Robert Vegas Bob Swetz

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Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


They are not actually selling a lead to you.  You are paying for placement and hoping that leads come your way...A

Dec 30, 2015 05:11 AM
Richard L. McKinney P.A.
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
For Results that MOVE you on the Treasure Coast!

They do not need a real estate license ... they are selling advertising and not taking a referral fee on leads.

This is not rocket science. Realtors are paying for adversing spots and getting leads from it... very simple.

I see folks bashing Zillow on here all the time and I just laugh. If you don't like them, don't use them.  But Zillow works for me and I am laughing all the way to the bank.

Dec 30, 2015 04:46 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

One can make a decent living by what falls through the cracks everywhere in this great country...Its all there, waiting for someone to take it is one thought

For those that say advertising...this reminds me of prostituion where a woman can appear near naked and no law is broken. If she says the words money and sex act to an inquirer...she is arrested. You can advertise, you just cant sell...

Dec 30, 2015 07:47 AM
Shanna Hall
Real Estate Solutions - Kirkwood, MO
I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311

Makes me sick that they use our information and then want us to pay for the leads our information brings...

Dec 30, 2015 06:57 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

The question to ask is

"Why can't you pay "Billy Bob" the lawn guy for 'leads". Billy Bob would love 200, 500, 1,000 for keeping his eyes open on your behalf. You would give him a handful of cards, maybe even a bumper sticker to put on the trailer. On the check memo line, you write 'advertising services.'

It is interesting how some defend their right to pay a company whose existence depends on misrepresentation, deception and stolen properties but will reject your right to let 'Billy Bob' do the job for you. Those willing to do business with such companies, .... well, I 'll let others fill in the blank.

See this blog and survey

However, pertaining to your question, the lead is the derived result of the service for which you pay, which is advertising.




Dec 30, 2015 05:52 AM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Inquiring Minds Want to Know???

Dec 30, 2015 04:14 AM
Spirit Messingham
Tierra Antigua Realty - Tucson, AZ
Third Generation Full-Time Realtor® 520 471-6900

Because they own a "free" site and can provide the traffic.  Capitalism, something is worth whatever someone will pay for it.  Zillow keeps getting a larger % of the real estate traffic, and they keep increasing the cost for agents to get those leads.   Sooner or later, they will price themselves out of the market.  Until then, enjoy the ride.  You dont have to like them, but agents would be wise to respect them.  They have the leads, for example I sold over $4million from Zillow leads in 2015 (I keep track).

Dec 30, 2015 07:07 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

They sell Leads and not asking for  a commission split

Dec 30, 2015 06:30 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

What Ron says but essentially that is what they are doing. They are a media company and are not foolish enough to become a brokerage. They make a lot more money being outside of us.

Dec 30, 2015 05:58 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

They sell advertising. Although it is zip code based it's not selling leads. They would only have to be licensed to get referral fees.

Dec 30, 2015 05:35 AM
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Yes, as others have said, they are selling advertising, not selling leads.  

Dec 30, 2015 05:21 AM
Susan Jacobsen
The Alliance Group Realty - Hilton Head Island, SC
20 Years Providing WOW Real Estate Service

Bob - this is a good one and I'll look forward to answers from others but I'm sure you know that they base their fees on the volume of consumers that use their website(s) to locate properties. The fees are for the 'privilege' of being led to those consumers. To be frank, Zillow is all about quantity but not much about quality.

Dec 30, 2015 04:24 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

My guess Bob, is that you pay for a lead generation service and they aren't charging a portion of a commission, but a monthly fee for access to their pool of buyers and sellers.


That is my guess.  Just word what you do in such a way as to not violate any regs.  Good old loopholes.  I imagine that companies like Real Estate Webmasters do the same thing for their lead gen sites.  Only so many realtors allowed in an area on certain products.  Not an uncommon or illegal thing.

Dec 31, 2015 05:38 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Sure they can, and they do just like any other lead-genrating boiler room scammer.

Dec 30, 2015 10:04 PM
Susan Laxson CRS
Palm Properties - La Quinta, CA
Local Knowledge & Global Network

Aren't they just selling placement in an area?  Do they charge or follow up on leads generated by the zip code to you? 

Dec 30, 2015 08:53 PM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

 Good morning VB. It seems as if Alexandria has the correct  answer to your question as I do know a real estate agent who used to do that.

Dec 30, 2015 05:25 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Robert (Alaska Bob) Swetz - it's their business model and they do not sell leads for referral fees or commission, so they can, I think.

I am sure they have done their legwork very!

Dec 30, 2015 03:32 PM
Patricia Kennedy
Redfin - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Their business model isn't the old referral model from broker to broker. That's how they get around it.

Dec 30, 2015 01:36 PM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Basically they are selling you what amounts to a product. You can buy that product. They aren't collecting a referral fee which in my state would be illegal for me to do. 

Dec 30, 2015 01:14 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I believe they call themselves an advertising company, and they are successful because there are more than enough agents out there who are willing to pay for any kind of a lead.

Dec 30, 2015 12:05 PM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

I get what you are saying - it's like paying a referral fee to a non-licensed person, which is illegal. Good question.

Dec 30, 2015 11:27 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Good question

Dec 30, 2015 10:03 AM
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

That is a great question, I wish I had a good answer but unfortunately they have the public fooled.

Dec 30, 2015 08:06 AM
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

It doesn’t matter what it is called. They have good attorneys’ and neither we practitioners or any states care enough to try and stop them. 

Dec 30, 2015 07:56 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

It's advertising.

Dec 30, 2015 06:59 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

They are selling leads, not real estate.

It would be interesting if some state real estate commissions prohibited this practice for those without a state real estate license.

Dec 30, 2015 06:13 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Robert (Alaska Bob) Swetz The distinction is a lead vs. a referral. A lead is from someone who has not asked for your service and you are provided a name. A referral is from someone who is referred from an individual and is in need of your service. This is why you have more of a success ratio with referrals than with leads. Most leads are inquiries for information. Z sells leads and does not get paid on referral business. No license required.

Dec 30, 2015 05:26 AM
Val Evans
Scottsdale, AZ

The same way 100's of other media based companies can do the same. They either have a monetary relationship with the data aggregators, or with the MLS's themselves. The MLS's love the additional revenue—no matter who it's coming from.

Dec 30, 2015 05:02 AM
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

Not much difference between that and selling addresses for farming.

Dec 30, 2015 04:25 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Robert - I guess that I would have to agree with most of the others, and just say that it is no different than paying any other third-party company for real estate leads.

Jan 03, 2016 07:05 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I think buyers start their search on Zillow, know about their inaccuracies and find a reputable REALTOR to assist them. 

Dec 30, 2015 11:06 PM
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I believe technically ther are not selling leads. They are selling advertising on their site which brings you leads.

Dec 30, 2015 10:16 PM