Ok so what happens when you click the "contact agent" button on Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia and Redfin? I was wondering that myself so decided to experiment with my own listing. This is what I found out.
Zillow: Over on the right, there is a contact box. It says my name and email address and under that it has "Contact Agent". You would assume the inquiry would go to me, the agent mentioned above. You know, the one indicated as the listing agent. But when I tried it today, that isn't what happened. The inquiry went to one of the "Premier Agents" listed at the bottom which rotate throughout the day. A "Premier Agent" is one who pays monthly fees (which differ depending on the popularity, pricing and desired market share of that zip code) on a annual contract basis to appear in that box. It was sort of funny because the agent that got the inquiry was an agent in my office so she recognized my name and knew I was upstairs in our office checking out my own listing. But if I had been a buyer, I would not have gone to the listing agent which would have been my intent and I might be sort of disgruntled over that. The listing agent information is available on Zillow but you can't just click on a link and get me. You have to actually click on my name, write down the number or copy and paste into your email. Zillow does not make it easy to get to the listing agent but you can if you try hard enough and do a few click throughs. The listing agent info is also at the very bottom of the property page. The "contact agent" button isn't lying. You'll be contacting an agent. It just won't be the listing agent.
Realtor.com: There is a box on the right that at least doesn't have my name in it but says "Contact Agent". The general public will still think they are going to get the listing agent but guess what? In this instance they actually might depending on the company the agent works for. In my case, it goes to a lead generation program that gives me 5 minutes to respond to the inquiry. If I don't respond to it, the lead is given to other agents in my company. The chances of me being able to respond to that lead in under 5 minutes is almost zero so generally inquires will go to another agent in my company. When I tried another agents listing in a different brokerage, it went to an auto responder and said someone would get right back to me which they did. When that agent did get back to me, it wasn't the listing agent. However, the listing agents phone number is at the very top of the page where, if a buyer is actively looking, they can easily find it. All said, Realtor.com was the most straightforward and honest website in terms of buyers getting easy access to the listing agent directly without the element of subscribed agents getting the lead generation. Though I will say finding the agents email address was a quest and took lots of looking and click throughs.
Trulia: This seemed to be an easy to navigate site in terms of getting to the listing agent. While there are also Premium Agents (those that pay for the exposure) listed below the listing agent, you can simply hover over the listing agents name and get their phone number. Easy. You can also click through a few screens and actually email them direct. Here again though, if you click the Contact Agent icon, you wont get the listing agent but will get one of the agents who pay to be listed there.
Redfin: Oddly, there is no way to contact an agent on my listing because apparently Redfin is only interested in sending leads to Redfin agents and they don't have any here. There is no "contact agent" box. Instead it says "Redfin agents and partners don't yet serve this area". My name and brokerage is noted in very small print around the middle of the listing but there is no contact information listed for the agent or brokerage. It is a good looking platform so I see why people like it but you have to double up with another service to actually contact an agent regarding it.
I fulfilled my mission of putting myself in a buyers shoes and seeing what they have to do to make an inquiry about a property, specifically with the listing agent. It wasn't easy. It was sort of frustrating actually. But it can be done and I encourage all of you who want to talk to the listing agent directly, follow these extra steps and get to the person you want to speak to. This is an educational process. Now you know that getting to the listing agent is very doable but it isn't automatic. You just have to make a few more clicks and scrolls. You don't have to put up with being redirected. Like I said yesterday, you can row your own boat if you want to and if you would prefer to work with whatever agent the automated system chooses for you, that's fine too. There isn't anything wrong with that as long as you understand the difference between contacting the listing agent and contacting an agent who paid to get that lead and/or was redirected to by their brokerage. Some buyers actually prefer not to work with the listing agent (dual agency) and that's ok too. In fact, most of these programs are a perfect scenario for people who don't want to work with the listing agent but don't know who else to call. The decision will be made for you when you click the "contact agent" icon and you can then decide if that agent is someone you want to partner with. Making informed choices and getting the most out of your real estate purchase experience is what it's all about.
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102 Downey Circle, Buellton (3/2 on .19 of an acre) 555K Only the one aerial pic on the link now but if more photos are loaded up, the link above will automatically refresh. Cute little enclave behind the commercial buildings so you get a nice buffer from the highway. Its pretty quiet back there and these units rarely turn over. In almost 1400 square feet, these are easy living single level paired homes with good size back yards. The HOA monthly fee is not on the MLS but I remember it being very low in the past. I think this is a private road so part of HOA fee probably goes towards road maintenance.
3523 Sagunto, Santa Ynez (.23 of an acre, land only) 645K Commerical C2 zoning, right next door to the Red Barn restaurant.
673 Hillside Drive, Solvang (2/3 on .08 of an acre) Was 575K with a new price of 550K. This is one of the totally detached single family homes in Mission Oaks. Whereas the living space is single story, there are stairs from the garage BUT if I'm not mistaken, one of the photos appears to be of an elevator. How cool is that? Problem solved! Good location within the community and nice private view opportunities.
2678 Santa Barbara Avenue, Los Olivos (3/3 on 1.85 acres) This is what I call a meaningful price reduction. Was $1,950,000 with a new price of $1,695,000. Wow. That is a really beautiful and meaningful price reduction. Takes "reduce it like you mean it" to an all new level. But, with that reduced price, you certainly aren't getting any reduced quality, style or wow factor. This is without a doubt one of the most beautifully done homes we have here, especially this close to town. It looks like a Sunset Magazine spread both in pics and in person. This is one of those properties that actually looks even better in person so I encourage you to see it if fine living is on your radar. A very pretty campus too with outdoor living being a focal point. Convenient location close enough to the village to make it walkable yet far enough away to not be in the center of things. Great price reduction on a truly great home.
1211 Petersen, Solvang (4/3 on 1.42 acres) Listed at $1,295,000 and sold final for $1,240,000. Original price was $1,349,00 with 71 days on market.
**Click on each hyperlink to see the listing agent related to each property. Property links may not open if you are using Internet Explorer as your browser. If you aren't already, please ask to be on my Daily Real Estate Update email list to receive the complete blog post with pics and aerials sent to you daily via email versus you having to remember to check my website or Facebook. Due to recent copyright issues, pics only appear on the email version. The identity of those on my list is not shared and I don't spam anyone. My daily updates are not a complete list of everything that happened today but instead events the general reader might find interesting or items you need to know to make good decisions. Readers should consult other venues of information gathering to find out more or to complete their information gathering efforts but this is a great place to start and I write every day Monday through Friday letting you know what I know. Transactions noted here were completed by myself and other Realtors.
Sharon Currie | Realtor BRE#01357602
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services BRE#01317331
Physical: 2933 San Marcos Ave #102, Los Olivos
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