Zillow’s “Coming Soon” Off to a Slow Start

After seeing quite a bit of uproar in real estate industry circles about Zillow’s new “Coming Soon” feature (a.k.a. pocket listings for dummies) last month, I decided to see how popular actual usage of the feature was a few weeks after the big launch. After all, actions speak louder than words.

Last week I spent some time gathering data on Zillow to see how many “Coming Soon” listings there were on the site, state-by-state across the entire nation. In order to give us something to compare to, I also grabbed the number of “Make Me Move” (a.k.a. delusional owner dream machine) and “For Sale By Owner” (a.k.a. make me an obvious lead target for desperate listing agents) listings, two of Zillow’s other off-MLS categories.

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.

So far, the feature is most popular least ignored in Missouri and Nevada—the only two states with more than four “Coming Soon” listings per 1 million residents. Thirteen states had no “Coming Soon” listings at all when I pulled this data from Zillow last week.

Obviously this feature has a long ways to go before it will even come close to the popularity of “Make Me Move,” whose lowest state rate was 56 listings per million residents in Louisiana. The state with the highest rate of “Make Me Move” listings was Washington, with 587 per million residents. The highest rate for FSBO listings was 823 per million residents in Vermont, while the lowest was 73 listings per million residents in California.

On the day I pulled this data the four “Coming Soon” listings in Washington were all either in the Vancouver or Spokane areas (both served by different MLSs). Interestingly, there are now two “Coming Soon” listings in the Seattle area, one in Snohomish and one in Issaquah. Both of the listing agents, Nathanael Hasselbeck of NWG Real Estate and Darrell Parker of Parker Property, LLC appear to be NWMLS members, so I’m a bit surprised to see them openly flout the rules like this, given how fine-happy the NWMLS has been in the past. But hey, they did have to check a box, so I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.

[Update: As of 3PM, both of these Seattle-area “Coming Soon” listings have been removed.]

Katie Curnutte, a Zillow spokeswoman, said that they were aware of the NWMLS rules when they launched the service. She said they respect those rules, and are not actively encouraging agents to break them.

“It is a marketing tool for agents, so they need to follow the marketing rules of their own MLS and brokerage,” she said. If agents are not acting within the rules of the local MLS, Curnutte said they will remove the “coming soon” listing. She also noted that agents must check a box that they are complying with local MLS rules before posting.

It will be interesting to see what these numbers look like a year from now. So far, all the outrage and concern in the agent community seems to be much ado about nothing.

If you prefer simple text-based tables to Tableau, click through below for all the data in a single table, sortable by clicking the column headers.


