Top 5 Zillow Talk Takeaways for Real Estate Agents

03/19/2015 12:17 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2015


There are not many economic topics that can reach a big audience in the way real estate does. Everyone wants to know how their home value stacks up or what their neighbors sold their house for.

We live in a culture that is suffering from symptoms of 'HGTV syndrome'. People frequently indulge in the practice of watching shows centered around buying and selling real estate and internalize built-in expectations of what a house needs to look like and what features are absolutely necessary.

In Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, Chief Economist Stan Humphries and CEO Spencer Rascoff leverage Zillow's massive collection of data to talk about both popular and controversial real estate topics.

Zillow Talk is written in a very detailed way but it doesn't overwhelm the reader with lots of figures, charts and hard-to-understand language. On the contrary, it's easy to understand and each chapter addresses intriguing real estate topics and questions common truths.

The authors set out to write a book that would force agents to analyze and rethink their consumer base. The book uses data to explain the science behind where and how people live and reveals practical insights about buying, selling, renting and financing real estate.

Here are some high-level takeaways that will help you become better and more effective at helping your clients buy and sell real estate:

Chapter 6: Leverage Schools as a Selling Point -
This chapter focuses on the importance of school districts in a buyer's home search. As an agent, you should use Zillow's tools to research affordable neighborhoods that fall within top school districts to help your clients identify budget-friendly that won't force them to sacrifice access to great schools.

Chapter 10: Help Sellers Invest in Projects with the Best ROI -
Chapter 10 provides a great analysis of the ROI and home resale value of various types of home improvement projects (hint: mid-range bathroom remodel will get you the most bang for your buck). As an agent, you can educate your clients on what projects pay off.

Chapter 11: Create Effective Listings -
Understanding the impact of a listing on the sale price of a property is invaluable. In chapter 11, you'll learn how to structure your listings to be the most effective. This chapter includes words you should definitely include and exclude from your listings. For example, you're better off skipping words like cute, nice, cozy, investment potential and TLC, and you definitely want to mention features like granite, stainless steel appliances and fantastic views or state of the art landscaping.

Chapter 15: Setting the Right Price -
You may want to share this chapter with your prospective sellers - which emphasizes the importance of pricing your house just right. People who overprice their home to test the market generally end up getting a lower final sale price than those who start closer to the actual market price. The truth is in the data!

Chapter 16: Traits of a Great Agent -
This chapter breaks down what makes a great real estate agent. Zillow explains that great agents have speedy response times and their online reviews speak for themselves. That said - make sure you focus on speedy follow-up and that your online reviews reflect your value! (use our free testimonial template to simplify the review collection process).

Zillow Talk is worth a read. It's an entertaining and informative book that gets you thinking about the value you bring to the table and how you can start your relationships with each and every client on the right note.

What are your takeaways from the book?