Zillow Implements Controversial New Pre-Listing Tactic

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The Real Estate Marketing Insider reports on news in the Chicago Tribune that Zillow, the Seattle-based online real estate website, will begin listing homes in foreclosure on its website before they officially go on sale.

The Real Estate Marketing Insider issued its statement on the Chicago Tribune story regarding a new Zillow policy of displaying on its website homes that are in foreclosure but not yet for sale, saying that despite the legitimate concerns about privacy, it could help home buyers by increasing the inventory available to them in their home search.

Zillow, a Seattle-based real estate website, is aiming to become the go-to best real estate websites for home purchasing. Zillow lists homes and rentals by location, price range and other criteria in an easily-searchable format. Buyers researching a given property can immediately see specifics about the property, such as square-footage, amenities like heating and cooling, and price (with an estimated mortgage payment). Pictures, and sometimes a floor plan, are also included. If interested, the buyer has one-click access to the property agent’s contact information. Zillow’s largest claim to fame is its “Zestimates” feature, which lists home values for homes both on and off the market.

Until now, the information Zillow offers has been only for properties currently for sale; but as of Wednesday night, information is also available for properties that are in foreclosure, but haven’t yet been released for sale. The information about these foreclosed properties is public, but generally can only be accessed through subscription websites or in person at a county courthouse. Spokespeople for Zillow say they are prepared to address criticism about privacy violation, are quick to remind that all of what they publish is “part of the public record.”

Pre-market properties, or properties where a foreclosure has been filed but not finalized, will be listed in a special section of the website. The Chicago Tribune article states, “Zillow members who view a property will be able to see the address, the date and amount of the original mortgage, and the amount past due, along with an estimate of the possible foreclosure sales price and where the foreclosure is in the process. The names of the occupants/borrowers will not be listed.”

The Real Estate Marketing Insider issued a statement surrounding news in the Chicago Tribune that online real-estate database Zillow will begin showing homes that are foreclosed, but not officially for sale. The website will not list names of borrowers, but will show publicly-available information like the amount of the mortgage, the amount past due, and the possible sales price of the foreclosure.

About Real Estate Marketing Insider: The Real Estate Marketing Insider provides news, hot tips and trend analysis to real estate professionals. The online journal is based in La Jolla, CA.

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