State Coming Soon CS-Rate Make Me Move MM-Rate FSBO FSBO-Rate
Alaska 1 1.4 114 155.1 284 386.3
Alabama 3 0.6 644 133.2 2,207 456.6
Arkansas 1 0.3 374 126.4 1,757 593.7
Arizona 26 3.9 1,883 284.2 1,800 271.6
California 134 3.5 6,103 159.2 2,788 72.7
Colorado 14 2.7 2,286 433.9 1,576 299.1
Connecticut 1 0.3 819 227.7 779 216.6
District Of Columbia 1 1.5 196 303.2 64 99.0
Delaware 2 2.2 182 196.6 265 286.3
Florida 60 3.1 1,996 102.1 7,644 390.9
Georgia 8 0.8 2,256 225.8 3,342 334.5
Hawaii 1 0.7 151 107.5 108 76.9
Iowa 0 0.0 294 95.1 1,708 552.7
Idaho 3 1.9 306 189.8 684 424.3
Illinois 7 0.5 2,431 188.7 3,796 294.7
Indiana 1 0.2 841 128.0 2,388 363.4
Kansas 4 1.4 261 90.2 1,015 350.7
Kentucky 0 0.0 450 102.4 1,962 446.4
Louisiana 1 0.2 261 56.4 1,643 355.2
Massachusetts 4 0.6 1,586 237.0 1,075 160.6
Maryland 8 1.3 1,413 238.3 1,040 175.4
Maine 0 0.0 142 106.9 623 469.0
Michigan 4 0.4 1,944 196.5 3,939 398.1
Minnesota 3 0.6 1,141 210.5 1,045 192.8
Missouri 35 5.8 1,165 192.7 2,507 414.8
Mississippi 0 0.0 189 63.2 1,094 365.7
Montana 0 0.0 128 126.1 526 518.1
North Carolina 7 0.7 2,396 243.3 3,752 381.0
North Dakota 0 0.0 44 60.8 240 331.8
Nebraska 0 0.0 176 94.2 766 410.0
New Hampshire 1 0.8 198 149.6 388 293.2
New Jersey 9 1.0 1,497 168.2 2,390 268.6
New Mexico 0 0.0 259 124.2 685 328.5
Nevada 12 4.3 565 202.5 444 159.1
New York 4 0.2 2,150 109.4 4,854 247.0
Ohio 14 1.2 2,252 194.6 4,164 359.9
Oklahoma 1 0.3 678 176.1 1,762 457.6
Oregon 5 1.3 1,741 443.0 1,422 361.8
Pennsylvania 5 0.4 2,019 158.1 3,403 266.4
Rhode Island 2 1.9 206 195.9 186 176.9
South Carolina 9 1.9 985 206.3 2,022 423.5
South Dakota 0 0.0 50 59.2 238 281.7
Tennessee 7 1.1 1,668 256.8 2,994 460.9
Texas 35 1.3 3,485 131.8 4,897 185.2
Utah 0 0.0 903 311.3 973 335.4
Virginia 13 1.6 2,042 247.2 2,407 291.4
Vermont 0 0.0 73 116.5 516 823.5
Washington 4 0.6 4,093 587.1 2,402 344.6
Wisconsin 8 1.4 811 141.2 2,422 421.8
West Virginia 0 0.0 151 81.4 641 345.7
Wyoming 0 0.0 60 103.0 275 472.0
US Total 458 1.4 58,058 183.7 91,902 290.7

Data in this post was collected from Zillow.com on June 30, 2014.

  

About 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.

8 comments:

  1. 1

    For some reason the NWMLS hasn’t directly warned agents about Coming Soon, other than a recent Legal Bulletin dealing with related issues which came out well before Zillow announced. Most firms seemingly have warned their agents.

    Also, check you Zillow’s Youtube video at 48 seconds. Sure they knew about the NWMLS rule. /sarc (Why don’t links appear????)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnAu90iM7Mw

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  2. 2

    The Youtube link appeared. Rewatching the video this might be something only open to “Zillow Premier Agents” which I believe are agents who pay Zillow money each month. That would clearly limit its use, and both explain the results Tim is finding and also make it even less useful.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  3. 3
    Grant says:

    I am on your website. I cannot see how to list a property near Duvall, WA.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. 4
    The Tim says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 2:

    …this might be something only open to “Zillow Premier Agents” which I believe are agents who pay Zillow money each month.

    Yes, that is accurate. They stated that in their initial announcement: http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2014-06-12-Zillow-Introduces-Coming-Soon-Inventory

    Coming Soon is an exclusive marketing feature specifically for Zillow Premier Agents or brokerages and MLS’s that have a direct feed to Zillow.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. 5
    SG says:

    The hatchet jobs on Zillow made sense while Tim was employed at Redfin. Now that he has moved on to Porch, I don’t get it. I am sure Porch’s growth on every single product is not impressive either. But wait, Zillow’s Digs does overlap Porch’s turf. Ok, carry on then.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  6. 6

    RE: SG @ 5 – Other than some agents in some other states, have you heard anyone say anything good about Zillow’s Coming Soon? I haven’t and I’ve been following it fairly closely. At least one consumer group hates it.

    Seemingly it only benefits the listing agent, possibly at the expense of their client.

    Also, how is this a hatchet job? Do you dispute the data? Maybe Tim was being a bit overly optimistic as to the number of pre-listings possible, but it does seem like it’s not very successful–perhaps for a reason.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  7. 7

    IMO it’s an attempt for Zillow to try to get more “Premier Agents” signed up… however, I don’t see why a seller would want to do this when they can list their home as “make me move”, if they wanted to.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  8. 8

    RE: Rhonda Porter @ 7 – Good insight, Rhonda. You’re right that the Zillow model now uses its famed “zestimates” merely as a lead generator for traditional agents. In that light, this feature may have more value. It’s one more bell and/or whistle to entice new advertisers (real estate brokers).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

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