LA Times Examines Local Home Search Options

Over two days in June, we searched each site for three-bedroom, single-family homes on the market in Santa Monica.

The results:

These numbers are always in flux, but from what I’m seeing I think there are between  90 and 100 MLS listings on the market and around 45 to 50 foreclosure listings.

Finally, it’s kind of a waste to do this kind of research unless you’re willing to do a quality analysis. My experience has been that the sites that do not have direct access to MLS info tend to have more listings that are out-of-date and/or listed with outdated prices.

zillow homes in santa monica

* It’s worth noting that I’m pretty sure the reporters messed up with their Zillow numbers… When I just did a search that limits the results to 3+ bedrooms in Santa Monica, then there’s a little graphic that says there are 166 listings for sale, but those are for ALL homes for sale and only 64 of the homes match my criteria.   The Zillow results should probably have been closer to 64 listings which would put them slightly below Trulia.

Auctions are a small portion of the market, but I still…

…find it interesting that CB is looking to develop this option in Florida.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I heard auctions make up a large portion of the market in some countries (like Australia).  My take is that the real benefit of an auction model is that in a down market an agents could pretty much guarantee a sale for owners who feel under the gun to sell.

Sara of Zillow drops the bomb that…

Realogy is now syndicating all of their listings to Zillow. But this won’t come as a surprise to regular 4realz readers, since I mentioned that was likely to happen last week based on a message from a tipster

“The only listing announcement related to the three companies in the “tip” I see coming out of NRT is that they are sending their listings to Zillow since they are already (presumably) sending listings to Trulia and Frontdoor.”

However, there’s more juice to this story!

Turns out that not only is Realogy (and that means Coldwell Banker, ERA, Sotheby’s International Realty, The Corcoran Group, and Century 21) adding all of their listings to Zillow, but they (or at least NRT, which includes all of those brands except Century 21) are apparently taking some of their ad money out of Here’s how one tipster phrases it:

“Starting February 13 agents have 3 days to buy the exclusive office spots at a 10% discount. After that NRT associates can purchase other NRT offices unsold spots for 30 days. NRT funding of agent branding goes away on and agents can pay $99 a year to get that back.”

The way it was described to me by a Coldwell Banker insider is that NRT is just looking to shift some money associated with one product (Featured Homes).   And while it is significant that some money is being shifted out of at the corporate level,  it was viewed as more as an adjustment than a wholesale change in strategy.

Even if it is just an adjustment, I think it is safe to say that Realogy’s new strategy does not bode well for’s negotiating strategy with the other big brokerages.

A tipster let me know the details on the big NRT…

announcement.   It has less to do with listing distribution and more to do with a large reshuffling of resources.

But I’m torn…  Despite the fun of “breaking” rumors, I don’t want to turn this site into the Valleywag of real estate.  (Also, I really like the folks at NRT and don’t want to steal any of their thunder.)   Should I be publishing tips in full or is it enough to just give hints?

I was somewhat suprised to hear just how bullish…

…some of the ColdwellBanker/NRT executives are on when the topic came up at a recent CB event.  But considering the vast, relevant, promotion HGTV could start throwing at the site mixed with the fact that they continue to add listings at a good clip, my initial skepticism has been infected with a bit of his optimism.

However, well-coordinated cross-promotion is going to be key and I don’t see any of it yet on the HGTV website besides a simple “sister site” link in the footer.

HGTV Footer

(and yes, NRT is sending all their listings to FrontDoor.) 

NRT announcement on the way?

Always happy to spread some more rumors, someone (who I’ll leave anonymous) justed emailed me this tip:

“…the reason I am sending this is that I was just speaking with my manager here at [XYZ] who told me that ‘You will be happy to hear that NRT is going to have and announcement in the next few days about a partnership with Trulia, Zillow and Frontdoor.'”

Just for clarity, NRT, LLC runs the residential real estate companies Coldwell Banker, ERA, Sotheby’s International Realty, and The Corcoran Group. While their parent company, Realogy, adds the Century 21 brand to the mix.

