Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

16 responses to “Zillow’s “Coming Soon” Won’t be Coming to Seattle”

  1. Jillayne Schlicke

    Since Zillow is a marketing company and not a lender or a real estate broker, they exempt themselves from following any laws or rules not subject to them by simply asking users to check an “I agree with the terms” box. Nobody reads the terms, their sales people are trained to say:
    “It’s all perfectly legal.”
    “It’s all been reviewed by attorneys.”

    The terms pretty much say—-if the user violates a law, it’s the user’s fault not ours. Sucks to be you. You agreed with the terms you idiot.

    Well maybe I embellished that^ a little bit.

    I am VERY pro-Zillow but I am against their unethical sales practice of leading lenders and real estate brokers to believe their programs are in compliance with the law.

    The bigger they get, the bigger of a target they will become. And the bigger their responsibility should be as a stakeholder in the R.E. and lending community to provide services that make it easy for their customers to follow the law and not hide behind a “terms of service” checkbox.

    YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT, Zillow. Your customers deserve better. Your stockholders deserve better. And please don’t take away your female employee’s contraception choices tomorrow morning or I’ll really go Bader Ginsberg on you.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 10

  2. Kmac

    RE: Jillayne Schlicke @ 1
    Since that last sentence kinda veered you off the RE topic I don’t feel bad doing so myself.

    You do know that any woman with a prescription for contraception can go to the local neighborhood wallyworld and get said contraception for something like ten bucks don’t you?
    I’m sure real estate agents can afford $10.
    I see no choices being denied here.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  3. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Kmac @ 2 – As I explained to Jillayne elsewhere, the Court’s decision doesn’t take away anyone’s rights. That is just Democratic partisan BS. The Court’s decision was based on the fact that there was a less intrusive alternative–the one Obama applied to the non-profit religious entities, which just requires the insurance companies to pay for the same benefits. It took Obama about 24 hours to announce that one after the controversy arouse, but now he claims he needs Congress to act to do the same thing. Jillayne should be mad at Obama, because if anyone goes without anything it will be his fault, not the Court. (I’d also add that the Religious Freedom Act is very clear, and requires the Court’s result if there is a less intrusive alternative, which the court found Obama’s alternate to be.) http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/2000bb-1

    The decision yesterday was a very minor decision, which people are blowing up into something it is not. The Court found a compelling government interest in providing contraception benefits! But in any case, the decision was not a Constitutional decision, it was a decision interpreting a statute which was signed by President Clinton after passing through Congress with only three “no” votes.

    Now, as to real estate, interesting that Zillow claims that they were aware of the NWMLS rules when they have a Youtube video showing “Coming Soon” against a map of Seattle.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4

  4. Craig Blackmon

    Good stuff, Tim! Strong words from Mr. Miller, but dead on. It’s amazing how many brokers fail to appreciate the point – that “pocket listings are bad for the client, and consumers generally – and who actually buy into the “benefits” to the client.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  5. Kary L. Krismer

    It’s possible the Department of Licensing might even have issues with “Coming Soon.” I’ve heard rumors that DOL has been going after (or at least inquiring of) agents who have a pattern of having their listings repeatedly close “too quickly.” The concern is that the agent is not properly exposing the listing to the market, reducing the price obtained by the client. Assuming the rumors are true, I could see that they would have real problems with this program.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  6. Blake

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3
    From Justice Ginsburg’s dissent:
    “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision…Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.”
    … “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

    Activist court indeed!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  7. Tony Gilbert

    Thank you for bringing more local attention to this issue – and for the “mention.” :) I was one of the many local brokers who personally lobbied the NWMLS to do something about this problem. In a perfect world, where all agents are fully educating their clients of the pros & cons of every marketing tactic, such rules wouldn’t be necessary. But we all know, we don’t work in that world.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  8. judy b

    Get your facts straight about contraception prescriptions before spouting off — without insurance coverage, the cost is more like $80.

    RE: Kmac @ 2 -

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. Saulac

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    It’s possible the Department of Licensing might even have issues with “Coming Soon.” I’ve heard rumors that DOL has been going after (or at least inquiring of) agents who have a pattern of having their listings repeatedly close “too quickly.” The concern is that the agent is not properly exposing the listing to the market, reducing the price obtained by the client. Assuming the rumors are true, I could see that they would have real problems with this program.

    Then they should keep an eye on this agent. But I doubt that they do what you mentioned.
    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/12312-84th-Ave-S-98178/home/198499

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  10. Mike

    RE: Saulac @ 8 – That house in itself is an interesting artifact of the bubble. According to the NTS, the previous owners mortgage payment on a ~$100K house was only a few hundred a month less than I pay on a ~$600K house purchased 5 years later…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Mike @ 9 – Speaking of interesting artifacts, I came across a short sale listing which had previously been a short sale way back in 2002 (or so). I wonder how many calls the agent got back then with people asking “What’s a short sale?”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. Erik

    RE: Saulac @ 8
    What is crazy about this to me is that Renton got much nicer from 2007 to 2014 and the price is 1/3rd of what it was in 2007.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. Ira Sacharoff

    RE: Erik @ 12
    That particular house is close to Renton, but in the dreaded 98178 zip code. The 98178 went down a whole lot more than Seattle and eastside neighborhoods. Mostly because Skyway is in the 98178, and the whole zip code gets tarnished for sharing the zip code. Where that house is is pretty nice, with lake views. What’s weird about the zip code is that it crosses jurisdictions. It’s mostly unincorporated King County, which includes Skyway. But also some of it is within the city of Seattle, some of it is in the city of Tukwila, and some of it is in the city of Renton. Is there any other zip code in the United States that does that? Some of the neighborhood is real nice and overlooks Lake Washington.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 13 – 98178 also went up a lot more before the peak. It more volatile. Our old house was in 98178, and even though it was a lesser value house it dropped more in value than our new house did.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  15. Ardell DellaLoggia

    RE: Erik @ 12

    That particular area can price very differently based on topography. I listed and sold one that sat high up capturing a view just a few houses away from one that sat low with no view, and the price results were dramatically different. The one I listed sold for 2/3rds more than the one a few doors down. There were differences in the house as well, of course. The one down the street looked more like this one.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. Zillow's "Coming Soon" Off to a Slow Start • Seattle Bubble

    […] Below is a Tableau heat map of the results normalized by each state’s population (zoom out to view Alaska and Hawaii, or shift-click and drag to pan the map). As you can see, agents who can use “Coming Soon” have so far been slow to do so. This should not be surprising, considering that many MLSs across the country forbid this kind of practice from their members, just like NWMLS does. […]

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

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