Updated February 19th, 2019

It’s time to list your home – but where do you start?

Sellers have many options if they want to put their house on the market (or hand that job over to someone else). Listing agents are ready to take on the job of sharing your listing with agents or buyers who are window shopping for themselves. If you’re looking to skip listing agent fees and have more control over the management, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings are also an option.

However, listing FSBO comes with problems. While 36% of sellers attempt to sell their own homes, only 11% actually end up closing without a real estate agent. With Clever Real Estate, you can save on many of the commission costs of a traditional realtor while still getting the full service you expect that will help you sell your home.

If in the course of your listing, you have conducted any preliminary housing market research online, you might have come across Zillow. Where does Zillow fit into the mix?

Zillow is a cost-effective way to list your home on the most popular real estate website. If you can create an enticing listing, you can close your home and get the most out of your sale in a few days.

What is Zillow?

Zillow is a product of the Zillow Group, a company that also owns Trulia.com and HotPads. Zillow, Trulia, and HotPads are some of the first places that a buyer and seller check out when they assess the local market.

The Zillow Group currently owns 64% of the online market share. When over 44% of buyers search online for homes first, listing on Zillow gives you the opportunity to make a great first impression.

How much are Zillow listing fees?

Nothing! Nada! Zilch. It doesn’t cost a dime to hop onto Zillow and show your home to thousands of visitors that may be browsing in your area. Buyers can also search for homes listed on Zillow for free!

The Make Me Move Option

The decision to sell your house may not be final yet – and that’s okay! Zillow also offers a free listing option called “Make Me Move.” Sellers can list their home as a “potential listing” and give buyers the option to view the home and contact the seller directly with questions. These listings do not get as much exposure as a home listed “For Sale,” but it gives buyers the option to further explore the local market.

Zillow Vs. Flat Fee MLS

Zillow is a popular alternative to flat fee multiple listing services (MLS.) Sellers who use an MLS service simply pay a fee, input relevant information about their home, and let buyer’s agents find their home through real estate databases (Realtor.com, Redfin, and major brokerages use data from the MLS). You may choose from a local MLS for buyers and agents in the surrounding zip codes, or a larger MLS that can reach buyers across the country.

Sellers may take on the job of listing their property on the MLS—rather than giving the job to a listing agent—if they want to save a bit of cash. You can get an MLS subscription for as little as $199 in some cases. However, none of these options will give you the full-service experience of a Clever Partner agent.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Listing

Zillow is free to use, but it does make money by selling advertising space and premium plans to real estate agents. This would normally be irrelevant information to sellers, but it could cause you to lose money if you don’t want the buyer to contact one of their agents—whose commission ultimately comes out of your pocket.

How does Zillow connect buyers with Zillow Premier agents?

Zillow charges listing agents a membership with Zillow Premier in exchange for a photo and contact information next to local listings. If potential buyers have questions about your listing or want to set something up, they can click on forms that Zillow links directly to the agent.

Luckily, there is a simple way to avoid this and make the most out of your listing. When you set up your listing on Zillow, tell buyers to contact your personal phone number instead of using the website to ask questions. Also, list information about open houses and other ways that Zillow leads can find you directly rather than going through an agent.

Other Considerations Before Listing on Zillow

There are a few more things you’ll want to be aware of before listing your home on Zillow.

Writing A Selling Description

When you create an FSBO listing, consider telling a story to buyers.

Don’t tell them that you have a big yard. Tell them that buyers can enjoy a summer barbeque out back with ample room for cornhole, a kiddie pool, and room for the dogs to run and play. Don’t tell buyers that you have a fireplace. Tell them that they will never want to leave the coziness of their living room during the winter, save for runs to buy more hot chocolate and marshmallows for s’mores. If you can put buyers in your home, all they need to do at that point is to sign the check.

Investing in High-Quality Photos

When you don’t have to pay Zillow listing fees, you have a little wiggle room in your budget. Use that money to invest in high-quality real estate photos. A professional real estate photographer can give you photos with exquisite lighting, an accurate depiction of the space in your home, and a leg up on the houses who are also advertising on Zillow or selling in your area.

Doing More Than Just Zillow

Gorgeous photos give you the ability to advertise outside of Zillow. Consider placing your listing on Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or other forms of social media. While AdWords and Facebook ads cost money, Craigslist listings or simply sharing your listing with friends and family doesn’t cost a dime. The more you expose your house to potential buyers, the more interest you can gather.

Of course, the cost of Facebook and Google ads can add up, as well as eat up your time! If you don’t want the hassle of Zillow, talk to a Clever Partner agent. At Clever, our local experienced agents will list your house on Zillow as well as other major real estate sites, as well as take care of photography, contracts, and negotiations.