In terms of NRT’s existing listing syndication, here is what I’ve been able to piece together:

I point this out because it leads me to wonder if there is something more than the standard listing syndication agreements… The only listing announcement related to the three companies in the “tip” I see coming out of NRT is that they are sending their listings to Zillow since they are already (presumably) sending listings to Trulia and Frontdoor. Am I missing something?

How to Jump-start your social networking with LinkedIn

I mentioned a bit ago that I’m taking part in a CB education event in a few weeks. One of the things I agreed to do was to mentor two real estate agents in how they can get the most out of social networking. However, good social networking takes time… and we only have two weeks before the event!

With only two weeks, I’m recommending that they start with LinkedIn. My guess is that for people just stepping their toes in online marketing, this is probably the area where they get some impact in a few weeks.

With that intro, here are the 10 steps for real estate professionals to get the most out of LinkedIn in a short time period!

1) Set up a profile! (I sent an invite to the two agents, but even if you don’t have an invite, setting up a profile is pretty straightforward. However, signing up is just the beginning. Next, you’ll need to fill in your profile.
2) Get detailed. Describe your previous work experience in great detail! Treat this like a resume that is not limited to one page. Fill in your websites and/or blog link so people can find more information out about you. Add a photo. Etc. Simply fill in as much as you possibly can!

3) Upload your address book. Whether you keep this on Outlook or a web-based email, upload ALL your contacts. If you keep your contacts in multiple databases, upload them all! Don’t worry about duplicates at this point, LinkedIn takes care of that.

4) Connect to everyone on your contact database who already has a LinkedIn profile. You can either do this in bulk or one at a time. My recommendation is to do it in batches.

  • Batch 1: Everyone who will know you well when they receive the invite request from you. These people can receive a pretty generic email and since they already have a LinkedIn account, your success rate will be pretty high
  • Batch 2: Everyone else deserves a personalized invitation. It’s worth the extra effort to remind each person where you met them. My guess is that your success rate for getting people to accept your invitation will more than double if you remind them where you met. Past clients are critical at this stage! By the way, a personalized invitation will go a long way to setting you up for step 8.

5) Connect with individuals who do not already have a LinkedIn profile. I use this sparingly because my success rate of getting someone to join LinkedIn is pretty low. However, if done right each new member will thank you after they join up! Personally, I’d focus on tech-savvy clients who might have an account under a different email address. However, if you want to find success at this step, it is critical to personalize each invitation.

6) As contacts start joining up, check out their contact list to see if you recognize any names. I’ve given a few seminars in the LA area and have hundreds of local real estate professionals. Look though my contact list and see if you recognize any names! If so, connect with those people!

7) Search for people at your colleges/previous employers that you recognize. This is quite easy to do on the service and I’ve actually caught up with a bunch of Berkeley classmates that I had lost touch with thanks to LinkedIn!

8) Seek recommendations from past clients/business partners. The MOST successful way to get recommendation from someone else is to FIRST recommend them! Go ahead and recommend some of the business partners that you’ve worked with and liked in the past (mortgage, legal, title, stagers, etc.). The best recommendations come unsolicited, so give a recommendation and wait a few days. Assuming you want to step up the pressure a bit, go ahead and request the recommendation from people you’re positive have liked working with you in the past (and/or people who owe you a big favor!). 🙂

9) Get active on the Q&A section of LinkedIn. Really active! Educate consumers who are asking real estate related questions. Also get creative with the questions you ask. Go ahead and ask if these 10 steps are smart advice. 😉 Ask mortgage questions, title questions. Ask questions that show you have some insight into a local market. Ask potential consumers what type of information they feel is missing from the world of online real estate. I honestly don’t know what type of questions will resonate best with the LinkedIn community, so read what others are doing and see what works. Most importantly: experiment!

10) Promote your LinkedIn profile! Add it to your websites. Add it to the signature of your emails. Here’s mine: . There’s lots of buttons and “bling” that LinkedIn offers to promote your profile, but a simple link is often the best! 😉