What I love about Zillow (And hate about real estate agents and old media)

From an article in the Nashville City Paper by Richard Lawson on the glut of homes on the real estate market, and speaking of a builder who works on both custom and spec homes:

Still, he won’t drop the price to encourage a sale, saying it’s better for property values in the neighborhoods where he builds. Instead, he has been offering buyers’ agents more commission or other concessions if they bring a full-price offer.

My gripe with old media: great tactic by the builder, now what about the consumer?

My gripe with real estate agents: Jarvis over at BuzzMachine has written a couple of times of “freeconomics” and the new business model of the Web. Having just worked with a real estate agent to buy a home (a professional and hard working one at that) I still have to say that the ability to peruse a plethora of market-specific data on Zillow in the comfort of my home made me immeasurably more comfortable with the purchase.

Their ability to force a consumer to bring a full-price offer rests with the fact that they hold more information than the buyer, an advantage Zillow obliterates.

Measuring newspapers’ footprints

Newspaper footprint

Nearly 4 in 5 adults are touched by the “footprint” of newspapers, according to a report issued by the Newspaper Association of America, using data from Scarborough.

The report (PDF here) emphasizes a few key points:

  • Newspapers and newspaper Web sites (the newspaper footprint) reach 77% of adults in a given week.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 65% of young adults (18-24) in a given week.
  • In a given week, the newspaper footprint reaches 66% of adults who have been in their home less than a year.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 76% of food shoppers with long recipts($150+) in a given week.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 81% of consumers planning to spend $35,000+ on a new vehicle in the next 12 months.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 82% of adults who have made any Internet purchase in the last 12 months.

In the market for a new car…

I find the statistic on vehicles interesting. Here at Medill, where our Integrated Marketing Communications department harps on targeted, relevant advertising, we often discuss the inefficiency of car and real estate advertising in newspapers.

Traditionally, newspapers provided the only blanket coverage of a particularly geographic area. On the other hand, however, not many people are in the market for a car or a home at any given time.

On its face, that statistic affirms the traditional wisdom: if you want to reach someone in the market for a car, the newspaper will probably achieve that for you. On the other hand, you’ll be reaching a whole lot of people not in the market for a car. Not terribly efficient. And this report doesn’t seem to speak to that concern.

What happens when that number slips to 70 percent, then 60 percent? Of the population of people in the market for a car in the next 12 months, I wonder how many of them can be reached through ads on Cars.com?