more change. This is a war and Trulia and Zillow could care less about me. They care more about my money. I have felt the same way about realtor.com in the past, but I think this fight just got a lot more interesting. 

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 5 years ago

Mitch #21 brings up a great point - how can they call themselves "Realtor.com" when they are putting listings on from nonmembers??? Did anyone focus group test this one before announcing the news?

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 5 years ago

This is craziness.  What's next?  Limited Real Estate licenses for people who take a test on Trulia or Zillow and become instant realtors for the duration of there listing and provided free Forms to use and instructions on how to use them. 

NAR must take action, talk with your local associations and pass along the information we know about to stop the insanity

Posted by Dave Werth, FULL TIME REALTOR (WERTH REALTY ) over 5 years ago

Bryan, I enjoyed your post and resulting comments. Buyers are generally extremely frustrated when they find out that information on Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow is not updated. This will be an interesting experiment for them and a frustration for Realtors.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 5 years ago

I don't feel the move was a good move for us as agents in the field. I think Bob hit it on the head in that this will on bring then up to par with Z&T, what they need is something else something different from Z&T.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) over 5 years ago

Bob makes some great points in his comment.  In addition R.com is trying to keep up with the Joneses and its a little late for that.  They are already way ahead albeit their information not always accurate but they are ahead and R.com is playing catch up but selling us out in the process.  Only members of NAR can call themselves and market themselves as realtors but now all listings can be R.com??  SMH at that one! 

Posted by Gina Chirico, Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey (Lattimer Realty) over 5 years ago

Bryan, so Realtor.com(r) is little late in the game (I'd say, few years?). Somehow, the reason I am not comfortable with Zillow and Trulia's listings is the same way they are going - so until now, I used to tell my buyers that for correct listings and data, go to Realtor.com(r). Now I can't even do that!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 5 years ago
Bryan - We'll see how it goes. What is the benefit of not including FSBOs while including everything else?
Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 5 years ago

Bryan, I guess this was another one of those thing my Realtor.com rep was calling me about.

Posted by Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Top 1%!, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) over 5 years ago

One FACT and one FUNNY

1.   REALTOR.COM IS PRIVATE AND NOT PART OF NAR,giving them more leeway

2.   Again "How can they allow non-Realtors to post and not FSBO?"  ;)  Keep Smilin'

Posted by Brian Schulte, SFR, Sierra Vista, AZ (Allison James Estates & Homes) over 5 years ago

I've had excited consumers call me about a listing that was in the one eighties and looked just perfect for them...and when could we see it? They saw it on the internet! A quick MLS search showed that it sold for $212,000 about 4 months before. They were just a little irritated! Calling an agent for accurate information is the way to go!

Posted by Barbara Tattersall, GRI (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH)) over 5 years ago

Consumers tell me they like Zillow because it's so easy to navigate. As a porspective relo buyer myself, I tried REALTOR.com last night and it was definitely NOT easy to navigate. Unless and until that changes, consumer will continue to use other sites. Adding other sources for listings won't make a dent in that problem.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 5 years ago

I think this is about 3 or 4 years too late.  Realtor.com had a chance to be Zillow  as they were in place for years, and chose to be difficult to use, expensive for agents to advertise on and  have very limit data.  

Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) over 5 years ago

Competition breeds....hmmm....Zillow and Trulia are not funded by Realtors...only those who choose to advertiser there...there is a huge difference....and indifference to what Realtors may have preferred.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 5 years ago

Its a business and they go where the money is... advertising dollars. Got to have the hits to charge the fees! Cynical about it all.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Accuracy is critical - more buyers than I can count contact me about homes that have expired or been sold months ago and are still posting as active on these sites.  Annoying and time consuming.

Posted by Marnie Matarese, Showing you the best of Sarasota! (DWELL REAL ESTATE) over 5 years ago
I was in Chicago and voted for this as well. The consumer wants what the consumer wants, and Realtor.com needed to be able to provide greater content to appeal to the consumer.
Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) over 5 years ago
I doubt that this will affect the rental market in our area. No worries.
Posted by Mark Delgado, Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h (houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove) over 5 years ago

Online marketing is great but no real estate online marketer can replace the buyer's experience of driving around with an agent and actually seeing the property firsthand. And no website can replace a great listing agent either.

Posted by Scott Dutton, Associate Broker - Equity Real Estate (Equity Real Estate - St. George, Utah) over 5 years ago

Bryan~ Yours is the 2nd blog post I've seen about this and I'm NOT at all happy. I understand they have to run a business and be competitive, but they could potentially lose a lot of integrity.

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 5 years ago

Good day to all I have just spoke to Shalla Rodriguez with TAR she stated she knows nothing about this. Who do we speak to ?

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) over 5 years ago

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