Zillow Acquires ShowingTime: Here’s What It Means for Real Estate Agents
ecently the internet has been afire with reactions to the news of Zillow purchasing ShowingTime. Responses have varied considerably, ranging from mild interest to genuine concern. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what happened and what this sale means for real estate agents.
What Is ShowingTime?
If you’re a real estate agent, you likely already know the basics about ShowingTime. After all, the app works with over 250 multiple listing services and currently has over 1.2 million listings. However, there are still some real estate agents that don’t use the ShowingTime platform.
As its name implies, ShowingTime is technology that is used to facilitate the scheduling of home showings. Real estate agents can set up appointments for their clients on the app without having to pick up the phone and call the other agent. Similarly, prospective buyers can schedule showings, as well.
ShowingTime is an impressive example of the way in which technology is being used to introduce convenience and promote automation in the real estate industry. The platform’s ease of use, coupled with its accessibility and organization, truly enhance agents’ ability to make a sale.
Why Did Zillow Purchase ShowingTime?
Zillow recently acquired ShowingTime for $500 million. The sudden announcement and associated price tag left many in the industry concerned about Zillow’s motive. While only C-level Zillow executives know the ins and outs of this decision, a look at the company’s history can provide some context.
Zillow began as an organization that aimed to provide buyers and sellers with information about the housing market. The founders were inspired to do so after house hunting and struggling to find information themselves. In its early years, Zillow was essentially an information warehouse that profited through advertising and by selling leads.
However, Zillow’s business model has been undergoing a transformation for some time. In 2018, it launched Zillow Offers, a service that purchases homes directly from sellers. The purchase of ShowingTime is a further foray into becoming a direct player in the real estate industry. It may also be a precursor for gaining an advantage in the post-COVID market, where contactless tours could become the norm.
What Does This Mean for Realtors?
Some Realtors are concerned about this purchase, viewing it as a potential strategy for Zillow to replace agents as the middleman in real estate transactions. The reality is that not much will change for real estate agents today--but the future is less clear. In the long-term, realtors need to re-think the reliance on Zillow.
ShowingTime will continue to be a platform that provides an opportunity for conveniently scheduling showings. The one difference on the back end is that the metrics regarding property showings will now be reported directly to Zillow. Zillow’s Chief Development Officer Errol Samuelson was quoted as stating that the platform would remain open to all people within the real estate industry with Zillow aiming to grow the app’s use.
As Zillow continues to invest in data and strategies to eliminate the middle man with an all-encompassing service, realtors need to think strategically. Knowing that Zillow may well start to compete more aggressively with realtors to, it’s time to invest in your own personal brand. Leveraging social media, developing content, creating an interactive website and investing in other forms of marketing are ways to prevent extinction. This is a hedge against the uncertainty that surrounds Zillow’s strategic changes.
Realtors need to invest in themselves if they wish to outlast their competitors as Zillow continues to reshape the real estate space.
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