While Zillow is primarily a site for browsing real estate listings, it’s also a referral service for real estate agents. Today, the company is launching its new Agent Finder, an updated tool for finding the right agent in your neighborhood that’s now available on the company’s website and through its mobile apps.
The new tool takes into account ratings from Zillow’s users, as well as data about who the most active agents in a given area are (based on past sales and their number of current listings). Prospective home buyers and sellers can then filter according to their price points, needs and specialties (relocations, short sale, etc.), as well as the languages the agent speaks.
Zillow has been featuring agent reviews on its site since 2010, but using this new tool, agents can now highlight their own areas of expertise and local knowledge. They can also update their profiles with data about past sales and other information about their skills.
“Every day, agents tell us how important online reviews are to their marketing efforts, and how increasing their online presence has resulted in more business,” said Jay Thompson, Zillow’s director of industry outreach in a canned statement today. “We’re thrilled to give agents another way to highlight their areas of expertise and local knowledge to connect with home shoppers on Zillow.”
Finding the right real estate agent (or REALTOR®) can be tough. While they may not actually add all that much value for many prospective home buyers and sellers (though they will surely tell you how amazingly complicated the whole process is), it’s virtually impossible to even see the homes you are interested without them. Home buyers in the U.S. don’t typically pay their agents directly — the sellers do. Home sellers surely calculate the fees they pay to the buying and selling agents into their price, though, so given that you end up paying one way or another, you may just as well choose a good agent who may actually be able to bring some real expertise to the process (and not just the key code to the house you want to see).