The Recorded Benefits
How Cyre-Leike’s Arkansas-based agents will fare following the removal of listings from Trulia and Zillow still remains to be seen, but the company can boast that in the first quarter of 2014, sales volumes were up in Memphis by 14 percent from a year prior, and overall transactions were up four percent. Additionally, Brown told Inman News that inventory is up nearly a percentage point and there’s been a huge increase to the company’s mobile traffic. Crye-Leike still sends its listings to realtor.com and Homes.com.
Brown told Chicago Agent that Crye-Leike’s decision to stay with the two listing sites come from how prominently their listings display the Crye-Leike brand, the agent’s name and the office number, all for free. What’s more, Brown says, is that realtor.com remains the most accurate site out there.
Edna Realty, which removed its listings from Trulia and realtor.com in 2011 and 2012, respectively, now claims to generate more traffic than any other broker-owned or non-broker-owned site in its immediate market. In the year after the brokerage left Trulia, visits to Edina Realty’s website, which includes mobile users, were up 21.7 percent, and unique visitors, meaning a person who visits a site more than once within a specific period of time, were up 17 percent, President and CEO Bob Peltier told Inman News.
Peltier admitted that some of the increases are likely attributed to what was at the time a healthier local real estate market, but adds that he believes “cutting off the flow of listings to national portals was the right move.” He says that consumers are exploring real estate through a variety of mediums, taking in data from multiple angles, and restricting information to a single channel will not modify their behavior.
Last year, Edina represented more than 29,000 buyers and sellers.
Two years after ARG made a similar decision, the brokerage remains satisfied with its decision to remove its listings from Trulia, Zillow and realtor.com. Abbott told Chicago Agent that since discontinuing syndication, the company has posted consecutive record-breaking years.
Shorewest declined to comment on its status following the decision to remove listings from Trulia.
The Other Side
The feedback from brokerages that have pulled their listings from popular syndication and moved them to local MLS services and their own personal websites have largely taken optimistic tones, touting volume and online traffic increases. Despite the results boasted by companies like Edina Realty and Crye-Lieke, there are still several in the industry who are quick to defend the big three.
Linsey Ehle, for instance, a career coach at Better Homes and Garden Real Estate in The Woodlands, Texas, told Inman News that she can’t think of a reason why agents wouldn’t want to use Zillow, Trulia or realtor.com. Ehle says that it’s the duty of every agent to showcase and market a property to attract prospective buyers, and, in today’s world, that means being online.
“If we don’t include the top three most popular websites for real estate,” she asks, “[then] what exactly is our marketing plan?”
Other agents, like Phil Faranda, broker-owner of J. Philip Real Estate and a member of the Zillow Agent Advisory Board, acknowledge the lingering issues of listing services, but say its better to work with them than go at it alone. Like Ehle, Faranda points to the ever-growing importance of online marketing to justify the services, suggesting that the gravitational power of the sites is just too significant to ignore.